Someone You Should Know: Max native, award-winning author back in ND working on sixth novel

Local News

As an NDSU graduate with degrees in print journalism and textiles and clothing, Julie Mcelwain expected to work in fashion, and she did.

She traveled all over the world covering a wide range of topics from Fashion Week in Milan to the conditions of sweatshops.

But today, she’s an award winning author who’s made her way back to her roots.

“I always wanted to be a writer, and I would always write,” she said. “But I think it seemed like a very distant dream.”

What once seemed like a far reach, later became a reality for the Max native.

“It really is a dream come true,” she reflected. “It’s kind of like winning the lotto.”

The author of A Murder in Time and the four, soon to be five, books to follow in the Kendra Donovan series started her career in Los Angeles after college.

After nine years as a business reporter for a fashion trade newspaper, she pursued an opportunity to write for Soaps in Depth magazine, covering the Young and the Restless.

She’d go on to do that for two decades, up until 2020 when the coronavirus hit.

That’s about when the magazine shuttered, last Spring.

She said, “You know, it’s not how I would want it to happen. I didn’t want it to happen exactly like that, but I think everything happens for a reason, too.”

However, she started writing her first book in 2015.

It was published in 2016 and was formatted as a series.

So when the magazine was done, she focused on her writing.

The days were long with two jobs.

“It was a lot of work. I mean, it was worth it. But it was a lot of work, the writer said.

And it still is.

But today, she works from her hometown surrounded by family members … and sometimes … more than that.

“The funniest thing, when she moved back I asked her, ‘So how are you adjusting back here in North Dakota?’ She loves walking and stuff and she’s like, ‘I’m not going to lie, I’m not going to get used to these snakes on the road.’ She was just traumatized,” Julie’s niece, Nicole Fritel said with a laugh.

Julie made her way back to Max in September.

She had always come back every Christmas, but there’s no place like home, especially amid a pandemic.

Plus, her goals know no geographic boundaries.

“Who knows where life will take you,” Julie said. “But I would love to keep North Dakota as my base and then I can go anywhere.”

Julie Mcelwain is Someone You Should Know.

She’s working on her sixth book and told me the series is being optioned in Hollywood as a TV show or movie.

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