If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book, please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com.

September Interviews

9/2 Dianne Freeman, A Lady's Guide to Mischief and Murder

9/9 Ellen Byron, Murder in the Bayou Boneyard

9/16 Marilyn Levinson, writing as Allison Brook, Checked Out for Murder

9/23 Rhys Bowen, The Last Mrs. Summers

9/30 Sherry Harris, From Beer To Eternity

September Guest Bloggers

9/19 Judy Alter

WWK Weekend Bloggers

9/5 V. M. Burns

9/12 Jennifer J. Chow

9/26 Kait Carson


Keenan Powell recently signed with agent Amy Collins of Talcott Notch. Congratulations, Keenan!

KM Rockwood's "Secrets To The Grave" will appear in the new SinC Chesapeake Chapter's new anthology Invitation To Murder, which will be released by Wildside Press on 10/6.

Congratulations to our two Silver Falchion Finalists Connie Berry and Debra Goldstein!

Paula Gail Benson's "Cosway's Confidence" placed second and Debra Goldstein's "Wabbit's Carat" received Honorable Mention in the Bethlehem Writers Roundtable 2020 short story contest. Congratulations, Paula and Debra!

Susan Van Kirk's Three May Keep A Secret has been republished by Harlequinn's Worldwide Mystery. The WWK interview about the book can be accessed here. We're so glad another publisher picked up this series.

KM Rockwood's "Burning Desire," and Paula Gail Benson's "Living One's Own Truth," have been published in the anthology Heartbreaks & Half-truths. Congratulations to all of the WWK writers.

Please join Margaret S. Hamilton's Kings River Life podcast of her short story "Busted at the Book Sale" here. Congratulations, Margaret!

Look Margaret S. Hamilton's short stories in the new Mid-Century Murder by Darkhouse Books. Margaret's story is titled "4BR/3.5BA Contemporary."

Grace Topping's second novel in Laura Bishop staging series, Staging Wars, was released by Henery Press on April 28th. Look for the interview here from April 29th.

Annette Dashofy's 10th Zoe Chambers mystery, Til Death, will be released on June 16th. Look for the interview here on June 17.


Wednesday, May 15, 2019

An Interview With Julie Hennrikus

by Grace Topping

I’ve been following Julie Hennrikus’s multifaceted career for years and am continually impressed by all she has accomplished. So I was amazed to learn that she has taken on yet another challenge, establishing an online school for artists, Your Ladders. It’s a pleasure to have Julie Hennrikus here to tell us all about Your Ladders. 

Welcome back to Writers Who Kill, Julie. 

After years working in different Boston area theatres and writing mysteries, what prompted you to start yet another career?

Julie Hennrikus
Like many writers (and artists), I have juggled several jobs at the same time over the years. I’ve been blessed in that I’ve had three careers, all at the same time. I’ve worked in the performing arts for over thirty years. I’ve worked in box offices (and created one for Harvard University), been a general manager and a company manager, programmed venues, and done marketing. I’ve also run a service organization for the New England performing arts community.

Another career is as a teacher. I’ve been teaching arts administration classes on the college level for almost 15 years. I love teaching, and make sure that my classes have practical knowledge mixed in with inspiration. Like the writing path, the path of folks in the performing arts is challenging, and I try to prepare students for the ride.

And then, of course, there’s my writing life. It took me 15 years to get published, and the road has had its bumps, but I just published my sixth novel.

Last year several things came together for me. I wanted to make more room in my life for my writing. I was teaching, and one of my students said to me that he was grateful he took my class, since it prepared him to graduate. He felt badly for the students who hadn’t taken the course. And then I thought about the folks who aren’t in urban areas, but are trying to produce work, or figure out how to manage their artistic paths. All of a sudden the idea of opening an online school started to blossom in my brain.

Tell us a little about your new endeavor?

Opening my own business has been an interesting journey. The first model I created was an online school. I created four classes to launch the school. These are all business classes, but taught for creative folks. They are taught via videos and worksheets. Spotlight on Spreadsheets teaches basic spreadsheet skills, and then I teach folks how to use spreadsheets for budgeting, audience development, and tracking your own career. Footing Your Ladder is about business planning. Climbing Your Ladder is about budgeting, and figuring out income streams. Extending Your Ladders helps folks create marketing plans.

I decided to price my classes so that they were affordable for artists. But even then, the folks I’m trying to reach had some price resistance. I had to make a choice. Serve fewer people, the folks who could afford it, or create a model where more people could access the classes. So this spring I created a subscription model. For $19 a month, folks have access to the classes, a monthly training, and access to the Your Ladders community.

I’ve added more classes, and will continue to do that as the needs of the subscribers become clearer to me.

What was the inspiration behind the name Your Ladders?

My goal is to help artists build ladders over the obstacles in their path by teaching them business skills to get there. I have to explain the name, but I like the image. Some of these obstacles, like not understanding budgeting, are a roadblock for folks. The work of creative people is too important to be stopped by not understanding business skills, so I want to help folks build their ladders.

Who is the program designed for?

Since my career has been spent in the performing arts, folks in that field are a focus. I’ve also been adding writers to the mix, since I know a lot about that path as well.

When I think of my ideal subscriber, they are on a creative path and need to learn more to move to the next level. It can be a professional path. It can also be an avocational path. If you’re on the board of a community theater, for example, you may need to learn about budgeting. Your Ladders can help. If you’re a drama teacher who has to put on (produce) a show, Your Ladders can help. 

How does the program work?

You can subscribe for $19 a month. If you subscribe, you have access to all the classes, including the Self-Promotion, Networking, and Pitching classes I recently added. I’m also doing monthly trainings, drilling down on specific topics. You’ll have access to those trainings, and to the library of previous trainings. And finally, there’s the Your Ladders Community. It works like a Facebook group, but it is on the same platform as the classes, so you don’t have to join Facebook. The other option is to register for a class, and have lifetime access to the class.

What type of commitment are you looking for from people who sign up for the program? Is it flexible based on needs?

It is totally flexible based on needs. While I have designed each class with lessons that build on one another, there may be people who want to create their own learning journey, and the classes support that. I’m looking forward to getting to know the folks who have subscribed better, so I can design syllabi for them. That said, and this could be the Virgo, INFJ arts administrator in me, I think it is worthwhile for every artist to think about their mission and core values as they move forward on their career. To understand their unique value proposition. To think about their intended audiences. Your Ladders supports folks as they build a solid foundation for their artistic practice.

Ideally, how long would the course or program run for an individual? Does it vary?

The classes themselves comprise short videos and worksheets. So someone could speed through the classes and exercises. But a lot of the lessons require thoughtful work to implement. In the arts, and I include the writing path when I talk about this, there isn’t a cut and dry formula that is guaranteed to work. There are skills you add to your tool belt that move you forward, but you have to do the work. 

You can also “retake” a class at anytime. I have taken several online classes, and find that revisiting them is never a waste of time. I pull more information out of them as I implement what I’ve learned.

Folks can subscribe to Your Ladders for as long as they’d like to, and cancel at any time. For me, that means I need to keep working on keeping the content fresh, and getting new subscribers. But I think this model, sort of a Netflix model for business skills, is a good one for supporting and empowering artists.

How can people find out more about Your Ladders?

You can go to www.YourLadders.com/subscribe to learn about the subscription. YourLadders.com will also get you to the blog, and it will give you access to some of the content I provide for free. Folks can also email me at Julie@YourLadders.com, and I’m happy to answer any questions.

While running your program, are you going to continue with your writing career?

Absolutely! My goal is to create enough balance in my life where my writing career gets more of my time. My writing means the world to me, and my own creative journey gives me additional insight into the artistic path of my students. The journey is a roller coaster, not a flat highway with clear exits, entrances, and pit stops. I know my writing journey has been made easier because of my arts administration skills. Not easy, but easier.

What books are you working on at the moment?

In January I launched The Garden Squad series with Kensington. I write that series as Julia Henry. I’m thrilled with the attentionPruning the Deadhas been getting. Tilling the Truth is out in August, and I’m working on book #3 now. My Theater Cop series, which I write as J.A. Hennrikus, had the second book, With A Kiss I Die, released in April. 

Thank you so much for inviting me to talk about Your Ladders! I have a passion for Your Ladders as well as my writing, and love to share the vision for my new business.

Thank you, Julie. 

Julie Hennrikus has worked the arts community for over thirty years. Most recently she was the executive director of StageSource, the service organization for the New England theater community. Prior to that she worked at Emerson College, as the General Manager of Emerson Stage, where she also taught arts management classes. Prior to Emerson, she was the Program Manager of the Memorial Hall/Lowell Hall Complex at Harvard University for ten years. She began her career in box office and front of house, including creating the Sanders Theatre (now Harvard) Box Office, running the box office for Mapplethorpe: The Perfect Moment at the ICA in Boston, and working for different shows at the Charles Playhouse. 

Julie has been teaching arts administration for over ten years at different colleges. From that experience, she understands that perceived lack of business skills can be obstacles in the path for many artists. She recently opened an online school for artists called Your Ladders, which is designed to give artists tools to get over those obstacles.

Julie is also a published mystery author, writing three series under the names Julianne Holmes, J.A. Hennrikus and Julia Henry. She is a member of Sisters in Crime and Mystery Writers of America. @YourLadders @JHAuthors


Margaret S. Hamilton said...

Good luck with your new venture! Much-needed in the creative arts.

KM Rockwood said...

What a great contribution to all artists, aspiring and experienced.

Grace Topping said...

Thank you, Julie, for telling us about Your Ladders. What a wonderful way to share what you've learned during your career. Best of luck with Your Ladders.

J.A. Hennrikus said...

Thank you all, and thanks for inviting me on the blog to talk about Your Ladders!

Warren Bull said...

What a great idea.

Gloria Alden said...

Julie, I'll be looking for your books.

Shari Randall said...

Wishing you much success with your writing and with Your Ladders! xoxo Shari