I am so excited to post my FIRST EVER vlog, in which I interview my friend and fellow author, Sarah Towle. I met Sarah, an American living in Paris, at the Bologna Children’s Book Fair. I came to speak with her at the SCBWI booth about apps and app development. She was there to talk about her groundbreaking app geared for tweens and teens – Beware Madame La Guillotine – a Paris walking tour narrated by a real-life woman of the French Revolution.

Being a lover of travel, history AND books, I was immediately taken with Sarah’s brilliant app. We got to chatting and not only did she give me great information, she also took me under her wing for the rest of the fair. I’ve been wanting to have her on the blog ever since, and voila! Today’s the day.

Now, our video interview is fairly long. I had the goal to keep it to 10-15 minutes, but the conversation was so fascinating, I couldn’t help myself. BUT, there is a special treat waiting at the end of the interview – a special opportunity for writers, announced for the first time here today. If, after listening to the interview, you want more information about Sarah, Time Traveler Tours and the app, here is a link to her media page with all of the interviews she’s done in various venues. My personal favorites are the Cynsations interview, the SLJ Touch & Go interview and this podcast. Now, without further adieu, please enjoy our interview!


Categories: Apps, Authors, Bologna Children's Book Fair, Children's Books, Digital Publishing, ebooks, Publishing, Travel, Travel Writing, Writing · Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,



  1. GREAT VLOG, Julie, I love the format. I have been following Sarah since joining SCBWI France last summer. Great information, and as you know, I am wanting to learn and grow in the whole area of digital publishing and I immediately had an idea local to me surrounding a principality, treachery, monks etc. I shall be planning my idea and pitch for sure! One technical question, if I have no iPhone or Android phone, I assume I can’t see your app? Thank you both so much – great blog post.

    • Joanna, I’m SO glad you enjoyed the vlog! It’s a bit nerve-wracking putting out the first one – especially one so ambitious. I have no doubt you’ll find a fabulous story to submit given where you live.

      I will leave your question about the app to Sarah. I think you must have a Mac phone or computer, but I’ll let her answer.

      • Hi Joanna! So happy you liked Julie’s first vlog. It was fun to be her guinea pig.

        As for experiencing Beware Mme la Guillotine, I’m afraid you will need an iOS device to enjoy it at present, either an iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad. Soon you will be able to get the iBook version, but that will be only on iPad as well. If you have none of these, and can’t find a friend with one, come on up to Paris and you can use mine!!

        Gros bisous,

  2. Wonderful interview! I liked your first v-log! If I was more into history, I’d jump on this opportunity.

  3. Nice interview, Julie! Oh, the stories we could tell from our area of Italy! I shall ponder it…

  4. Lovely! Sounds so interesting, and you already know how I feel about the power of Apps for kids!

    By the way – How did you get the side by side format on the YouTube video? You can email me offline if you get the chance. I’d love to know.

    Thank you for posting this and congrats on your new vlog!

  5. Wow, I’m impressed with your technical expertise! As soon as I get a better internet connection (I”m on vacation), I’ll be listening to the whole thing. The app sounds fascinating!


  6. Cool. Sarah as a history lover I love your story app. I was watching a bit of your story and I have to say WOW.

  7. Excellent Vlog, Julie! I thoroughly enjoyed myself over here today. You’re such a techie! Wishing I was. *sigh* The app sounds so interesting. Thanks Julie and Sarah. Waves *peace sign*

  8. Wonderful interview, Julie! I am going to check out the app as soon as I can wrestle the iPad away from my husband…. And Sarah, my mind is whirling with ideas. As soon as I can sort some out in a coherent fashion, they’ll be on their way to you. I’m very close to Boston and we do have a little bit of history around here. 😉 I LOVE this idea!

  9. “Wow” This was very interesting. As a kid I was not interested much in history, but as a lover of travel and interesting places, this is very appealing. Question… I gather this doesen’t necessarily have to apply to just cities in Europe? Loved the interview Julie and so clever with the techo “stuff”. Thankyou Sarah for a new hip idea!

    • The skies the limit! I just started with Europe stories because that’s where I live. Where there’s history and tourism, there are Time Traveler Tours!

    • Diane,

      I’m sure you could come up with some great stories for NZ!

  10. What a zesty start to your vlogging adventures! Sounds like any history lover would enjoy time-traveling with Sarah’s handy app. My mind is now teeming with ideas! Not just for Colorado stories, but in travel prep ideas. I have always benefited from pre-trip research and think there could be a market for targeting the parents long before they book a flight! Thanks Julie and Sarah.

  11. What an amazing way to make history come alive! I will definitely look Sarah up before traveling. How smart. She figured out how to clone herself as a tour guide.

    Julie, this was wonderful. Good work. Can’t wait to see what you come up with next!

  12. Julie, what a neat interview. This app sounds fantastic and it’s wonderful to hear that it was rated top ten from the School Library Journal in 2011. I wish you the best of luck with your submissions!

  13. Great vlog, Julie and Sarah. Six years….wow…that’s a long time…but when I think of all the aspects of the app, I can see how it would take a long time to make it. I looked at the webpage which is completely impressive. The reviews from School Library Journal and Kirkus are impressive, too. I’m just going to paste them here for others to read.

    School Library Journal’s Touch and Go:
    Drama of historical proportions, an awesome guide, and games and challenges, what more could a teen on vacation ask for?

    Kirkus Reviews:
    The City of Lights was once made bright by the flash of a revolution’s guillotine, and this app provides a glimpse into one of Paris’ pivotal backstories…la Révolution through the eyes of one if its key players, satisfying both historian and eager tourist.

  14. What a sensational idea, Sarah…unique on all fronts! Thanks for sharing with us. I’ll look forward to checking it out, and submitting a few possiblities. Julie, this was a stellar first vlog…you are a natural! I hated history in HS, but, like you, I love it now, and now gravitate towards writing non-fiction. We have much in common…

  15. Awesome blog, Julie! I’m so impressed with your technical expertise and your on-screen poise! Sarah, I think your app sounds fascinating and I can’t wait to figure out some way to see it (I don’t think I have the correct technology, but maybe I know someone who does.) The whole concept is just such a great idea, and so exciting! I have a few questions… I’m going to email you! Thanks so much for a terrific interview, Julie and Sarah!

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