Breia Brissey
January 30, 2014 AT 08:00 PM EST

Timestorm, the final installment in Julie Cross’ Tempest series, hit shelves earlier this week. As promised, the time-traveling saga answers all the burning questions posed throughout the series and the battle between the Tempest division and Eyewall comes to a head. It’s an epic end to such a fun series. Here, Cross answers some of our questions about the book and then teases some of her upcoming projects. 

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: How does it feel to finally be done with the series?

JULIE CROSS: It’s sad, but also good. It’s like the characters are left hanging in peril in my head, so it’s nice to wrap everything up and have some kind of conclusion…. I’ve had only a few reviews pop up so far, so I’m really anxious to see [what people think]. I know a final book can be super important to readers, and getting it right it was really important to me. So I hope the reception is somewhat positive, but I know I can’t please everyone.

Is the ending to Timestorm something you planned from the beginning?

Yes. The very end is something that was planned all along. After I finished the first draft of Tempest, I had the ending. I actually could sum it up in one word which is what I sent to my editor. And he was like, “Yes. That’s perfect.” I’ve been going with that ever since.

Now that the series has come to an end, can you choose a favorite book? Or is that like asking to pick a favorite child?

It’s easy. [Timestorm] is definitely my favorite. It was the easiest to write. The emotional complexity, the angst, all the layers—it was already there from the first page. I didn’t have to think about it. I didn’t have to work for it. It was built over the series. A lot of times you think of writing a series, and it’s complicated because you have to take the weight of all the details from the previous books. And that is one of the downfalls of writing a series. But one of the benefits is that your characters are so well-shaped by that point that you don’t have to really explain their motivations. It just takes off.

Since Tempest came out, you’ve ventured into the self-publishing world with Letters to Nowhere. Why did you decide to make that move?

I had a novel that I started writing right after Tempest was released. I come from a gymnastics background, so I wanted to write a book set in the world of elite gymnastics. Forever I’d wanted to write that, but it just felt so obvious. I always tried to steer away from it, and write something different. But secretly, it’s kind of the book of my heart. [Letters to Nowhere] was the easiest book I’ve ever written. I don’t know if it’s because the idea had a lot of time to manifest, but it flowed so easily. It also didn’t fit the mold of anything I was doing. It’s not like Tempest. I wanted to try out self publishing, so I just decided last summer to go for it. It’s been really fun. It’s kind of like my rejuvenation project.

Where do things stand with Halfway Perfect, your project with Tempest cover model, Mark Perini?

That’s still happening. It’s going to be published with Sourcebooks next fall. So I’m really excited about that. It has been a little slower process than what I’ve experienced before with Tempest. We had it completely done a year ago, so we haven’t done a whole lot of steps in the process yet. But I think they’re working on editorial stuff and covers. We’ve definitely given some feedback on what we’d like to see for the cover. Mark is in the modeling world, so he has a very good artistic eye in coming up with concepts way more than I do, which is really nice.

What else are you working on? 

I’m the creator of a New Adult anthology called Fifty First Times. It’s exactly what it sounds like [Laughs]. I guess technically you can find first experiences of all kinds in it, but it’s been really fun. We have 19 authors from multiple genres—from YA, from new adult, from adult romance…. I think people are going to like it. I’m excited about it. And writing a 10,000 word story is so nice because you can do that in just a couple of days, and you’ve accomplished something.

And I have another New Adult coming out March 25. That one’s [a standalone] called Third Degree, and basically, my main character is 18 and she is a child prodigy–turned–adult. She’s been through medical school and her internship, and she’s trying to get into a residency program at Johns Hopkins. She’s very bad with patient care and she has a lot of things she needs to work on, so she ends up flunking part of her emotional readiness test to move on to residency. Her plan to figure out how to accomplish these things is to go back to college and do it the normal way and kind of major in being 18. She enrolls in an average college, and she has this romance with her resident adviser, and learns a lot about herself because she’s really not had a childhood.

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