Laura Bradford (Elizabeth Lynn Casey). Judy and I were on Laura’s MS walk team. (Late this month, I’ll introduce you to another one of Laura’s team members.) I hope you enjoy the interview and stick around for the drawing.
Me: Judy, ALL THE NUMBERS is one of my favorite adult books. I took it with me on to a conference. I remember crying on the plane. (Not big out loud crying, tears running down cheeks crying.) It was the best conference I’ve ever been to, but every night I was dying to get to bed so I could read your book. My roommate went straight to sleep and laid there reading and crying until 1 in the morning every night, until I finished your book. It was emotionally overwhelming. Did any particular event cause you to write it?
Judy: The idea for the book came to me when I was at my best friend's lake house and our kids were playing in the lake while we watched from the dock. A jet skier went by and I thought, "what if?" What if one of the kids had been out too far? What would that do to me as a mother? As a friend? How would I recover from something like that? The whole story just flowed from there.
Me: Judy, even though you have one published book, do you ever doubt yourself?
Judy: Of course. I think all writers struggle at times--is this manuscript good enough? Will I ever get published again? Will readers connect with my work? But you have to learn to push those doubts aside and control what you can control--and that's the writing.
Me: What advice can you give to aspiring authors?
Judy: Read everything you can--things in your genre, things in other genres--it doesn't matter, just read. And then write. Set goals and aim toward them. Don't ever give up.
Me: I’ve done several posts on writing routines and setting weekly goals. Do you have a writing routine?
Judy: Yes. I try to write nearly every day--even if it's just to tweak what I write the day before. When I'm in full writing mode, my goal is to write 1500 words a day. And I never let myself stop when I'm stuck. I always make myself write through the "dead zone" and I always try to stop when I'm excited about what comes next.
Me: I love researching, what is your favorite type of research?
Judy: I love talking to people who have "inside information"--they always give me such wonderful details and usually I'm surprised by some of the things I learn from them which not only add depth to my story but often also take me in a new direction with it.
Me: Do you have an agent? How does having an agent help you?
Judy: I love, love, love my agent. A good agent is your link to publishing. She knows which editors are looking for which manuscripts and she also knows the business side so I all I have to worry about is writing the best book I can write.
Me: Do you have a favorite book?
Judy: My favorite book of all time is TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD. It's such a perfect, sweet, powerful story. And my 15 years as an English teacher really developed my love of classics--GRAPES OF WRATH, THE SOUND AND THE FURY, and THE THINGS THEY CARRIED.
Me: At this point in your career, do have a critiquing partner or beta reader?
Judy: Not officially. I have several good writing friends and we'll exchange work at times, but it's nothing formal or structured or organized.
Me: As an aspiring writer I hear that being socially available is so important. Do you do school visits? Book signings? Library visits?
Judy: Oh, my gosh, I love to visit school and libraries and book stores to meet readers and talk about books and writing. I've probably visited (in person or by phone) with close to 100 book clubs since my novel came out--it's one of my absolute favorite things to do!
I’d like to thank Judy for stopping by today. I’ll be using random.org to give away two signed hardback copies of Judy’s book ALL THE NUMBERS on Friday, June 11th at 3:00. (I know that’s an odd time, but I’m doing a cancer walk from 6 to midnight.) Here’s what you have to do: be a follower on my blog, leave a comment telling your favorite adult book (Yeah, I know most of you read young adult…), hop over and check out Judy’s blog (Not Afraid of the “F” word) and her website.