Thanks for joining us today, Judith. What is your genre?
What book is your latest work?
I just finished my second novel, “Staying Afloat”, the story of a devoted wife and mother who morphs into a sex-starved adulteress.
Before we get into your writing in more detail, let’s take some time getting to know you as a person and find out how you got into writing. Tell us a few things about—the stuff that makes you interesting!
I was born in St. Helena, California, and grew up in the Bay Area. My husband and I live in a suburb of San Francisco, near my two grown children. For fun, my husband and I enjoy eating, drinking and traveling. We also go to Yoga together, but I wouldn’t call that fun, just necessary.
I spent my childhood at the movies, slummed down in the dark munching on Milk Duds and Junior Mints and fantasizing about what it must be like to be a movie star. Did they eat real food, go to the bathroom? I doubted it.
In my early 20s, I became a make-up model for Max Factor Cosmetics in Hollywood where I got to meet some of my idols including Janet Leigh and Jane Russell. I’ve always been star struck so now that my novel has been optioned for the big screen, I couldn’t be more excited.
That’s wonderful! When and why did you begin writing?
I always threatened my girlfriends that someday I was going to write a book and expose some of the outrageous antics that we have engaged in over the years. Of course it would be fictionalized to protect the guilty. But it wasn’t until 1997, when I read Rebecca Well’s novel, “The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood”, that I got serious. I was winding up my career as a human resources executive in hi-tech and I wasn’t having much fun. So I took the plunge, left my job and began to write.
What’s your process? Seat of pantser, well-devised outliner?
I’m not an outliner, or even someone who plots first. I begin with the shell of an idea, develop my characters and let them take the story where they want it to go. I’m always surprised how it turns out.
What other writer inspires you? Your work?
I love Richard Russo’s writing style.
Where does your character inspiration come from?
The characters in my novels are compilations of people I know or have met with lots of quirks thrown in.
What’s your best/worst experience as a writer?
The best experience was after more than 200 rejections, I decided to independently publish my book which led to a screen option.
For me, the worst experiences were the ups and downs of trying to get traditionally published. In 2004, my novel won first prize in a writing contest sponsored by the California Writers Club. I was sure I was on my way to being published. I began querying agents and got several requests for pages and even the entire manuscript. My heart lifted each time I sent the requested pages, only to be disappointed when I received the standard, “just not right for us at this time” response.
Ugh! I remember those days, too! Most writers get a lot of advice—some good, some not so good. What is the best/worst writing advice you ever got?
I don’t think I’ve received any bad writing advice. The best advice I received was when I first decided to write and had no idea how to begin. I contacted a friend from high school who had become a published author and asked him what I should do. He told me, “Just sit down and write.”
And with that advice, we’re off to the races. It all starts there, doesn’t it? Tell us about your current book!
“Husbands May Come and Go but Friends are Forever” is not a man-bashing book. In fact, some of the over fifty-five 5-star reviews on Amazon are from men.
Would you share with us something about yourself that your readers don’t already know?
I plan to ask for a speaking part in the movie of my book.
Oh, I hope you get to do that. Where can readers find out more about you and your work?