So far I've been able to fit my part-time job at a small church in between child care and writing. From my early childhood, when I adopted a mama cat (Penny) and her daughter (Nickel), the door to my house has always been open to animals: cats, dogs, fish, and hermit crabs. Nearly all of the four-legged critters were strays. Not surprising, then, that local and national pet shelters and animal rescue sites are dear to my heart. I'm also very interested in environmental causes and political issues; and my son, who is a strait-laced conservative, laments the fact that Mom has gone so far to the left.
Family and friends are very important to me, along with my cats, my plants, and my ever-ready tea cup. If women are still categorized into types, I would be an Earth Mother. No special powers, though.
"A Port in the Storm” tells of Margaret Ward, a klutzy young Boston socialite suddenly embroiled in scandal, who is forced to flee 1885 Boston’s comfort for the hardships of a Wyoming ranch. There she accepts the position of village schoolmarm. Ingenuous, spunky, and hell-bent on having her own way, she settles into her new routine while wreaking havoc on the routines of those around her. She crosses swords with the School Board, passes out cold from too much spiked punch at a barn dance, and ends up nose to nose with a rattlesnake.
Although she displays a photograph of the man she left behind, she indulges in a mild flirtation with the ranch's heir while exchanging verbal blows with the standoffish ranch foreman. Will she survive having her beliefs challenged and her set of values overturned? Will she grow and change for the better in her new environment? And which of the three men in her life will she choose as her forever love?
DLC: Intriguing! How much were you able to identify of the main character Margaret Ward?
Judy: So much of Margaret Ward is me that it was easy to slip into her head, to imagine her reactions, to know her feelings. Still, a few parts of her personality belong to others.
DLC: As an author there seems to always be a part of yourself when writing a character no matter how big or small a role they play. When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
Judy: After watching the first “Tarzan” movie on television (a long, long time ago), I decided that I could definitely improve on what I’d seen. A pen and a pad of paper for my cousin, Faye—who played secretary while I dictated to her—and I was hooked.
DLC: (laughs) You already had a personal assistant from the beginning... nice! =) I know a lot of my readers are also writers, what advice would you give to them as aspiring authors?
Judy: Don’t give up. Don’t ever give up. Have a mental image of your goal and think positive thoughts about reaching it. Then don’t ever give up.
DLC: I think that applies universally with any goal in our life if we truly want to achieve it. Great advice! What source or sources do you draw from when creating a new story?
Judy: I draw from life in general, using my own experiences for the most part, and sometimes what I see of others’. As a member of a local writers’ group, I often write short stories and humorous essays based on ideas that pop up from a casual conversation, or the observation of some event. My next book grew from a two-page article about recycling.
DLC: Well that leads to one of my questions for you. Are you working on a new story and if so tell us a little bit about it?
Judy: I’d be delighted to.
In “Recycled Romance,” Ellena Troy was abandoned at St. Veronica’s altar five years ago by her thirty-minute husband, without reason or excuse. Not long after, the nightmares started, only occasionally at first, then more frequently and more intensely as time went on.
Ellena tries to concentrate on building up her fledgling accounting business while she rebuilds her devastated life. But she is beginning to realize that, since her nightmares are the result of Donald’s disappearance, she must somehow track him down to resolve her predicament and find closure. Except she doesn’t know where he is.
Supporting Ellena are her British friend, Wendy, a widow dabbling in mystical arts, and Brady, a man she recently met, who must deal with some pivotal issues of his own. Ellena’s once-mundane routine is further complicated by a buxom blond Malibu Barbie type named Anita, owner of Nita Nail? salon and a questionable past, along with a revolving door full of neighbors and clients.
Late night phone hang-ups, a businessman with a grudge, and Ellena’s perilous car crash can’t keep her from a determined search for the missing Donald…and an understanding at last of her past and her present.
DLC: Sounds great. I like asking this next question of all the author's I interview. If I asked you to pick one of your characters as your favorite who would it be and why?
Judy: Although I truly like all my female characters, my favorite to this point is probably Kathryn Mackenzie, from “Who Bravely Dares.” Her service as a missionary to India in the early 1950’s mirrored my wish to serve as a BVS (Brethren Volunteer Service) missionary in the 1960’s. Besides, after her ship sank, she was marooned on a tropical island. How much fun would that be? (for a short time, anyway.)
DLC: What was your greatest challenge personally when writing your current story?
Judy: Time. Juggling is not one of my strengths, and I have too many other things I want and like to do. Playing with my grandchildren, scrapbooking, reading… Has anyone invented the thirty-hour day yet?
DLC: I understand how you feel on the time issue and there just doesn't seem to be enough of it. Speaking of time, what factors do you use that tell you it's time to stop editing your manuscript and send it to be published?
Judy: Instinct. I don’t outline, I don’t set up a story line. I just write. If the words sound the way I want them to, and the plot makes sense, then I’m satisfied. Reading any work aloud after it’s finished is one of the best writing tips I’ve ever gotten.
DLC: That is great advice. I do that after each chapter I write. My wife's reaction tells me whether the chapter is good or not. Why did you choose Romance as the genre to write it?
DLC : Do you have any favorite authors?
Judy: Anne Rivers Siddons. Diana Gabaldon (although I don’t think I’ll live long enough to see the end of her “Outlander” series). Norah Lofts. Susan Elizabeth Phillips. Barbara Michaels. Agatha Christie. Dean Koontz. An eclectic bunch.
DLC : Now that's a gifted group. =) If you were stranded on a deserted island and could pick only 2 books
to have with you, what would they be?
Judy: “The Virginian” by Owen Wister. My absolute favorite. “Watchers” by Dean Koontz. The first book of his I’d ever read. Still the best.
DLC: Judy, I want to thank you so much for taking the time to be with us today and share.
For anyone who'd like to know more about author Judy Genandt you can visit her at any of the links below.