Here's another new author on our blog. Welcome, Judy. Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.
I was a journalist for many years, and Lois Barker, the lead character in Gone To Green, is a journalist, so there is some of me in Lois. However, the personalities of the characters unfolded as I wrote, and they are definitely their own people. That’s part of the fun of it – creating these new people. It’s amazing how real they are to me.
What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
A couple of years ago, I got a black eye playing putt-putt golf. Does that count as quirky?
When did you first discover that you were a writer?
I started keeping a journal when I was nine years old and have all of them. I was the editor of “The Barret Banner” in elementary school, complete with a column and a photo. I’ve always loved words and books.
Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
If you look at my overloaded bookshelves, you’d probably think I need therapy – not only for the number of books but the variety. Fiction is my favorite, but I enjoy inspirational nonfiction and read lots of books about how to be a better writer, marketing and small-business, antiques, and running (much easier to read about it than actually do it). My guilty pleasure: Home-decorating books.
My guilty pleasure books are cookbooks. I like to read them. I don't use them to cook. What other books have you written, whether published or not?
The Hurry Less, Worry Less series (all published by Abingdon Press):
Hurry Less, Worry Less at Work (Fall 2009); Hurry Less, Worry Less: 10 Strategies for Living the Life You Long For: (2005); Hurry Less, Worry Less at Christmastime (2007); Hurry Less, Worry Less for Families (coming, Spring 2010); and Goodbye, Murphy’s Law: Whatever Can Go Wrong, God Can Make Right (2008); Awesome Altars: How To Transform Worship Space (co-authored with Mary Dark).
How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?
I try to live by my own “hurry less, worry less” advice. I remind myself that saying “no” to one thing is saying “yes”’ to something else. I make course corrections on a regular basis, adjust priorities and allow time for fun. I sit in the porch swing, walk in a nearby park or write in my journal. And I pray a lot!
How do you choose your characters’ names?
I play with names and consider what I know about my characters and what name suits them. I also choose names for sentimental reasons.
What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
My debut novel, published as part of Abingdon’s fiction launch, ranks right up there. Running two marathons and starting a successful consulting business, all in my 40s, are on the list. I didn’t get married until I was 35, so finding Paul is another great accomplishment!
If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?
One of those cats that lives in a bookstore. Think about how spoiled I’d be!
What is your favorite food?
Crawfish bread and fried green tomatoes at the New Orleans JazzFest.
What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?
Like most people, I have lots going on in my daily life. I’m always juggling and have had to discipline myself to sit down and write. I still wish I were more consistent in my daily writing habit. I’ve gotten better by selecting projects I love and mapping out a timeline to complete them. I’m still learning about the characteristics of great fiction and trying to practice what I learn.
What advice would you give to an author just starting out?
Choose a project that excites you and get started. Attend a good writers’ conference and learn about writers and writing. And as my wonderful agent, Etta Wilson, says, “Guard your writing time.”
Tell us about the featured book?
Gone To Green is about a big-city journalist who changes a small southern town while the townspeople change her. Lois Barker trades her life as a corporate journalist at a large paper in the Midwest for the ownership of The Green News-Item, a twice-weekly newspaper in rural North Louisiana. As the not-so-proud new owner, Lois is obliged to keep the paper for at least a year, despite her doubts and fears.
When she pulls into Green on New Year’s Day, her expectation of a charming little town full of friendly people is shattered. Instead, she must battle prejudice and financial corruption, while making friends and enemies with a host of fascinating characters who will change her life. As challenges unfold, her year in Green results in a newfound faith and unexpected blessings.
Please give us the first page of the book.
Post Media Company announced yesterday that its multimedia division will offer newspaper readers information around-the-clock, relying on the latest technology and innovation. For more information, see our Web site. —The Dayton Post
I glanced down at the floorboard and noticed it was Thursday.
Somewhere in the last dozen years or so, I had gotten into the habit of figuring out what day of the week it was by checking the number of coffee mugs rolling around. At least I don’t keep tuna sandwiches and an ancient typewriter in the backseat, the way a guy in sports does.
Hurrying into the building, I flashed my security badge at the guard, who reluctantly lifted his head from his Word Jumble puzzle to glance and nod. Let it never be said he didn’t get his money’s worth out of the daily paper—especially since free papers are one of the perks of working at The Dayton Post.
He saw me every day, several times a day, but still made me show my badge.
When I hit the front door of the newsroom, I dashed to my desk. I spend a lot of time dashing, especially in the morning when I slide into my cubicle just in time to make eye contact with my staff before the news-planning meeting.
How can readers find you on the Internet?
http://www.judychristie.com/ and Facebook.com/judychristie . I love hearing from people and hope people will befriend me on Facebook.
Thank you, Judy, for spending this time with us today.
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