Welcome to Author Spotlight! Each week will feature a different author. We’ll get the scoop behind their writing life and dish a little. The authors will also be giving away a copy of their latest book. FUN.
The winner from last week’s Author Spotlight with Marta Perry is Tena! Please email my assistant Amy with your mailing address. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
This week Judy Baer is in the Spotlight! To win a copy of Judy’s book, An Unlikely Blessing, leave a comment on this post!
Share a little bit about yourself. Married with kids? Empty nester? Do you work full-time and write when you can squeeze it in?
I’m married to a wonderful man and have two daughters and three step-children. I work full time and have done so since my children were small. Until the past 10 years, it was the only job I’d ever had. Now I’m also a professional writing coach/personal life coach and adjunct faculty at the university at which I got my master’s degree. I’m a life-long learner!
And share something about your writing. What’s your genre(s), your areas of interest…
Over the years I’ve written many different things—romance, young adult novels and now women’s fiction. The books I’m working on right now (from Guideposts, the Forever Hilltop series—Book #1 is AN UNLIKELY BLESSING and #2 will be SURPRISING GRACE) are a real delight for me. It’s set around a country church in rural North Dakota and a newbie pastor who has never lived outside Chicago!
How did you get started writing? Did you have a dream of being a published author?
When I was in high school, my uncle gave me an old copy of WRITERS MARKET. I studied the whole thing, picked my publisher, and circled it. It took me a while to get there but now I’ve written 17 books for them (Harlequin Steeple Hill and now Love Inspired books.) My dream as a child was to own a bookstore so I could just sit and read books. Actually, my first story was published when I was 10. I still have the money I received!
After you started writing seriously–how long was it before you were published?
Just a few weeks, actually, so I think my case was unusual. In fact, I sold my first two books within 3 weeks of each other—and neither was complete. The race was on!
Aside from a cup of good, strong coffee, what helps you get all of your “brain cylinders” firing so you can write well? Do you have any favorite places and routines when you write? How many hours a day do you spend writing?
Mostly it’s about making the decision to write on that day, setting my intention for what I want to get done, leaving the television and email off and just going for it. I think starting the morning with God is an enormous help too. That’s where I get centered for the work ahead. I often do the crossword puzzle in the newspaper to ‘prime the pump’ as well. I practically live in my office during the week. Right now I’m under deadline and often hang out there 9-10 hours a day or more. I can only be creative about 5-6 of those hours but there’s editing, research and the business end of things to do as well. If I get crazy in my office, I migrate to my kitchen table or to a local coffee shop. I seem to do well in an environment where there is lots of energy but yet none of it has to do with me.
What has been the biggest help to you in the journey to publication? Writers’ conferences? Writing groups? Your mom as your first draft reader?
Writers conferences were/are the best for me. I meet people I need to meet, get new information and encouragement—and never go away without having learned something.
Is the “writer’s life” what you thought it would be?
Actually, it’s much harder. I’m usually under a tight deadline and I had no idea how many times I would pour through a manuscript editing it (or that I might decide to tear it apart or simply start over!) It is hard on the body (I’ve had neck surgery already) and I spend many more hours working than and 8-5 job. Sometimes I have to forgo things I’d like to do because of the time crunch.
What are your biggest distractions?
Wanting to be with friends and family, television, and, I confess, spider solitaire on the computer.
What was one of the best moments in your career and what was one of the worst?
Selling my first book, being nominated for RITA awards, meeting some of the amazing professionals in the industry, traveling, meeting people I admire. Oh, yes, and once at a CBA conference some little girls saw me and started screaming “There’s Judy Baer, there’s Judy Baer.” My ten year old daughter was with me at the time and that blew her away. I was just mother, not a rock star figure. It was the first time she realized that what I did impacted someone other than her!
What do you least like about being a writer? Most like?
What I like least is not having enough time to play. What I like most? Having written! The book is work, but having written it is gratifying.
What is the role and importance of an agent?
I don’t like talking money or negotiating so I’m perfectly happy to allow someone who is good at those things to do it for me.
What advice would you give to new writers?
Learn the craft! You can’t break rules until you know them. Also—persist. If you want something badly enough, if you are hungry enough for it, you can get it done.
Pretend I’m a customer at a bookstore looking for a good book. Give me a one or two sentence promo to convince me to buy your book.
Former professor and new preacher from the city is given a rural parish in the middle of North Dakota. Think “Doc Hollywood” only with a minister!
What’s on the book horizon for you?
I’m working on the third book in my Forever Hilltop series from Guideposts. It doesn’t have a name yet but AN UNLIKELY BLESSING is out and SURPRISING GRACE is soon to follow. I also have MENDING HER HEART being released March 1st.
Last question, how can readers find you and your books?
Thank you for sharing your writing life with my bleaders! (blog + readers = bleaders)
It’s my pleasure. Where would writers be without those most important readers!
Prolific author of over 75 novels, Judy Baer, is launching her new Guideposts series, Forever Hilltop, with a KINDLE giveaway! The first book in the series, An Unlikely Blessing is available now wherever fine books are sold.
Read the reviews here.
One lucky winner will receive:
- Brand New KINDLE with Wi-Fi
- A $25 gift certificate to Amazon.com
To enter just click on one the icons below and then tell your friends! Winner will be announced on February 21st on Judy’s blog, http://www.judykbaer.com/wordpress