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 Mel Starr is G! Please email my assistant Amy with your mailing address. (email@example.com)
This week is Judy Christie is in the Spotlight! To win a copy of Judy’s latest book, The Glory of Green, 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 was the editor of my elementary-school newspaper and grew up to be a journalist, was the Louisiana champion typist in high school, have a porch with a swing behind my office, went to the White House for lunch with Nancy Reagan, saw John Glenn come back from space, and once got a black eye playing putt-putt golf.
Married to a fun middle-school teacher with a fantastic granddaughter who lives too far away but visits often.
And share something about your writing. What’s your genre(s), your areas of interest…
At age 50, I committed to write “Gone to Green,” the novel I’d wanted to write for years, and this month the third in that series, “The Glory of Green,” was released!
I enjoy fish-out-of-water stories where an engaging character changes the world around her and, in the process, is changed. The Green Series (Abingdon Press) is about a big-city journalist who winds up running a small-town newspaper in the fictional town of Green, La.
This fall, “Wreath,” my first Young Adult novel (with Barbour) will be out. Wreath is a 16-year-old girl determined to finish high school despite the death of her mother, and she winds up living in a junkyard. I guess all authors say this, but I love this story!
My nonfiction “Hurry Less, Worry Less” series is aimed at helping busy people slow down and enjoy each day more. In addition to writing, I lead workshops and retreats on this topic.
How did you get started writing? Did you have a dream of being a published author?
I can’t ever recall not loving books, paper, pencils, and words. I started keeping a journal when I was nine — and still have all of them. As a journalist, I wrote and edited for many years. I thought about writing a novel for decades. I carry a notebook everywhere and love jotting down ideas.
After you started writing seriously–how long was it before you were published?
My first novel sold in less than a year as part of a three-book deal, which was definitely a great day! In one of those divine ways that life works out, my first novel coincided with the launch of the insprational fiction line by Abingdon Press.
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?
Camp Slower Pace, a shabby fishing camp on Lake Bistineau in Webster Parish, La., is my best get-away spot to write. It has indoor plumbing, a great view and no Internet.
I’m still trying to find a good writing rhythm, but have figured out that my best writing comes when I set aside blocks of time on my calendar instead of dashing in and out.
A good, long walk helps my creativity. Louisiana in spring is a sight to behold!
What has been the biggest help to you in the journey to publication? Writers’ conferences? Writing groups? Your mom as your first draft reader?
Step One was to quit talking about writing a novel and write it. The guidance of my retired agent, Etta Wilson, was invaluable in helping prioritize my book ideas and helping me focus.
Another tremendous blessing was attending an American Christian Fiction Writers conference, where I realized how much I needed to learn and met so many wonderful writers who are generous with their advice and wisdom. I’ve also been encouraged immensely by author and entrepreneur Kathy Patrick, who started the Pulpwood Queens Book Club and is a champion for books.
Is the “writer’s life” what you thought it would be?
I still fantasize about sitting at my computer, trim and fit in some cute casual outfit, sipping hot tea and contemplating the mysteries of life. I’m more likely in sweats with a cold cup of coffee, staring out the window and thinking that someone needs to rake the leaves.
As a writer, my joy erodes when I endlessly think I should be writing but do all sorts of other things instead, so I’m trying to be more consistent about writing and not feeling guilty when I don’t write.
Being given the gift of words is way more than I could ever have hoped for, and even today I nearly hugged the UPS guy when he delivered early copies of “The Glory of Green.”
What are your biggest distractions?
I like to visit! I love my family, friends, readers, church congregation, waitresses, grocery store clerks. I get together regularly with my elementary school friends (the Barret Girls) and have an annual retreat with my buddies from Baylor University (FunFest Friends) and talk to my first cousin on the phone and send cards to our granddaughter and text my brothers and …
What was one of the best moments in your career and what was one of the worst?
A highlight was when my first novel, “Gone to Green,” received a starred review in Publisher’s Weekly.
A very sad time: My dear friend Alisa, my first reader on every book I’d ever written and a great editor and cheerleader, died suddenly a month before I submitted “The Glory of Green.” I still miss her, and her elderly mom is coming to town for my book launch party.
What do you least like about being a writer? Most like?
I get very attached to the characters I create, and I have to love ‘em (or hate ‘em, if they’re the villain), or they gotta go! I love Lois Barker, the heroine in the Green Series, and Wreath, the main character in my new YA novel.
I’m an optimist, and I try not to whine about being a writer (OK, except to my husband and my friend Lenora Worth, a NYT bestselling romance novelist). Lots of people have tough jobs — like our plumber, roofer, and the waitress at my favorite café. With that disclaimer, I’d say one of the challenges for me is juggling the solitary part of writing with the public part.
What is the role and importance of an agent?
Get an agent! I can’t imagine navigating the world of book-publishing without an agent to advise, coach and sell. My first agent was Etta Wilson, who just retired, and my new agent is Janet Grant, both of Books & Such Literary Agency, and each is wonderful and committed to helping me take my writing to the next level.
What advice would you give to new writers?
Sit down and write. Prioritize your projects, and get started. Make a timeline and stick to it. Remember that every day is a new day.
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.
If you like small-town inspirational stories, I think you’ll love the characters in the Green Series, who are always up to something!
(By the way, I’ve actually recommended my books to shoppers before — and to a woman waiting with me to have a root canal.)
What’s on the book horizon for you?
“Rally Round Green,” book 4 in the Green series, will be out this summer, and “Wreath,” my first YA, is out in the fall.
Last question, how can readers find you and your books?
As mentioned, I love visiting! My website: www.judychristie.com. And I’m on Facebook.
My books are available just about anywhere you buy books, and if you can’t find one, e-mail me and I’ll help track one down for you.
Thank you for sharing your writing life with my bleaders! (blog + readers = bleaders)
I think that it's very neat that you have kept a journal since you were nine. What discipline. It probably really helped when you started writing for publication. Writing every day seems like it could be daunting. Take care and have a good weekend. kristiedonelson(at)gmail(dot)com Thank you.
Hi, Kristie — I love writing in my journal and find it a helpful way to sort ideas, take a fresh look at the path I'm on and remember details and stories. Thanks for commenting! Suzanne, thank you again for inviting me to be on your Author Spotlight! Judy Christie
I would love to win your book. The title is intriging. firstname.lastname@example.org
This is a new Author to me. I'd like reading the Glory of Green by Judy.
I am a mom of 2 great kids..I am a full time chef at a local college…I am an avid reader always looking for a good book….would love to get hooked on a new author . email@example.com
I haven't read anything by Judy Christie. I love finding new author's to read and thanks to Suzanne's blog site I get that opportunity. I would love to win the book, "The Glory of Green". I really enjoyed the interview. I found it very interesting. Blessings your way! And, I love your first name!!
I love Judy's "Green" stories and can't wait to read the next in the series!
babykf at hotmail dot come
Suzanne – thanks for broadening our interests in books. I can't wait to go to the bookstore. Would love to win one of Judy's books.
I can't imagine writing that many books..I can't seem to pull even one out…smile. God bless.
You've kept a journal since age 9? You sound like a fascinating woman I'd enjoy meeting. I love my agent, too. Thanks, Kate Lloyd
Judy's series on Green
I have not seen…
No wonder why I'm "Blue."
But I do think
I'd be tickled "Pink"
If I won a book from you!
Thanks for expanding my "reading horizons!" Linda Dietz firstname.lastname@example.org
What fun Friday comments — including my first poem comment from a blog reader! Love it!
The Green Series is about the small town of Green, La., and a big-city transplant who runs the little newspaper. The Glory of Green is book 3 — and book 4, Rally Round Green, will be out this summer.
I hope some of you will consider journal-writing if you don't already — and don't fret if you can't write every day. Every now and then works, too!
Thanks again for saying hello and look forward to sharing one of my Green books with one of you! I so appreciate Suzanne for helping readers and writers connect!
Good interview, Judy. You know I love those Green books!
I have never read any of your books.I would love to win one. I find it amazing when a young child writes in a journal. Later down the line and their grandchildren may get the opportunity to read them.
Great interview! Judy sounds like someone I would love to have for a friend! Maybe I will have to journey up to north Louisiana and meet her!
Fun day on Suzanne's Author Spotlight! Have a fantastic weekend, all — and I look forward to our paths crossing again.
After reading Suzanne's interview with Judy Christie, i wonder why i have never heard of her books before. Would love to win this one! Thanks Suzanne and Judy for the chance. mitzi_wanham[at]yahoo[dot]com
Another book I must read! ibittybarbara at gmail.com
This book sounds excellent. I always did journals with my grade 3 students, and Loved what they came up with- had some talented writers through the years!!
I would love to win your book.
That cover of the book is so cute! Would enjoy reading it. Thanks for the giveaway.
Would love to win a copy of this book!
atouchofheaven2010 at gmail dot com
I would love to read your books… thanks for writing good books for us to read…
I loved reviewing Gone to Green and would love to win Glory of Green. I'm really hooked on this Green!
njones127 at tampabay dot rr dot com
Interesting interview..would love to read The Glory of Green!
Wonderful! A new series to read! I grew up in Louisiana. Love the idea of Green, LA. Take care!
Happy Saturday! Was reading this week's Author Spotlight on Suzanne's wonderful blog and checked back in to say hello from last week. It's a beautiful spring day here in North Louisiana! (Some of you mentioned reading my books — would love to be friends on FB. Posted a picture yesterday of me with a book club who wore green and brought a green desert in honor of Green, La.!) Judy Christie
I love reading books on the Amish.. They are so very interesting in their simple loving ways.
where’s my post? not writing the whole post out again lol you missed a typo mods
Heya! I’m at work surfing around your blog from my new iphone 4!
Just wanted to say I love reading through your blog and look forward to all your posts!
Keep up the excellent work!