It's my great pleasure to welcome back fellow Abingdon Press author Judy Christie!
A: A long-time newspaper editor and a southerner, I thought it would be interesting to plop a big-city journalist down into a little Louisiana town and see what happened. The first book was “Gone to Green,” about Lois Barker’s move to Green. But I knew immediately I wanted to write a series and let readers follow the characters. There’s always a lot going on in Green, from marriages to tornadoes to the current threat to close the school. Readers tell me they look forward to seeing what happens next. “Rally ‘Round Green” is the fourth book in the series. “Downtown Green,” book 5, will be out next year.
Q: Have you always wanted to be a writer?
A: I didn’t try to write my first novel until I turned 50. It was my birthday gift to myself, and I committed to write a novel before I turned 51. So, I sat down and stared at my laptop for a while and started typing. That was four years ago, and my fourth novel just released. I’m still amazed! I have kept a journal since I was nine and have all of them. For many years I was a journalist and wrote or edited daily. I love putting words together and consider it a wonderful gift from God. I also love to talk!
Q: How do you come up with your story ideas?
A: I have tons of ideas waiting to be turned into novels. I get most of them by paying attention to the world around and making up crazy scenarios in my mind. I ask “what if?” a lot. I carry a notebook everywhere and jot notes on everything from how the sky looks to something one of my brothers tells me. Two of my Green readers recently gave me a subscription to their small-town newspaper because it reminds them of the fictional Green News-Item.I always see potential novels in that paper!
Q: How does your faith impact your writing?
A: I believe each of is created to do something with our lives and that we are to slow down and enjoy each day more, using our gifts. I trust God to guide me in my daily life and to help me take the best next step, whatever that might be. I pray every day – including about my work and how God wants me to use my time and energy.
Q: Do you plot out your story ahead of time, or do you think it up as you go?
A: I’m a Seat of the Plotter writer, a combination of seat of the pants and outlining. I always know the beginning and end of each novel when I start. I have a general idea of what will happen along the way, but much of it unfolds as I’m writing.
Q: Do you treat yourself to something special when a project is completed?
A: I celebrate everything! I think we all should enjoy life more. My husband and I throw a party of some sort for every book I have published – with cake and other refreshments. I have stamps made with the cover of my book on them and send out real snail-mail invites. And, I treat myself along the way. When my first novel sold, for example, I bought expensive and wonderful personalized note cards with a typewriter on them and use them to write notes to the many people who encourage me.
Q: After becoming a published author, what surprised you the most?
A: How hard it is to maintain the discipline of sitting down at the computer and writing. There are many distractions, and they all seem more immediate than the need to finish a manuscript. My agent told me early on to guard my writing time, and I try to live by that advice. I am thankful for the opportunity to be a writer. My mother worked in food services, and that’s much harder work than making up stories. I try never to whine about the job of writing.
Q: What’s the most important piece of advice you would give to a fledgling writer?
A: Sit down and write. I have a free, very un-fancy tip sheet I send to people who want to write a book. Just e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want a copy. The sheet includes a handful of tips that have helped me.
Q: There’s been a lot said about the future of publishing and the possible death of the print book. What’s your take on eBooks, self-publishing, and such?
A: Our world is full of change, and somehow we adapt. When I was a teenager, I listened to albums, then 8-track tapes, then cassettes, then CDs and now my iPod. I still listen to music, just in a different form. I like to read certain books in their “old-fashioned” format, but I also enjoy e-readers. My goal is to write good stories that grab readers, no matter how or where they choose to read. I keep a close eye on trends but try not to obsess on this. I have an excellent agent, and I like working with publishing houses who know way more about publishing and distributing books than I do.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
The first place Judy Christie ever drove was to the public library. A longtime journalist, she entered the newspaper world as the editor of The Barret Banner in elementary school. She loves primitive antiques with peeling green paint, walking in the park near her North Louisiana home and sitting on her vintage green Kitchen Couch! She’s the author of the Green series of novels and the nonfiction Hurry Less Worry Less series, including the upcoming “Hurry Less Worry Less for Moms.” Her first Young Adult novel, “Wreath,” will be released this fall. For more information, see www.judychristie.com. Judy loves to visit with readers on Facebook, too.
ABOUT THE BOOK
Rally ’Round Green (Abingdon Press) is the fourth book in the Green series, about the owner of a small-town newspaper in Green, La. Journalist Lois Barker Craig changes the town, and the town changes her. In book 4, newlyweds Lois and Chris want life to return to normal after a horrific tornado, but other threats loom on the horizon. Lois, Mayor Eva, and a group of Green School graduates unite to fight to keep their school open, with surprising – and unexpected -- results.
WIN THE BOOK
If you’d like to be entered to win a copy of Rally 'Round Green just leave a comment on this blog. I’ll pick a winner at random on Thursday, August 11th. NOTE: This time round, US addresses only. Please leave an email address so I can contact you if you're the winner. (To prevent spammers from trolling for your email, please use this format with the brackets--you [at] yourmail [dot] com--or something similar.) Good luck!