My dear friend Judy Post has a new book coming out the week before my next release, so there will be lots of celebrating here in Fort Wayne next month. Interestingly enough, each of our releases involves us stepping into new genres for us, respectively. After visiting Judy’s blog recently (see post here) I thought it would be fun to have Judy visit here and pick her brain as well. It’s a lovely brain, really. Full of all sorts of wonderful information. So thank you, Judy, for agreeing to subject yourself to both my questions and my ramblings. Lol
COOKING UP TROUBLE (Book 1 in the Mill Pond series, with Judy writing as Judi Lynn) is the first in your new, contemporary romance series. It’s also your first voyage into contemporary romance. What prompted you to deviate from the world of Urban Fantasy?
Honestly? My agent, the wonderful Lauren Abramo, told me to. And she knew I didn’t think I could do it, so she gave me a pep talk and nudged me to read a few romances and choose a type I could man up and try to write. I’ve been writing urban fantasies, and I love them, but the market is crowded. She wanted me to try a genre with better odds to find a publisher. I honestly didn’t think I could do it. I’m not a particularly romantic person, but I’m married to a man who isJ And Lauren, by the way, is always right. I sent her the finished romance, and she sold it to Kensington.
While I won’t ask you to choose one genre preference over the other, tell us—what struggles did you perhaps encounter with in writing for the first time in contemporary romance? What did you enjoy about it?
I had a horrible time feeling comfortable with romance when I first started writing COOKING UP TROUBLE. In urban fantasy, outside forces drive the pace and story. A kickass heroine ends up going head to head with some horrific threat while trying to stop a villain. The battles keep escalating until the big, final battle at the end of the book. It’s one challenge after another. I love that! In romance, the story’s driven by two people who are attracted to each other, but a variety of misunderstandings and outside occurrences keep them apart. The obstacles are more personal, more internal. A mis-spoken word might derail the budding romance. I felt like I was balancing a plot line on eggshells. It felt like nothing was happening. No one blasted magic or sucked out an enemy’s life energy. But lots of things are happening beneath the surface, and that’s what I had to concentrate on. I decided to add humor, and that saved me.
For those reading today who are new to you, please explain if you’re a PLOTTER or PANTSER and give us a glimpse into your process.
Oh, this is a fair question. I always bug you about thatJ I’m a plotter, probably obsessive about it. I belong to a writers’ group, and as far as I know, I’m the ONLY rabid plotter among my friends. And they all write great stuff, so it’s just me. I need the security of knowing where the story’s going before I can bring the scenes to life. My books always start with an idea. For COOKING UP TROUBLE, I wanted to have a self-sufficient heroine who has to keep rescuing the guy who’s her love interest. Once I have the idea, I think about the characters who’d work for it. Tessa runs a farm stand and a bakery. She works outside a lot. Ian worked in finance in New York City and moves to Mill Pond to open a resort. He’s stepping into a foreign world, to him. I write the first two or three chapters before I do character wheels, because I need to hear my characters and see them in action before they start to come to life for me. Once I finish the character wheels, it sounds weird, but I divide my book into fourths, and I aim for a turning point at the end of each one—some kind of shift that moves the story in a slightly different direction. Once I have those, I can just connect the dots, and I plow through plot points—one for each chapter.
How many books do you have planned for your new series?
I’ve turned in the first three, and I just signed a contract for three more. I could do a couple more—have ideas for them—if the series does well. I played with romances once when I wrote a bundle of short novellas, EMERALD HILLS. I really enjoy writing short pieces, but I learned then that I get attached to people who live in small towns and want a HEA for every single one of them.
You recently published a book, chapter by chapter, on your website. Tell us a bit about that. What prompted you to try it? Did you enjoy that process? Will you bundle the entire book and offer it online, or will it stay as is?
That was so much fun! Out of everything I’ve written, Babet and Prosper are two of my favorite characters. I’ve used them in lots of novellas that I’ve made into bundles, but I never gave them a book, and they wanted one. I’ve gotten great feedback on them, too, so I thought I’d put up a chapter a week on my webpage as sort of a thank you to the readers who have hung in there for all of their stories. Charles Dickens and Arthur Conan Doyle wrote serials in newspapers, so I thought Why not? It was a little more challenging than I expected it to be. Since there was a week between each chapter, I felt pressured to make each chapter more gripping than if it was part of a book. There weren’t many “down” scenes for just contemplation and planning, etc. And I added an image for every chapter I wrote, so that added to the mix. I promised to leave all of the chapters up for two weeks, and then I plan to make them into a book to put on Amazon. I’ll only charge 99 cents, though. After all, it’s already been read on my webpage.
Anything else you would like to share with our readers today?
Only a big thank you to you and them for sharing your blog with me. It’s been fun!
Thank you so much for visiting and selflessly sharing your time and experience with us today, Judy. Wishing you all the best with your upcoming release. Celebration time will be here before we know it!
You can find Judy on the web on any of the links listed below:
Judi Lynn’s Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B01BKZDQ68
author Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/JudithPostsurbanfantasy/