Judith Erwin – Duval County Writer
Judith Erwin is a romance writer living and working in the Jacksonville, Florida area. She was very brave and made her own video. We have tweaked it a little and you can see it below. We send out a questionnaire for each of the writers to choose 5 or 6 of their favorite questions that would like to answer to ensure a variety. Ms. Erwin liked quite a few more than that. Her answers are mostly short but honest. They do make for some interesting reading.
Ms. Erwin has 6 books in print right now and a website that is fun and a little romantic looking. The link is provided below. If you haven’t had a chance to download and read her free short story called, “The Final Vow”, give it a whirl. I thought it was very good.
Judith Erwin was born in Atlanta, Georgia but has spent the majority of her life in Jacksonville, Florida. Beginning college at the age of 45, she aimed for a degree that would launch her career as a writer/novelist but accidentally became an attorney, graduating from the University of Florida College of Law at the age of 55. Before retiring, she practiced law (primarily family law) for over 20 years.
Her background includes a career in freelance journalism with numerous published articles focused on the performing arts, plus a two-decade career as a family law attorney, court-appointed, child-custody evaluator, and Florida Supreme Court certified family law mediator.
Contact the Author
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/Judith-Erwin-Books-1734991323412346/
Amazon Author Profile: https://www.amazon.com/Judith-Erwin/e/B00IR7O9QE
YouTube Channel: https://www.amazon.com/Judith-Erwin/e/B00IR7O9QE
Goodreads Profile: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7738045.Judith_Erwin
Shadow of Dance Series
Shadows of the Past
Shadow of Silence
Shadow of Doubt
CONGRATS! – FAPA 2020 Book Awards Winner for Adult Fiction – Romance – GOLD to Judith Erwin for The Studio
Interview Questions and Answers
What is the first book that made you cry?
Black Beauty. Any book, movie, etc. that harms an animal will rip my emotions apart.
Does writing energize or exhaust you?
It definitely energizes me. It’s my happy place.
What are common traps for aspiring writers?
Trying for perfection with a first draft and believing everyone will like what they write. Not everyone, to my dismay, likes chocolate.
What is your writing Kryptonite?
Hands down, MUSIC. Music is the best mood-setting, mood-changing element in civilization.
Have you ever gotten writer’s block?
More as a freelance journalist than as a novelist. I do fall into an unproductive mood, but I don’t consider it writer’s block. I have a vivid imagination, stemming from an isolated childhood.
Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?
I personally believe many readers want something original. I like to take original and turn it upside down.
Do you think someone could be a writer if they don’t feel emotions strongly?
I don’t think so, which is just my opinion. I have to tap into my emotions to create.
What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?
My first answer to that is Julie Delegal and John Boles. There have been others over the years, but Julie and John have been my beta readers, editors, and support system since I began the serious journey from wannabe to book in my hands.
Do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?
I didn’t start out to connect my books and haven’t written any that are dependent, but I do have connections by way of characters appearing (often in a small way) in subsequent or previous books. But my stories stand alone.
If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
Get started sooner.
How did publishing your first book change your process of writing?
What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?
Editing, pitching to major literary agents.
What authors did you dislike at first but grew into?
Frank McCourt did not impress me at the start of Angela’s Ashes but by the middle, I was a devoted fan.
What did you do with your first advance?
I am self-published. At my age, I didn’t have time to travel the traditional path.
What was an early experience where you learned that language had power?
Second grade. I wrote an essay on love and fell “in love” with the beauty of words creatively arranged.
What are the most important magazines for writers to subscribe to?
I like Writer’s Digest. I got my first, national freelance assignment through WD. I also got great feedback from a New York agent through one of their programs and got fantastic experience at one of their annual conferences in New York.
As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?
Anyone who knows me is aware that I am a cat person. I’ve had a cat or two or three since I was three-year-old. I come from a long line of cat lovers. I like dogs and would love to have one.
What do you owe the real people upon whom you base your characters?
My characters are never based on one person. I take traits from people I’ve known but not a person’s story.
How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?
One partially complete, five in development.
What does literary success look like to you?
Hearing readers enjoyed my books.
What’s the best way to market your books?
If I knew the secret to that, my royalty income would be a lot bigger. Exposure is key and finding your readers. I doubt there’s ever been a book liked by everyone.
What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?
I research constantly. I seek experts in areas where my knowledge is superficial. I live on the Internet, and I buy a lot of books on the subjects I’m using. I used to go to the library, but my stamina is limited, and the Internet abundant with information.
Do you view writing as a kind of spiritual practice?
Not consciously, but I know it takes me away from anxiety. I began serious work on my first novel five days before my son was diagnosed with cancer and wrote the last page of the first draft on the day of his last chemo treatment. During that year, my only escape from fear for his wellbeing was when writing.
What’s the most difficult thing about writing characters from the opposite sex?
I haven’t thought of it being difficult. I probably think of my father, my son, my three grandsons (who have lived with me at different times), my ex-husband, and my late significant other of over 35 years. In addition, during my law practice, I represented a number of men.
How long were you a part-time writer before you became a full-time one?
Not sure how to frame that. I retired from my law practice in 2016 and have been able to devote far more time but find that the creation is often trumped by the marketing.
How many hours a day do you write?
I am not good with schedules. I have no set time nor amount of time.
What did you edit out of this book?
Two words that my beta readers thought might be unacceptable to my readers. Kinda wish I hadn’t.
How do you select the names of your characters?
Lots and lots of thought, browsing through books of names and just paying attention to names I hear. Sometimes, the name comes right to me; sometimes, I try on a number of names before arriving at the one that feels right. I used to drive my writing group crazy with changes.
If you didn’t write, what would you do for work?
No longer really applicable. I think at this stage, I would wither into senility.
Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?
I do read them. I glow when they’re good, and struggle to overcome depression if not good. I’m a perfectionist.
Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?
I try to weave secrets into the beginning of a book, but I think they all are revealed before the last page.
What was your hardest scene to write? A violent scene in The Ballet was the worst, but I felt it had to be there.
Do you Google yourself?
What one thing would you give up to become a better writer?
At my age, there’s not much left to give up.
What is your favorite childhood book?
Dancing Star, a book about ballerina Anna Pavlova, and Lorna Doone by R.D. Blackmore.
Does your family support your career as a writer?
How long on average does it take you to write a book?
About a year.
Enjoy the full video interview
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