Welcome to Readers Write to Know! I asked you, my readers, what questions they would ask their favorite authors if given the chance, and the authors visiting my blog answered them! This week, I am so pleased to have Jude Urbanski as my guest. I LOVE the fact that her mom wrote sweet love stories in the 1930’s. That just speaks to my heart and soul! I also love that she is a southern girl — I am married to a southern gentleman and I love living in the south. I hope you enjoy Jude’s interview as much as I did. She is giving away a copy of her latest release – read on to see how you can enter to win!
About me: I was born into a large Southern family, grew up in the North, but retained a southern heart. I have used the South as the setting for my novels. So, last May, in year four of my unexpected journey as a new widow, I made the decision to move to the beautiful Cumberland Plateau area of Tennessee. Seven generations of family had descended from this area. I returned to my roots and keep contact with my scattered kids and grandkids via phone, texts, Face time, email, snail mail, and visits.
My Current Release: The book is called New Beginnings, a title with which I relate, but one which heroine Savannah Banks sought with a passion. She never wanted to see her runaway groom again, especially after discovering her pregnancy with his child. Until meeting a father figure in ill-and- aging artist, Alberto Patagalia, she never wanted to see anything again. Together they heal while awaiting her baby’s birth.
A dream job takes the three to Jamaica, where Savannah works with the islanders as a nurse practitioner. Renewal of faith in God and entrance of two handsome doctors promise new beginnings, but all too soon idyllic life becomes turbulent and everything she holds dear is threatened.
What inspires you to write? I’m convinced several family members possess a DNA art gene and it is played out in music, painting and writing. My mother wrote sweet, love stories in the 1930s and used the same setting I used many years later-the community of Chanute where we both were born. My daughters write. My grandson writes as does my nephew. Others paint and make music.
The usual childhood things captured me, like the high school newspaper, but two specific things led me later to write. My oldest daughter had a tragic auto accident in which her six- year-old son died and she suffered a forever traumatic brain injury. Eventually, writing that non- fiction book helped both of us heal from a very dark period. The book is over ten years old and still sells- because grief is evergreen. Secondly, several years ago I received a cancer diagnosis, which made me pick up my pen again. I didn’t know how long I had. That was three novels ago and five years of writing for a magazine as well as editing jobs.
What advice do you have for aspiring writers? Know that writing is a hard job, but one which gives satisfaction and worth the effort. Think rewrite, not just write for there will be many edits. Learn all you can. Buy books on the subject, take classes (many are available many places), invest in conferences, and an editor. Join critique groups. Be courageous enough to submit to contests even if you are rejected. It means you are working. Securing a writing mentor can be very helpful. But know you must find your own voice, your own way of building your words. Publication does not necessarily validate you.
Through my years of writing I have gained some of my most valuable friendships. You will too.
How did you determine to self publish or to seek a traditional publisher? I wanted a publisher initially and at that time self publishing was not as common. With my first book, I called the small publishing house because they did not have their guidelines on their website. Well, the publisher answered! We had a long conversation and at the end she asked me to submit my manuscript. That was my beginning.
My two novels were also with a small publisher and there for over five years. After that I had the option to receive my rights back, which I did. I went on to self publish those two books, as I also did the third novel, New Beginnings. I find pros and cons to both traditional and self publishing and an author must give a lot of thought to that personal decision.
Do you have your plotline and character development already laid out before you begin writing a book, or do they develop as you write? I’ve thought about this and don’t consider my writing method to be strictly either pantster or outliner. I mix up both and throw in a lot of thinking. One technique I have found helpful is to do thorough character sketches. I will say I have a general plotline in my head, but funny things always happen ‘on the way’ and I am often surprised. When I have writer’s block, I leave the manuscript for a few days and do some thinking.
I do not necessarily have a predetermined page length because that is sometimes determined by the publisher or whether you are writing a novella. I think excessive description loses the reader. It is harder to effectively write cleanly or simply.
What’s the first major news headline that you can remember and what do you remember? These will date me, BUT I remember in grade school being dismissed in order to see on TV the coronation of Queen Elizabeth! I also remember first hearing the news of Kennedy’s assignation. I was a college student and was studying as the news came on TV.
Here is where you can find Jude online:
Jude is giving away an ebook or signed copy of her book (signed copy US only) to a lucky reader! See below how you can enter to win: