That dream became a reality in March of 2002, when Silhouette released her first Special Edition. Since then, more than thirty of her books have hit the shelves, including two inspirational women’s fiction novels and two novellas.
Judy has won a Reader’s Choice Award, and in 2009, she won the Maggie and finaled in the Rita ® with MULBERRY PARK.
When she’s not cooped up in her writing cave, she’s spending time with her somewhat enormous, but delightfully close family near the beach in Southern California.
SDC: Wow! You are a busy lady! You must keep your fingers on the keyboard most of the time. Before we start the process, Judy, what do you do when you are NOT writing?
JD: I’m involved with my local RWA chapter as a board member, which keeps me busy and connected to other writers. And I’m a part of the women’s ministry team at my church. I also have a big family that keeps me hopping.
SKC: What book or project would you like to tell us about today? I know there are three on the agenda.
JD: I’m excited about all of them—the reissue of MULBERRY PARK in mass market and BABIES MAKE FIVE, another Special Edition which will be released in May. But I’d like to focus on THE HOUSE ON SUGAR PLUM LANE, which is coming out in April.
It’s the third inspirational women’s fiction novel in the Mulberry Park series, with new characters, as well as a one or two who were secondary characters earlier books.
THE HOUSE ON SUGAR PLUM LANE tells the story of Amy Masterson, a single mother who moves into a Victorian fixer that had once belonged to the biological great-grandmother she’d never met. As Amy settles into the furnished old home, she finds a journal and gets to know a bit about Ellie Rucker, a woman who lived and loved decades ago.
Before long, Amy learns that Ellie lives across the street, cared for by a neighbor. It seems an answer to prayer—until Amy discovers that Ellie has dementia and that a reunion is impossible. But love is a powerful force, and it’s never too late to hope—especially in Fairbrook—a town where miracles abound.
SDC: Sounds great! I'm going to HAVE to read your work! What inspired you to become a writer of inspirational books? And do you write anything else?
JD: I’ve been writing for Silhouette Special Edition ever since I made my first sale in 2001. I enjoy writing emotional, character-driven romances. But I also felt led to write inspirational fiction, especially for people who might not shop in Christian bookstores. And the Mulberry Park books have enabled me to do that.
SDC: What encourages you to continue writing as you do?
JD: After all these years, I can’t imagine not writing. The characters just won’t keep still, and the stories keep coming. I also believe that I’m doing what God wants me to do—at least, for now.
SDC: Now and then I ask this to other authors. Are you in any Groups that help you in your writing? Or ministry groups online? Tell us about them and a little about your publishers and how they found you.
JD: I’m an active member of my local RWA chapter (San Diego), so that helps a lot. I’m also a member of the Faith, Hope and Love chapter, an online group of Christian romance writers. That helps, too.
And the members of my Thursday morning Bible study are very supportive and seem to understand the writing process—or at least, they try to. They’ve been a great source of spiritual support, too.
Everyone at Kensington, the publisher of my inspirational novels, has been great to work with. They don’t actually have an inspirational line, but they liked the premise of MULBERRY PARK and bought three books in the series.
SDC: We all know as authors the importance of not getting too puffed up about what we do. I always seem to find at least one ghastly mistake in my novels AFTER they are published, and if anything keeps me humble that does, knowing it is too late to fix what is already in print. What is the one thing that keeps you humble about being a published author, Judy?
JD: Oh, Shirley. You, too? I can’t read my finished novels, either! You’re so right about it being a humbling experience.
Another thing that keeps me humble is knowing that God has had a hand in what I’m doing. The talent, the perseverance, and the books belong to Him—even the books I write for the secular market.
SDC: I love that. God is what it's all about. If He didn't have a hand in this that we do, where would we be! What is your JUDY secret to writing a good book?
JD: I try to write the kind of books that I want to read—inspirational, emotional and uplifting. I like books and movies that offer me hope and a message that I can apply to my own life.
SDC: This has been a great interview, Judy. We look forward to the one question on your mind that you might ask someone coming to ask you to sign a book for them. We’ll take the comments that come in to select the winners of the generous offer of books you are willing to share with us.
What I’d really like to ask them is whether the story (I wrote) moved them or not—and if so, in what way. That way, I can stay on target when I write. And I can work harder to give the readers hope and a message they can apply to their own lives.
SDC: That's a great question to ask. Thank you. And we also thank you for being here, Judy. Please let us know where we can find all your books!
JD: The books are available at your favorite secular bookstores—both online and brick and mortar. They’re not in the Christian bookstores—yet. But who knows? Maybe someday.
(I pray and dream for the same thing, Judy.)
Congratulations to Martha Rogers of Texas! Be watching for your book. What a blessing!