Hi Judy, welcome to Rachelle's Window. It's nice to chat with you today. Your first novel is out to rave reviews. What makes Red Fox Woman, your first novel, special to you as a story?
Red Fox Woman is simply a feel-good western, mystery, and romance that was tumbling around in my head for years. It’s the tale of Pennsylvania redware potter, Julia Gast, who escapes to the Colorado Territory only to find the ranch she purchased from her deceased uncle is also owned by the adopted sister of a family of four brothers. Julia makes ring flasks that were used to carry water in the mid-1800s. The characters in the novel are vivid, colorful and humorous. I love humor, and the bantering of the brothers helps propel the story forward. It was selected as a finalist in the USA Book News Best Book and USA Book News International Book Awards.
Congratulations! Sounds like built-in conflict and a chance for love (what with four brothers to choose from). You are not new to writing. How did you get hooked on a writing career?
I fell in love with the ability to express myself in written form from as early as second grade with a teacher who had the class collectively journal on the blackboard every morning. I had a mother who encouraged me to read. Once I saw how words string themselves into thoughts, I was hooked. I studied journalism in college, wrote all types of nonfiction, but was enamored with fiction because the writer is allowed to dream up his own characters, settings, dialogue and plot.
Isn't fiction magical? I understand you started writing short stories first and have won several awards. What makes short story writing a special genre for you?
I love the short story genre the best. I personally enjoy taking a glimpse into someone else’s life or traveling to a place I’ve never been. A short story has a definite beginning, middle and end which can be revealed in a short amount of time. It lets a reader simply escape the present moment and be entertained.
I think most writers will agree that writing, in some small way, allows us to make order of a chaotic world. We are very observant of our surroundings and other people. Writers are curious individuals and we are most happy when we are creating. We are dreamers. We love to use our imagination. We don’t like our minds to be idle or bored.
So true, and sometimes we want to right wrongs, solve a mystery, and create happy endings. What are you working on now?
I just finished a contemporary romance, Key to Love. I’m currently working on a sequel to Red Fox Woman, and doing publicity for Red Fox Woman and Three Merry Mysteries. Ideas for short stories are always running wildly through my overstuffed, sometimes chaotic mind.
Sounds like you're really busy! What advice would you give to a beginning writer?
Forget about perfection when you do your first draft. Strive to get the main gist of the story down first. Forge through the sticky, troublesome spots, or even troublesome dialogue. If the story is flowing, keep it flowing. You can go back and write elaborate or witty dialogue later, but you should never stop a story that’s running away in your head. Lastly, rewrite, rewrite, and rewrite, as many times as you need to get the story, dialogue and sentence structure right. And despite the hard work, challenges, and confusion that goes along with writing, don’t forget to have fun.
Red Fox Woman is also available from Amazon.
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