Judy Folger began her writing career in earnest four years ago after her retirement as an Executive Director in Healthcare. So far she has published 16 lesbian romance novellas, but has actually written 40; the others are waiting in line for editing in order to be published on Amazon.
What is your latest book?
Lesbian Yuletide Love Stories.
Is your recent book part of a series?
What are the special challenges in writing a series?
I have not written a series, but I have written a few sequels.
What are the greatest challenges in writing short stories?
My greatest challenge in writing a short story is that I can see where it would make a good novella, but also being able to recognize where it needs to stop in order to be a short story. I have to restrain myself and hold back in order to keep a story at a proper short story length.
Do you write under a pen name? If so, can you tell us why?
Yes, I write under a pen name for privacy.
How did you choose the genre you write in? Or did it choose you?
The genre I write in chose me. Being a lesbian, it was a natural for me to write lesbian romance novellas. Most of my books have subplots that deal with social issues, such as lesbian domestic violence, transgender, incest, and paranormal, to list a few.
If you were to advertise your book on a bumper sticker, what would it say?
“Love is Love”
What else have you written?
I have written 16 published books. Right now the most popular are, The Plumber and The Pianist, Family Pride, Black and Blue Love and Crash Landing.
What do you think some of the greatest misconceptions about indie authors are?
Perhaps that they are all not worthy of being published so have resorted to self publishing.
How often do your characters surprise you by doing or saying something totally unexpected?
While I am in the process of writing a story, I often find the character(s) taking over and saying something I hadn’t quite expected! But then that is part of the great fun of writing: to see where the characters lead me.
What part of writing a novel do you enjoy the most? The least?
I enjoy starting a new book and getting to know my book’s characters. The least? That’s when the story ends; it’s always so difficult to let my characters go as I have come to love them. It is exciting to watch my characters grow, mature, and resolve their problems.
Some authors, like me, always write scenes in order. But I know some people write scenes out of order. How about you?
I write the scenes in order, as I don’t have a plan laid out for the story. It develops as I go along. That is the fun of writing a novella and watching it come to fruition.
Is it important for you to know the ending of a book before you write it? The title?
I always have a working title, but sometimes it changes for publication. I have a pretty good idea how the story will end, though sometimes it might change a bit as the end nears. The characters have a tendency to take over the story and I enjoy being a part of the ride.
Some writers edit excessively as they write; others wait until a novel is finished to do the bulk of the editing. How about you?
I do some editing as I go along. When the book is finished, I go back and reread my hard copy and make any changes then. Then I send my manuscript to my editor for the final editing.
After working for a very long time on a novel, many authors get to a point where they lose their objectivity and feel unable to judge their own work. Has this ever happened to you? If so, what have you done about it?
I write novellas, not full-length novels. Therefore, I believe I don’t ever lose my objectivity. I am able to stay very focused on my story line until the very end.
Over the years, many well-known authors have stated that they wished they’d written their characters or their plots differently. Have you ever had similar regrets?
So far I have been satisfied with my books and their characters and plots. Perhaps because I am able to remain very focused on my goal.
How important is the choosing of character names to you? Have you ever decided on a name and then changed it because it wasn’t right for the character?
I do some thinking about my characters’ names before I start writing. I try to find names that I think will suit their personalities. Therefore, I don’t change them once I’ve started the story.
Have you ever written characters that you truly despise?
I’ve written characters that I have not liked very well, but that’s fun. I can do all sorts of things with them! Sometimes fun things, sometimes not-so-fun things.
Authors, especially Indies, are constantly trying to understand why some authors sell very while their talented fellow authors have a hard time of it. It’s an ongoing conundrum. What do you make of it all?
I suppose smart marketing has a lot to do with sales, along with a good bit of luck. Being a talented author no doubt helps!
Do you have any advice for first-time authors?
Never, never give up! Writing is an ongoing learning experience. First-time authors should be aware that having an excellent editor is of great help in learning the writing craft.
Can you tell us about your road to publication?
My wonderful friend and editor, Debra Stang, actually talked me into publishing my first book on Amazon, The Unfinished Letter. To my amazement, it has done well from the beginning. I was able to write this novella in 30 days; however, the additional days it took to complete this process took longer as my editor’s efforts at editing the manuscript added to the time it took for the actual publication.
There are so many conflicting opinions out there about everything related to publishing: e-book pricing, book promotion, social media usage etc. How do you sort through it all to figure out what works best for you?
I’m still not sure what works best, but at this time I prefer Twitter. My editor and I take a look at the current going rate for novellas and then decide what price point to ask.
Please, tell us about your experiences with social media. What are your favorite and least-favorite parts of it?
I don’t enjoy having to deal with social media. It’s something I have to do in order for my books to be seen. I’m very active on Twitter. I’m also on LinkedIn, Google+, Facebook, Goodreads, and I will soon add Tumblr and Pinterest.
Do you have any grammatical pet peeves to share?
Ha! I have numerous pet peeves, such as knowing the difference between your and you’re, for example, but thank goodness, I have an excellent editor!
What do you like best about the books you read? What do you like least?
The books I like best to read are those that can draw me in and arouse my curiosity. What I like least are those books that seem to be full of unnecessary “filler” paragraphs that go on and on and on….
How much research was involved in writing your book? How did you go about it?
My most current book, Lesbian Yuletide Love Stories, did not require any research on my part. However, I’ve written so many books, it’s hard to say about each, but let me just say, I usually revert to Google for research.
Do you have any secrets for effective time management?
My “secret” for effective time management is, I live alone! I can make my own schedule for writing. But, it also takes a certain amount of self-discipline.
Do you allow others to read your work in progress, or do you keep it a secret until you’ve finished your first draft? Can you elaborate?
I don’t let anyone read a work in progress, because too much input can be confusing, but I do have helpful chats with my editor along the way.
Have you received reactions/feedback to your work that has surprised you? In what way?
I love to receive feedback from people who read my books. Such as the women who have taken the time to let me know that they appreciate the fact that my stories are about mature women. Thankfully, I have enjoyed many positive reactions.
Are you a fast typist? Does your typing speed (or lack of it) affect your writing?
I am a fast typist. I think fast and I type fast, which helps me to produce a number of pages every time I sit down to write.
Do you write anything besides novels? Care to share?
Sometimes for my own enjoyment, I will write a short paragraph or two about something romantic on my mind. I find this to be an enjoyable exercise in creativity.
Were you “born to write” or did you discover your passion for writing later in life?
I feel I was born to write. I messed around with writing ever since childhood and into adulthood, but I never had the time to be serious about writing until I retired a few years ago.
Do you dread writing a synopsis for your novel as much as most writers do? Do you think writing a synopsis is inherently evil? Why?
I do dread writing a synopsis. But thank goodness, I have a wonderful editor who does it for me.
If you were to write a non-fiction book, what might it be about?
IF I were to write a non-fiction book, it might be about my life. I believe everyone’s life would make an interesting book. Everyone has both a great love story and a great tragedy in their life.
Do you have any advice to a new author if they asked you whether to pursue the traditional route to publishing or to start out as an independent writer?
I would advise a new author to seriously consider self-publishing on Amazon. Self-publishing is a great way for new authors to get their start in publishing and to feel the enjoyment of seeing their book out there for the public to notice.
What have you done to market your novel and what did you find the most effective? The least effective?
I rely primarily on using Twitter to market my books. As I gain more and more followers, I gain more and more readers. The least effective is doing nothing to promote one’s book.
I’m sure you’ve read many interviews with your fellow authors. In what ways do you find your methods of creating most similar and dissimilar?
It seems to me that a lot of authors work like I do, without an outline. Sit down and start writing, and enjoy the ride.
Do you feel your latest book is your personal favorite or one of your previous novels?
My personal favorite might be “The Plumber and the Pianist,” but it’s hard to choose, kinda like choosing which child is a mother’s favorite!
Having our work out there to be judged by strangers is often daunting for writers. Do you have any tips on handling a negative review?
I’m still trying to learn this one myself! Ha! Actually, such as in my case, with a number of 5* reviews and perhaps one lower-star rating, that one is very possibly a “troll” who enjoys writing negative reviews and therefore not worthy of my attention.
Are you an early bird writer or night owl? And do you have any must haves like coffee, chocolates, wine, music or something else?
I get up usually around 3 am, eat a light breakfast, and then begin writing. I like to get up early before the rest of the world is awake.
We all know the old saying; you can’t judge a book by its cover. This is true. However, how much importance do you place on your book cover design?
I’m sure the book covers do affect a person’s immediate attention to a book. I am in the process of updating my book covers and I am finding that the more attractive covers do make a difference in sales.
Do you have complete control over your characters or do they ever control you?
Sometimes my characters take off on their own. I delight in their individuality.
Do you miss spending time with your characters when you finish writing them?
I desperately miss my characters when I finish writing a book…until I start a new book! Then I become enthralled with my new set of characters.
Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? If so, how do you get around it?
Fortunately, I have never suffered from writer’s block. I am so focused on my story line that I am constantly thinking about my story, even when I am away from my computer.
Have you ever started out to write one book and ended up with something completely different?
Not so far.
Where do you live now? If you had to move to another city/state/country, where might that be?
I currently live in the Kansas City area.
What are the most important traits you look for in a friend?
The most important trait I look for in a friend is honesty.
Care to brag about your family?
My son, Mathew Curry, has written and published an excellent mystery book: “Spellbound: The Ascension,” on Amazon.
If you could have one skill that you don’t currently have, what would it be?
I have always wished I had studied music.
What was your favorite year of school? Why?
My favorite years of school were when I was attending college. I loved the non- regimented schedules.
What makes you angry?
I am very laid back and easy going, but I can become angry when I see someone treating another person without respect.
What music soothes your soul?
I enjoy listening to classical and golden oldies.
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