Saturday, January 30, 2010

Meet Author Judy Griffith Gill

Were you an avid reader as a child? What type of books did you enjoy reading?

I certainly was. I learned to read as a four-year-old and by the time I was ten, had moved way beyond The Bobbsey Twins, Trixi Belden and the Hardy Boys. (I never liked Nancy Drew, though people tried to foist her on me.) I read everything from Marvel Comics to (truth!) The Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire, I could find in my parent’s bookshelves.

Tell us a bit about your latest book, and what inspired you to write such a story.

My latest published novel, MOTHER LOVE, an electronic book from Mundania press/Awe-Struck, was a weird kind of reaction to my mother’s death, along with my guilt over not having been there for her or my older daughter during Mother’s last illness. The “mother” in the story is the complete antithesis of what mine was. The daughters of the central character are an amalgam of my daughters, nieces, friends of theirs—indeed, probably every young woman I ever knew well—myself included. Writing it was a catharsis of sorts, I believe, because in doing so, I learned to forgive my mother for many things, and forgive myself, as well.

How would you describe your creative process while writing this book? Was it stream-of-consciousness writing, or did you first write an outline?

I never write an outline. My books (50 to date) have all been stream-of-consciousness, what I refer to as seat-of-the-pants. Even when submitting three chapters and a synopsis, I finish the book first. If I don’t, having written the synopsis, something in the back of my brain says, “Okay, that one’s done. What’s next?”

Did your book require a lot of research?

That one did require some, due to one particular aspect, but not much beyond that. I usually write about places I know well and can envision even when thousands of miles away.

If you could have any vice without repercussions, what would it be?

The ability to read other people’s minds. If that would be a vice. It would be one I couldn’t resist.

What is the funniest/most embarrassing/scariest story from one of your books signings or events?

The funniest? First time I had to address a home-town SRO crowd. I got onto the stage with my knees knocking, and a fan of seven big silk flags cascaded all around and over me. Sure broke the ice. Embarrassing? Don’t recall one. Scariest? When a man in the audience somehow got my hotel room number and began stalking me by phone, saying he “knew” I was writing about him and me (together) that he was in love with me and wanted to meet for drinks. Luckily, hotel security moved me to another room, fast! and I never went anywhere alone until that conference was over.

If you could have been the servant to any famous person in history, who would that be and why?

Henry VIII. So I could have poisoned him, or Adolf Hitler, same reason. I know, I know, hindsight. But someone I would love to have learned from would be Pauline Johnson, writer& poet, though I doubt she’d have wanted a servant.

What so you see for the future of publishing and ebooks?

Right now, I think the entire industry is in a state of flux. When I got my first e-reader (a Rocket) lo, these twenty years or so ago, I thought that the time was right. I envisioned students no longer hunched over under backpacks stuffed with the weight of books, but carrying a single device that held all the world’s knowledge, all the texts, all their professors’ notes, and promoted that idea every chance I got. Now, after a long wait, I’m beginning to see it happen, but much more slowly that I ever imagined. The publishing, printing, shipping and reading of paper and ink books will be with us for many more years I’m sure, but I believe e-books have now come into their own and will eventually if not soon, outpace paper and ink books.

Which of your characters do you love/hate/fear/pity the most and why?

Since I write primarily romance of all stripes, I don’t hate, fear, or pity any of them as they all seem to be pretty upbeat characters. But the one I love most, after all these years, is still Bad Billy Culver, because he was needy and didn’t know it. That book, originally published by Bantam Fanfare, in hard cover and paper, is still available in electronic format, at .

Do you get along with your muse? What do you do to placate her when she refuses to inspire you?

My muse has never let me down. Sometimes she plays tag with me, wanting me to write two or three books at a time, but that doesn’t seem to matter much. If she wants Book A today, I give it to her. If she’s more into Book B or C, then that’s where we go.

Do you have another book in the works? Would you like to tell readers about your current or future projects.

As above, I always have another book in the works. Problem is, I can’t talk about them until they’re done, because it’s like writing the synopsis—it kills the story. Just this week, though, I finished a light-hearted humor romance entitled THE PRINCESS AND THE POPPER, about a rich woman pretending to be dirt poor because she grew up poor and having received an unexpected inheritance, discovered she didn’t like the kind of people who saw not her, but her portfolio, and takes a job with a man who sells popcorn on the street corner. Trouble is, he is also pretending to be poor because he wants to be a self-made man as was his great-grandfather, and has a year in which to prove his ability to his family, otherwise, he goes back to Boston and takes up his position in the family’s investment bank.

Have you ever experience weird cravings while you write? If so, what kind?

I don’t know how weird they are, but apples and celery are my favorite things to eat when I’m writing. I like the crunch and they don’t seem to attract as many ants as peanut butter and crackers, which I also crave. I live for half the year in Costa Rica, on the Caribbean coast, and ants are more plentiful than jungle trees or grains of sand on the beach.

What is the worst, best, most embarrassing or funniest situation your writing career has put you in?

The best? Walking into a car dealership and asking the man with whom I always dealt, “How much do those Chevy Lumina vans go for?” He chuckled, and said, “Hon, more than you can afford.” I smiled, said “Order me one. In blue,” and showed him my latest royalty check. The look on his face was priceless. Besides, I had two little grandbabies in car-seats and needed more room. I had my blue Lumina van the next day. I paid cash.

That’s satisfaction!

Mother Love, by Judy Griffith Gill

Joanna, divorced mother of two daughter, one grown and a single mom herself, and the other a resentful, difficult teenage diabetic, discovers she is pregnant by accident, certainly not by design. Her older daughter thinks its cool, her younger one thinks Jo’s done it purely to humiliate her, and her sometimes-lover thinks she should marry him, despite his being a ramblin’ man. Her own mother, as usual in a fog of pot smoke offers vague hippie-style bits of advice, which Joanna ignores. Her best friends suggests a permanent solution, from which Jo immediately shies away.

Then, her older daughter decides to get married and she knows her ex will be there for the wedding. What’s she going to do? She can’t hide from him forever, but nor can she bear to face him, especially in her condition. Which of the many options open to her should she choose?


Rhobin said...

Judy is a great editor, too. Enjoyed reading your interview.

Stacey said...

One royalty check bought you a Chevy Lumina, Judy?!?! Gosh, I'm sure glad you're my editor. Maybe your good fortune will rub off on me. lol
Great interview. Learned some interesting things about you.

Romance Alley said...

An emotional touching story. I agree with you about feeling the characters and living with them. When stories come to our minds they consume us with the good and bad LOL. Good luck Judy, a wonderful story and interview.

Suzannah Safi

Angelica Hart and Zi said...

Enjoyed reading your interview. All your books sound wonderful, and I, too, remember the days of Rocketbooks...had have a Sony Reader. Hopefully, this time it will take and students will no longer have to lug around a schoolbag.

Victoria Roder said...

Fun interview. Working on thee books at a time seems overwhelming! Good for you.

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