Thursday, June 10, 2010

Shifting into High Gear: Author Judith Graves on Writing

Judith returns once more today to tell us a little about her writing process and publishing. She's the author of the YA paranormal novel UNDER MY SKIN (and yes, there's werewolfy goodness--and badness--a-plenty between the covers!). AND, Judith's offered to kick in a copy of her novel for my special (and BIG) giveaway celebrating 13 to Life's launch--stay tuned for more details!

ME: How do stories start to develop in your mind? Do they often spark thanks to a picture, a personal experience, a song or a phrase or something you jotted in a dream journal, or...?

JUDITH: The Skinned series started with a “what if”. What if paranormal creatures from across the globe were forced to battle it out for the last bit of unclaimed territory? The story arc built from there. My other projects have started with a single line, or word, or a flash of personality – bringing the character, or at least their voice, to my attention first – before I understood their individual stories.

ME: Great "what if"! (And I love the fact your series is Skinned!) Where's your favorite place to write (or develop ideas) and why?

JUDITH: I love working in my office (a spare room just for my writing, complete with a restored 1950’s “teacher” desk, fake tombstones, gothic mirrors, candles, etc) and I do so every morning before my day job (5:30 am, yup, EVERY day). But I often come up with my best ideas / plot twists when I’m away from my laptop – usually at very inconvenient times – like when I’m in the shower, when I’m at work, or most recently – at a funeral.

ME: Wow. Flexibility combined with a strong daily routine is a great combination! Being an adult, how do you stay in touch with the youthful voice you need to maintain in order to write YA?

JUDITH: I’m either lucky or very immature. I haven’t had to work at a youthful voice – it’s just the way I write. Of course, being an elementary school librarian – with a high school teacher / basketball coach for a husband probably helps.

ME: Being part of the educational system can either keep you young or age you early, I guess. ;-) What was unique about your path to publication?

JUDITH: I don’t know if this is unique, but it was certainly stressful. The original publisher I had a contract with for UMS decided to close its young adult line and there went the hope that they’d offer for the other two books in the series. I had to decide if I was going to keep UMS with them (knowing I’d have to pitch the rest of the series elsewhere) or would I accept a very different offer that landed on my table. One of the other authors from the same publisher decided to start her own publishing company and asked if I’d like to take a chance and sign UMS with Leap Books. I took a major “leap” and said yes. I’m so glad I did. Leap Books is small, but mighty!

ME: Leap Books does seem like a great group of folks--glad UMS found a home regardless of the other company shutting down it's line.

If you missed it, check out Judith's awesome book trailer here.

Track Judith down at the following places:
Wolfy Chicks Blog
Judith's Main Site

Where to buy the book:
Barnes & Noble

Thanks so much, Judith, for spending some time with us here!

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