1) Why Romance? Did you choose this genre or were you chosen by it?
I’ve always been a writer, but I’d never written–or even read–a romance novel
until I became desperate to figure out a way to make money writing fiction, and the
literary novels and plays I was writing, while generating praise, weren’t paying the
bills. But romance novels were quite popular and selling well. So I bought a few to
read, certain that I would hate them. Much to my surprise, I loved them! I saw them
as subversive feminist tracts, stories about women who wound up having it all, and
about men who would jump through hoops of flame for those women. The books were
entertaining, informative, and well written. After reading a few, I started writing
them. Within a year, I’d sold my first romance. So I guess I was chosen by romance.
2) Is there a romance author, living or dead, who inspires you particularly?
I’ve read so many wonderful romance novels, by so many wonderful authors. I couldn’t
possibly name one!
3) Please, tell us about your latest book and, if you can, about your future projects.
After publishing more than 85 romance novels with Harlequin and MIRA books, I’ve
moved in two new directions. One direction is the women’s fiction I’ve been
publishing with Bell Bridge Books, an imprint of BelleBooks. My next release from
Bell Bridge Books, this February, is DEAD BALL, a humorous cozy mystery featuring as
its heroine a widowed, forty-something public school teacher who loves playing
soccer (what you call football <g>) in a recreational town league. There’s a romance
subplot in this book. (Of course!) DEAD BALL will be the first book in a series
featuring Lainie Lovett, the intrepid teacher and amateur soccer player. I’m also
working on a new romance series, which I will be publishing independently as
original ebooks. The series is called “The Magic Jukebox,” and the romances revolve
around a jukebox in a pub that magically plays songs that bring the heroes and
heroines together and help guide them on their path through life and love. The first
book in the series is currently undergoing a final edit. I hope to have three books
in the “Magic Jukebox” series completed before I start publishing them. So you’ll
have to wait until late summer or early autumn to start reading these fun, sexy
4) How was your writing journey? Was it difficult to find an agent and get published?
As I mentioned above, I’ve been writing my whole life I have a graduate degree in
creative writing. I spent a number of years writing plays and getting them produced
regionally and off-Broadway in New York City. But my first love was prose fiction,
and after a while I burned out on the theater and decided to see if I could sell
some of my novels. By the time I wrote my first romance novel, I already had an
agent, thanks to my playwriting career, and I was well trained in the basics of
craft and creativity. I’d even taught creative writing courses. This background made
it pretty easy for me to make my first sale, and the discipline I’d learned in
college, graduate school, and the theater enabled me to keep at it, work long hours
and not give up at the first rejection. I knew what I was doing when I got into this
field, so while I can’t say it was easy–nothing about writing is easy!–my journey
from unpublished to published was probably smoother than most.
5) What’s your opinion about this Ebook revolution?
I’m thrilled about the ebook revolution. Being able to independently publish my own
books has given me freedom and flexibility. I no longer have to mold my books to
accommodate the particular needs of an editor or publisher. In fact, an editor had
loved my “Magic Jukebox” series when I’d proposed it to her a few years ago, but for
budgetary and scheduling reasons she’d been unable to go to contract with me on it.
Now I can publish and release these books as ebooks myself. I can work on =my=
timetable, not a publisher’s. I can use the covers =I= want. I can price my books
lower than a publisher can, because I have so little overhead, and still make a
decent living. Good for my readers, and good for me, too! As a reader, I love ebooks
because I can download so many books onto my e-reader. My bookshelves (of which I
have many) are already overflowing with paper books. I still do like paper books,
and my novels from Bell Bridge Books are released in paper as well as ebook
editions. But taking an e-reader on vacation is so much easier than packing a
suitcase full of books.
6) Nowadays many publishers expect their authors to use Social media a lot to
promote their books. Many authors, on the other hand, would prefer to write only,
without being distracted by digital trivialities: what are your thoughts?
Authors do have to rely on social media to reach our readers and let them know about
our books. And yes, I would often prefer just to hole up like a hermit and write,
write, write, without the distractions of Facebook and the like. I do enjoy going on
Facebook at the end of the day, catching up with friends, colleagues and readers,
and letting them all know what is going on in my life, especially my writing life.
But these social-media activities can drain a writer’s energy. Sometimes, I am
simply too exhausted. Sometimes I’m too immersed in the world of my characters to
want to leave them and take a spin on Facebook. Still, I see social media as a
necessary evil–and sometimes a not-very-evil evil.
Info about the author:
Barbara Keiler (born April 7, 1953 in New York, USA), known more widely by her pseudonym Judith Arnold, is a best-selling American author of crime fiction and over eighty-five romance novels. She has been writing since 1983, and has also been published under the pen names Ariel Berk and Thea Frederick.
To know more, please visit: http://www.juditharnold.com
To buy her latest book, simply click on the over below: