Thanks for joining us, Judith!
You’ve spent a great deal of your life learning about History…what draws you to the past?
As a child, my father always took us on vacations, traveling throughout the United States. I was fascinated by the historical sites. I was always enthralled at hearing how people used to live, and what the world that surrounded them was like. I don’t know where I got that from; I just know I’ve always felt an excitement from hearing about the past.
Can you tell us more about your latest book?
My first novel was published in May of 2012. It’s a detective/mystery story which is set in 1943 Detroit. It combines my love of history with my enthusiasm for mysteries. My newest book follows the same detective, Sam Flanagan, with another case. This one involves Sam running into a childhood friend and finding out that the friend’s wife has a niece staying with them, but she’s disappeared. The girl is seventeen and walking away from home without a word to her mother is something she’s done in the past, so Sam is hired to find out where’s she’s gone…or find out if something more sinister has taken place. It’s close to Easter in 1943, and at the family celebration, Sam’s great Uncle Derwood wants to hear about what he’s been investigating. The eighty-eight year old man is interested in the case and is eager to tag along and ‘play’ detective with Sam. Sam doesn’t mind at all because his uncle is intelligent and he’s one of the detectives’ favorite people. As the Flanagan’s delve into her disappearance, they learn that the girl isn’t well liked by most of her peers and teachers. Sam isn’t a hard-boiled detective, he’s just a man trying to earn a living and, at times, he questions his choice of careers, since he doesn’t feel he is cut out for seeing dead bodies and witnessing the pain of others. I think it’s a good story. It’s called ‘The Case Files of Sam Flanagan: Sins of the Father’.
Can you share with us where the inspiration behind your writing comes from?
You know, I really have no idea. No one in the family loved history the way I do, or wanted to be creative in any area. All I know is that for as long as I can remember, I’ve always had my mind racing with characters and dialogue and situations. Like too many people in life, I basically always told myself that I wouldn’t really be able to succeed at writing, so I truly never really tried. It’s funny how my first completed novel came about. There’s a friend of mine and we used to goof around, writing a portion of a story and sending it by e mail. When I sent him the beginning, he’d pick it up and write the continuing part. This went on for awhile. I always had to laugh because I started the story in first person, and he’d send his part back to me in third. He finally tired of doing it, but I decided to go back, rewrite his parts and really try to get a finished story out of my initial idea. I was so surprised to see I’d completed it…and then, that led to my wondering if I could really get it published. Why not? I had nothing to lose. What resulted was my first detective novel, ‘The Case Files of Sam Flanagan: A Method to Madness’.
What has been the most rewarding part of your writing journey so far?
Well, two things, really. First was actually getting published. I’m still amazed by that one. And what really gives me an inner glow is when someone has actually read the story and taken the time to tell me they enjoyed it. I wish I could say the money earned is very rewarding, but I am learning that it isn’t that easy to earn a living doing this. I just want people to read my stories and enjoy what they read. And I want feedback from them…I think all writers need that desperately.
If you could make one of your characters real for a year, who would you choose and why?
Most definitely, Gran. Sam lives with his eighty-two year old grandmother and he calls her ‘Gran’. I picture my own grandmother when writing about this character. My own grandmother wasn’t batty like Sam’s grandmother, but she looks like my grandmother and she lives in the same house as my grandmother did. I was very close to my father’s mother…the only grandparent I knew…but she passed away when I was just days from turning eleven years old. I miss her greatly to this day.
What is the last book you read for pleasure called?
The last book I read was one by a fellow World Castle Publishing author, Eric Johnston, called An Inner Darkness. He can get pretty graphic and dark. I guess that kind of thing is quite popular now. I wish him all the success in the world with his work. One book I really loved and didn’t want to end was A Season in Purgatory by Dominick Dunne. Now I enjoyed reading that one.
I guess I would love to live during the ‘20’s, ‘30’s and ‘40’s. That’s my favorite time period in history.
Do you have any advice for budding writers?
Yes, stop telling yourself you can’t do it. Stop thinking that getting published is only for ‘certain’ people. Just write the doggone story. Get it down on paper and you can always adjust it later.
What can we expect to see from you in the future and where can we find your work?
I hope to give more Sam Flanagan mysteries to the readers. I’ve got a couple more ideas bouncing around in my mind. In fact, I’ve barely started a third story involving the Purple Gang, Detroit’s counterpart to the Al Capone organization in Chicago. I’m also toying with writing a book for the fifth or sixth grade level. I’d like to see how that would go. My books are on Amazon in paperback and Kindle editions. They can also be purchased from the World Castle Publishing site. They aren’t in bookstores, yet.
If you could choose any Author, living or dead, to read your book, who would you choose and why?
Definitely Agatha Christie. I started reading Nancy Drew mysteries when I was young, but graduated to British author, Agatha Christie. Her plots are so intricate and detailed. I truly think she was a genius. I wonder what she would say about my stories.
It’s time for our Rapid Fire Questions round!
Thank you so much for joining us today, Judith! It was great to learn a little more about you, and can’t wait to see more from you in the future! If you’d like to follow Judith, you can find her online at: Facebook and Amazon
You can grab your copy of ‘A Method to Madness’ by clicking on the photo below!