6 Questions with Judith Keim
This week, I’m speaking with Judith Keim, a talented and prolific author of romantic women’s fiction. Her 19th book, Change of Heart, was recently released and is available on all sites. Audio will come by the end of the month. You can read more about Judith at www.judithkeim.com.
I got to know Judith, when we were both in an SCBWI critique group. There’s a special place in my heart for anyone who’s willing to take the time to critique my work, and Judith was very helpful to me, pointing out both strengths and opportunities for improvements.
On to the questions!
There would seem to be such a huge difference between writing children’s books and women’s fiction. What caused you to switch from one to the other? Do you find one or the other more satisfying?
The first story I ever sold was a children’s story to Highlights for Children. Easy, Peasy, right? No… After selling a few more stories for kids, I went back to women’s fiction, joined RWA (Romance Writers of America), learned a whole lot more about the craft and business of writing, self-published my first book in 2015, and waited to see if anyone liked it. A lot of people did!! (sigh of relief). I immediately put out more of my novels to great response. I sold two books to Lake Union/Amazon Publishing and was one of those cases where everything that could go wrong, did—I was orphaned, the author coordinator was on maternity leave, etc. etc. I went right back to self-publishing and will continue to do that for the foreseeable future.
Everyone asks about inspiration. I’m interested in that, too, but I’m more interested in the process of how to go from a moment of inspiration to having a finished character or story element. Could you speak about that? Do you have an example of a character or story element that came from some real-life inspiration and made it into one of your books?
Inspiration is everywhere around me. Most writers are a little bit nosy and are content to watch and overhear people speaking. Newspapers, the news, television all are sources. When I get a story idea I think about it for a while, come up with a title and location, the think of the characters. Sometimes I write character sketches for each of the main ones, listing internal and external goals. ie. What is it they want? Why aren’t they going to get it right away. In a way all my stories contain a little bit of real-life inspiration from either me or people I know.
You have published a number of series. That’s something I’ve never done. Is there an appeal to writing a series that’s different from writing novels?
The good thing about writing a series is you know your world and some or most of your characters. The bad thing about writing a series is that you know your world and some or most of your characters and have to keep track of it all.
You’ve written so many books. Do you still find yourself facing challenges when you sit down to write? How do you overcome them?
Each book is a challenge…And writing the book is only the first step in creating more challenges with publicity, and other aspects of the book business.
I’m guessing you’ve had quite a few reader interactions. Are there any that you can tell us about? Any fun reader stories?
I love to receive a lot of emails from readers. Because of the kind of stories that I write most of them are sweet and life affirming. One woman read one of my books sitting with her grandfather as he was dying. The story touched her in a special way…
I always end with the same question. What’s next? Can you tell us about anything that you’re working on?
At the moment I’m working on two books – Book #3 and Book #4 in my Seashell Cottage series. Book #3 is at my content editor and will come back to me in early July to continue the round of edits. (A book is usually gone through about 10 times before it goes out). I’ve written 55,000 words of Book #4 and am still not sure of the ending!!!