LYNNE: Please tell us a bit about your novel, "A Place Called Winter."
JUDITH: The short version: Woman runs from one nightmare only to become embroiled in another.
LYNNE: Is this your first novel?
LYNNE: What else have you written? Published?
JUDITH: I write poetry and short stories and have published a number of these online and in print.
LYNNE: Tell us about your publishing experience.
JUDITH: I guess I don’t have one. I was being considered by a small press but became frustrated at the delays and failure to respond to my follow-up inquiries. So I self-published. I thought if only fifty people read the novel that was still fifty more than would with it stuck in my computer. Happy to say it’s being read by more than fifty people.
LYNNE: "A Place Called Winter" could be described as a literary suspense. The prose is lovely, but the story goes to some very dark places. How did you come up with the idea?
JUDITH: I love that you called it literary suspense. I wanted to use the word literary but didn’t trust that the novel was ‘literary’ enough. As for the idea-that came from real life experiences and news articles.
LYNNE: Winter is inhabited by a number of diverse characters, each with a lot of depth and significant history that plays into their behavior and motivations. Are any of the characters based on real people and if not, how do you develop them?
JUDITH: I make my characters up as I go along and often throw in traits I’ve witnessed in real people. Lucinda as an adult is strictly from imagination, but her background story, throwaway child, abused in a fraternity house at age thirteen, is true, though it happened more that forty years ago. I’ve always wondered what became of her.
LYNNE: How long have you been writing, and what has that journey been like?
JUDITH: I’d say about fourteen years now as far as attempting fiction and poetry. I consider myself a beginner, and hope I always will.
LYNNE: Tell us about your writing method. Do you start with a story idea, a scene, a cast of characters? Are you a "plotter" or "pantster"?
JUDITH: I’m the latter. And I tend to go with an idea or scene, then work on the characters.
LYNNE: Who is/are your favorite author(s) and why?
JUDITH: You’ve opened a can of worms. No matter who I name, I’ll leave just as many out. For starters: Elizabeth Strout, James Lee Burke, John Harvey, Ken Bruen, James Sallis, Barry Lopez, Tana French, Kent Haruf, Ron Rash, Minette Walters, Sheri Reynolds. I could go on…and on.
LYNNE: What are you working on now, and can you tell us a bit about it?
JUDITH: "A Creek Named Sorrow." Second in the Winter series. This one is about child pornography for the Internet. The idea came from a news article. I published a short story (Absence of Light), later decided to turn it into a novel-with many more characters and a very different ending.
I've enjoyed speaking with you Judith, and I'm very much looking forward to your next book. Thank you for sharing your books and writing experiences with us. We wish you continued success with "A Place Called Winter" and all your writing projects.
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Judith Quaempts will be a Featured Author in the First Draft Series at Pendleton Arts Center
Where: Pendleton, OR
When: 7 a.m, Sept 17, 2014
ABOUT THE INTERVIEWER
Lynne Hinkey is a writer by passion, a marine scientist by training, and a curmudgeon by nature. Her first novel, Marina Melee, is a tropical-island misadventure. Her second novel, Ye Gods! A Tale of Dogs and Demons, a monster is on a rampage in Puerto Rico. Is the chupacabra real of myth? Dog only knows. Visit her at www.lynnehinkey.com.