I'd like to extend a warm welcome to the talented Judy Christie - author, consultant, and fellow southern girl! Some of you may already be familiar with Judy's Green stories, a five-book series which began with Gone to Green. She has started a new series set in a small Louisiana town, and the first book is Sweet Olive (please see my review here). I loved the small-town setting and storyline - and the characters were wonderful! Judy excels at small-town settings and characterization, and I highly recommend her writing. I also think you will learn some very interesting things about her in this interview.
Judy is graciously giving a copy of Sweet Olive to one of you; details are at the bottom of this post.
Q: Now, Judy, share a little about your life and family with us.
Greetings from Louisiana! I confess I’m a word nerd but didn’t write my first novel until I turned 50. I’ve kept a journal since sixth grade and still have all of them. I was the editor of my elementary-school newspaper and grew up to be a journalist, was the state champion typist in high school, went to the White House for lunch with Nancy Reagan (ate off the Eleanor Roosevelt china), write snail-mail letters almost daily and drove to the library the moment I got my drivers’ license. I’ve been chased by a monkey, gone piranha fishing on the Amazon, enjoy seeing movies with my middle-school teacher husband and adore my four grandchildren.
Q: You've been described as "author and coach." Please tell us a little about the coach part.
I help busy people slow down and enjoy life more—whether they are in the midst of a job transition, a family change or any other convergence of stressful circumstances. My work is as varied as my clients but the common thread is helping folks step back and take a fresh look at life and work and how to make needed changes, setting and meeting goals. I also help businesses and nonprofits go from “ideas to implementation.” I coach one-on-one and at retreats.
Q: As a resident of Georgia, I have long enjoyed southern fiction and love your writing. How do you "write fiction with a Louisiana flavor"?
Thank you so much! Louisiana is a fascinating state, rich with characters, settings and its own intriguing personality. I enjoy weaving those things into each novel, all set in fictional Louisiana towns. I take a few beignets or biscuits, a porch swing, the scent of a southern flower and mix with the quirks, tension and love that flow through most of our lives.
Q: Tell us about the Trumpet & Vine series and how the book we are featuring today, Sweet Olive, fits in with its characterization, etc.
At the corner of Trumpet & Vine in Samford, Louisiana, lives intersect. “Sweet Olive” features a group of rural folk artist, a rundown duplex on the corner and an oil-and-gas exec who must convince the artists to lease their mineral rights—but finds herself more interested in their artwork … and their attorney.
Q: Describe Sweet Olive in five adjectives.
(As a word person, I LOVE this question—could be used in planning a book or in life coaching.)
Q: I loved the artists' community and its "quirky" characters. Did any particular artist tug at your heart?
I’m so happy you liked the artists’ community. I had such a good time creating those colorful houses and the artists who live there. Ginny Guidry is a favorite. She has such a good heart and is a creative leader. I like the symbolism in her whirligigs--inspired by art I saw in Wilson, N.C., years ago, by the way.
Q: One of Sweet Olive's themes seems to be the contrast between greed and trusting God to provide, illustrated by the offer of oil company cash. Any thoughts on that, and is this a frequent problem today in areas where the land is rich with oil?
Living in an area rich with oil, I’ve been struck by how hard it is to know the right thing to do. Many people need the money, and it’s not a clear-cut decision, no matter how much they love their land. I’m drawn to generous people and to people who struggle to do the right thing. The artists in “Sweet Olive” are like that.
Q: What type of books do you write in addition to contemporary fiction?
The “Hurry Less Worry Less” nonfiction series, including “Hurry Less Worry Less for Families” and “Hurry Less Worry Less at Christmas.” These books are filled with tried-and-true tips about how to slow down and enjoy life more—from my own journey and interviews with ordinary people with great ideas.
Q: Many people struggle with too much "busyness" in their lives. What are three of your favorite tips on how to hurry less and worry less?
1) Don’t be afraid to say “no.” When you say “no” to one thing, you say “yes” to something else.
2) You can’t do everything. Use your time and energy on What’s Most Important to you. Don’t overschedule.
3) Expect things to go well and deal with snags if they come along. (Say “goodbye” to Murphy’s Law!) You’ll find yourself much happier.
Q: What’s on the book horizon for you?
My 8th novel, “Magnolia Market” releases on September 23 from HarperCollins Christian Publishing, and I confess I really like the main character, Avery Broussard. She finds that fresh starts aren’t all they’re cracked up to be when she tries to buy a fancy boutique and winds up running a bedraggled grocery store at the corner of Trumpet & Vine. Love and friendship help her find her way.
Q: What are some ways we can support and encourage you, both personally and as an author, Judy?
Blogs like this are such a generous gift. I love readers and will hug you if you’ll recommend my books to a friend! I enjoy visiting with readers in all sorts of ways—to book clubs in person or on Skype, on my blog at www.judychristie.comWe’re celebrating the 3rd annual Kitchen Couch Summer Reading Club on my blog with prizes! You can also email me, tweets @judypchristie and say hi on Facebook (judychristie). Reader reviews on Amazon, BN.com and other book sites are very helpful to all writers, too. Prayers are always welcome too!
That’s it for now! Thank you so much!
Judy, it has been so good to have you with us this week! You're very warm, outgoing, and funny, and that definitely comes through in your writing. I hope you will gain many new readers and I pray God's continued blessing on you and your family as you share what God puts on your heart.
Readers, to enter the drawing for Sweet Olive, simply leave a meaningful comment based on the interview or a question for Judy, along with your e-mail address in a safe format (simply commenting "I'd like to read this book" does not quality!) If you're willing, it's also extremely helpful to share about this interview/giveaway on Facebook.
Please "like" my Facebook page, The Power of Words Book Reviews, if you haven't already. And new followers of this blog are always welcome!
- E-mail required, one entry per person. Odds of winning are based on number of entries.
- Contest ends at midnight on Sunday, June 29. No purchase necessary.
- Winner will be chosen by Random.org and contacted by e-mail on Monday, June 30. Respond within 48 hours of notification or another winner will be chosen.
- Eligibility: US residents, 18 and older