Thursday, May 24, 2018

Guest Blogger: Judi Getch Brodman

Please tell us about your latest book.
She’s Not You is a mystery with what I call “a splash of romance.” It’s set in rural Cape Cod… the fictitious town of Oyster Point, a small, isolated fishing village on the tip of Cape Cod, a place where the town’s jail has one cell with a broken lock and the police force consists of the chief and two deputies. So far this summer, two bodies have been discovered on the morning tide, both resembling each other and Jamie Janson.

Jamie returns to Oyster Point to clean out and sell her grandaunt Pita’s Cape Cod cottage, a place filled with family memories—when there had been a family. Her homecoming is marred by the discovery of a woman’s body during her morning run along the beach. Huddled around the seaweed encrusted form is a group of men, including Oyster Point’s Chief of Police, Jack Hereford. Is their meeting destiny, chance, or orchestrated by Pita? Jack soon realizes that Jamie’s emotional fragility belies her inner strength and courage—unspoken qualities by Pita when she asked him to watch over Jamie. That deathbed promise will turn out to be the toughest part of his job and maybe the best part of his life.

As Jamie settles into her life on the Cape, an unknown male with camera in hand shadows her everywhere—on the beach, around her cottage, even at Jack’s sister’s house. With her life spinning out of control, Jamie’s visions resume, dreams she hasn’t had since her parents were killed when she was sixteen. Making a vow to confront the stalker and keep him from forcing her to live in fear, she and Jack devise a plan to entice the suspected stalker out into the open. The scheme backfires and Jamie’s gone…

What can we expect from you in the future?
A sequel to She’s Not You is in the works. Jamie and Jack were just too engaging to let them end in the first novel. I’m also finishing up an intriguing time travel novel where Rachael, the female character, is pulled back to 1804 where she falls in love with a sea captain and has been tasked with changing history – keeping him alive. Does she leave or stay? I’m also working on another manuscript – a mystery/romance based in Boston and Paris. As you can see, never a dull moment for me!

How do we find out about you and your books?
I’m on Facebook and LinkedIn – Judi Getch Brodman
I have a website: And a blog, A writer’s dream continues…
My books and my author profile can all be found on Amazon.

Why did you decide to write “mystery/romance” novels?
Not sure I chose it or it chose me. I’ve always loved mysteries and so I think I just naturally gravitated to writing them. I like to write in a splash of romance… a pure romance novel usually bores me, but a mystery where two people are thrown together unexpectedly and eventually find themselves not being able to live with the other – that’s fun to write and hopefully fun to read.

How much of your personality and life experiences are in your writing?
I think every writer has to fall back on their own personality traits and experiences… you don’t replicate them, but you definitely dig deep uncovering what you felt when your dog died, or your mother or father died, when you loved and lost, or loved and won for example. Every experience that you have lived through or every place you’ve traveled to, every person that walks through your life… they are all potentially in your manuscript.

When did you first think about writing and what prompted you to submit your first ms?
I’ve always written… journals and travel logs. I loved to capture things that were happening to me so I could remember later. Then, when my trip to Ireland occurred, the published three-part story was about Ireland, but mostly why I travelled there. Then when I had a number of deaths close to me including my mother and sister, I wrote as a sort of therapy. Sounds weird I know, but writing helps me to cope, to make it through those first few months without those closest to me. When my sister died, I wrote the children’s book that she had always talked about writing, Fiona, the Lighthouse Firefly. It’s on Amazon and I started a scholarship fund in her name and the proceeds go into that. I had been working on She’s Not You for years, it had another name and the characters were even different. It was good but not great. Finally, I took a stimulating on-line writing workshop last winter and ended up rewriting much of it and then said… let it fly. The rest is history as they say. The feedback on the story has been awesome.

Generally, how long does it take you to write a book?
Well since I’m never writing just one book, it’s hard to say. I find that if I have three or so manuscripts going at the same time, I can work on one and when I feel bored with it, go back to another another, and keep switching… it’s keeps the stories fresh for me. I would say that it takes nine months to a year to have a good draft written.

Do you have a set schedule for writing or do you just go with the flow?
I write every day… four to six hours or so.

What is your writing routine once you start a book?
I’m the type of writer who is always editing as I write. I know a lot of writers like to push out that first draft and then edit, but I HAVE to edit as I go along. So when I finish that so-called first drat, it’s in pretty good condition.

What about your family, do they know not to bother you when you are writing - or are there constant interruptions?

When I’m in my office/studio, it’s quiet. I have my radio on, my view outside the window, and I’m in the zone.

What do you do to relax and recharge your batteries?
It sounds silly probably, but writing relaxes me. I usually take a break and go for a long walk with my husband. I like to garden and just working in the soil relaxes me… but my real recharging spot is Wellfleet on Cape Cod… my home away from home. I spent summers there as a kid and so I go there and let the memories wash over me. We also love to travel and that’s always fun.

What truly motivates you in general? In your writing?
I’m a very high energy person, so motivation isn’t necessary. In my writing? I think creating the best characters I can and building a great story around them. I truly love the process of writing.

Where do your ideas come from?
A lot of my stories come from my imagination… some come from reading a newspaper or magazine where an incident strikes me. I can then build a story around it.

Do you feel humour is important in mystery/romance and why?
Not really in my type of storytelling, but when I wrote the children’s books, the Fiona series, I included some humorous events for the characters to go through.

What are your thoughts on love scenes in romance novels, do you find them difficult to write?
I don’t find them difficult to write mostly because I don’t make them too explicit… I’ve always loved to read slow building love scenes. I think that’s how it happens in life. You are attracted to someone for whatever reason and the affection grows sometimes without you even realizing, there’s the look, the touch, the dance, the kiss and before you know it, bam. At that point I close the door and leave my characters alone … J

What kind of research do you do?
I do a lot of research, even when I think I know the characters and settings well. In the about to be released story set in the 19th century, I had to research outfits, ships, trading routes, what women studied, how long they were in mourning, etc. For the Paris one, even though I’m very familiar with Paris, the characters drive outside the city to places I’ve visited but I have to make sure I was remembering them correctly.

Would you like to write a different genre than you do now, or sub-genre?
I don’t really think so… I’m very content with the stories that I’m writing now. I wrote the travel stories, the three part series about Ireland, I’ve written two children’s books… and I must say that writing for children is very difficult, but I loved it. Nope, I’m really right where I want to be.

What does your husband/wife/boyfriend/girlfriend think of your writing?
He’s in awe of what I do, given that my career has always kept me in the technical world. He calls me the Renaissance woman J

Do you ever ask him/her for advice?
Absolutely not. He waits until the manuscript is done and then reads it.

Please tell us about yourself (family, hobbies, education, etc.)
I grew up in a great family – I was always encouraged to do my best. My parents were 1st generation Americans and so to them, education was very important. Given they had three girls, to my Dad, it was always important that his “girls” could survive on their own. Thus we were all very well educated… my degrees are in Mathematics and Physics with a Masters in Computer Engineering. I do the same in my family, encouraging all to study hard. As I said earlier, I garden, walk, paint, knit… I’ve tried it all.

Fill in the blank favorites –
Dessert – something dripping with chocolate; City – I love every city I’ve visited/worked in – Paris, Madrid, Rome, London… LA, Seattle, Dallas, Honolulu, and tons of others, but I always come back to Boston: Season – Spring, when everything is coming alive; Type of hero – strong but flawed, not too confident, but able to speak his mind; Type of heroine - vulnerable but resilient, intelligent, good listener, but strong-headed when necessary.

What are some of your favorite things to do?
Walk… the beach. Spend time with family.

Do you have a favorite author? Favorite book?
I like a lot of authors… I love reading Nora Roberts novels, even her paranormal ones. I love the House on Oyster Creek by Heidi Jon Schmidt – she writes to you can see and feel and smell your surroundings. My goal is to write like that.

Who are some of your other favorite authors to read?
I think I answered that in the previous question.

What do you think of critique groups in general?
If you mean writers group, I’m all for it. There is nothing better than having other eyes read your material and constructively tell you when you missed the mark. I’ve always been in a writers group… what a way to learn from other writers. I’m not a fan of the groups that meet and write. I like to write on my own and submit the piece to the others via email and then discuss it when we get together.

Where do you see yourself in five years?
Sitting there on the Best Seller List and walking down that red carpet at the premier of my story J If you don’t have dreams, what do you have.

How long have you been writing - have you always wanted to be a writer?
I’ve been writing forever. In my career I’ve written technical books and papers galore. And yes, I’ve always wanted to write creatively, but it took some work to be able to do it and do it fairly well.

How many books have you written, how many have been published?
She’s Not You is my first published novel – but not my last. As I said earlier, I had a three part travel log published as well as a short story and then the two children’s books.
After you've written your book and it's been published, do you ever buy it and/or read it?
Funny but I love to go back to the Fiona books and read those… with the illustrations, they still strike me cute.

Among your own books, have you a favorite book? Favorite hero or heroine?
As I said above, I love Fiona the Firefly and all her animal friends. As for the adult books, I always fall in love with my male characters J

What book for you has been the easiest to write? The hardest? The most fun?
As I said earlier, the children’s books are the hardest I think. You have to write at their level… not easy. The adult novels are always fun or I wouldn’t be writing them.

Which comes first, the story, the characters or the setting? What are the elements of a great romance for you?
I think the story comes first and then the characters. But now that I say that, obvious in the sequel I’m writing, the main characters are fixed so that makes the story the only thing. In my new novels, I think finding that nugget of a story that I can’t wait to write about comes first and then I introduce my characters to the story and let them lead me through the chapters. My setting usually comes with the story.

What is the hardest part of writing/the easiest for you?
I think the hardest part of writing is building a character or set of characters that are believable and that my readers care about. If they don’t care about the characters, they aren’t going to care about the book. The easiest part is following the characters through the story.

Have you experienced writer's block---> If so, how did you work through it?
I haven’t. Most of the time I can’t wait to get back to writing so I can find out what my characters are up to today.

What is the most rewarding thing about being a writer?
For me, creating a character or two and making them come to life on the page. How can you beat that? And then, have someone else love them like you do.

If you weren't writing, what would you be doing?
Painting. I’m also a professional watercolorist and painting is my second love. It was my first, but I have to admit, I’d rather be writing than painting these days.

Are there any words of encouragement for unpublished writers?
First, study your craft. Writing is not something that comes naturally. You need to read, invest in magazines that have good articles and guidance like Writers Magazine. Take course, join writers groups and lastly, study your craft. J Never give up. You have to put in the time and effort if you want to produce a good product.

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