Hello, here is an interview with Judy Nedry, author of Blackthorn!
1) What is your author name and in what state do you live (or country if not in the US)?
Judy Nedry, Lake Oswego, OR
2) What is the title of your newest book and what is the genre?
BLACKTHORN Mystery genre, traditional gothic in the style of Rebecca or Jane Eyre
3) What is the book about?
Unlike my previous mystery novels, the Emma Golden Mystery Series, BLACKTHORN is a stand alone. It is the story of Sage Blackthorn, 30, a travel editor living in New York City who after high school left her family’s crumbling resort hotel on the Washington side of the Columbia River hoping never to return. Her life is upended when her older brother Ross, an unemployed alcoholic who lives at the Blackthorn Hotel and takes care of their senile grandmother, is found dead. Almost concurrently, Sage gets herself into terrible trouble in New York and takes a needed leave of absence from her job. Sage needs to find out what happened to Ross and reset her life. But when she returns to her former home she finds the situation there is much worse than she expected. And, in the gothic style, mysterious and creepy things begin to happen around her. She is haunted by her own demons and nightmares. A boat appears at the family moorage in the middle of the night…or did she imagine it? And that’s only the beginning.
4) Where did you come up with the idea?
I’ve loved gothics (the Bronte sisters, Victoria Holt, Daphne DuMaurier) since I was very young and always wanted to write one. The setting–the mysterious, moody Columbia River Gorge–seemed the ideal place, especially after I visited an old resort/spa there many years ago for a soak, wrap, and massage. The old building possessed the requisite creepiness. Then it was only a matter of finding the characters and the story to insert into this milieu. Not an easy thing to do. But for me, the setting has to be absolutely right, and then I can build the story around it.
5) How long did it take you to write it?
There were many changes in my life during the writing of BLACKTHORN. It took nearly four years to complete.
6) Did you learn anything from the project?
This was a big project for me, and I learned to keep working on it even through some very difficult times in my life. I trusted that this would be my best book to date, and that has proven true. I learned a lot more about character development and expanding scenes–lots of writerly things that the reader doesn’t necessarily plug into. And I learned even more about the importance of place in a novel.
7) Do you have an author website and/or blog?.
Yes, https://www.judynedry.com The website is where readers can learn more about my novels, read first chapters, order books…the usual things on a writer’s website. You can sign up for my monthly newsletter there and read past newsletters. I also review live theatre in the greater Portland area, and am just starting a regular feature where I review other mystery novels.
8) Do you have any success tips to pass on to fellow authors? How about any great editors/cover artists?
It’s up to the author to promote her work. In a market flooded with books it’s difficult to be seen and heard. I am always on the lookout for opportunities to interact with serious readers–people who actually will buy a print book or ebook. I love talking to readers and going to events. So I would say, promote, promote, promote. Learn how to discern between events that will benefit and those that will suck the life out of you.
It’s important to network. I am a member of Northwest Independent Writers Association, Sisters in Crime (national plus local chapter), and several online networking sites. Get your name out. Blog. Find a good designer for books (if your indie) and for your website. A local writers group such as Willamette Writers has plenty of names on file for designers, editors, etc.
Write every day. I journal each morning, whether or not I will find time to work on my books. Many of my ideas and observations and pithy comments are born on those pages to be used later.
Read the kind of books you want to write.
9) What genres do you like to read? Are you open to reading new authors and reviewing their work?
I devour mystery/suspense/thriller, and gravitate toward those by female authors. I like literary fiction when it’s not gimmicky or overwritten, and biography, and history. Yes, I will read and review new authors if they catch me with a good story.
10) What is your favorite book of all time and why?
GONE WITH THE WIND by Margaret Mitchell because it is an epic of American history that still resonates today. I’ve read it four times, and will probably read it again. Margaret Mitchell was an Atlanta native who grew up on the laps of people who lived through the Civil War and experienced the siege of Atlanta. Her journalistic skill and firsthand knowledge enabled her to depict the hubris and foolish eagerness with which the South embraced the Civil War, and its utter and complete fall. The breadth and depth of the book’s historical perspective still amaze me. And the lead character, Scarlett O’Hara, is a piece of work. She has many unlikable traits, but she is unforgettable for her strength, toughness, resourcefulness. Need a dress? Pull down some curtains. Man in the house? Shoot the bastard. Need a husband? Wiggle your finger. Scarlett is the original steel magnolia. And yet, because she is flawed, she brings about her own ruin: a tragic heroine, an indelible portrait of someone entirely wrapped up in herself.
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