This is the first in a series of interviews on self-published authors I will be running. Some of the authors are very successful and sell hundreds of books a month, while others have enjoyed more modest success. Their backgrounds, writing styles, and genres may be different, but they all have one thing in common; the desire to share the stories inside their heads that are clamoring to get out.
I first met Judy Howard at a Gypsy Journal RV Rally in Yuma, Arizona and was impressed by her dedication to succeeding as an independent author.
Where Do You Live: Sun City, California
What Genre Are Your Books: My first book, Coast To Coast With A Cat And A Ghost, is a memoir. My second book, Going Home With A Cat And A Ghost, is a mystery-romance. My current work in progress, Invisible Heroes, will be realistic.
Coast To Coast With A Cat And A Ghost
Going Home With A Cat And A Ghost
Tell Us About Your Background: I was born in Illinois and attended the University of Illinois, Champaign. I have owned and operated a pet grooming salon, The Canine Beauty Salon, since I was eleven years old. After my husband of 25 years died in 2004, I began traveling more in my motorhome, and three years ago I began writing.
How Long Have You Been Actively Writing: Only three years, but I am addicted and cannot stop.
Indie or Trade Published: Working as a self-employed business owner all my life, becoming an Indie Author came naturally.
E-books Or Printed: My books are available in print and as e-books.
Is Writing A Fulltime Activity, And If Not, What Is Your Regular Job: I am transitioning to retirement from my dog grooming business. I will write full time by the end of the year.
Who Are Some Of Your Favorite Authors: I am fickle. I am drawn to what I am researching at the moment. When I had time to read for pleasure, I did not seek out the great American novels, but was attracted to the mainstream authors, Nora Roberts, Joseph Wambaugh, James Patterson, Jean Auel and even Daniel Steele. As an author now, I regret not mentioning them all. But today, Carlos Luis Montelvan’s, Until Tuesday, Garth Stein’s, The Art Of Racing In The Rain are just a few.
What Brought You To Indie Publishing: As I said before, I have been self-employed all my life and I found it difficult to partner with others, and am glad now that I didn’t. I have many author friends, many who have publishers who have not made them wealthy, so what can I say?
What Is Your Writing Schedule: I write every chance I get. Many times my grooming business and my traveling threaten to push my writing aside. If I allow that to happen I get irritable and restless. So, for the most part, I rise between five and six A.M. to insure writing time, before reality takes over the day.
What Are Your Writing Goals: My goal is to be completely retired from my grooming business so that I may travel and write. My hope is my books will inspire and bring change to my readers’ lives.
How Do You Promote Your Books: I mainly blog and Twitter. I attend as many book signings and author affairs as I am able. I support other authors. I am a strong believer in a supportive community of authors. I also perform writing workshops to inspire others who have the desire to write but have not yet delved into the sea of words.
Where Do Or Would You Like To See Yourself In 5 Years: Writing and traveling. I hope that I will be an author of some prominence, traveling, speaking, and writing.
What Do You See As The Future For Indie Authors: I have always believed in capitalism – the concept of competition and theory of supply and demand. Social media has made it possible for an author to soar to the bestseller’s list, if he/she writes well. As always, if you do quality work and work your ass off, you will survive and thrive.
What Advice Would You Give A New Indie Author: I forget what best-selling author said this, but I will paraphrase: Work from daylight to dusk, and rewrite, rewrite, rewrite.
What Else Would You Like Our Readers To Know About You: First of all, through my research for my current book, Invisible Heroes, I have acquired a deep feeling of gratitude to all of our veterans. Second, I am always asked if I am afraid, traveling alone. The answer is, “Yes, but I do it anyway.” And third, I am asked why I write. My answer is the same as President John Kennedy’s when he explained why we choose to go to the moon. I choose to write not because it is easy, but because it is hard.
Blog and websites:
Thanks Judy, I wish you much success in your publishing efforts.
Tags: best-selling author, e-books, Favorite Authors, great American novel, independent author, Indie Publishing, James Patterson, Jean Auel, Joseph Wambaugh, mainstream authors, mystery book, Nora Roberts, romance book, self-published authors, Twitter, write full time, Writing Schedule, writing styles
Posted by Nick Russell Publishing Subscribe to RSS feed
12 Comments on Indie Author Interview – Judy Howard
Ashley Kopp says:
January 9, 2013 at 4:25 pm
Oh, I can tell already that I’m going to love this new blog series! I love getting to know the people behind the covers of the books I read.
Larry Linford says:
January 9, 2013 at 4:54 pm
Good interview Nick. I’m looking for ward to more.
Albert Benson says:
January 9, 2013 at 5:05 pm
Excellent interview, just the right length and format so it didn’t bore the pants off me. Keep it up, looking forward to the next one.
Sue Deering says:
January 10, 2013 at 12:39 pm
We met Judy at the Yuma rally but didn’t get back to get her books. I’m off to Amazon now to look for them.
Del Westheimer says:
January 10, 2013 at 12:41 pm
I’m looking forward this series Nick. As a new indie author myself, it will be interesting to get to know some of my peers, what makes them tick, and how they came to this point in their publishing careers.
Douglas Dunn says:
January 10, 2013 at 1:43 pm
Love this type of interview. Gives hope and perspective to others out there.
January 10, 2013 at 1:48 pm
Isn’t that the great thing about this RV lifestyle? We quickly learn to be independent! Sounds like a neat lady. We hope to meet her someday.
Susan Bell says:
January 12, 2013 at 1:31 am
I enjoyed reading about Judy’s story and how she got into self-publishing. Off to read her blog now.
Jim Parrish says:
January 12, 2013 at 9:04 am
I know Judy and I am impressed with her work ethic and dedication. I am sure she will be successful and enjoy the journey as much as the destination.
Cheryl Keeffe says:
January 12, 2013 at 11:05 am
Thank you for starting this series of interviews. I met Judy through the Gypsy Journal and look forward to the day our paths converge. I’ve joined Penwheels now and search out any chance to hook up with other writers while on the road. My goal is to be one of your interviews someday, so I guess I’d better keep working on my memoir!
Sandy Brown says:
January 12, 2013 at 1:55 pm
Judy is so full of life it is very interesting to follow her writing just to see what she is up to next. Her interview was done so well that it was informative and insightful. Good idea, the author interviews.
Too Much Tina says:
January 12, 2013 at 2:19 pm
Excellent interview! I’m looking forward to reading more of your site. Judy is amazing to me! Her strength and kindness exude from every pore in her body!
By Shirley Wible, Literary Arts Chair, Arts Council Menifee
Judy Howard had been a dog groomer since she was 11 years old. She loved it and the pups loved her back… but after retiring from ownership of the local Canine Beauty Salon on Bradley Road in Menifee, she was ready for something new, challenging and fun. Howard took a creative writing class in Hemet through the Mt. San Jacinto College, and after a 10 minute writing exercise about the color red, she was hooked. “Words just kept coming out – I couldn’t stop the flow” says Howard, “I continued the class because I discovered I liked it and it seemed I had a natural talent for writing”.
Three books later with two more in the making, Judy Howard knows who she is and what she wants to do for the rest of her life – “I am a writer… I need to write!”. The crazy thing is she never ever thought about writing before she took the creative writing class and certainly never thought that she would write a book. All her years living through adversities she felt as if she had something to express “and now I have found the outlet” Howard said gratefully.
This December Judy will be honored as the Arts Council Menifee’s “Artist of the Month”. She has been chosen for her body of work, support of the organization and her involvement with the local community.
Born and raised in Springfield Illinois Judy moved to southern California in the early 1970’s and has lived in the area ever since.
Her first book “Coast to Coast With a Cat and a Ghost” is a memoir centered around a trip she took in her RV across the country. She had two companions traveling with her – her cat and a ghost who was a stuffed full-sized figure who rode shotgun beside her and took on the characteristics and attributes of her late husband. Judy kids that he was to be a protection for a single woman traveling alone but he often gave her driving advice and chided her when she missed a turn or got a little lost. “This was supposed to be a fun travelogue” she said “but I discovered through the writing that I was working out many personal issues about living with an abusive husband”.
Her second book, “Going Home with a Cat and a Ghost”, became a story with many of the same characters from the first book who were projected into a fictional future. This one focused on a school reunion and a past romance. “This one was fun!” said Howard.
The third book, “Masada’s Marine”, takes on a much more serious subject – PTS symptoms and the miraculous healings of service dogs. Judy remarked that the research for this book was intense and very difficult – finding out information concerning veterans and their difficulties after returning home was emotional and disturbing. More than anything she wanted to get the facts right and represent the situation truthfully. For her this was a labor of love.
Howard is now working on a sequel to her third book and, for relief, a book with the working title “Sportster’s Adventures” about a cat who escapes from a road trip into the wild only to decide to head for home and all that happens to him along the way.
Howard has been an Arts Council Menifee patron for about 3 years. She is a member of Sisters In Crime and the Inland Empire’s California Writers Club. She is in the top 10 percent of Amazon’s Author Ranking. Howard presents workshops and seminars at libraries, schools, RV rallies, and senior centers. She would like to do the same at Veteran’s Centers “because writing is healing” as she, herself, has discovered.
Howard occasionally will do in-home dog grooming as she still loves it and “it’s a big part of my life”.