Interview with Judy Nickles

Jen: Today we are happy to welcome Judy Nickles to Romancing the Book.  Judy is one of our reviewers and is also an author under the name Gwyneth Greer.  Judy, will you please share a short bio with us?

Judy: I’m a retired teacher who is finally pursuing her dreams of writing for publication. Also, I’m having my adolescent rebellion 50 years late and loving it!

Jen: Tell us about The Showboat Affair and where it’s available.

Judy: The Showboat Affair is the story of prominent attorney and long-time widower Nick Cameron and Jean Kingston, recently dumped by her unfaithful husband after thirty-three years of marriage. Nick is ready to love again, and Jean is attracted to him but determined to reinvent herself as an independent woman before she enters any new relationship. Her adult daughter and his law-partner can’t accept that their parents might actually be interested in romance. Worse, a series of near-misses convinces them that someone is determined to keep them apart, even if it means killing one or both of them.

Available from:,, and Digibooks Café

Jen: At what age did you discover writing and when were you first published? Tell us your call story.

Judy: I was born with a #2 pencil in my fat little fist. Actually, I wrote a story that my mother submitted to a children’s magazine, but they refused it (even back then!) because of it’s ‘religious leanings’. So I turned to crime and wrote “Fish Net”. (Dum-de-dum dum). Mostly, I wrote for my own entertainment, but after I retired, I decided it was now or never. Where Is Papa’s Shining Star? and the sequel, Finding Papa’s Shining Star were released by The Wild Rose Press’s Vintage Rose line in 2010.

Jen: Describe your writing in three words.

Judy: Realistic, hopeful, heartfelt

Jen: How do you approach your writing? Do you plot or go with the flow?

Judy: I like to do a certain amount of planning, which includes careful research, but once the story gets started, it just sort of goes where it wants to. Once the first draft is finished, I do a lot of revising and rewriting.

Jen: What is it about the romance genre that appeals to you?

Judy: Well, ‘they’ say that ‘love makes the world go ‘round.’

Jen: What kind of research did you do for this book?

Judy: I had visited Branson, Missouri, where the ‘sizzling’ part of the book takes place, but I needed to go back and check the details, especially about the hotel where I hadn’t stayed but where Nick and Jean enjoy a blissful week together. I verified locations in Houston, Texas, where the rest of the action happens, with travel guides and maps.

Jen: Do you become attached to your characters and have a hard time letting them go, or are you happy that their story is told and you can move on?

Judy: I’ve posted a poem about that on my website on The Reading Room page. Yes, I end up very attached to some characters and want to continue inventing events in their lives. I’ve been able to let go of Nick and Jean—not sure why—because I really, really like both of them.

Jen: Do you have a favorite character or one you most identify with?

Judy: I’m working on a series of six cozy mysteries—and I think Penelope Pembroke is going to be my all-time favorite character. When I was in grade school, my firm ambition was to be a ‘lady detective’, so Penelope is doing my sleuthing for me—or I’m doing it vicariously through her.

Jen: What five authors or people, from the past or present, have been important to you as an author? What question or comment have you always wanted to say to them?

Judy: I’d have to name my sophomore English teacher, Geneva Van Orden, who encouraged my writing with her generous comments while still holding me to the rules; my mother, who listened patiently to my typed tales; mystery authors like Mary Stewart and Victoria Holt, who drew me into their worlds and made me want to stay; and Grace Livingston Hill, a Christian romance author whose prodigious number of books taught me that you can always put a new spin on an old idea. What would I say to all them? Thank you.

Jen: Do you do anything special to celebrate a sale, new contract, or release?

Judy: I smile a lot!

Jen: What’s the most interesting comment you have received about your books?

Judy: “When I finished the first book, I certainly was glad there was a second!”

Jen: What do you do in your free time?

Judy: If I could find some, I’d tell you! I got rid of television, so I read, research, travel, chat with friends far and wide, and spend time with my granddaughters, Hanna (3 ½) and Aubrey (10 months). I’m honestly busier than when I worked full time!

Jen: What’s next for you?

Judy: Champagne Books recently contracted a romantic suspense; edits begin in July. I have another vintage romance submitted to a publisher, but that’s just in the consideration stage. And, I’m working on the Penelope Pembroke cozies and researching possible markets.

Jen: Where can you be found on the web?

Judy: Website: Someday Is Here
Blog: The Word Place
Facebook fan page:
Flickr: (writing related pictures)

Jen: Is there anything you’d like to ask our readers?

Judy: What makes a romance stand out? Leave your answer to this question on the poll at my website, if you like. I’ll turn the answers into a blog.

Jen:  I understand you have a contest for our readers.
Judy: Yes—visit my website and read the first chapter of The Showboat Affair by clicking ‘Excerpts’ and leave a comment. I’ll draw for a print copy of the book (in the continental US, pdf if outside). I’d say age 18 and up is appropriate—but then, I’m old-fashioned, I guess!

Thanks for having me here today! I’ve enjoyed it—and I love reviewing for Romancing the Book!

Readers, you heard Judy.  To enter the contest, go check out the excerpt (also available here) and then leave a comment with your email address.  The winner will be chosen on Sunday, May 1.

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