About Judith Graves:
Judith Graves has multiple young adult novels and short stories published with Leap Books, Orca Book Publishers, Compass Press, and, under the pen name, Judith Tewes, is also published with Bloomsbury Spark. In addition, Judith is an award-winning screenwriter and playwright, writes freelance articles for literary magazines, and facilitates writing workshops for both adults and young adults. She lives in northern Alberta with her husband and their three crazy labs.
What inspires you to write?
I’ve always been drawn to the mysterious, the unexplained, and the downright creepy. I think my writing is a way of offering possible explanations for these things…or for giving them worlds to live in. I remember spending hours in our small public library, sitting on the floor in the mythology and folklore section with stacks of books around me. Not much has really changed, except that now I actually work in a school library and sit behind a desk instead of on the floor.
Tell us about your writing process.
I plot and plan and plot some more before writing a single word on a project. I’ve learned the hard way that if I don’t, I’ll lose steam, or lose track of the story and whatever I started will end up in a folder in my filing cabinet, never to see the light of day again. Once I have a viable outline, then I start to write and don’t stop until I get to the end. Here’s where the real work begins, in the revision stage. I’ll hack, slash, and re-evaluate my story structure. Create a new outline if needed and then take another pass at the story before sending to critique partners for their take. If you’re looking for a concise guide to developing a story outline / figuring out your plot BEFORE you commit all those glorious hours doing the writing, I highly recommend Save the Cat by Blake Snyder.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
Hmmm….I don’t necessarily have conversations with them, but I will often find myself saying their dialogue aloud, testing out how it sounds or how intense the language needs to be to get the feeling just right, or to test the tone, or pacing. This also helps me stay true to the voices of specific characters so I don’t end up with characters that all sound like the same person is speaking.
What advice would you give other writers?
Read. Write. Repeat. Yes, but also make time to play.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I spent a lot of time reading other author/agent/editor blogs, educating myself on the query process, so when I began to send work out, I sort of had the general idea about how it worked. My goal was to be traditionally published, but then I started out ten years ago when self-publishing and being an indie author was still frowned upon. If I was starting out today – I’d say go for everything. Work the traditional route, but also self-publish. However, self-publish WISELY. Polish your work, hire an editor, get a pro cover created, etc. This is the best time to be a writer. There are so many ways to get your work out in the world. But remember – publishing is a business. If you’re out to make a living at this, you need to be an artist, yes, but also be a smart content provider / business owner.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
In terms of publishing fiction, I believe in the enduring power of the written word. Fiction publishing will always exist in one form or another, because the world will always need stories that move us, call us to action, or simply provide a few moments of escape.
What do you use?: Co-writer, Professional Editor, Professional Cover Designer, Beta Readers
What genres do you write?: Paranormal, Horror, Thriller, Romance, Contemporary
What formats are your books in?: Both eBook and Print