I met Judy Colella several years ago on a site, Bookrix that has evolved into a publishing site that is basically self-publishing. I found the site to be, for the most part, a place to hone one's ability but for me, I was getting too comfortable in writing and not going forward into publishing. Judy has remained on the site with the ability to look outward and now is reaching for better advertising of her books.
Her writing is wonderful. She can grab you with a short story or a tome of hundreds of pages, keep your interest, and have you looking for more. She carved out a few moments of her time to answer some questions ~
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
I believe my desire to write started when I was nine; I loved making up
stories with my friends, and thought I should probably write some of them down.
How long does it take you to write a book?
Depending on what, why, and what’s happening in my life, it takes
anywhere from a week to three weeks for the first draft. Once in a while,
it might take a month, but that’s only if I find myself dealing with a ton of
outside distractions. To finish one complete with edits and rewrites, I’d say
it takes around two months of steady work, but rarely much longer.
What is your work schedule like when you are writing?
Since I don’t have a job that requires me to leave the house, I usually get
started writing after I’ve done all the morning things – cleaning, laundry,
updating Facebook, checking emails, etc.That means I normally start
between noon and one o’clock. I write for about two to three hours, take a
break, write another hour or so, break for supper, do a re-read of what I’ve
written, do a surface edit, and then kick back and watch Netflix for a
couple of hours. If I get an idea during that time, I’ll do a little writing after
the shows are over and before finally staggering off to bed.
What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I can’t work with music on; I tried that once, and ended up writing a short
story that…it was bizarre (not Beethoven’s fault, I swear!). I’m also
obsessive about typos and spelling, so I tend to re-read what I’ve done
approximately every five paragraphs.
How do books get published?
At the moment, I use CreateSpace. I’ve been in touch with another
company that offers to do a lot of the marketing for me (at a price, of
course), but for now, I like the way CreateSpace does things.
Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?
The information comes from a variety of sources – text books that deal in
some aspect of the story line, Colliers’ Encyclopedia (hard copy set),
various encyclopedia sources on the internet, local university professors,
and source books at the library. The ideas come from some spooky vortex
lurking around in the center of my mind.
When did you write your first book and how old were you?
My first book was written in 1964 sometime before October – I was
ten years old.
What do you like to do when you are not writing?
Play the piano, go do karaoke, work on craft projects, crochet, read, do
What does your family think of your writing?
They love to tell people I’m a writer, but none of them have read any of my
books yet. I complained to God about that one day, about how I can’t get
my own family to read my book, and he said, “Yup. I know how you feel.”
What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your
That writing was the easy part. Writing, researching, editing, etc. are sheer
joy for me. What I hadn’t realized is all the work a writer has to do once
the book is done – specifically, the marketing aspect.
How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?
If you count the novelettes, the stories I’m still working on but that are
almost done, and the short stories that are completed but that are being
put together into a collection according to the genre, over 70. I’ve written
twelve completed, full-length novels.
Do you have any suggestions to help me become a better writer? If so, what
Be patient with yourself and those around you, keep falling in love with
your characters, and always keep a grammar book nearby.
Of course, from what I know about your writing and the stories of yours that I’ve read, you could probably give me some great suggestions!
Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?
I don’t yet have thousands of readers…or hundreds…hmm. But I do hear
from those who have purchased the books, and almost every time I talk to
them, their first question is, “When is the next book in the series coming
Do you like to create books for adults?
I do, and I have. The MacDara series is for all ages, but I’ve also written a
number of others that are for an older audience. Some of those I’ve written
under my pen name (A J Cole), since they tend to be a little darker, and
even include some horror.
What do you think makes a good story?
Aside from good grammar, spelling, syntax, and format, situations with
which most readers can relate, and characters that are “real” in terms of
dialogue and actions, and who are likeable, make good stories. If the
character is doing things that defy the laws of physics (like looking over
someone’s shoulder even though they are standing back-to-back), or if the
main character is too perfect, the reader will lose interest as a rule.
Another thing I’ve learned that can be vital to a story being considered a
good one is enough description to give the reader a visual context,
without making the narrative too wordy or drowning in adverbs. Wait – did
I say too much there?
As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
That changed from one year to the next. At first, I wanted to be a mommy
with ten children. I have no idea why. Then I wanted to be an actress and
singer. Then a reclusive harpist who lived in either a cave or a castle
(seriously). After that, I wanted to be a famous singer and writer. By that
time, I think I was about twelve. Eventually, I settled on musician/writer, or
writer/musician depending on my mood, and that’s where it stayed.
If you are familiar with any of Judy Colella's writing or music, you are grateful she settled into that last niche. Check her out at the links below:
Judy has a Book Marketing Go Fund Me - check it out here
Website - The MacDara Chronicles
Check out a short insight on her life at This and That