Friday, March 20, 2015

Interview with Judith Works, CITY OF ILLUSIONS

Can you give us a brief overview of your latest book? Is it part of a series?
City of Illusions is a story of a wife who longs for a change – Laura’s marriage has grown stale, she is childless, and her career is going nowhere. She is nearing 30 and life is passing quickly. Determined to find a more interesting life, she talks her husband into moving to Rome, Italy where she has found a one-year job. He decides he will take up painting while she works. They expect to find la dolce vita waiting for them but Rome has different plans – life suddenly becomes complicated as it swings from dull to dramatic as their paths diverge. The novel is stand-alone although some readers have suggested I continue the Laura’s story.

What factors influenced your decision to go with a particular agent or publisher?
I considered attempting to find an agent, but because of the long process involved and the uncertain results I submitted to a small press, Booktrope, who accepted the manuscript for publication. They are what is called a team publisher with the book manager, editor, proofreader, cover designer and publicist all sharing in costs and profits. So far it is working well.

If you used a graphic designer/publisher’s designer, how involved were you during the creative process for your cover?
Booktrope has a large selection of cover designers who contract with them. I contacted Greg Simanson who had excellent recommendations and whose covers I liked. I gave him some concepts to work with – I wanted a cover similar in style to the cover for my memoir about living in Rome, Coins in the Fountain, but with emphasis on the title of the book, City of Illusions. He came up with several concepts and I tried them out on friends. After about 4 tries we settled on the current cover which has received good reviews.

What is your writing process? Do you listen to music or do you like silence?
I do most of my writing in my office. I have the local classical music station on as a background. My office is filled with inspiration – mementos of Italy in the form of posters, photos, and a large collection of books about Rome and Italy.

Do you outline your story or just go where your muse takes you?
I did a basic outline of the story, particularly the beginning and end. Then I let the characters take over to find their own paths. And when their paths diverged I let them deal with the results of their decisions.

Did you hire an editor to review your manuscript before publishing?
I hired two different editors during the writing process. After the first one made a number of comments I did a big re-write and then hired a different editor to have a fresh look.  

What kinds of marketing [twitter, facebook, blog, forums] are you involved with for promoting your book(s)?
I arranged a book launch at our local bookstore, appearances at writing groups, and book clubs. I have also had interviews for local papers, and my blog tour will be launching in March. I am on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and have a website. My blog ( is devoted to travel stories from my journeys around the world.

Do you find it difficult to juggle your time between marketing your current book and writing your next book?
I do find it difficult. All advice is to be on social media but it is time consuming. As a consequence the draft of my next book is gathering dust. I plan to get back to it as soon as the blog tour is over. (And my home needs dusting!)

What advice would you give a new author just entering into the self-publishing arena?
All writing is hard work whether it is eventually published by one of the big five or by Create Space.
My memoir was self-published. Self-publishing in many ways is the same as professional publishing because you must have a good cover, and editing and proofreading are essential along with correct formatting. Therefore it is not cost free unless you are especially gifted. Self-publishing does have one advantage if it is an e-book: you can correct any errors you might find and upload again. And I think it is useful as a first step if you aspire to eventually securing an agent because you will learn a lot about the business as you go through the steps to getting your book out there.  

Besides writing, do you have any other passions?
I travel when I am not writing or volunteering for literary and arts organizations and writing. So many places to go, so little time! Last year my husband and I traveled in North America; this year we will be going abroad again to Italy and other locations. I will be seeking locations to place my characters in as the plot moves along. A good excuse to jump on a plane!

A yearning for change puts Laura on the road to Rome but her marital problems, muted in cool Seattle, become magnified in the glare of the Roman sun. Will she find happiness in the Eternal City or are her dreams only an illusion?

AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Life was routine until the author decided to get a law degree. Then a chance meeting led her to run away to the Circus (Maximus) – actually to the United Nations office next door – where she worked as an attorney in the HR department and entered the world of expat life in Rome. The ten years of happy and sometimes fraught experiences are the subject of her memoir, Coins in the Fountain. She continues to travel, having visited over 100 countries in between many journeys to Italy where she always tosses a coin in the Trevi Fountain to ensure a return to Rome. Judith and her husband now live near Seattle where she is working on her second novel.

Twitter:  @judithworks

Judith has a BS in Psychology, M Public Administration, JD from Lewis & Clark School of Law.  She has spent most of her career in Human Resources administration.  Judith is a member of Northwest Women Writers, past President of Edmonds Friends of the Library, board member for Edmonds Center of the Arts, vice-president EPIC Group Writers, and a member of PNWA and Willamette Writers.

Links to purchase City of Illusions:

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