Tell us about your new release. What is it about, and what inspired you to write it?
'Wolves in the Woods' is a young adult, dystopian with a touch of romance. What it is really about is survival. The main character, Braelin, loses everything to a virus known as C47 including her whole family. She is now alone and has to learn to survive in every way possible. She has to learn to feed herself, to protect herself, and to survive her grief and loneliness. Along the way, she meets two brothers, Timber and Aravon. Timber is the leader of a gang known as the "Wolves." Aravon is the little brother trying to control his older brother. They both fall in love with Braelin and she once again has to survive when one hurts her and one betrays her. Even love can be hard in the world after an apocalypse.
Braelin's story of survival is a reflection of myself. When I was fifteen, my twin brother was killed in an accident with a handgun. Like her, my whole world fell apart. I have been through a lot in my life. I have also had some major health problems including, Chiari, which almost killed me and required me to have brain surgery when my kids were two and eight months old. But like Braelin, I am tough. I survived it all. I have worked through my grief and depression from losing my twin, and I am now happy and doing what I love. Writing has been my source of healing and my place of joy.
Is there a sequel? What other projects do you have in the works?
Yes, ‘Wolves in the Woods’ is a series, and I have finished two other books. ‘Wolves in the City,’ which finds Braelin out of her normal comfort zone of the big woods of Wisconsin and into the nearest mega city where survivors of C47 have survived in very different ways, is book two. Then ‘Wolves in School,’ which switches things a bit by following a new character, Braelin's daughter and the next generation to have survived the virus. The final book in the series is called ‘Wolves in the World’ and that is what I am working on now. I have also written a children's picture book, which I will be pursuing publication for and a non-fiction book about grief and healing titled ‘Death Sucks, Life Doesn't Have To,’ which is geared towards teenagers.
What are you reading now? Stephen King says, “If you don't have time to read, you don't have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.” Are you an avid reader?
Oh yes! I love to read. I am usually reading several books at the same time. One for fun, one to learn something, and one about parenting or teaching. I am currently reading, ‘Population 485’ by Wisconsin author Michael Perry, who I met at a conference last month. I am also reading a book called ‘The Brain That Changes Itself’ by Norman Doidge, which although it reads like a textbook, is a fascinating look at brain plasticity.
What advice would you give to someone who was just starting out as a writer? Should they write for the industry?
I think that writing should be something you do for yourself. If you try and write for someone else, you tend to lose something in your writing, and readers will pick up on that. My advice would be to write something that you are interested in and passionate about. If you love it and are passionate about it, others will be too.
What advertising has worked best for you so far?
I think marketing is a double-edged sword. It has to be a balance between social media, online advertising, picking up the phone, making appearances, and people actually hearing what you have to say. I am a fairly assertive person, so I have not been afraid to call local libraries and bookstores and it has been very successful so far. They are all people who love books too, and if you are proud and excited about your work, they pick up on that and they get excited too.
Thank you so much, Judy, for hosting me on your blog today. Here are links that will help your readers get more information on me and my books.
To pre-order Wolves in the Woods: http://www.blackrosewriting.com/childrens-booksya/wolves-in-the-woods
My book trailer: http://youtu.be/962KV_vw1_g