Join Our Author Chat with Bruce Judisch

Welcome, Readers!

quimbypondfrontfinalToday we’re chatting with Bruce Judisch, author of Quimby Pond, Katia, and For Maria, among other novels. You can find Bruce on Facebook at bit.ly/2euVgkJ.

*** Join the chat below, and you’ll be entered into a drawing for a copy of Quimby Pond or both Katia and For Maria. Winner’s choice! Winner announced here on Tuesday, Nov. 1.*** 

*** Woo Hoo! GIVE-AWAY RESULTS! Bruce has graciously offered two give-aways! Congratulations to Lora D and Carlene H who participated in this interesting chat.

Stay tuned, folks, for another interview with another interesting author coming up tomorrow on this same station.

 ~ ~ ~


Bruce Judisch, Our Guest of Honor

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Thank you, Bruce, for your willingness to be the center of attention this week. We’d love to know a bit about your pre-author life and your debut experience. Tell us about your books and a little something about what you’ve learned along the way. Any advice for aspiring authors?

 

Pre-Author Life of Bruce Judisch

Although I’ve lived in Texas longer than I have anywhere else, I confess to being a transplanted Yankee (gasp!). bruce-and-jennie_judischIt’s true. Northeast Ohio has the dubious honor of claiming me as a native son. 

However, I left the Buckeye State when I enlisted in the Air Force at the shiftless age of 18. I married my high-school sweetheart, Jeannie, at the more mature age of 19. She has busied herself keeping me out of trouble ever since—well, mostly out of trouble.

cavalierkcsNow, after nearly 44 years of marriage, 23 household moves, 3 children, 14 grandchildren, and 2.5 careers, we’ve settled in Universal City, Texas with our two Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, Charlie and Raleigh. 

Becoming a writer

I believe I’ve made about every mistake possible in developing the craft and approaching the industry. In fact, if there are any pitfalls I’ve missed—which is doubtful—I’d really rather not hear about them because I’d probably manage to backtrack and stumble into them too. Yes, I’m that thorough. However, despite a naïve plunge into the murky waters of vanity publishing—I know, I know! I told you I’ve done it all—and bumbling pitches to agents and editors, I’ve still quite enjoyed the ride. And I hope I’ve managed to push out at least a few decent chapters of prose along the way.

It Began as an Idea 

Looking back the notion of writing fiction came to me rather late in life. More accurately, it came to Jeannie, one of her ideas for keeping me out of trouble. Let me explain.

journeybegunAbout 14 years ago, I was teaching a Sunday School series through the Minor Prophets. As I researched Jonah, it struck me how unique a character he was and how little we really know about him and his journey. During the introduction to that block of lessons, I made the mistake of saying, “If I were ever to write a novel, it would be about Jonah.” After class, Jeannie elbowed me in the ribs, looked at me in that way she does, and said, “Well…?” I shrugged and replied, “Okay.”

Debut Experience

wordfulfilledAnd so was born A Prophet’s Tale, currently in two parts, The Journey Begun and The Word Fulfilledwith a final volume, The Promise Kept, underway. A Prophet’s Tale retains the Scriptural integrity of Jonah’s ministry, but fills in fictional characters and settings to propel the story along. It’s not so much a novelization of the Book of Jonah as it is Jonah-the-person’s story. (Tweet That!)

Other novels

final-front-covermaria-high-resInterrupting “Tale” between the second and third volumes were Katia (so far, the easiest and most fun to write) and its rather unexpected sequel For Maria (so far, the most research intensive and emotionally exhausting to write). Both employ a favorite technique of dual contemporary and historical storylines. The historical focus of Katia is the Cold War in East Germany.  For Maria recounts the Kindertransport during WWII. (Tweet That!)

The Latest from Bruce Judisch

quimbypondfrontfinalThe most recent escapee from my keyboard is Quimby Pond, a mystery-suspense set in the mountains of northern Maine. Quimby Pond has a true historical seed. Its sequel (with the innovative working title of QP2) is also on the assembly line.

 

Bruce Judisch’s Quimby Photo Album

quimbypond-the-pondOn a research trip to the setting of Quimby Pond, the Rangeley Lakes region of NW Maine, I snapped these photos.  

Setting of a crux scene in Quimby Pond. This is the pond in May (still mostly frozen). The story takes place in October. Try to imagine autumn leaves.

quimby_grave-stone

What rural murder mystery is complete without an old cemetery scene? Notice the name on the headstone and epitaph, “Respected in life, lamented in death.” Some of the old markers held poetry about the deceased. There’s something about old graveyards with stones that speak of a passed loved one. Has anyone else seen a memorable gravestone you’d like to share?

quimby_historical-society

Another scene from Quimby Pond takes place at the Rangeley Lakes Historical Society, a must-visit if you make it to Rangeley. A friend I made on my trip is standing at the left of this panoramic shot. His first name is Jim. Can you guess his surname? (Quimby, of course.)

quimbyiga

This was freaky, but in a neat sort of way. One of the Quimby Pond scenes I wrote is at the IGA grocery store in Rangeley. My heroine goes into the store with the sky clear. She comes out, and it’s raining. When I visited Rangeley for research, of course I had to go to the IGA. I went in when the sky was clear. I came out, and it was like this:

quimby_moose

 

 

Who says writing novels isn’t dangerous?  (Tweet That!)

 

Encouragement and Advice

If I were to offer any advice to aspiring writers, it would probably be this: You may have heard the old adage, “Write what you know.” Okay, but what if what you know is really boring? Instead, write what you judisch_bruce-and-holl_kristiwould want to read, and write it in a way that you would want to read it. If you don’t know it, learn it along the way.

~ ~ ~

Dear Lord, how amazing are Your ways. Little did Bruce know as he was preparing for his lesson on the Minor Prophets that You would place a Jonah call on him. We’re thankful he has been faithful to the call. We pray You’ll continue to use Bruce to tell of Your goodness by blessing his writing and publishing efforts. For Jesus’ sake ~

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9 thoughts on “Join Our Author Chat with Bruce Judisch

  1. Lora D

    This was such a fun interview! I especially appreciate Bruce’s wise advice: “write what you would want to read.” I can’t wait for the sequel to Quimby Pond, too. 🙂

     
     
  2. Quimby Pond was a great read. I’m looking forward to the sequel!

     
     
    1. Bruce C Judisch

      Thanks so much, Kelly. That’s high praise coming from you. 🙂

      Cheers! Bruce

       
       
  3. I loved reading this interview!

     
     
    1. Bruce’s perspective on things is cool, isn’t it, Carlen? I enjoyed interviewing him.

       
       
    2. Bruce C Judisch

      Thanks, Carlene! It was a lot of fun to write.

      Cheers! Bruce

       
       
  4. Linda, you’ll never run out of interesting characters to interview in Texas–Bruce Judisch, being the latest. I love it when authors speak about their path to publication with such transparency. Sometimes we think we’re alone in all our mistakes. I love Bruce’s sense of humor! I suspect I’d get along with his wife because I’ve nudged my husband into writing, too.

     
     
    1. You and Bruce would get along, Clarice. Not only is he interesting, but he’s a great writer with a humorous take and unusual ideas for stories. I lived in West Germany during the Cold War and visited East Germany, so his Katia brought back a bunch of memories. Fascinating.

       
       
    2. Bruce C Judisch

      Thanks so much for the kind words, Clarice. And I’m absolutely certain you’d get along with Jeannie. I often say that, when I want to make a good impression, I take Jeannie along. Otherwise, it can be pretty iffy… 🙂

      Cheers! Bruce

       
       

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First-Hand, one way or Another

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As a writer I attempt to develop believable fictional characters. But I share nothing in common with some of them. I possess no first-hand knowledge of their experiences. For example, how do I create a believable character who endured the Rockies and the threat of scalping?

First-Hand Experiences

Linda Jane Brooks_circa 1951The closest I’ve come to scalping was Mother detangling my rat’s-nest hair with a fine-toothed comb. Worse yet, such a combing after falling asleep with gum in my mouth. Or just after a home perm. Ouch.

The roughest first-hand travel I’ve experienced? A 1950s vacation from the Rio Grande Valley of Texas through the western U.S. Our Chevy had no air conditioning, so around the Panhandle of Texas, we rolled down the windows. Sweat had pasted our shirts and shorts to the vinyl seats. chevrolet-829805__340Gale-force winds whipped through the open windows. My brothers weren’t bothered in the least, but I endured the horror with clenched teeth. My neatly pony-tailed hair-do (I was OCD-ish about my hairUsener_GermanColonizatio165) swept into my eyes and around my head, stinging my face like a wild Texas sand storm. 

What did winning the West by foot, on horseback, or in wagons do to bodies? Covered wagons weren’t known for their comfy spring systems or plush upholstered seats. Something tells me I wouldn’t have made a hearty Westward covered-wagon-50631_960_720Ho traveler.

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Another flood twelve years after “the flood” of ’55

The Flood & Beyond

The closest I’ve come was an event we locals called “the flood” of 1955. Raymondville, Texas had had a lot of rain, to be sure. But the flood had more to do with the railroad tracks built down the center of town without proper drainage than what the rain gauge read. Water covered the land from the railroad tracks, past our farm four miles outside the city limits, and beyond.

We lived on a dirt road, so when it rained, we groaned. Our treks into town were precarious. Our car slipped and slid, sometimes into the ditch. (Daddy was called out of a deep sleep more times than once by an embarrassed teenaged boy who had “gotten lost” out in the country with his date beside him. Funny how it always happened on Saturday nights.)

tractor-and-trailer
Compared to our tractor and trailer of the ’50s, this get-up is fancy.

The road was a tad muddier than usual during the flood of ’55. We couldn’t see the road. Daddy hitched a cotton trailer to a tractor and we piled inside. It would have been an adventure, had it not been for the typhoid shots that left our arms red and swollen. The ride into town for school or church was ex-cru-ci-at-ing! (Yep, we donned go-to-meetin’ clothes every time the doors opened–rain or pain or nay.) Mother and I held onto our arms and bawled both ways.

Camping and Critters

1947_OnaBrooks-and-Linda1800s settlers slept under the stars after grueling 16+-hour days. On foot. Or in wagons without benefit of springs. The closest I’ve come? My grandmother’s screened porch without benefit of air conditioning or fans–in as hot and humid a climate as exists on planet Earth–the Rio Grande Valley. No critters have crawled over me as I sleep, or curled up beside me, or taken my life. For that I rely on the fear-inducing Valley mosquito and the giant, flying roaches. But then I can pull out mosquito-1332382_960_720my Off and be done with ’em. 

The closest my life experiences take me to cooking meals over an open fire and consuming them under the blazing sun? A picnic set on a blanket on a sandy slope. Or a cockroach-1572632__340backyard barbecue using plastic utensils. 

The Internet & Beyond

So thank the good Lord for the Internet. There’s the Online Handbook of Texas and the Oklahoma Historical Society and university archives and historical newspapers and a slew of other resources at my fingertips. I reckon He figured virtual traveling would challenge me sufficiently without setting me down in the Rockies in the 1800s.

So there you have it. First-hand, one way or another.

 Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the wilderness these forty years, to humble and test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands … Your clothes did not wear out and your feet did not swell during these forty years.
Deuteronomy 8:2,4

2 thoughts on “First-Hand, one way or Another

  1. What a good way to create characters! Just imagine yourself in the shoes of those who’ve gone before you! Love your memories, Linda. Sounds like you had a loving family.

     
     
    1. Indeed, Clarice. Love lived in our house. But so did a host of emotions. Like everyone else’s. I appreciate your comment, friend.

       
       

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