Friday, March 13, 2015

Interview with women's fiction author Judith Works

Welcome, readers. Today’s special guest is Judith Works. She’s in the hot seat and talking about her new women’s novel City of Illusions.

While she tours this book with Goddess Fish Promotions, Judith will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble (winner’s choice) gift card to a lucky winner. To be entered for a chance to win, use the form below. To increase your chances of winning, feel free to visit her other tour stops and enter there, too.

Life was routine until Judith 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.

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.

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.

Welcome, Judith. Please tell us about your current release.
I recently released City of Illusions, a novel set in the expatriate world of Rome. It tells the story of a young woman who wants more from life than she has. Laura and her husband live in a childless marriage in Seattle. When she finds a one-year job in Rome she jumps at the opportunity in the hope that the adventure will give new life to their now-routine relationship. She persuades her husband to take a leave of absence and move to the Eternal City. But Jake, as a trailing spouse, is adrift as Laura learns her new job. He gets into difficulties and Laura, left alone to cope with the complexities of expat life, finds herself in situations she never imagined. Her journey through the maze of Rome and of her emotional life serve as the backbone of the story.

What inspired you to write this book?
I lived in Rome as an expat for ten years and wanted to relate some of the wonders and challenges of that life beyond those in my memoir, Coins in the Fountain. Some of the scenes are taken from my experiences, especially the food, wine, and ambience of the city. The book was also an opportunity to highlight the crime of antiquity theft, an enormous problem in Italy with almost daily revelations and arrests but the looting continues and Italy’s great artistic and historical patrimony continue to disappear. I was very pleased that a reviewer in Italy wrote that my descriptions of expat life and of tomb robbing was accurate.

Excerpt from City of Illusions:
Derrick took hold of Laura’s elbow and steered her into a room with fourteen-foot ceilings, plump upholstered chairs, and a sofa facing a grand fireplace. The honey-colored, waxed terracotta floors were covered with antique carpets. Heavy draperies framed tall windows.

French doors led to a terrace and a swimming pool covered for the winter. Beyond, a vineyard slept.

Jake followed behind filled with suspicion because Laura accompanied him so readily.

“Here’s home. Not much, but I think you’ll be comfortable.” He smiled at Laura and ignored Jake.

Jake was incensed at the slight and at the overblown luxury of the decor. Damned effete Europeans.

“Let’s have a sherry before I show you your room, where you can change. Better half should be here shortly.” At the sound of his voice a maid came into the room carrying a tray laden with sherry, glasses, and an assortment of snacks.

“Oh, Derrick, what a super…”

Jake cut her off. “I’d rather have bourbon. With ice. Sherry’s not my drink.”

Derrick obligingly went to a drinks cabinet but apologized for the lack of ice when he returned with a full tumbler. Jake continued to ignore Laura, who he knew was silently willing him to be more civil. His attention gravitated to a row of shelves above the fireplace. They held several undecorated black pots, a few more with red figures of gods and goddesses around the bowl, two small bronze statues covered in verdigris, and several marble pieces, including a sandaled foot missing its little toe.

What exciting story are you working on next?
I’m writing some flash fiction for fun while plotting my next story. It will be partly set in Rome and will have a murder taking place in an Etruscan burial ground. For City of Illusions I have both the obelisks so prevalent in Rome and a copy of a small statuette of an antique flute player to accompany Laura on her journey. Now I have to think of what talisman my protagonist will have in the new book. Suggestions welcome!

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
After years of producing boring legal briefs and administrative missiles I finally decided I was a writer when I published the memoir. The success inspired me to continue putting my fingers to the keyboard.

Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
I’d like to say I write full time but it’s not true. I am very active in a number of writing groups in my local area including serving on the steering committee for the annual Write on the Sound Literary Conference in Edmonds, Washington, and on the board of directors for our local center for performing arts. I also travel frequently. Will be off to Italy again soon but I have visited over 100 countries so far. I carry a note pad and take loads of photos to capture the moment.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I don’t know if it is a quirk, but I keep a pen and notepad beside my bed in case of a midnight thought, but writing in the dark isn’t very effective because I often can’t read it in the morning.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be an artist of some kind, preferably a painter. But I soon found I had no talent so I visit a lot of museums and galleries and look longingly at others’ works. No talent for music either. I (tried) to play the oboe with bad results and put that story in the book. I have settled with a collection of paintings purchased during my travels and listening to music while I write.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
I hope readers enjoy the depictions of beautiful Rome and also the story of a woman’s journey to fulfillment.

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Thanks, Judith!


Goddess Fish Promotions said...

Thanks for hosting!

MomJane said...

I really enjoyed your comments about your travels. This book sounds really interesting.

Unknown said...

Interesting book and interview.

Karen H said...

Enjoyed reading your interview today

Judith Works said...

Thanks for hosting Lisa!

Rita Wray said...

I enjoyed the interview.

Mai T. said...

The impressive cover is my favorite part!