IT IS OUR PLEASURE TO WELCOME TO JUDY FITZWATER TO MY BOOK ADDICTION AND MORE TODAY….
Good morning Judy and welcome to My Book Addiction and More…
My dad was in the Air Force, so we moved around a good bit when I was young. That means I don’t really have a hometown and that’s something I’ve always missed. On the other hand, moving a lot taught me that we really do have the ability to be whoever we want to be, that life is an adventure, one that is, or can be, forever changing. And that home isn’t a place on the map. It’s wherever your family is.
As for writing, it’s the only thing I’ve truly wanted to do professionally. When I wrote my first book, I didn’t know anyone who had ever published a novel. I was living in North Carolina with my husband and raising two small children. I took a job freelancing for a local weekly newspaper. It didn’t pay much, but I could work from home and write while my kids watched Sesame Street or napped. It taught me to meet deadlines, learn organization, and sometimes make an article out of almost anything. Oh, and I got to cover the superior court trials for our county, which was always interesting. That’s when I started writing my first mystery. I’d write some, put the manuscript away for months, take it back out, and work some more. This went on for several years. Then one day I took it out, and, to my surprise, it was almost done. I finished it just before my husband was transferred to D.C. That first book didn’t sell, but I found a terrific writers’ group and rolled all of my fellow writers’ frustrations over publishing into the humorous six-book Jennifer Marsh Mysteries. Ironically, DYING TO GET PUBLISHED, a novel about a writer desperate to get published, sold on its first outing, unsolicited, to the head of the mystery department of Ballantine Books. It was a book I thought I’d never sell because it skewers the whole publishing industry. And now I’ve switched from writing cozy mysteries to romantic suspense, which I also love.
I was living in the Washington, D.C., suburbs in October of 2002 when two snipers terrorized the area for three weeks, killing ten people and wounding three more before they were caught. It was a horrible experience. The shootings seemed totally random. A woman shopping at a Home Depot, a bus driver, a man mowing grass… Everyone felt at risk. Even stopping at a stoplight seemed dangerous, and news anchors were actually telling people to move quickly in a zigzag manner when going to and from their parked cars. People were having their groceries delivered to their homes rather than go to the store. It made me wonder about the victims and the people who loved them, how those events affected their lives. I didn’t write about it right away, but it was something that stayed in my mind, and I knew it would someday wind up as the germ for a book. In DROWNING IN AIR, it’s a drive-by shooting spree that kills eight people in a single evening. My heroine Eva is out walking with her boyfriend. He’s shot and dies in her arms. I wanted to explore how a seventeen-year-old would react to that sort of tragedy, how she could find a way to cope with life after that experience. Eva Keller chooses to make herself strong, to learn martial arts, to master weapons, to take charge of her life in a way most of us can’t even imagine in order to keep her fear at bay. She believes that no one can take life for granted, that it can be snatched away at any second. The book begins fifteen years after the shootings when Eva is thirty-two and a successful documentary filmmaker. The shooter in my book has never been brought to justice, and Eva is determined to see that he is. Besides being a good mystery with plenty of suspense, the book is about her strength and her finally coming to terms with David’s death. She has to accept that she has a future and that she has a right to be happy and live without fear. She has to heal. And she has to give herself permission to love someone.
MBA&M: What made you decide to write mystery/suspense genre?
I’ve always loved reading mysteries—from Agatha Christie, Dorothy Sayers, and Gothic romances to hard-boiled detectives and true crime. I love the puzzle, the ingenuity of the villain, and the sharp wit of the detective. When I decided to write novels, it was an obvious choice. I don’t write using an outline and usually don’t know who the killer is until I get several chapters into the book. I begin with a hook, a situation that intrigues me and work outward from there. I kid that my outline is someone gets killed and then someone solves the crime. If I wrote strictly about relationships, I’m not sure I’d be able to figure out when to end the book—unless I killed somebody off. My Jennifer Marsh mystery series has a lot of humor in it, along with what I hope are intriguing plots. But I try to never let the humor play down or any way detract from the fact that someone is dead and that’s tragic. As for writing suspense, what could be more fun than putting someone in an impossible situation and watching them work their way out of it. Of course the catch is that I’m the one who has to figure out HOW they’re going to survive.
MBA&M: If you don’t mind, tell our readers a little about the publishing community for self published authors?
The publishing industry is changing rapidly, and we authors, as well as traditional publishers, are feeling our way through this brave new world. I’ve found other authors, who’ve decided to take charge of their own books, to be extremely generous in sharing information. I think it helps tremendously to have been published the old-fashioned way. I’m familiar with all the elements that go into putting a book on the market, from editing to title and cover selection, to writing blurbs and marketing the product. NinC, an organization for traditionally published writers, has been invaluable in offering information, as has Backlist e-Books, which was formed to help writers make their out-of-print books available for readers who may have missed them the first time around. A lot goes into self-publishing. It’s important to keep the quality of the book up to a professional level. Working with a critique group or partner continues to be invaluable. But all those things we authors used to gripe about—lack of control over titles and covers, insufficient publicity, etc.—have now landed squarely in our laps. It’s great to have control, but it’s a lot of responsibility. And having others share their experiences—what works and what doesn’t—is truly great. Without a backlist or books currently in print, I’m sure it’s hard for a new writer to self publish, but you hear amazing stories of people who have done it and become very successful. I think there’s real joy in not having to worry that a book fits the exact requirements of a specific publishing house. No more rejections that say, “Loved the book, but it’s just not right for our house.”
MBA&M: What do you find is the hardest experience in self-publishing promotions?
I’ve never been a big fan of promoting my books. I did a lot of book signings and most were like watching paint dry. It’s hard for me to ask people to buy my books, even when I KNOW they’ll enjoy reading them. I do, however, love to talk about writing and about my books, so I’ve done a lot of public speaking and enjoyed being on panels at mystery conventions. Doing things like this interview are fun for me. But how to get the word out about any new book, especially when there are so many to choose from on the market, is difficult. DROWNING IN AIR is my first independent release, which means I’m really just learning my way with this one.
MBA&M: Do you find bloggers, and reviewers do not want to review or promote self published authors? Why do you think this is so? And how do you think this can be changed?
It’s definitely harder to get reviewers and bloggers interested in looking at self-pubbed work, but having traditionally published books has helped. I’m sure the ones that won’t review independently published books are missing out on some really great reads. It will change. Self-pubbing is relatively new, at least as far as the Internet is concerned. I’ve heard multi-published writers say they’ll never go back to traditional publishing. And I must say it’s a real thrill to select my own covers and blurbs, to have my books out there exactly how I want them to be. Reviewers will have to catch up with the changing reality of publishing, just like the rest of us.
DROWNING IN AIR is available for the Kindle at http://www.amazon.com/Drowning-in-Air-ebook/dp/B007YS9CQO/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1335779319&sr=1-1 and for the Nook at http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/drowning-in-air-judy-fitzwater/1110496214?ean=2940014498975
Judy, do you have anything you would like to add today?
Thank you! I’ve really enjoyed visiting your site today. It’s terrific.
Thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to spend time with us and our readers at My Book Addiction and More!! It was a pleasure to have you with us today!!
Print Length:189 pages
Blood. All over her hands. And Eva Keller doesn’t know how it got there or whose it is. Or how she got to a gas station in downtown Washington, D.C., in the middle of the night with no car. The last 32 hours of her life are a complete blank. And the man she remembers going to meet is missing.
When she arrives home late that night, she finds ruggedly handsome police officer Simon Talbot waiting for her. She has no idea who he is or why she feels such a strong connection to him, but he certainly seems to remember her. Can she trust him?
Fifteen years ago, Eva watched helplessly as her teen-aged boyfriend died in her arms, the victim of a drive-by shooting spree that took the lives of eight people one August evening. That event shaped her life and left her damaged. Now a successful documentary film maker, Eva has only one goal: to prove on film that Luther Isaacs, a petty thief just released from prison, was the killer.
But someone is trying to kill Eva and will stop at nothing to keep her from proving who killed those eight people.
DROWNING IN AIR is a taut romantic thriller, filled with twists and turns. It’s a story of strength, survival, determination, love, danger, and, ultimately, redemption.