Thursday, March 20, 2008


Judith Rochelle is a lovely lady whom I've had the pleasure of meeting at a conference last year. She is one of those genuinely nice authors who cares about people and always makes them feel so special. I am often amazed (and a little envious) at her ability to write and produce good stories so often. And the careers she's had in her life! What a fascinating life she's led! She agreed to answer some of my questions and is my spotlight author of the month. And isn't that cover HOT!?! I love the dark and the blues...

Tell me about yourself.

My husband an I are both retired and live in the Texas Hill Country which we love. He’s a sixth generation Texan. We have a blended family of children and grandchildren, and of all the careers I’ve had, this is the most exciting. Even tops managing rock and roll bands! The entire family is a huge support system for me, and our kids are my best press agents. I feel truly blessed. When I’m not writing I read, read, read. Watch football six months out of the year. And play golf on a semi-regular basis. We also visit wineries and collect Texas wines. With all our kids out on their own, and with their own families, we are busy raising three kittens.

I read on your website that you’ve been writing for two years. You have a lot of novels available now. Were they works you had previously completed?

A lot of them are from ideas I had jotted down over the years, snippets that came to me. Sometimes I have one line stuck in my head and build a story around it. Sometimes I start a story and a series falls out of my head. I write about eight hours a day when I’m working. I still have a lot of partially completed manuscripts that I started and then got distracted. I finish one and pull out another. And then I have a whole list of what you might call “long blurbs” of other ideas for the future.

How long does it take you to complete a novel?

It takes me about four weeks to do the first draft, then another two months to polish it and run it back and forth to my critique partners. But I’m usually working on two or three at a time.

Where do you get your inspiration?

Everyplace. One plot came from a line on an episode of CSI. Another was based on a person I know. I’m an obsessed newspaper clipper-anything that catches my eye I stuff in a folder. I’m working on one that came from a letter to the editor in our local paper! LOL. I love to watch and listen to people and play what if. My head is always busy!

Do you have a writing routine?

Sort of. I spend two hours every morning answering email and doing promotion work. Then I break for breakfast and time with my husband. Then I write until 6:00 or so (but I always break for Jeopardy!) When I have a deadline I write constantly. I’m an obsessed football nut but this fall I sat in front of the television with my laptop every Saturday and Sunday trying to finish three manuscripts. I try not to write at night or on the weekends – that’s special time with my husband.

What are the biggest challenges you face as a writer?

Getting my name out and getting known by readers. The market gets bigger all the time so we’re all fighting for the mass of readers. Also, not getting discouraged when I get a rejection.

What do you enjoy most about writing?

Everything-creating the plot, building my characters, finishing the book. And hearing from my readers.

What do you dislike about writing?

That’s easy---editing! I’d rather swallow tacks!

What do you enjoy in your spare time? Do you have any collections? Hobbies?

I read, read, read. I love books. Also we collect Texas wines and I collect statues of cats. All sizes.

What’s your favorite color?

Blue. It’s everywhere in my life.

If you could drive any vehicle, with money as no object, what would it be?

Easy. A Ferrari Testarossa.

What’s your favorite genre to read?

Romantic suspense. When I first started to write I thought I’d write straight mystery with a little romance. Burt after looking at the same threee chapters for three months I happened to read CRY NO MORE by Linda Howard both my reading and writing habits changed. I was off to the races. Now I read every r/s I can get my hands on.

What’s one piece of advice you’d like to share with other writers?

Don’t ever give up. Success is out there waiting for you. And…find a good critique group.

What is your biggest writing annoyance, i.e. too much noise, not enough light, or can you write just about anywhere?

I can write just about anywhere. I’m used to blocking things out.

Who is your biggest supporter? My husband, hands down. How does he/she support you? He encourages me to write, gives me the freedom to be myself, brags about me to anyone who will listen and gives me advice only when I ask for it.

What’s your favorite food? It’s a tossup between pizza and Chinese.

What's the one book you'd love to write but could never publish?

Oh, wow. The story of my life, I guess!

How do you plan your characters (charts, off the flow, etc.?) How do you organize your books?

Oh, lordy. Disorganization is my middle name. I don’t plan anything. I carry a book around with me and make notes in it all the time, write things down as they come to me. I visualize my characters and make notes on them, usually the hero first. Then I visualize their situation and write a one page synopsis (oh, that dreaded word). But that’s as organized as I get. I am much better at doing my research, though. I spend a lot of time getting information on places and organizations.

Do you have any pet peeves?

You’ll laugh-people who crunch ice!

How about when it comes to novels?

Authors who kill off the hero or heroine. Or splits them up. I think it’s a disservice to the reader.

If you had to pick a vegetable most resembling your personality, what veggie would you pick and why?

Rutabaga. Because it’s just there!

What’s your dream vacation?

A week in Hawaii and a week in Greece with an unlimited budget.

What are you working on now?

The sequel to REDEMPTION, called LAST RIDE ON THE MERRY GO ROUND and the third book in my Phoenix Agency series. And another one that’s coming together slowly.

What are your future plans?

To keep on writing, writing, writing. I love what I’m doing. Creating a story for people to read and enjoy gives me enormous pleasure.

Is there anything else you’d like your readers to know about you?

I love them all. They are the ones I write for.

Would you like to share an excerpt of your work?

Absolutely. Following is the blurb of ONE HOT TEXAS NIGHT, and then an excerpt.

Tate Donovan was sure The Yellow Rose ranch would be his when his father died. After all, he’d grown up there and it was his legacy. But Abby Culhane was King’s stepdaughter for many years and held a place in the old man’s heart right up to the end. When King leaves her one fourth of the ranch and Tate’s grandparents’ home, Tate is shocked. Then he sees the grown-up Abby and can’t decide whether he wants to fight her over the will or take her to bed. The entire town of White Tail, Texas rolls up its sleeves and sits back to watch the fireworks.


“This is crazy. Nuts!”

Tate Donovan was pacing the carpet in Ryan Cutter’s law office, thumbs hooked in the pants pockets of his expensive western-cut suit. His feet in custom-tooled boots wore a path from the large window to the wall and back again. “I can’t believe the old man would do this.”

“He did it,” Ryan assured him in a calm voice. “And it’s all legal. Abby gets one quarter interest in the Yellow Rose and all of Sycamore Grove.”

“That’s my goddamn ranch,” Tate shouted, stopping in front of the attorney’s desk, jaw grim, eyes flashing fire.

“And now I believe also mine.”

Abby Culhane sat in one of the comfortable leather chairs in front of Ryan’s desk, outwardly projecting a picture of serenity in her emerald silk dress, diamond earrings winking in the light slanting in through the windows. But she was far from peaceful. Inwardly seething, she twisted the antique ruby ring on her finger round and round in endless circles.

The day had been very long. She was tired and irritable, and the last place she wanted to be was tiny White Tail, Texas, a place she’d literally run from ten years earlier. Her flight from New York had left early that morning, then there was the three hour drive from San Antonio because she’d missed the last commuter plane to Mesquite, the closest town to White Tail. She was still wondering where in the hell she was going to sleep tonight. As far as she could remember, there was no motel in White Tail.

The ten years she had lived at the great Donovan ranch were one long, unpleasant memory, mostly due to Tate making her life miserable every waking moment. Her only respite had been the four years he’d been away at college. When her mother and Tate’s father divorced, Janet Culhane had dragged Abby off to New York and that had been that.

Now she just wanted to get this done and get out of here. But Tate Donovan got her back up, just like he always had. Like the night of her senior prom, a moment in her life that still made her want to jump under the covers and pull them over her head.

“I think you can consider me a part owner,” she went on. It gave her great pleasure to see how angry he was. Payback, she thought smugly.

“Not for long, sister.” Tate whirled on her, his fists clenched. “That ranch belongs to me—along with Sycamore Grove— and there’s no way I’m letting you get one greedy finger on either of them. Your mother walked out on my father. You don’t deserve one inch of land or one damn penny.”

“Tate, why don’t you sit down for a minute.” She could tell Ryan made his voice as reasonable as he could. “We have a lot of details to iron out here, and maybe we can all come to some kind of understanding.”

Abby recalled that Ryan was only a few years older than Tate, but they obviously had grown to know each other well, since Ryan had become the Donovan attorney.

She looked carefully at Tate. Was he still the arrogant muscle head she’d known ten years ago? His body was still lean but even more muscular, more defined. His black hair still had the same, silky look to it, and thick lashes still framed electric blue eyes. His face had more lines grooved in it, and the dimple in his left cheek was more pronounced. Today his body radiated a fine tension.

What she wasn’t prepared for was his commanding presence that dominated the room, and the waves of sexuality that rolled off him like ocean breakers. Little pinpoints of electricity stabbed at her body, which she squashed with great effort. She was in the middle of a war here. She didn’t need to be entertaining erotic fantasies about the enemy.


Sheryl said...

Wonderful interview, Emma and Judith. Judith, I think you have your priorities right. :))
Lurrved your excerpt.

Rita Thedford said...

Hi Judith...looks like we have LOTS in common. That's comforting to me since you're one of my heroines. LOL. Actually you're one of the funniest people I know. Couldn't get through a day without talking with you.

Nina Pierce said...

Emma and Judith. Very nice interview.

The Blonde Duck said...

Great interview! :)

Katie Reus said...

Great interview and great blurb! I'm a fan of Judith's too and I'm totally envious you've met her Emma! Keep the wonderful stories coming Judith :)

Marie said...

Great interview Emma! Thanks so much for visiting my blog and leaving your lovely comment. I love romance novels and am in awe of anyone who has actually managed to get a book into print. I'm a closet writer myself and I know how hard this is! Kudos to you!