Sunday, January 25, 2009

Author Interview with Judy Christenberry

Please welcome one of Harlequin American's most popular authors Judy Christenberry. Along with writing several best-selling series for the American Romance line Judy also pens cowboy stories for Harlequin Romance.

How long have you been published?
Twenty years as of 2008

What advice would you give a new writer just starting out?
Write. That’s the most important thing. You may not like what you write, but that’s the building blocks to everything. Your couple can’t have a happy ending if you don’t get to the end.
What's the strangest thing you've ever eaten?
I don’t eat strange things! Nothing that swims, and I don’t write about vegetarians or other eating habits I don’t understand.

What comes first: the plot or the characters?
I don’t do characters sketches for my hero and heroine. Once I establish them, I try to stay consistent.

Do you ever suffer from writer's block? If so, what do you do about it?
No, I’ve always had deadlines and I never had time for writer’s block. Usually, if I know where the book is going, I can keep on writing.

What books or authors have most influenced your own writing?
I loved reading Zane Gray, but I was always frustrated about the romance. Now I write about cowboys who have a believable romance. Georgette Heyer was a big influence on my regency romances, and Nora Roberts, because her characters always come to life for me.

Do you re-read your books once they're in print?

What is your work schedule like when you are writing?
I write about a chapter a day, which is sixteen pages. I usually write four days a week, although sometimes more if I need to. Since I write for two lines, Harlequin American Romance and Harlequin Romance, sometimes the deadlines can be very close together.

How many books have you written?
85 for Harlequin, and 10 for other publishers

Which is your favorite?
The Lemon Cake, my first Regency romance for Harlequin. When the editor said she only wanted me to change two things – a description of an aunt and one other minor detail – I was thrilled. It was a difficult book to write but easy to get to print.

What did you do career-wise before becoming an author?
I taught high school French for twelve years in Highland Park, Texas, and before that I taught eight years in middle school.

How has the American Romance line changed since you first began writing for it?
The first thing I learned when I sold to American was that good heroines don’t cry very often. Unlike real people, they can’t be emotional watering buckets. When my editor told me she wanted humor, I was relieved. I could write humorous scenes that people could really enjoy reading. After I wrote my first Randall book, my editor told me that although she didn’t like cowboys very much, they really sold well, so that’s what she wanted me to write.

Who's you're personal hero--past or present?
Many of my books are based on my late father. Not only did he have great integrity, but he was an outdoorsman and a firefighter. He was raised on a farm in East Texas.

If you could go anywhere in the world where would it be?
I’d love to go back to Wyoming. The only time I went there I visited the small town I based my Christmas book on. The actual town was very different, much more rural and smaller than I’d imagined. Now I make up all my towns.

If you were locked in a closet for one hour who would you want in there with you
Someone with a flashlight, so I could read!

If you were stranded on a deserted Island what kind of hero would you want with you--A Cowboy, a Viking Warrior, a CEO, a Forensics investigator, a Chef or an Accountant?
A cowboy, of course!



Anonymous said...


Let me say again what an inspiration you are to all of us. When I first sold in 1999, Melissa Jeglinski asked me who I'd read lately, and it was you. You are also a "first buy" for my friend Julie.

So thanks for 20 years of great books.

Michele Dunaway

Linda Warren said...

What a amazing career. I wish you twenty more years of writing wonderful books.
I love the line about writer's block. "I have deadlines. I don't have time for writer's block." I'm going to remember that.
Linda Warren

shelley galloway said...


Thank you so much for visiting the blog and participating in an interview! I remember the exact moment I met you several years ago at an RWA national conference-I was sitting behind you, so excited about being a brand new HAR author and you turned around and visited with me! You couldn't have been nicer or more gracious to a very tongue-tied author!

Perhaps one day we'll get to visit in person again!


Estella said...

I'd take the cowboy, too!