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Please introduce yourself, who are you and what do you do?
I’m Judy Kelly and currently I’m an adjunct professor at Montgomery College in Germantown, Maryland. I teach basic college reading, speech and reading in the content areas. I’ve also been an elementary school teacher, and high school teacher of students with learning disabilities.
What first inspired you to start writing?
I began writing children’s stories for my elementary school students. I taught students who were learning disabled and who were in 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th grade. These students were given a different curriculum which put them a little behind in reading. I have always loved reading and I wanted them to enjoy it also, so I made up stories for them to read. I also had to create questions that helped them understand the stories. The students encouraged me to get my stories published because they sounded like “real’ stories to them, they said.
And where did the idea for 'That Ever Died So Young' come from?
One day I was driving along and saw an accident. The cars were pulled off to the side, an ambulance and police cars were present. A man who seemed distraught paced back and forth between the ambulance and the car that seemed to have the most damage. I saw how upset he seemed and I asked myself, “What if he caused the accident?” Later, I went home and created an outline for the novel. I used the general idea of that accident, but the story took a slightly different angle.
If you could write anybody's biography, whose would it be and why?
If I could write anyone’s biography, I would write Martin Milner’s biography. He was one of the character’s in That Ever Died So Young, Kathryn’s father. I found him to be very interesting and loved writing about him. The sad thing was that I had to pull back because he was a minor character and I didn’t want him to overpower Kathryn or Scott or any of the other characters.
Every author enjoys receiving a good review, what has been your favourite so far?
I’ve had several good comments about the novel.
My favorite two are:
A girl friend wrote me and told me that she had just finished the book. She began it the night before and found that she couldn’t put it down. But, on the next day, her computer geek arrived and she needed to hurry him out the door. Soon after, her husband said that he was having a medical emergency and needed her to drive him to the hospital. She asked him if he was sure he had to go right then. She did take him and as soon as they returned, she sat down to read more of the book and read through the night.
Another friend said that she wasn’t able to get the story and events of my book out of her mind. She enjoyed the book and told me that it was a Hallmark Hall of Fame book. My compliment made me feel very honored.
What do you find most rewarding about writing?
I love it when I finally finish a story. I try to focus on character and when I can see and feel my character or even talk to my character, when they come alive to me as I’m creating the story, then I feel good about the story.
And the most challenging?
The most challenging is character development, which is why I want to focus on it.
What are you working on at the moment?
I have another novel that is almost completed. That Ever Died So Young has a very powerful opening and many people who have read the book had said that, so my challenge now is to open this second novel with a powerful beginning as well. I can’t give the readers anything less at this point. This second novel doesn’t seem to have the power and I need to hold onto it until I can create it.
Tell us about your latest work and how we can find out more.
My latest novel is about a woman, adopted by a family from the age of seven and who, after completing three years in seminary, has decided not to continue and become a priest. She has always had this strange feeling about herself and thinks that something terrible must have happened in her past. She is put in a situation where she comes face to face with her past.
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