Author Interview: Young Adult Fiction Author Judy Gregerson

We welcome today Judy Gregerson, author of the young adult fiction novel, Bad Girls Club (Blooming Tree Press, July '07). Judy is on a virtual book tour and we get to be one of her stops!

Okay, okay, my cover's blown...yes, she's one of Pump Up's clients and, yes, Cheryl Malandrinos who choreographed her tour loves my blog and insisted on having Judy as a guest...how can I say no to that?

Of course, I wouldn't say no to Judy whether she was our client or not because I've come to know her throughout her tour, reading her interviews and reading her guest posts, and this is one remarkable lady. But, I'll let you read all about her below.

Welcome to The Writer's Life, Judy! Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and how long you’ve been writing?

I’m the mother of two great girls and I live with my husband in the Pacific Northwest. I started writing a LONG time ago, but have been working on fiction for about 10 years now.

Can you please tell us about your book and why you wrote it?

The book is the story of Destiny who believes that she can save and fix her mentally ill mother. She also thinks she can save her abused little sister and so, one summer she drops her whole life, boyfriend included, and tries to put her family back together. What she doesn’t know is that they’re quickly heading for a cliff and they’re all going to fall off if something doesn’t change.

I was the child of alcoholics and grew up thinking everything was my fault and that I had to fix everything. I wanted to write about that issue and explore it a little further.

What kind of research was involved in writing “Bad Girls Club”?

I didn’t have to research, really. Most of the issues I knew from my childhood, although I have read tons of books on mental illness and abuse, so this subject was familiar to me.

How much input did you have into the design of your book cover?

Actually, I came up with the cover design and pictures of both my daughters are on the front and back. I came up with the idea when I was finishing work on the ending and the cover perfectly ties in with the last chapter. It was thrilling to have some say in how it looked.

Has it been a bumpy ride to becoming a published author or has it been pretty well smooth sailing?

My first book was bought by the first editor who saw it, but this second book was not so easy. I’d say it was very bumpy. I had two editors interested and both worked with me on the book and then ultimately passed. The last one wanted to buy the book but the committee would not back her, so it was as frustrating for me as it was for her since we’d worked on it together through three revisions. But that work ultimately made it a much better book.

For this particular book, how long did it take from the time you signed the contract to its release?

I’d say about 18 months. I don’t keep good track of time, so I’m not the best person to ask that! But that seems about right.

Do you have an agent and, if so, would you mind sharing who he/is is? If not, have you ever had an agent or do you even feel it’s necessary to have one?

I don’t have one. I sort of had one once. I had an agent who wanted to represent me and as we finalized things, she quit and went to grad school. That was interesting. But, no, I haven’t had an agent in years and years. I’d like to have one and I do have some things out with agents right now. I think it’s important to have one if you can find one because it allows you to write and not have to think about or worry about the business aspect of writing. On the other hand, I think that all writers worry about that anyway, with or without an agent.

Do you plan subsequent books?

I have several other books. One is floating around with agents now and it’s the story of a girl living in a trailer park who goes to some strange extremes to prove that she has value and the other is about a third done. I’m hoping that I’ll finish it one day but right now I’m doing promotion and I’ve returned to college, so it will be interesting to see when I finish this.

Are you a morning writer or a night writer?

I write whenever. Morning, afternoon, night, after midnight. All depends on where I am in a book and how into I am. I used to like being a night writer and burn the midnight oil, but I don’t do that much anymore. I’m a “write when I want” kind of writer, I do the thing everyone says you shouldn’t. But that’s me. I like to break the rules and I don’t do what anyone tells me. Unless they pay me money. Then I’ll do what they ask.

If money was no object, what would be the first thing you would invest in to promote your book?

Oooh, that’s a tough one. I think I’d pay my PR guy to do a media blast to radio and TV and then work on down the list to magazines and print media. I might even take out some nice sized ads in all the right industry rags. That might do something. On the other hand, there is no predicting how successful anything you do will be. In fact, I’ve had some great successes in promotion and I’ve watched other things just fizzle out. I had a few cool things going that just died on me and it’s horrible frustrating.

How important do you think self-promotion is and in what ways have you been promoting your book offline and online?

I think promotion is very important and I’ve been working at it for 18 months. I’ve worked hard at getting online reviews and reviews from professionals who work with people with problems like my characters. I’ve sent ARCs to hundreds of folks around the country, librarians included. I’ve also created tons of mailing lists which I’ve used and am still using to send out materials, books, and catalogs. I’ve done some radio and I’ve been asked to be a host on an internet radio station which I’ll start doing in the spring.

Any final words of wisdom for those of us who would like to be published?

Oh, gosh. Hold on to your pants. It can be a wild ride. Stay away from anything and anyone negative and also don’t listen to the people who tell you that you’re “almost there”. You don’t know where you are until you get there. Revise and then revise again. And again. Make your work the best it can be.

Thank you for coming, Judy! Would you like to tell my readers where they can find you on the web and how everyone can buy your book?

My website is http://www.judygregerson.com/ and my book is available at all the usual places. It’s been on 7 Amazon bestseller lists, so that’s a great place to get it. Booksense.com is a good place too. And it will be in Border and Barnes and Noble around the country in January sometime.

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BAD GIRLS CLUB VIRTUAL BOOK TOUR '08 will officially begin on Jan. 2, 2008 and continue all month.If you would like to follow Judy's tour, visit http://www.virtualbooktours.wordpress.com/.

ATTENTION!!! Buy one of Judy's books at AMAZON, send US an online copy of the receipt before January 31 and she will send you an autographed bookmark, PLUS other incentives including free ebooks from Pump Up Your Book Promotion! Click HERE to find out what other incentives you can receive!

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Judy's virtual book tour is brought to you by Pump Up Your Book Promotion Virtual Book Tours at http://www.pumpupyourbookpromotion.com/ and choreographed by Cheryl Malandrinos.

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