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20 April 2012

Welcome special guest: author Judy Duarte

Today we have author Judy Duarte visiting. Judy sold her first book in 2002 and has published more than forty more novels since then. A two-time Rita® finalist with MULBERRY PARK (2009) and ENTERTAINING ANGELS (2010), she was awarded two Maggies and a National Reader’s Choice Award for her heartwarming stories. Judy lives in Southern California.

So, Judy, what inspired you to become a writer?
I’m an avid reader. Back in 1996, I began wondering if I could write a book of my own. So I purchased a computer and played around with a story idea. Before long, I was caught up in creative process. I found Romance Writers of America, and the rest is history.

When did you attempt your first story? What length was it? What's become of it?
In 1996, I began work on LEGACY OF THE HEART, a historical romance that takes place on a wagon train. That 90,000 word manuscript was my very first attempt at writing. It’s now under the bed, hiding amidst the dust bunnies.

How many stories did you complete before you sold your first?
I wrote three more historical novels after LEGACY OF THE HEART. And I’m hopeful they’ll eventually be published. In fact, one of them was a Golden Heart finalist in 2001. I recently revised that manuscript, and my agent is currently trying to sell it.

What genre(s) do you write in? What drew you to write in it/them? What’s your favorite genre of all to write in?
I write contemporary
romance for Harlequin Special Edition, one of their home and heart lines. I also write inspirational women’s fiction for Kensington. If my historicals take off, I’ll be writing in that genre, too.
Writing different stories for different publishers allows me a change of pace sometimes, while still providing the readers with heartwarming reads.

What are the best and worst pieces of writing advice you ever received?
The best was: Never give up on your dream. It will happen, but not if you quit writing.
The worst was… Hmm. I can’t say that I’ve ever gotten any bad advice… Well, if I did, I filed it away as unimportant and kept dreaming and writing and submitting.

How do you celebrate/deal with acceptance/rejection letters?
Selling a book leaves me with a high that lasts for days. Even after more than forty sales, it’s still a thrill to learn that a publisher wants to buy my book.
As for rejections, I’ve found that putting them aside for a few days or a week gives me a better perspective. I usually revise with the rejecting editor’s comments in mind and resubmit a better proposal the next time around.

In regard to the book you’re promoting, which actor and actress do you envision playing the roles of your hero and heroine? If there’s a villain or other characters who are pertinent to the story, who would play those parts?
In THE RANCHER’S HIRED FIANCEE, I described the hero, Ray Mendez, as looking enough like Antonio Banderas to be his younger brother. The heroine, Catherine Loza, could be played by Katherine Heigl.

The book you’re promoting, is it a stand-alone story or part of a series? If it’s part of a series, please list the order the books need to be read in for maximum reading enjoyment.
THE RANCHER’S HIRED FIANCEE is book 2 in a series called Brighton Valley Babies. The first book, A BABY UNDER THE TREE, was released in December of 2011.
This series is a spin-off of the Brighton Valley Medical Center series and The Texas Homecoming series. But this book—and the series—all stand alone.

*** Now for some fun info… ***
What’s your favorite color?
Green—at least, these days.

What’s your favorite ice cream flavor?
Strawberry—especially if it’s homemade!

Are you a cat, dog or both kind of person?
Both! Sadly, Tina, our cat, hates dogs with a passion. So we haven’t had the heart to adopt a new pet.

Would you/have you own(ed) a snake or some other exotic pet?
No, I haven’t wanted any kind of scaly or exotic critter.

Which do you prefer: rain or sun & warm weather or cold weather?
I love cold, rainy days, especially if I can stay inside.

Are you a morning person or night owl?
I love the wee hours of the morning, when the household is quiet.

What’s your favorite day of the week?
Sunday, which is a day for church and family.

What’s your favorite number?

If you could live anywhere in the universe, where would it be and why?
Heaven would be awesome. Other than that, I’m happy just where I am. :)

If you were stranded on a desert island and were only allowed to have five modern conveniences with you, what would they be?
Wow, that’s tough. All the important modern conveniences need batteries or electricity or some kind of power source! So how about a lighter, a knife, a spear, a hammer and nails…

*** About Judy's book(s)… ***
Fake Fiancée…True Romance!
    The Antonio Banderas look-alike standing on the porch in Western gear wasn’t at all what actress Catherine Loza had expected. But when the tall, dark and totally irresistible rancher asked her to play the role of his fiancée to get the local matchmakers off his back, well…it was an offer the actress couldn’t refuse.
    Brighton Valley mayor Ray Mendez thought he’d come up with the perfect plan. But as his fake engagement awakened stirrings of real romance—and real passion—he soon found himself wondering if he could persuade his costar to make their arrangement of convenience permanent. A proposal from the heart—and a baby on the way!—might just convince her that he was for real…
    Brighton Valley Babies—A new generation of cowboys—and cowgirls!—is on the way.

The Rancher’s Hired Fiancée
Harlequin Special Edition
By: Judy Duarte
Coming out ~ June 2012
ISBN: 978-0-373-65675-2
Pre-order here: Amazon.

***Find Judy here***

Thank you for joining us here today, Judy! It was a pleasure getting to know you and your work.

You're welcome! I'd also be happy to host a contest. I'll give autographed copies of my backlist--including MENDOZA'S MIRACLE, book 3 in the Fortunes of Texas, a Harlequin Special Edition, March 2012--to three lucky commenters.

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