Hi there! I’m so glad you stopped by! I’ve got author Judy McDonough here on the blog today. We worked together to create a new Book Scents candle – Cade – inspired by her book series, The Bayou Secrets Saga. I enjoyed book one a lot and am looking forward to reading the whole series. If you love spooky love stories that have twists and turns you’ll enjoy these books. I can tell from the first one the rest will be great!
Without further ado…here’s our interview! Happy Reading!
Thank you for sharing some time with us today, Judy. October is the perfect month to present my readers with your paranormal romance series, The Bayou Secrets! Tell us how this story presented itself to you and how you got started writing it.
I’ve always been fascinated with the supernatural. When I was stationed in New Orleans with the Navy, some really creepy, unexplainable things happened to me in my barracks room. I’d filed them away for a rainy day or a fireside story, but I continued to stress over what my purpose in life was. What was my God-given talent? One day, after I read my first book in 5 years, I decided to use my yearning to entertain people, my story-telling abilities, and my overactive imagination to create a story that people wouldn’t be able to put down. I had always been good at creative writing, but had no idea how to write a novel, so I sat down with my computer, said a prayer, and wrote it like I was dictating a movie in my head.
There was definitely a love triangle going on with your main characters, but in some places the secondary characters really impacted the story and the romance. Can you share with us which character surprised you most as you were writing? Did you have a favorite or challenging character to write?
I’m sometimes annoyingly curious like Caroline, but I really love Kristy. She is the perfect depiction of my personality but with a much better fashion sense. She surprised me because she overshadowed Caroline in nearly every scene she entered. Her charisma and wit combined with her beauty and grace demanded my attention. She’s my favorite, but Cade was my most challenging character to write. I wanted him to be fun and light-hearted, but sexy and alluring without being too perfect…yet I hated to give him a flaw. I tried really hard to make his flaw attractive and emotional so people would love him even more. What curious woman doesn’t flock to the hot, mysterious guy who seems to be hiding something? It’s frustrating and infuriating, sometimes even painful, yet you’re drawn to him like a moth to a flame, and can’t stop yourself from coming back to the flickering candle and burning your fingers trying to harness the dancing fire.
The Bayou Secrets is a three-book series. Can you give my readers a spoiler-free idea of what the whole series is about?
I called it a saga because it follows the same three characters throughout all the books, and each character, especially Caroline, grows in different ways. I’m terrible at summarizing the whole series without spoiling the ending, so I’ll post the blurb for the boxed set:
Follow Caroline Fontenot throughout her journey to the Louisiana bayou where she searches for the truth about her family and discovers life-changing secrets revealed within a journal that her great, great, great grandmother hid before her untimely death. Caroline steps into a world she never knew existed as she discovers long-buried deceits, voodoo, and evil spirits that threaten her future.
Can she and the man she loves ever create a safe and happy life together? Will she even survive?
Do you have a new writing project that you are working on now? Is it related to this series?
I do, and it isn’t. I have a full, completed novel I wrote in 2012 that has nothing to do with Bayou Secrets, and I have been revising, rewriting, and editing over the past 4 years. I finally finished it last year and submitted it to the Silver-Hart publishing contest where I placed second out of 100 entries. I tweaked it and sent it to my critique group only to discover that I’ve started it in the wrong place and need to trim some of the backstory I’ve dumped at the beginning. It frustrated me, so I put it on the shelf for a while. Now I’m planning to participate in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) for November where I will write a 50,000+ word novel in 30 days. I’ve brainstormed a fun time-travel romance (also not related to the Bayou Secrets) that I hope brings back my joy of writing. I plan to bust out some novellas for my secondary characters in the Bayou Secrets, starting with Kristy and Runway’s story, and possibly (probably) a 4th full-length novel in the series. I just can’t let my bayou characters go. <3
I loved reading your About page on your website. It’s so real! You think you know where life is taking you and then, BAM, it changes direction! Do you think any one specific event helped to make you a better writer?
Thanks! I try to be me at all times. Genuine and relatable. The one specific event that helped make me a better writer was a very unfortunate, disheartening experience. When things fell apart with my publisher it was a maddening, rage-inducing, confidence-shattering and humbling feeling. I did lots of praying. My Romance Writers of America (RWA) group really picked up my broken pieces and helped me revamp my novel and empowered me to start over on my own as an indie author where I’ve had 4 times the success with all my creative freedom. My friend and editor, Jennifer Bray-Weber, took my fragile self-esteem and encouraged, inspired, and mentored me until I became the writer I was capable of being. I’m still learning the craft every day, growing as a writer, and you can tell how my writing improved with each book I wrote in the Bayou Secrets Saga. Flatline challenged me in ways Deadline only dreamed of.
We love to know what books authors love. Can you share with us your favorite book so far in 2016?
Sadly, I haven’t done a lot of reading this year because I have been focusing on family time since I didn’t have book I was trying to get out. I write paranormal romance because I’m fascinated with the supernatural, ghosts mostly, but I typically enjoy reading Contemporary Romance, Romantic Suspense, and Romantic Comedies. I did read a fun Contemporary Romance this summer my friend wrote called, Lord Bachelor by Tammy L. Bailey. At a glance it looks like it would be historical, but it’s not. It’s like the reality show, “The Bachelor” meets the movie, “The Prince & Me.” A very fun read.
Thanks again, Judy for your time! I invite all of my readers to pick up a copy of the series!