Judith, do you have pleasant memories of living in Napa Valley? My parents moved from St. Helena to Concord, CA, before I was two so I don’t remember being born there. But I only live an hour away and I love visiting as often as possible. I love driving by the old house and wondering what my life would have been like had we stayed. It’s such a beautiful little town.
What has been the most significant book you've read (or listened to, if you were a small child) in your life? I loved The Other Side of Midnight by Sidney Sheldon. I’ve probably re-read it ten times over the years.
How did it feel to win the Jack London Prize? I remember walking into the conference and seeing my name listed as the winner of the fiction category at the registration desk. I had to cover my mouth to keep from squealing with joy. I’d always known I had a good story to tell, but having a panel of expert judges agree was amazing. I hardly remember anything about the rest of the day.
Please tell us about the moment you found out your book had been optioned as a movie. About four months after the book was released, I received an email with a subject of “Your Book.” The message read, “I am on the board of the Palm Springs Women in Film board and received an email press release about your book. I am also a producer and would love to read your book, I will be ordering it from Amazon.” I immediately replied that I would be happy to send a complimentary copy. The producer, who is a woman, took the book on vacation in February and when she returned, she emailed me saying, "I love the book and think that it could make a very interesting screenplay. Kind of like The Big Chill meets It’s Complicated."
The actual offer came through on April 1, 2010. Thank goodness it wasn’t an April Fool’s joke!
When can we expect to see Staying Afloat come out? The book is finished and I’ve written several drafts of a query letter, but I’m still deep in promoting my first novel, so haven’t had time to start the querying process. I may even decide to independently publish. We’ll see.
Have you decided what you're going to write as a third novel? I’ve just begun Bitter Acres, the story of four women in the 60’s who live on the same suburban street and are best friends. I’m only on chapter two, so I don’t know where the story is going yet. That’s the fun of writing fiction. I love seeing where the characters will take the story.
What's the #1 piece of advice you give other writers? To be a successful writer you must have passion, persistence, and patience. You also must be willing to market and promote once your book is published. Just as a parent’s responsibilities don’t end with giving birth, an author’s responsibilities don’t end with publication. The child must be raised and a book must be marketed.
Do you read for pleasure? If so, what kind of books do you like to read? I read a variety of fiction. Right now, I’m reading Up From the Blue by Susan Henderson, which I’m finding hard to put down, and I just finished Midnight Champagne by A. Manette Ansay, which I loved -- quirky, dark and beautifully written. For me, it’s important to keep reading. It makes me a better writer.
What are your views on chocolate? If it's something you like, do you prefer milk, dark or white chocolate? I LOVE chocolate! I have a piece of dark chocolate almost every night after dinner, preferably with a little red wine. I don’t trust anyone who doesn’t like chocolate.
Erin O'Riordan and Pagan Spirits would like to thank Judith Marshall, author of HUSBANDS MAY COME AND GO BUT FRIENDS ARE FOREVER, for taking time out for this interview.
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