|Good afternoon Ms. Gemini Judson, my name is Lori…Lototy at Coffee Time Romance, where the cups are never empty, and the fun never ends! I am so excited to get to do this interview with you today. I absolutely adored your book Green Grass! So let us get going.
Your characters are so much fun, and totally out of the ordinary. In my opinion they really reflect you as an artist as well as a scientist. You must have had an amazing childhood, and a completely unbridled imagination to capture both sides of this coin. What was it like growing up with such diverse interests?
I was really young when I “discovered” I could draw and not everybody else could. I became especially fond of portraiture. While I rarely do portraits any more, I still study people's faces. Perhaps in a round-a-bout way, this feeds into my writing. As I develop a character, I get frustrated when I can't "see" them. Finally after I've spent time with them and given them depth, they start to have distinctive features. That's when the story takes off. I guess my writing has a strong visual component. The science? Low and behold, I had a fabulous environmental science teacher in high school and I traveled a different professional path, away from art. No regrets. I have skills in graphic design and I feel very lucky to be able to create cover art.
Finding the time to manage all of these facets of your life must take some serious planning or is it utter abandon? Does your family think you are more super woman or super batty?
Ha…batty. I don’t sweat the small stuff, that’s for sure. I’m not much of a homemaker, hubby does most of the cooking and my house is usually a mess. Most of my writing I do at night, curled up with my laptop and a cat.
When you are struggling with a problem either in your painting, writing, or work, where do you go, or what do you do that eases the strain and calms the mind?
Hanging with my family is great therapy. I garden, but in Minnesota that option is only available for a few short months. I also run. I hate the painful first few miles but if I hang in there, I’ll be darned if I don’t feel a weird high and feel tons better for the effort.
Having intimate knowledge of the inner workings of nature shows not only in how you build your background scenes, but also the intelligence of your characters and their dialogue. Do you have to work hard at keeping your stories from getting too technical, or is it easy to find that perfect balance?
That’s a great question. In Green Grass, I cut some explanation of the
distillation process when I realized very few people would care about
that. Right now I am writing a story about a woman who studies squirrels
for a living. I get so frustrated with myself when I spend hours making
sure I get the details of her study down pat and mean while, my plot is
sagging like an old sofa. I have to remind myself that readers are not
selecting the romance genre to learn a science lesson!
The cover art you have designed is some of the best I have ever seen. They
are absolutely gorgeous. Have you trained formally in art, and do you have your
paintings available to view online?
Goodness, you’re very kind. Thank you. I have had training in Photoshop
and Illustrator, together those two programs are a powerhouse. A
collection of my cover art can be seen here
The cover for Green Grass is beautiful, and so is your description of the characters. I mean, who does not love a man with a Greek bloodline, sexy eyes, curly dark hair, and a killer smile? And Adrian is just as adorable as Kevin, with her almost ethereal pixy look. Did you have certain people in mind when you came up with their looks, or do your characters come strictly from your imagination?
Ah, Kevin. He was loosely modeled after a young man I knew but his
personality is totally different. He was conceived in ANIMALS (Loose Id
2009) as the “sideman.” Kevin was the wisecracking goofball who didn’t get
the girl. When the story was over, I missed him terribly. He needed to be
the hero of his own story. Adrian—she was in my mind’s eyl e and I can’t say
where she came from. I’ve searched the Internet for an inspirational image
of her, but came up short. I can see her—I’m glad you did too.
Green Grass is set in the ruggedly beautiful wilderness of Maine. Which,
strangely enough, is where my husband is heading right now for a hunting
trip. Hope he does not trip and fall off a mountain! Have you ever been to this
part of the country, and do you love to travel for inspiration, or do you do
most of your research from home?
So far my stories are about places I’ve been. I lived in New England for a
few years and actually took a sketching workshop along the coast of Maine.
It’s a state that has it all—coast, mountains, forest…and a make-believe
town called Hatfield. I do that a lot. I grab a real location—Bangor,
Penobscot Bay—then make up the rest. There is no Jackdog Mountain but I
know a guy who did air quality research on a real mountain in Maine. Just
Adrian has it pretty rough, living in such minimal conditions, and
practically raising her little sister, but she perseveres like a real trooper. I love
that she never lets self-pity take over her life, and in my opinion, she comes
across an amazing young woman. Was it a conscious effort to balance her
struggles, and not allow her to seem too needy or out of control?
I wanted Adrian to be strong of character but clearly vulnerable. To me
she seems like a butterfly in a storm, buffeted by winds and a little
aimless. Yet when the storm stops and the sun pops out, she’s still alive
and beautiful. I didn’t want her to just flump into Kevin’s lap and have
him save her from all her troubles. Her character arc begins with a
do-it-yourself-at-all-costs toughness, but she learns to let Kevin in. Out
of necessity, she’s been a rogue soldier her whole life and when we meet
her, she’s battle weary and about to encounter an enemy she can’t fight
alone. She tried to put up some resistance at first. But then she fell in
The love affair between Kevin and Adrian is inflammatory! They have fantastic
chemistry, and it is hilarious to see a woman like Adrian in the driver’s
seat! The shock value alone had me rolling, and Kevin takes it like a pro. Do you
often prefer a role reversal of sorts when it comes to dominant
personalities in your characters? And if so, why?
Wow, that’s something to think about. I’ve been told that erotic romance
heroes have to be beefy, or brutes, or brooding. Mine aren’t. They’re
always yummy and strong. But I write sensitive guys, guys with a soft
heart who get misty every now and then, guys who crumble in my heroine’s
hands. What’s interesting (that you just made me realize) is that my women
are not domineering either. I’ve said before I write characters that I’d
like to hang out with. My women friends that I create are affable and easy
going with a million flaws. I guess now that I’ve self-analyzed (thank
you!) I like a pretty even partnership. In Green Grass, Kevin rescues
Adrian from a bleak poverty and thug. But she rescues him too by chasing
away the demon of a past hurtful relationship.
And lastly, I just have to ask. What is the deal with the barnacles? I
have my own ideas, but I would love to see what your thoughts were when you
decided that this was Adrian’s choice of offerings.
Yay! I’m glad you found a secret meaning for the barnacles. Here’s my
inspiration for them: My daughter and I were at a beach in New Hampshire.
I saw this old man coming toward us, stopping as he approached to speak to
sunbathers. I wondered what he was doing, and when he got to us he did it.
He dumped a pile of barnacles in my hand. His words were, “Everybody needs
How could I not write that into a story?! Adrian’s favorite game in life
is to shock and bewilder people. She does quirky stuff just to make them
scratch their heads. Barnacles of course have an impenetrable crust—the
result of staying in one place too long with. Secret meanings are all over
I cannot wait to read your next book “Home to Hawk Ridge”, which should be
out in September with Whiskey Creek Press Torrid. Is there more in the works that
we will all want to add to our TBR list?
I have two stories progressing at the moment. One is a ghost story. I love
ghost stories and have always wanted to take a whack at writing one. But I
haven’t decided yet if my characters are gong to get all steamy or not!
This might be a ghostly romance but not erotic. And as I mentioned, my
squirrel biologist needs to deal with her sagging plot….
You just have to read this! If you are a fan of sexy humor, melt your
socks off love scenes, and wonderfully eclectic and delightful characters, this has it
all. Thank you so much for chatting with us today Ms. Judson.
This was a wonderful interview. Great questions! Thank you.