Judy Gregerson was born at the very end of Long Island on a very warm and sunny summer day. Everyone was happy she made it because the cord was wrapped around her neck and there were a few scary moments before she popped out.
The rest of her life went a little better. She grew up in a town that shut down at 5 p.m. and got out as soon as she found a college that would accept her. That was SUNY Oswego and she attended school with famous people like Bruce Coville, Al Roker, and Jerry Seinfeld. Ok, only Bruce was there at the time and she didn’t know him. But it makes for good copy.
After college, Judy worked as a newpaper copy editor, a marketing assistant at Viking/Penguin, in the advertising department of The New York Times, and then had various jobs at an ad agency, doing public relations, and the likes. Finally, she worked herself into an ulcer and moved to the west coast.
Her first book was published in 1980 by Doubleday (a memoir) and she was named in Who’s Who in America that year. It really didn’t help her any. In fact, no one seems to remember.
Judy now lives in the Seattle area with her two daughters, husband, dog, cat, frog, gerbil, and two mice. She is currently seen doing yard work and getting the mold off her windows.
Your Name: Judy Gregerson
1. Where you are from and where are you now?
I grew up on the eastern end of Long Island but I live in the Pacific Northwest now.
2. How did you get started writing?
I played around with writing when I was a kid and then again in my early twenties, but I got serious about it when I was about 25 and started working on my first book.
3. What do you do when you are not writing?
I do a lot of research. I’ve also gone back to college to finish a new degree. In the summer, I travel a little. I read, watch TV, and hang out with my husband and my kids.
4. What would readers like to know about you?
Well, I take very seriously what I write and I only write about the things that are important to me. I try to write them in a way that everyone will see a part of him or herself in the character because I believe that emotions are universal and we all experience the same emotions, but to different degrees.
5. What inspired your first book?
I made a friend in NYC who had published a book and he convinced me that I could, too. I think that I needed someone to believe in me back then and when he did, I decided that I could do it. So, I sat down and started doing audio tapes which I later transcribed into my first draft.
6. How many books have you written?
I have two published books and probably 8 unpublished.
7. What are the titles of your books and what genres are they?
Save Me! A Young Woman’s Journey Through Schizophrenia to Health, Christian, and Bad Girls Club, Young Adult/crossover.
8. How do you decide on that topic or genre?
I consider myself a coming of age writer because all my books are about that time in a person’s life. I feel most comfortable there, with a main character who’s about 17-21. The topic is usually something that has puzzled me or something I want to explore in greater detail and make more accessible to people. With Bad Girls Club, I wrote about parentification. Hardly anyone knows what it is, but they recognize it when they see it and they’ve probably seen it from time to time in their life. The idea that children can reverse roles with their parents and become the parent fascinates me. In fact, any kind of role reversal fascinates me, but I thought that readers would find it interesting, too. Also, I like to look at things from a new angle and bring something to the table that a reader wouldn’t have seen before. I think I’ve been successful in doing that.
9. How do you manage to keep yourself focused and on track?
Ha! It can be hard. I have so much going on in my life right now that I’m probably horribly out of focus. But I’m also good at being disciplined when I have to, so if I have something to do, I can sit down and get it done. When I’m writing, I fully thrust myself into it and I can work 10-12 hours a day for 3-4 months. Then I pull away and digest what I’ve written before I go back to it.
10. Do you write to make money or for the love of writing?
Oh, it’s probably a bit of both. I enjoy the writing immensely. But who wouldn’t want to make money at it? In fact, I think that most people, if they were honest, would admit that they want to make money at it, even if only a little. I think an artist should be paid a fair wage. I have no problem with that.
11. What are some traditional methods of marketing you have used?
I’ve used direct mail and email. I also belong to an authors’ marketing cooperative and did the AuthorBuzz program with M.J. Rose.
12. What are some unique methods of marketing you have used?
I worked hard to figure out my niche markets and I contacted people who were movers and shakers in those areas to get endorsements and reviews. That has paid off for me big time because my niche markets have grown and are bigger than I thought they’d be.
13. Do you sell through a website? If so, what’s the address? If not, why not?
I’m not self published, so I don’t sell through my website. For one, I don’t want to get involved with the tax stuff. And my books are available on Amazon and will be in Borders and Barnes and Noble, so there’s no need to buy through me. People can learn more about my book at www.judygregerson.com and I have links to an independent bookstore on my page, as well as Amazon and B&N.
14. Where can people order your books?
Amazon, B&N, chains stores, indy bookstores. Basically, anyone who sells books can get mine. Bad Girls Club will be in the big chains this spring, so that would also be a good place to look for it.
15. What format are your books – e-book, print, audio etc?
Right now, just print.
16. Will you write more books?
I have a few in the works that are in various stages of undone. Sometimes I work on a book for several years, picking it up for a while and then leaving it for a time, then going back. I’ve never just written something, revised it, and called it done. My stories seem to require more time and depth and the more I revise, the more I see how I need to revise more. It’s a vicious circle really, but I do love to revise.
17. What do you have in the works now?
I have a coming of age story about a girl whose mother deserts her in a grocery store parking lot and leaves her behind with a very eccentric extended family and never returns. I have another book done about a girl who lives in a trailer park and who’s trying to find her place in the world.
18. What does the future hold for you and your books?
Well, I am hoping that Bad Girls Club will reach the teen and adult audiences who really need to read it and that I build a strong readership for my next book. People who have read Bad Girls Club ask me when my next book is coming out, so I need to get that sold and out there so I can get to work on the next.
19. What was the most successful thing you did to promote your books?
I think that sending out ARCs really helped a lot. I was fortunate in that I had enough to send to librarians and reviewers (online) and that so many of them were very generous in reviewing it quickly and gave it great reviews. That created a momentum and buzz for my launch, which was quite successful. Bad Girls Club stayed in the top 10 on 5 Amazon Bestseller Lists (New Releases) for almost 3 months.
20. What was the least successful thing you did to promote your books?
Oh, I had a few media contacts that really didn’t work out, but th
at kind of stuff is so iffy anyway. You hope that the media bites. Sometimes they do, sometimes they don’t. I did have one large national newsletter go out with a blurb about my book but they failed to mention my name, email, website address or anything else that would have made it possible for them to find the book and then when I discovered the error, they wouldn’t correct it. That was pretty sad, but stuff like that happens.
Synopsis for Bad Girls Club
Destiny has a secret. She’s been told not to tell anyone what happened to her, her little sister, and her mother at Crater Lake. Or that her mother is mentally ill and hits her little sister.
But the secret is killing her and every day she remembers the bad thing she did at Crater Lake. Her boyfriend, Joshua, and best friend, Chloe, don’t understand. When she pulls away from them, and refuses to leave the house, they don’t realize that she’s trying to fix the mistake she made. They only know that she’s slipping away.
But trying to hold her family together doesn’t work. Destiny feels a darkness in the house and when Mom gets out of the psychiatric hospital, it takes over. First it attacks her little sister, and then it comes for her.
Destiny has to choose whether to expose the lies and the darkness or tell the truth about what happened at Crater Lake.
Can the truth really set her free? Or will she remain what her mother has always called her–a bad girl?
This interview was done in conjunction with Nikki Leigh. For more information, visit – www.nikkileigh.com/promo.htm.