AuthorBuzz: An Interview with Judith Natelli McLaughlin

After reading Love, Reality Style, I couldn’t help but want to know more about the author behind the witty character voices therein. I was lucky enough to score an interview with Judith Natelli McLaughlin, and we talked about writing in general, and her book. Our conversation is recorded below!
Q: How did you get into writing in general?
A. I think I was born to write.  I have been writing and illustrating stories since I was little.  I kept diaries and character journals and ALWAYS had a huge imagination. I even have a copy of the first book I wrote and illustrated.

 

 

Q. More specifically, what appealed to you about writing books that are aimed primarily at women? And what do you think of the term “chick lit”? 😉

A. This is such a fun question because the answer is maybe not what you expect.  I don’t only write books that are aimed primarily at women!  I like to write across genres from children’s chapter books to middle grade fiction to women’s fiction.  The continuous thread in all my writing is my characters.  No matter what genre I am working in, I write stories that are driven by unique, quirky, funny, life-like, relatable characters. Those are the people who come to me, whose stories I want to tell. (I love to write poetry too!)

As for the term chick lit?  I love it.  Why not.  But I know plenty of guys who like chick lit and plenty of gals who like westerns.  Stories are stories and if a story relates to you, the author has done a good job, whatever the genre. **(Note: I agree with her about her characters, they were my favorite aspect of Love, Reality Style; very original AND quirky!!)**

Q. If you could offer aspiring writers any tips on writing, what would they be?A. I have two pieces of advice I live by:

•  Write because you love it!  I am not saying there aren’t hard writing days, or writing struggles, or times when I feel stuck, but overall I LOVE to write.  I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t write.  Because I love it, I do it.

•  Never give up.  Keep setting new goals.  Keep spinning new stories.  And never give up.  When you feel like giving up, remember rule number one.  You love it anyway.

Love, Reality StyleQ. How did the characters in Love, Reality Style come to you… was it all at once, or individually?

A. The first character who came to me was Mary Grace.  I kept wondering what if the girl who never “got the hot guy” suddenly did, only AFTER she was engaged? Who would that person be, what would her life be like, and who would surround her? And so Mary Grace and the cast of LRS was born.

Q. My favorite character was actually Ralph… his Purell use made me laugh and reminded me of myself and almost every other teacher that I know! Who was your favorite character, and why?

A. I can’t even tell you how happy it makes me to hear Ralph is your favorite character.  Why?  Because early on when I was querying publishers (and I am thankful every day for getting the golden opportunity to team up with Blue Moon) LRS was turned down because Said Publisher found Ralph unlikeable.  On Ralph’s behalf, I was tremendously hurt.  But it goes to show you NEVER GIVE UP.  What one person found “unlikeable” becomes someone else’s favorite.

I don’t have a favorite character.  Like my kids, I love them all and I love them equally.  Flaws and all.

Q. Did you always know who Mary Grace would choose at the end of the book, or were you surprised by the ending once you got around to writing it?

A. I always wanted her to end up with Ralph.  I was rooting for them to make it as a couple.  But honestly, she picked him.  So while not totally surprised, I can say I was very happy.

MAC GOODE COVER.j:wwp -wp ju-wpjjjudithwjufafaceQ. Do you have any new projects in the works?

A. I have a few projects in the works.

• I am currently illustrating the second in my chapter book series: Mackenzie Goode Makes a Mistake. (The book is completed and is now in the editing process.)
• I am writing the second in my middle grade series: Dear Diary E.P Thomson Here.
• I am working on my final draft of a novel called You Got Friend – for Blue Moon.  Can’t wait for the team to dig their teeth into that one!

 

Q. More specifically, do you think you will continue storylines for any of these characters in future books? Like maybe a relationship for Jayde or a Baby Ichy? (hint hint)

A. Oh!! It pleases me to no end to know how much you care about the LRS gang that you want to know more.  You have made this author very happy.

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