Thursday, April 14, 2016

RI Author Feature: Interview with Judith Glynn & Giveaway

I hope you have all been enjoying the RI Author Month I have put together for you.  The excitement of the event continues today with an interview with Judith Glynn, the author of A Collector of Affections and The Street or Me (you can see my review posts by clicking on the titles). Don't forget to stick around for the end of the interview, I will have a giveaway where you can win a digital copy of one of these books.
Thank you Judith for taking the time out of your schedule for this interview. Let's just jump right into it with some questions about A Collector of Affections.
Ang: You had said in a previous interview that the basis for A Collector of Affections was a real life experience and a love letter written to a gentleman you met. One of my own hobbies includes letter writing.  Do you often write letters? How was it taking such a personal story and creating a work of fiction?
Judith G: I haven't hand-written a letter in years but what you refer to was a 14,000-word love letter written on a computer. Yes, it was to the gentleman I met on a plane to Spain, and it outlined our trip. ​Once finished, I decided it would look better if in book-form, which led me into the self-publishing world. I went to, chose a stock cover and created a 26-page book; title  "Lorenzo's Abduction," since his name is Lorenzo, not Miguel. And off it went to him through the U.S. mail. 

Somewhere in that process -- done almost 10 years ago -- was the start of self-publishing books for me and other authors. I've always been the creative type (once made my own clothes) so I liked being in charge creatively. The more I reread my tiny book, the more I wanted to turn it into a novel. But I was a non-fiction writer, mostly travel, and unfamiliar with the genre. Regardless, I jumped in using what was a true memory and embellished a great deal. Hence, "A Collector of Affections: Tales from a Woman's Heart" was the result.

Did I like the process? Yes. Writing it wasn't that difficult since I'm a born writer. Learning the ropes about having a professional cover made, finding an editor, the mounting expense and on and on to get the book out was very hard. I eventually went with CreateSpace for the paperback and Kindle for the ebook. Would I write fiction again? Probably not.  
And do I hand-write letters? Never. I'm also getting very bad at sending cards.
Ang: From the beauty and descriptions of Spain and Portugal, they must be favorite destinations for you.  How often to do travel there? Does the atmosphere of those particular places or your own memories attached to them lend to the romantic feel presented in A Collector of Affections?
Judith G: You guessed right. I adore Spain and Portugal, having traveled to Spain about 40 times. In fact, I'm returning to Madrid shortly and for several weeks. I'm so obsessed and comfortable with Spain in general, its people and customs, ​I might have a DNA test done. Surely some long-lost Spanish relatives are in my blood, although I'm a pure-bred Irish-American woman. Wouldn't it be fun to find a Spanish contessa or queen in my lineage! 
Yes, again to your question about romantic memories attached to both countries. There's something about the light; long lunches and dinners; a siesta with a favorite man; relaxing strolls, in-depth conversation and the sensual beat. Spain, for me, has it more than Portugal.
Ang: You know I have always wanted to have a DNA test done, it has always made me a little curious.  But I guess whether something isn't in your blood but your heart is all that matters.
Now, it is my understanding that you really got your start in writing with travel articles.  Let's talk a little bit about those experiences.
Ang: Where have you traveled for writing but never gotten the opportunity to return to? Where haven't you been that you want to experience, International or within the States?
Judith G: Tough question. As a travel writer, the experience of a destination is different than that of a traveler and often shorter. It's not that relaxing looking for a story. However, one place I'd like to return to is Savannah, Georgia. Loved the beat there; the Spanish moss dangling from the trees and the mystery of the place. I immediately bought "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil," after that visit. I'm yearning to return to Western Ireland and the town of Doolin where I've been told musicians play the best Irish music. I've never visited Asian countries and don't feel that desire. As for U.S. travel, Key West interests me because I adore writing about funky places. 

As you can see, I'm all over the place with favorite and yearning. Sometimes I regret my travel-writing background since it hampers me. I don't know how to travel as a traveler; hence, I need an itinerary for each day and always find a story I want to write about. But it does make for a curiosity search in a new place, plus I can talk to anyone about anything. Sound familiar for the novel generated when a charming seatmate sat next to me on a flight to Spain?
Ang: If you were writing a travel article for Rhode Island, what would be your hook line?
Judith G: I'd rather not give away a future hook, how about I tell you about a past one entitled "Bite-sized Rhode Island."
Lede paragraph was: Rhode Island, for all its natural beauty and Colonial trappings, has a slice of Americana crisscrossing the state that most visitors miss. Those in the know are the historians who are giving an overdue nod to the American diner and the fact that Providence, Rhode Island's capital, is its birthplace. ​
Ang: Oh that sounds intriguing.  Rhode Island is definitely bite sized in size and also the wealth and variety of dining experiences.
Ang: On to the more serious topic of The Street or Me.  You had stated multiple times throughout the book that Michelle had this draw for you, and you couldn't quite put your finger on the reason you felt it so necessary to help her.  Were you ever able to place that connection? Have you ever felt that draw with another person in a similar situation?
Judith G: I've given up trying to label the reason Michelle and I clicked at such a deep level. We were the least likely of women to become friends. It's not often anyone from the general populace befriends a drunk, smelly homeless woman like I did. I've often thought because I had changed my life so successfully, anyone could do it too. All I had to work with for my change was me, and that's what most of us have at the end of the day. Michelle, at a deep level, had herself, too. Look how long she survived out there.

But I have to pat myself on the back, too. I have a compassionate make-up and will help others. It's easy for me. ​People have helped me along the way. Life is a two-way street. Plus, it takes a long time for me to walk away from anyone who's struggling with life, especially within my circle of friends and family. I will go that extra mile.

As for helping another person similar to Michelle, yes I have helped someone. Together we found a cure for the long addiction(s) that worked...and is still working. Michelle was the ultimate gift from live to me. Knowing her helped me help someone else. 
Ang: It sounds like you were trying to share your own optimism and successful rebuilding of your life. I am very happy to hear that you were able to help another person, with hopefully a more successful outcome, and that Michelle was able in a way to give you the tools to help others.
Ang: Your son Dean showed a lot of patience and compassion with Michelle on your journey back to Italy, how did that experience change his outlook? Did he return to being a carpenter? How did sharing the experience with him affect your relationship as a mother and son?
Judith G.: Dean, to this day, is a cool guy. His heart is huge, although many people don't get to experience it because he's somewhat of a loner. Rhode Islanders who know Dean and have read the book are amazed at what he did and his compassion. He would never bring up the subject himself. Although I have a deep love for all my children. Dean and I shared an exalted experience through Michelle, so talking about it gets lost in the translation. Few people would have done what we did; hence; few really understand the depth of our rescue of her. 
Yes, he's still a carpenter (union I might add since he's proud of that); still lives in Rhode Island. He and his wife had a girl several years ago, something neither of them thought would ever happen. Dean and I have had our problems through the years. We are independent people with opinions and a fiery temper when provoked. There was a deep split between us that lasted several years but everything is patched up, better than ever. That little girl helped bring us together.
Ang: You both managed something that most people couldn't even imagine taking on and it is great that you able to reconcile, it is amazing what a little one can bring do to bring a family together.
A huge thank you to Judith Glynn for taking the time to answer my questions with such open and thorough answers.  I hope you will have the opportunity to check out her books!  Get to know more about Judith Glynn on her Goodreads Page and Website.
Judith Glynn's writing life began with travel articles in national newspapers. A favorite destination is Spain. Her memoir, The Street or Me, is a raw, riveting read that chronicles how she returned a New York City homeless woman to her family in Italy. Reviewers say they get a different perspective about helping a stranger. Her novel, A Collector of Affections, reinforces that middle-age romances are hot and alive. Her next book begins when a woman puts on a silk red dress that changes her life. Judith is a mother to four adult children and beaming grandmother to six.
You can also connect with Judith on Facebook at or on Twitter at @JudithGlynn
When I originally met Judith at the Rhode Island Author Expo in December, I picked up a code where you can download either book through Judith's website to give away to one of you!
Of course with anything else we have rules
~You must be 18 or older to enter (though there is nothing adult included)
~Enter the giveaway via the below Rafflecopter methods
 ~This is open internationally too (any incurred customs fees are your responsibility)
~Giveaway ends midnight on the 29th, winners will be announced the next day (I will be contacting you via email after the announcement for shipping information)

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