Judith McNees lives in Michigan, where she enjoys spending time hiking with her kids and breaking out into random songs to annoy them. She loves to travel, and visiting all 50 states with her husband is at the top of her bucket list. She has a B.A. in English from Western Michigan University and is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers.
Genre: Contemporary Christian Romance
Q1: What is the name of your latest book and what is it about?
My latest book is called A Heart to Redeem, and it is the third book in my Tranquil Shores Sweet Christian Romance Series. The series is a family saga which follows the siblings in the Morgan family, and book 3 is about the youngest brother, Chris. This book touches on themes of loss, trauma, family, and redemption. It is a marriage of convenience book…my favorite trope to read!
Q2: How long does it take you to write a book? How long does each stage of the process usually take?
It varies. It took me about three months to finish A Heart to Redeem, but I wrote my Christmas novella in two weeks. My process has gotten cleaner with each new release, so my drafts are fairly clean when I finish them. I have my editing fairly streamlined at this point, so the majority of my process is spent on writing and discovering the story.
Q3: What is your favourite type of character to write?
I love writing my heroes. Chris, from A Heart to Redeem, was my most challenging character to write due to his story arc and flaws. I actually didn’t like him very much at the beginning of the book, but by the end, he was one of my favorites!
Q4: Do you mine your own life for ideas, settings and/or characters? If so, please give an example from your current book release where you have done this.
A Heart to Redeem is set in the fictional town of Tranquil Shores, Michigan, which is on the shores of Lake Michigan. I love visiting the lake, although I don’t ever swim! There are also several childhood stories in this book that are either directly from my own childhood or based on one of my own kids. The one where Chris’s brother fed him a jalepeno to torture him? That was something I did to my youngest sister…lol.
Q5: What is something you wish you had known earlier on it your writing career?
Find a mentor who understands your mission and will help you sort through all of the writing advice. I had five beta readers for A Heart to Redeem, and two of them tried steering me in the direction of more of a women’s fiction/Christian fiction type of story. I went back to my mentor, and she was able to help me sort through that because she knows my mission and my goals as an author, and she’s also an author and editor in my genre who understands the conventions and expectations in a CCR story.
Q6: What do you do when you find yourself in a bit of a writing rut? Is there any strategy you find works for you to help the words start flowing again?
I like to brainstorm with my mentor when I’m stuck. The other thing I’ve realized is that a lot of the time when I think I’m in a rut, I’m just procrastinating. I set a timer for 15 minutes and write. Usually, when the 15 minutes are up, I keep going!
Q7: What is your favourite writing resource?
Novelpad. Hands down. I was blessed to discover it about two weeks after I started writing my first novel and never looked back. It helps me keep my notes, character profiles, and writing all in one place.
Q8: How would you describe your book’s ideal reader?
My books mainly appeal to women who enjoy romance books with a strong Christian thread but who are looking for characters with flaws and who don’t always make the right choices. I have readers I’ve met from 13 to 97, so almost any age would enjoy them.
Q9: What authors or books inspire you the most?
The Holy Bible
Q10: What are you currently reading?
The Spark Brothers series by Liwen Y. Ho.To find out more about Judith McNees check out her linktr.ee or give her a follow on Instagram @judith_mcnees_author.
A Heart to Redeem is available now.
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