Wednesday, 22 July 2020

Welcome to Romantic Comedy Author - Judy Leigh

I’m delighted to welcome romantic comedy author, Judy Leigh, to my blog.

Judy Leigh - Author

Hello Judy – It’s been wonderful connecting with you through the Romantic Novelists’ Association. And before I go any further, I’d like to say I’m in awe of your work ethic. As soon as a shout-out was made for guests to appear on the blog, with spitfire speed, you responded and came back with fantastic chit-chat answers about yourself and your books. But before we discover more about your latest release, The Old Girls’ Network, here are some questions which will hopefully give your readers and followers an insight into some of the things that matter to you.

Arabella: You’ve got an idea for a story but it has yet to take shape. Where do you start? Do you concentrate on the location in the story, or developing the characters personalities, or are there other key points you might consider?
Judy: The initial stage of a novel is really interesting and I’m sure each writer has a different approach. I don’t rush anything. Firstly, I go for a long walk in the woods nearby and I allow the themes, the characters and the location to sink in and develop naturally. The rhythm of walking helps me to think. I consider the relationship of other characters to the main protagonist, and what my character(s) want to achieve, change or accomplish by the end of the novel. I think about the journey, trying to plot some twists and turns, but not too many at this stage. I make sure I have ideas about where the characters will be by the last chapter. Then I come home, have a cup of tea and make a big mind map on a piece of paper. After that, I walk away, give myself time and space and rethink, being happy to challenge what I’ve just thought about, to rip everything up and start again, but with a few clues about where I’m going.

Arabella: In your latest release - The Old Girls’ Network - what is the overall theme or premise, and what made you choose this topic?
Judy: I write books about older protagonists and, although I fell into doing this by accident during my Master’s, I love having the opportunity for my central characters to show that people, and especially women, who are over 50 can star in a story; they can enjoy life’s twists and turns and they can still love, travel, change and develop. The Old Girls’ Network is about two very different sisters, Barbara and Pauline, and their new house guest, the enigmatic Bisto Mulligan, a man who defies easy categorisation and the prejudices of those around him. Bisto is welcomed into the wonderful community of the village, Winsley Green, and he spends the summer there as the action unfolds. The themes are about characters never being too old to change or to love and that appearances are often deceptive. I chose this because it’s wonderful to have the chance to entertain readers, to create characters who are on a journey, as we all are, and to make a little magic, a little mischief and to write story that features an age group who sometimes feature only as subsidiary characters.

Arabella: You’re stuck in a lift and it’s a two-hour wait before a pain-free extraction. What emergency rations would you like to be sent down the lift shaft?
Judy: Books and music. That would keep me going. I’m quite dependent on my phone so I’d need that to be able to chat to people outside, making sure they are still there. That said, with a good book and some nice music, I might just keep the phone in my pocket…

Arabella: You’ve arranged to meet up with friends and family for an afternoon of fun. Where do you go and what do you do?
Judy: We’d usually go for a long walk. There is a place nearby where you can climb through woodland to the top of a beacon and see the surrounding countryside. There are horses, cows, sheep and the weather is unfolding all around. Or we’d go to the beach and walk on the sand and swish our feet in the sea. Then we’d go home, feed the cats, light a log fire, cook a meal, open a bottle of wine and talk. We’d end up debating things, all sorts of mad things, but conversation is such a blessing and of course it would all end up with shared laughter.

Arabella: The moment we are published, a career path is usually envisaged. Do you have any aspirations or ambitions for yourself and any future novels you might write?
Judy: Yes. Because my novels have been described as humorous and uplifting, and the characters are usually warm and fallible, I’d love the opportunity to see them on screen. Although I never allow real people to dictate my characters while I’m writing, when I’ve finished a novel, I cast the characters from well-known actors, just for fun. It’s often very exciting to imagine the novel visually. My background is in theatre, so it’s quite logical that I always think about performance when my characters are interacting. Even if no film comes my way, I’d love to keep writing, to continue to learn and to be able to entertain and engage readers for as long as possible.

Thank you for joining me on Arabella’s Blog and Chit-Chat, Judy. And I like how you talk about “older” protagonists and not “old” protagonists. Being over fifty, you’ve given me reassurance that life and romance ain’t quite over just yet! J
All the best for your latest release, The Old Girls’ Network

About  Judy Leigh

Judy Leigh - Author

Judy Leigh has lived all over the UK from Liverpool to Cornwall, but currently resides in Somerset. After teaching theatre, writing lyrics for a punk band and setting up Shakespeare Festivals, she completed an MA in Professional Writing.  Her next novel,The Old Girls' Network, is available now and follows the bestseller, Five French Hens. All her novels, including A Grand Old Time and The Age of Misadventure, celebrate the ups and downs of life, relationships, the power of laughter and the belief that everyone has a second chance at happiness, whatever their age.

Judy writes: Commercial women's fiction/romantic comedy/novels about older protagonists.

Social Media Links:
My website is, my Twitter is  @JudyLeighWriter and I also have a Facebook page people can like and follow. 

Book Blurb:   The Old Girls’ Network

After a health scare, 77 year-old spinster Barbara goes to convalesce in the sleepy Somerset village of Winsley Green with her sister Pauline. The sisters are chalk and cheese - Barbara, outspoken and aloof and Pauline, good natured and homely – so it’s not long before the tension starts to rise.

Released:16th June 2020


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