About J.L. Newton:
Judith Newton is the author and co-editor of five nonfiction books on British women writers, feminist criticism, women in history, and men’s movements. Her food memoir, Tasting Home, came out in 2013 and won twelve independent press awards. Her first novel, Oink. A Food for Thought Mystery, has been listed by BookBub.Com as one of the funniest books coming this spring.
As a professor, and frequent director, of Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies at U.C. Davis for twenty years, Judith has spent much of her life in a land grant university, has interacted with its quirky characters, directly struggled with its ever more corporate values, hosted food-based parties in an effort to revive the communal values of its rural past, and participated in a utopian alliance of the women’s and ethnic studies programs as they fought, successfully, to survive. She has lived the tension between communal and corporate values that lies at the heart of Oink.
What inspires you to write?
A desire to make a difference in the world. A need to be creative.
Tell us about your writing process.
I'm very much an outliner and I use the screenwriter's 8 part structure. I tried cards but they don't work for me. I haven't tried software but I do make a big outline and really need to get a large whiteboard. I also think about what I want the reader to come away with. What is the moral universe I'm creating? What imagery do I want to carry through? I always take pictures of the settings I want to use. I look at weather calendars for the season and year I'm writing about. This grounds me somehow.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
I don't talk to them, but I find they start coming out of me if I have an idea about them. I do make a list of their characteristics and history, their needs and desires and conflicts but when I write they start to talk through me. I love when that happens.
What advice would you give other writers?
Don't be afraid of the shitty first draft. Then rethink the outline and revise again and again. Use beta readers and an editor. Outline books you admire to see how they are put together. Write out passages from authors you admire as well. I've learned a lot this way.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I'd published with traditional publishers as an academic but publishing non academic work is entirely different. I did send letters to agents and traditional presses, but I'm of a certain age and didn't want to keep waiting and waiting. In the end I went with a feminist hybrid press that curates their books, She Writes Press. The community among their authors is extraordinary and the press is communal and excellent too. I love planning events with the other authors and giving each other support. Best publishing experience I've ever had.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
More hybrid presses and self publishing. Less gate keeping by the traditional presses. More respect for the excellent work produced by indie authors.
What do you use?: Professional Editor, Professional Cover Designer, Beta Readers
What genres do you write?: Mystery, memoir, nonfiction
What formats are your books in?: Both eBook and Print
All information in this post is presented “as is” supplied by the author. We don’t edit to allow you the reader to hear the author in their own voice.