Today, please allow me to introduce you to…
Judith Golightly is one of the many authors I have met here on Facebook. She is the author of Billy’s Story, but I will let her tell you all about that by getting right into the interview.
When did you know you wanted to become an author, and why?
I have always enjoyed writing, but I never thought I would become an author until about 30 years after my first son passed away. I started hearing a lot of stories on the news about children dying for one reason or another, some in mass killings. It was then that I felt led to write a book about my experience, dealing with a seriously ill child and his eventual death. My purpose in writing the book was to help others who have lost children.
How long did it take you to write your first novel?
It took me about three years to write my book, because the first two years I was working full time, so I was only able to write part time.
How long did it take you to publish your first book?
It took about three years for me to write the book and an additional year to get it published.
Are you published through the traditional method, or are you an Indie author?
I am an Indie author, although my book was published through the services of WestBow Press.
What is the biggest thing you have learned in the process of becoming an author?
The biggest thing I have learned is that there is a lot more to writing a book than just sitting down and putting pen to paper. The whole process is quite involved, including, among other things, editing, obtaining written permission to include other published material in your work, getting a copyright, placing pictures strategically in the book, the cost of publishing, and, last, but not least, marketing your book.
What are the problems you face while writing, either with getting your story down or with interruptions during the process?
A major hurtle that I dealt with was trying to remember, thirty years after the fact, the details of the experience. I had not kept a diary or journal while going through the ordeal, so I had to try to recall all of the important, and sometimes painful, memories from the past. Occasionally I would remember something significant in the middle of the night, and if I didn’t get up and write a note about it, I wouldn’t remember it the next morning. The other thing that I had some difficulty with is putting the story together in a logical order. Because I wrote so many notes of things that I remembered, as I thought about them, they were disjointed. So, it was like putting the pieces of a puzzle together to make the complete picture.
I will add that I found the publishing aspect of writing a novel more daunting than the actual writing of the novel. Dealing with my publisher was not the pleasant experience that I thought it would be. I thought they would be doing more of the work in the publishing phase than they did, thus taking that burden off of me. But I wound up doing much more work in that phase than I originally anticipated.
When do you know you have the story the way you want it to read?
You read it over and over again until it seems to flow well and get your message across.
What would you most like to see changed about your own writing, if anything?
I would like to be more organized while writing books in the future.
What is your genre, and do you think you may write in another at some point?
I have always enjoyed reading non-fiction biographical books, and that is what I plan to write in the future.
How many books or poems have your written?
So far I have written one book and one poem.
Have you written anything else?
I have written a song.
Do you have aspirations of your work becoming a movie?
Yes, I would love for a movie to be made based on my book. Although, on one side of the coin, the subject matter of my book may be considered sad, because it involves the loss of a child, on the other side of the coin, it has an encouraging message of hope and perseverance.
How much time do you spend writing each day?
I am currently taking a hiatus in writing. But I do plan to write another book at some not too distant time in the future.
Where do you like to write?
I write wherever I am at the time I feel inspired. That is why I have so many notes that I have to organize when I put it together.
If you could go anywhere, where would you most like to go to write?
A transatlantic cruise would be a nice place to write because it would be a pleasant, relaxing atmosphere.
Who is your favorite author (aside from yourself, of course)?
I don’t really have a favorite author, but I enjoy reading good non-fiction books, e.g. “The Hiding Place,” “Trapped in Hitler’s Hell,” and “Unbroken.”
What is your favorite novel from another writer and what is your own favorite novel?
My favorite novel (if it can be considered a novel) is “The Hiding Place.” I don’t think my book, “Billy’s Story – Every Parent’s Nightmare – The Loss of a Child,” would qualify as a novel.
Do you have a favorite character in any novel, including your own?
Corrie ten Boom is my favorite character in “The Hiding Place.”
Why do you call this character your favorite?
She is my favorite character because she was so human, and yet so spiritual.
Are you an avid reader yourself?
I am not an avid reader, so a book has to really peak my interest for me to even purchase it and read it. But if I find such a book, I will stay up until the wee hours reading it.
Are there other writers in your family? Tell us a little about them.
My cousin, Ron Levinson, is a professional writer. He used to be a producer and writer for Hollywood, but now is an independent writer. Most recently, Ron wrote “Without Hesitation: The Odyssey of an American Warrior,” the powerful memoir of General Hugh Shelton, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff during 9/11, and one of the leading military figures of our time. President Clinton called the book “well-written, bluntly honest and genuinely educational.”
When do you think your next book will come out?
I anticipate that my next book will be available in about two years.
Do you have any words of wisdom for future authors?
If you decide to self-publish, do a lot of research on it, and ask people who have done that before for advice. I purchased the services of a publisher to take care of a lot of the details of publishing, e.g. obtaining the ISBN from the Library of Congress, printing, editing, etc., and I could have saved a lot of money by doing that myself.
Where can your readers and future readers contact you?
The best way to contact me is through my website: billysstory.com. You can also connect with me on Twitter at: @golightjl and on Linkedin under: Judith Golightly and on Facebook under: Billy’s Story
What do you like to hear back from the readers that helps you in your writing?
I like constructive criticism, e.g. what they found meaningful and what could be improved upon.
Do you have a biggest fan?
On a more personal note, where were you born, where did you grow up, and did this have any bearing on how or about what you write?
I was born and raised in the St. Louis area. I am sure that living in a mid-western city had an impact on my life and how I wrote. I had excellent teachers in school who emphasized good grammar and creative writing styles. That was a positive influence.
Where did you spend most of your life?
I spent most of my life in Missouri.
What experiences in life have contributed to your writing?
Definitely, the death of my first son was the catalyst to my writing my first book.
Tell us a little more about yourself.
I graduated college with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration. I worked for the U.S. Government in Army Aviation for over 30 years and for Boeing for 8 years. I am married and have 2 children and 5 grandchildren. Occasionally I sing in my church choir, and I like to travel.
Thank you again for taking the time to allow our readers to get to know you. It has been a pleasure, Judith Golightly. We will be looking forward to hearing more from you through future writing. God bless you and your work.