Judy Alter


Judy AMy guest this week is Judy Alter, author of the Kelly O’Connell mysteries and the Blue Plate Cafe mysteries. She has authored over sixty! books for adults and children, many of them about women in the American West. Today she answers questions and tells a little about her life and writing.



If you were an animal, what kind would you be?

If I was an animal, I’d like to be a dog—well cared for, of course, not homeless or in the fight pit. Dogs embody so many qualities that humans sometimes need more of—loyalty, unconditional love, protectiveness. I’ve had dogs—sometimes three or four at a time—all my life, and I don’t think I could live without one. It surprises me that they don’t play a major role in my fiction.

Who are the important people in your life? Have they influenced your writing?

The important people in my life are my four grown children, their spouses, and my seven grandchildren. Over the years they have been my cheer team, leading me always to try to do better. Also, their antics have supplied me with material. My oldest daughter said of one of my books, “It’s highly autobiographical.” And of course they’re a big part of my cookbook/memoir: Cooking My Way Through life With Kids and Books.

What’s your favorite room in your house?

My favorite room in my house is my office. I hate to admit to being a computer addict, but I am—it’s the first place I go in the morning and the last place at night. If I’m doing chores around the house, after an hour or so I think I better check my computer. When I eat alone (and I often do), I eat at my computer. My dog has her favorite (filthy) chair in there and keeps me company.

What is your writing process?

My writing process is haphazard at best. When I finish a novel, I go through a brief period of agony wondering what to do next. Then an idea begins to rattle around in my head, and after a week or so I make rough notes. It may be another week or two before I type those first words—they have to come to me as inspiration—but then I’m off and writing, with a goal of 1,000 words a day. My notes are rough enough that you’d definitely call me a pantser. I also don’t have a regular writing time but mornings mostly go to errands and busy work—at my desk or around the house—and I do my best writing after supper. During the school year I keep one of my grandsons after school, and we do homework.

What’s your next project?

My next project is to continue working on my marketing plan for The Perfect Coed, which launches mid October as my first indie published work. I’ve made a good start on advance buzz but have to keep it up. Ideas for the sequel are at the rattling around in my head stage.

What prompted you to write your books?

The reason I write cozy mysteries is because I enjoy reading them. They make up the bulk of my pleasure reading, though, often when a review is assigned, I read women’s fiction and memoir and historical fiction and nonfiction.




Deception in Strange Places

DECEPTION-JALTER-mdA Kelly O’Connell Mystery, Book 5


A woman desperately seeking her biological mother, a televangelist determined to thwart that search, a hired hit man, and in the midst of it all, a reclusive diva who wears Chinese silk gowns and collects antique Chinese porcelain. No one is telling the whole truth, and Kelly doesn’t know who to trust. She has gotten herself involved in a dangerous emotional tangle, and Mike doesn’t tell her to back off this time, even when events take them from Fort Worth to San Antonio.




“Someone’s trying to kill Ms. Lorna,” Keisha said calmly, never lifting her eyes from the keyboard.

It was not yet nine o’clock on an early September morning, and I had just delivered my two daughters to school—Maggie is now in middle school, but Em is still at the local elementary school. I was not in the mood to talk about killing and possible murders. The idea that someone was trying to kill our neighborhood diva/recluse seemed impossible, and I didn’t want to think about it. I wanted coffee. “Did you say the coffee’s ready?”

“Kelly O’Connell! You know darn good and well what I said. Someone’s trying to kill Ms. Lorna.” Now she had raised her eyes and was staring at me, a bit defiantly.

I sighed. “And you know this how? Your sixth sense?” Keisha really does have the sixth sense—it’s saved my life a couple of times. But I get a bit weary of her parading that sixth sense for everything. I like to tell myself I’m grounded in reality. My husband, Mike, would scoff at that but I don’t tell him.


Find Judy’s books at:


Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Judy-Alter/e/B001H6NMU6/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1377217817&sr=1-2-ent

Smashwords: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/462168

Turquoise Morning Press: http://www.turquoisemorningpressbookstore.com/search?q=Judy+Alter


Learn more about Judy at:

Web page: http://www.judyalter.com
Blogs: http://www.judys-stew.blogspot.com; http://potluckwithjudy.blogspot.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Judy-Alter-Author/366948676705857
Twitter: @judyalter
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5446.Judy_Alter


Categories: Books, cozy mysteries, dogs, Mystery, suspense, Uncategorized, writing | Tags: , , , , | 18 Comments

Post navigation

18 thoughts on “Judy Alter

  1. Great cover, Judy! Sixty books. Amazing.

    Nancy G.West

    Aggie Mundeen Mysteries

  2. Thanks, Nancy. I love the cover, but I’ve liked all the covers Turquoise Morning Press has done for me. This time the publisher said she was going tor simplicity!

  3. Yes, I, too, love the cover. I have a secret love for dragons and actually have a Chinese dragon tattoo on my right ankle. Yes, your record of 60 books is quite amazing. I was interested in your writing “schedule” because it’s similar to mine. My best time has been between 3 and 6 p.m. Trouble is it was also a “down” time and I often have to reinforce myself with a good cup of strong tea or a Coke.
    Best of luck to you!

    • Carol, I”m afraid I refresh myself with a nap somewhere between 3 and 6–that will change when school starts!

  4. Your book excerpt is enticing! Will have to put it on my TBR shelf. Sixty books is amazing. Did you write and publish all those books with Turquoise Morning Press?

    • Diana, no not all with TMP. I even wrote for Bantam in the old days, but many of those are work for hire for companies that publish for school libraries. I have 12-15 adult novels and 8-10 juvenile novels but some miscellaneous things–a cookbook, a study of the late author Elmer Kelton, etc. No, Karysa, I’m not a teacher. I’m retired and keep one of my grandsons after school and help with his homework, so I’m doing third-grade this year. Don’t have the energy to teach! And never was good at it, even at the college level.

  5. I was going to write something else but then I saw that last comment of yours–I, too like to take naps during 3 and 6–but of course, all that changes when school begins because I’m a teacher. My question–am I understadning this correctly that you’re a teacher? And if so, my second question is how the heck do you still have energy for writing 1,000 words/day??? I’m super impressed! 😀

  6. Judy is amazing isn’t she? Guess I’d better get busy–not that I’d ever approach her output.

    • Not amazing, Kate. Just like to write. I”m sure my kids will say, “I remember her. She always said, ‘Go on, now. I’m busy.'” Actually they’re a great cheering squad.

  7. Enjoyed your interview, Judy. Best wishes with your book.

  8. 60 books! That’s an amazing number. So glad to hear that someone else does most of their creative writing after supper. Most everyone says they work early in the morning while they’re fresh. Not being a morning person, I edit in the morning when I’m crabby and critical.

    • Sandy, 60 books isn’t as impressive as it sounds. Many of them were WFH written for companies that sell to school libraries–around 5,000 words. But the research was interesting. I learned a lot. I’m probably more efficient in the morning but I just don’t have a block of time. Then again, I can’t write in big blocks–don’t know how people write for six hours straight.

  9. marsharwest

    Hey, Kate. What an interesting interview, Judy. Regardless of length, Judy, you’re output is amazing. Loved the excerpt. Don’t read many cozies, but will have to check out your book. Do you do much social media? You’re comment about being addicted to the computer made me think you might. I’m always searching for someone to tell me how to manage my time on FB & Twitter & Blogs! Best wishes for lots of sales.

    • Marsha, yes I do social media but I’m not the one to tell you how to manage your time. I’m active on Facebook and my posts automatically go to Twitter. There are a lot of other sites I’d like to be more active on, particularly Pinterest, but I just don’t have time. I do find that an hour of Facebook bores me and I’m ready to move on, especially if there’s some kind of deadline pressing me. But then I always wonder about what I miss. I do two blogs–daily (or almost) on Judy’s Stew, http://www.judys-stew.blogspot.com and on Sunday, Potluck with Judy, http://potluckwithjudy.blogspot.com. I don’t do Linked In because it’s about career building and at 76 I figure if I haven’t done it yet, I’m too old to worry about a career. Mostly I write because it’s fun–not to build my career. I have no hopes of hitting the NYT bestseller list!

      • marsharwest

        Good grief, Judy. How do you manage two blogs a day. I do one a week and cut back on my guest authors because I can’t get to my WIP! See, I just dive in to FB and swim to the other end. Jump over to Twitter and catch all the new follows, by RTing and then Folloing them. I try to RT everyone whos RTed me, especailly if they RTed something about a book or a blog or one of my vaca pics. It’s just never ending. I never knew it would be like this before I got pubbed. I just did a bit of FB and no Twitter. I don’t know if it translates to sales or not. But I just keep swiining away. I appreicate your response. 🙂 You’re not too old for anything, BTW. 🙂

      • I don’t do two blogs a day Marsha, just one–Judy’s Stew most days, Potluck with Judy on Sunday. And I’m not as courteous as you are about Twitter. But I do spend a lot of time on Facebook. On Twitter, I mostly just follow people and occasional thanks for RTs. But all my Facebook posts go to Twitter in a shortened form automatically. Don’t ask–I don’t remember how I set that up. Right now I’m stalling on diving into a new WIP.

  10. I’m with you Marsha on the FB and Twitter time sinks. I can spend entirely too much time on FB, don’t do Twit as much. Have decided to not do either on weekends. I also backed off to alternating my blog posts with guest posts.
    Thanks for stoppibng by.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: