Monday, November 26, 2012

Beach Chat with Judy Alter

Today we’re chatting with award-winning novelist Judy Alter, a lifelong mystery lover turned mystery writer.  I was captivated by the pictures of craftsmen style homes on her website (linked at the end of this post) and what she says about herself: “When there are no kids or grandkids here, I am content in a lovely 1922 red brick bungalow with a great party porch, a garden of wildflowers, an eleven-year-old Australian Shepherd named Scooby and a nineteen-year-old cat, Wywy (my animals are aging faster than I am!) but I've solved that by adding a Bordoodle (Border Collie and poodle cross) puppy to the household.”  Let’s get to know a little bit more about her.    

Your name, for the record:  Judy Alter.

Recommend a beach read:  Naturally I want everyone to read my Kelly O’Connell Mysteries, so I’ll recommend the first in the series: Skeleton in a Dead Space.

Most cherished beach memory:  Evening on the beach at the Indiana State Dunes, watching the sun slip behind the tall buildings across Lake Michigan in Chicago; then a bonfire and marshmallows to roast.

One author, living or dead, with whom you’d like to sip Mai Tais on Waikiki Beach: 
So many, but I think I’d choose Deborah Crombie because she’s fun to talk to and she could teach me a lot about mysteries. Could I have white wine? Not much for Mai Tais.

Worst non-writing job you ever had:  I had to think about this, because I’ve never in my life had a job that wasn’t somehow related to writing, except perhaps my after-class stint as a secretary (that’s what we called them back then). But the worst writing job I ever had was writing catalog copy—Bo-ring!

Favorite Quote or Saying:  “I hate writing but loved having written.”—Mark Twain

Song that you dance to when no one is watching:  “Ev’ry Time We Say Goodbye,” Stan Kenton and June Christie.

Three of your favorite things: My children and grandchildren, my dog, and my house. I’m a happy camper.

Two secret vices: White wine and chocolate—not so secret!

Pet peeve: I’ve been waiting for a chance to gripe about the new design of toothpaste tubes, with big round tops that don’t close tightly and let the toothpaste dry out, making it hard to squeeze. Life is good when your pet peeve is that inconsequential.

More About Judy:
An award-winning novelist, Judy Alter is the author of three books in the Kelly O’Connell Mysteries series: Skeleton in a Dead Space, No Neighborhood for Old Women, and Trouble in a Big Box. With Murder at the Blue Plate Café, due in February, she moves from inner city Fort Worth to small-town East Texas to create a new set of characters in a setting modeled after a restaurant that was for years one of her family’s favorites.
Before turning her attention to mystery, Judy wrote fiction and nonfiction, mostly about women of the American West, for adults and young-adult readers. Her work has been recognized with awards from the Western Writers of America, the Texas Institute of Letters, and the National Cowboy Museum and Hall of Fame. She has been honored with the Owen Wister Award for Lifetime Achievement by WWA and inducted into the Texas Literary Hall of Fame at the Fort Worth Public Library.
Judy is retired after almost 30 years with TCU Press, 20 of them as director. She holds a Ph.D. in English from TCU and is the mother of four grown children and the grandmother of seven.
     Follow Judy at or her two blogs at

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