If you want to know a little more about Judith and her work, click on the links below to take you to the relevant pages.
So Judith, your debut novel Undercurrent is out now. It’s been described as an unmissable psychological thriller. It’s rocketed up the charts, and already starting to show promise of being a great best seller, so come on and tell us all about it.
The idea came to me after we moved to a house that backs onto a river and a public footpath. We see many passers- by who often stop and chat. I’ve also always been fascinated by water at night and how places that are beautiful and really scenic during the day, can suddenly become quite eerie and sinister once the sun sets. The idea for the plot came to me one night and all I could think about was getting it down on paper.
It took me almost two years to fully complete Undercurrent. After sending it off to many agents and publishers and receiving rejection after rejection, I became pretty disheartened and was on the point of giving up when I received an email from Betsy at Bloodhound Publishers offering me a contract. Prior to opening it I had made a promise to myself that if it was another rejection then I was going to bin my novel and retreat from writing completely.
I love how you delve into the minds of your characters. Can you tell me what are the back-stories for the main characters, and will we see them again in future novels?
Phoebe is a very distant and aloof character who was damaged by the relationship she had with her sister and her childhood. I left it up to the reader to decide what it was that was driving her and whether or not she could have controlled all the things in her life that shaped her. She did however, have a way of manipulating situations and the people around her.
Anna is quite simply a bored housewife looking for a friend. She hoped she had found that friend in Phoebe and ended up paying for it!
Martyn was a brow beaten character who had worked hard all his life, doing his best to keep his wife happy. Their son Tom is a lot like Martyn, ever the peace keeper, doing his best to keep his mother happy and on track with her life.
When you were writing Undercurrent, who was your favourite character to write? What I mean by this is, when you were actually writing, who was it that really got your writing flowing?
Oh definitely Phoebe! Without a shadow of a doubt, she took over my writing and I could have gone on and on using her voice! For all the problems she had, I loved her ways. She was such a cool customer and always managed to appear elegant and charming to outsiders while a storm raged inside her soul!
Has there been a great deal of research gone into your books?
Not so much research but a massive amount of thinking and people watching and using knowledge gained from when I was studying psychology. What goes on in people’s heads is fascinating and I would imagine pretty frightening. We all have our dark secrets....
What was your greatest challenge about writing this book?
Time! I have a full time job and can only write on an evening or at weekends. It’s quite frustrating when an idea comes to you and you have to keep it in your head until you get home.
What do you enjoy most about your writing. Is it the plotting or perhaps the research or is it simply sitting in front of your computer and typing away.
All of it really. I do particularly enjoy the thinking about what’s going to happen next. I also love choosing a setting. There’s nothing like a storm in a dark forest or a raging sea for setting the pulse racing when reading a psychological thriller.
As we’ve mentioned, Undercurrent, is a psychological thriller, but what I would like to know is, would you ever consider writing in another genre?
My next novel is also a psychological thriller but I would really like to write a supernatural story so you never know!...
When you first started writing Undercurrent, did you plan it first, or did you just get straight into the writing and let the story just come as you were writing?
I had a vague outline of it in my head and just set about writing it without any real hard and fast plan. Many chapters and characters ended up being deleted and others added in that I hadn’t thought about in the beginning. Sometimes by the time you get to the end of a novel, the characters have changed and you have to alter many things to accommodate that fact. However, the basic premise of the story was there from day one and the characters of Phoebe and Martyn remained pretty much the same throughout.
How long did the book take to write and was it more difficult than anticipated and if so why?
As I mentioned earlier, Undercurrent took almost two years to complete. Sometimes it was a pleasure to come home and type away and other times, I wondered why I was doing it when nobody seemed remotely interested in my manuscript. It wasn’t an easy book to write but I think that was because it was my first novel and I was on a very steep learning curve.
Judith, it’s been a great pleasure carrying out this interview with you today. I certainly wish you all the best with Undercurrent. I know it’s going to be a great success, and I hope we can do this again when you have your next bestseller on the table.