Hello everyone! I hope you are all doing amazing! Today, I am ecstatic to present an author’s interview of Judith Lepore, a new indie author with a magnetic writing style who has penned the book – Where the Moon Has Been.
I hope you enjoy this fun interview.
Shreya Vijay: Hello, Judith! It is a pleasure to have you here with us today! First of all, congratulations on releasing your book and thank you for being here with us today.
Judith Lepore: Thank you so much, Shreya. I am happy to be here too.
Shreya: So, Judith! Let’s start with the basics. Please tell us something about yourself.
Judith: Well, I a an emerging fiction author and in September 2021, I published my first epic fantasy novel “Where the Moon Has Been.” Before embarking on this journey, I worked for years as a writer and editor for radio, television, and film, in my native city of Vancouver, B.C. In my personal life, I am a wife, mother, animal activist, and fitness trainer.
Shreya: That is some stellar credentials. Color me impressed, Judith. Well, owing to your enthralling writing style, I can’t help but wonder if you’ve always enjoyed writing. The finesse with which you pen your novels is highly commendable. So, did you enjoy writing as a kid?
Judith: Yes, I loved creating my own stories from the time I first began to read. I remember the first story I wrote as a kid that garnered some attention, and the deep thrill it gave me. I was seven, and my grade 2 teacher decided it was a great story– and she read it out to the entire class. Afterward one of my classmates told me I should “write comic books for my job” which to a seven year old is high praise indeed.
Shreya: Aha, that indeed is a praise, alright. I am glad that you had such supportive peers. I am so glad you decided to take that plunge and write such a beautiful novel. Though, I am curious. Out of all the possible genres at your disposal, why did you decide to write a Fantasy novel?
Judith: I chose fantasy because I love reading fantasy, and because, of all the genres, it gives us the most imaginative freedom. Fantasy authors create their own entire worlds, and they are not subject to anyone else’s rules, including the laws of physics, ha ha. If I say ‘pigs can fly’, then pigs can fly!! Having said that, fantasy is also one of the most challenging genres, because if the author doesn’t stay consistent, or if aspects of the worldbuilding don’t make any sense at all, then then they’ve lost the reader.
Shreya: I totally agree with you. Fantasy is my comfort genre and having it include a book as stunning as yours, makes me feel elated. Tell mw, though, Judith, if you had to choose, which author would you say has shaped your childhood?
Judith: C.S. Lewis was a huge influence in my childhood. His Narnia series captures the imagination and carries the reader along breathlessly. As a child I passionately tried to convince myself that Narnia was a real place, and that one day I would be called to go there. Didn’t happen, so I had to build my own worlds.
Shreya: Ahaha! The Narnia series is pretty famous among kids and that is a fact. If you could, would you meet your favorite author and fictional character, and who would they be?
Judith: I would have loved to meet Ursula Le Guinn, who passed away not that long ago. She wrote “The Left Hand of Darkness” and “Lathe of Heaven,” two masterpieces of speculative fiction. She was an author who cared deeply about human rights issues and wove her ideology subtly into her science fiction and fantasy books, without sounding preachy in the least. Very few people are good enough writers to do that.
Shreya: I am going to have to check out these books as soon as possible. Would you say that you’re a plotter?
Judith: Alas, I am not a plotter by nature, I am a pantser. My characters are very bossy, and they often wrench control right out of my hands and take the plot down a different path. It’s eerie. In my sequel, Mirror of the Sea, I sternly told myself I would outline every chapter. And I did. Then later I went back and laughed my head off reading my outlines, because sometimes the outcomes were so wildly different than I had planned.
Shreya: Haha, that happens. What does your general writing day look like?
Judith: My writing day is a little disjointed because I am also a fitness instructor/trainer, and so with COVID I am doing Zoom fitness classes, then rushing off to train a client at the track or in their garage. Then there’s my adorable Australian Shepherd Oliver, who needs walking. So, I often write in the mid-afternoon for an hour or two, and then after dinner again. But I’d prefer to write in the morning.
Shreya: Getting even the slightest bit of writing done daily is a big achievement. Being an indie author, what would you say is the best and worst part of being one?
Judith: The best part about being an indie author is being in the driver’s seat and calling all the shots. The worst part about being an indie author is being in the driver’s seat and calling all the shots.
Shreya: Hmm, that is definitely a smart answer. Being an indie author myself, I totally agree with you. Well, your book has a lot of lore and supernatural characters in it. Did you do a lot of research for it? If yes, how did you go about it?
Judith: No, my book didn’t require much research, another advantage of creating your own world. I did look at medieval practices, tools, weaponry, etc., and tried to stick to a general “Iron Age” template.
Shreya: Wow, perks of calling the shots, huh? How did you come up with your characters – their names, traits and personality?
Judith: My character Tekoah has a fair amount of me in her. (Her name is the name of our family farm). Like her, I also grew up isolated in a rural area. Braith is the culmination of every “still water runs deep” kind of pseudo-bad-boy I ever had a crush on in my teens. Weslan and Reika were their own selves from the very beginning, as was the apothecary Chalvern, who simply appeared out of the blue, fully developed as a character, and demanded to be plopped into the story. Naming the characters came easily, even though I worried that they would be perceived as weird. But I’ve had a lot of good feedback on the names, so go figure!
Shreya: I, personally, loved all the names of your characters. They are unique and definitely side well with the book being one of the Fantasy genre. How did you feel when you first held a copy of your paperback in your hands?
Judith: When I held my paperback in my hand it was a surreal moment. An “I finally did it” burst of euphoria, that hasn’t quite left me yet!
Shreya: Oooo, sounds familiar. Which are some of your all-time favorite books?
Judith: Favorite fantasy/sci-fi books would be Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Last Unicorn, The Left Hand of Darkness, Tigana, Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell. I also read the classics, and love Dickens—A Tale of Two Cities, Hugo—The Hunchback of Notre Dame, etc. An excellent recent read was A Gentleman in Moscow, by Amor Towles.
Shreya: Aha! That sounds like something I might be really interested in! Before we wrap up with today’s interview, what advice would you give to anyone who is sitting on their manuscript right now, scared to publish it?
Judith: I would advise a would-be author to go ahead and publish, or you will never know what it feels like to have that dream come true. But, only after making it the very best you can, and getting it properly edited and packaged.
Shreya: Thank you so much for being here with us today, Judith! It was wonderful to get to know you. It was a really fun session. I wish you all the very best for your future.
Interact with Judith:
Add the Book on GOODREADS
Read my review of Where the Moon Has Been HERE