Across Lake Michigan in the land of delicious cheese (a.k.a. Wisconsin), Judy DuCharme writes award-winning fiction from her home in Door County. Today, she gives us a look at her process, her experiences, and her latest release.
Welcome! Thank you so much for being here today. Let’s start with the nuts and bolts: how long does it take you to write the book? Edit it? Finalize it?
That has varied quite a bit. My longest book, Blood Moon Redemption, took only 9 or 10 months to write, but 3 years to find a publisher. Lainey of the Door Islands was written over a period of 3 years but was published very quickly. It’s sequel, which I just finished, was written in about 9 months. It depends on time available with life interruptions, the anointing/inspiration, the need for research, and many other variables.
Editing takes time. The one I just submitted took me a month to edit. Of course, editing is done all along in the writing process. It’s good to let the book sit a while between edits and then give it fresh eyes. A publisher friend told me once, “Editing is never done, you just finally quit.” And you’ll edit more with your assigned editor from the publisher.
4If you’ve written multiple books, which was harder: the first book or the following books?
Each is unique with its own difficulties and fun. My books are in several genres, so each one is an adventure.
I think the sequels are difficult as I feel I must write them to level of the first one or beyond. In the first in the sequence, I simply marched forward. In the second one, I needed to be careful to tie it to the first and continue.
My fiction sequel was fun and flowed, but I had to doublecheck times and places and names from the first one to make sure all fit. Then it went in a different direction than I expected, so that was interesting. My Cheesehead Devotional sequel required a lot more research and I had to make sure I wasn’t making the same point or drawing the same principle as I did in the first one.
What’s your favorite writers conference? What do you like about it?
I’ve enjoyed many conferences and they all have a special aspect though very similar. I loved Blue Ridge and would like to go again. The Florida (FCWC) is one that I’ve attended several times and really enjoyed. I’ve been to both the Philly and the Wheaton (Write to Publish) ones, and they are great as well. Each one offers timely instruction and connections.
What’s your writing day like?
Very undisciplined. For a season, I may find that 10 a.m. – noon is a great time to write. Some days that’s not possible. I may write at night. I often intend to write several hours or at a specific time, but those goals rarely work for me. I’ve learned, for the most part, to grab times when I can. I’ve found that even 45 minutes is helpful. I know many authors write 4-8 hours a day, but that rarely happens with me.
How do you prepare to write your books: pantser, plotter, both, something completely different?
I’m definitely a panster. Inspiration, anointing, and ideas that won’t leave are what get me writing. Deadlines keep me going. I have had times where it seems I’m watching the characters decide the direction and action and I just try to keep up. Other times I pray and write as best I can, knowing I can go back and change it if it isn’t that great. And I do my research, whether its books or online, visiting the location, or interviewing people that have knowledge of the necessary info.
What’s surprised you the most about the publishing process?
That I’m expected to do most of the marketing, a completely different skill than writing.
What advice do you have for new authors?
Go to a conference. That’s where you meet publishers, agents, editors, and other authors. You’ll be able to pitch your piece and have it critiqued. You’ll also have several workshops to improve your craft—and we can always improve our craft. And do your research.
What does your revision process look like?
It has evolved as I’ve gone through the editing process with my publishers. I’m also in a critique group, Word Weavers. I’m learning to look at the story and recognize areas that can be eliminated. So often we feel that every word we write is inspired and it’s very difficult to cut some of those things. But it gets easier as time goes by.
I usually print my manuscript and go through and edit. Then, I go back to the computer and do those corrections and more as I go through online. Then I go through again and am always amazed at how much still needs edited. I know when the publisher assigns an editor, there will be more edits.
Walk with Lainey into the world of Door County and its islands in the late 1800s, a time of shipwrecks, lighthouses, and strong individuals who never gave up. Lainey becomes one of those rugged individuals as she faces tragedy and hardship. Her aunt and uncle, the lighthouse keepers on tiny Pilot Island, demonstrate the toughness needed to survive, but Lainey takes it a step further with her spunk and grace and becomes a shining light to all those around her. With humor, faith, close friendships and the young man who interferes with her ability to function, Lainey of the Door Islands will capture your heart, and she’ll inspire you to know that no matter what happens, God has a plan to prosper and not to harm.
Judy DuCharme grew up with Lake Huron next to her back yard and has always loved the water. She, her husband, daughter, and son moved to Door County in 1984. After teaching 5th Grade at Gibraltar School for 22 years, Judy followed the calling that tugged at her all her life to write. She has 7 published books, one more to be released this summer, and another one submitted to the Publisher. She also writes for Guideposts Magazine. Her awards number near 20. If you visit Door County, you may find her hiking in the woods, jet skiing on the bay, worshipping at her church, teaching a Bible study, cheering for the Green Bay Packers, playing with her amazing grandson, or sitting outside enjoying the beauty around her.