Woman, wife, mother, cook, domestic superwoman, fixer of all things broken, including hearts (although not so clever at mending her own), knitter of baby blankets, singer, animal lover, wildly enthusiastic child at heart and writer.

Actually, there are many more labels I could add to that list, but there comes a stopping point in any long sentence, to avoid losing the drum beat, the rhythm – and writing good prose is about musicality in all ways.  If the sentences don’t sing along, a reader will find their attention wandering.  Mine can wander just reading a recipe, and I cannot bear to read bad writing.  In fact, I just won’t.  If I have begun a book, any book, and find that by page 3 I am thinking how dull and mundane this is, I snap the book shut and send it off to the local charity shop.

Even when I wasn’t writing, when my five kids were young and the only words laid out before me were homework diaries or to-do lists, I still couldn’t bear anything tuneless or without a beat.  I thought……life is too short for any such wasting of time.  It wasn’t good english I looked for, nor fancy explanations using big long words nobody had dusted off or brought into the light since the reign of Julius Caesar….not at all, but if I found I couldn’t believe what I was reading, that the writer him or herself didn’t believe in what they were writing, I felt a huge yawn rise up from my boots and that, in a word, was that.

And I read a lot of books, sometimes two a week, now that I have more time to do so.  I think good writers must read avidly, greedily, to hear other voices, learn other ways of doing the ordinary everyday things we all do, and, most importantly, how each character feels about this ‘doing’ thing.

As I wrote Island Wife, my first book published by Two Roads, I wrote all about how I felt as I worked through the ordinary days of my life, and found, to my delight, that it lifted them into the extraordinary.  Not because everything was extraordinary all the time,, but because I said honestly how I felt about mopping floors, milking cows, skinning rabbits, cooking for hotel guests, or plaiting the mane and tail of a carthorse.  We all do these things, or some of them anyway, but how do you feel about the dull task of mopping a floor?  Once you begin to think about how you feel, really walk into the feeling, you will find a whole world of depth and texture you never imagined possible – taking you far beyond the black and white checked lino, or the red handled mop and matching bucket, or the way the bubbles go brown after the third dunk.

I do the same when I paint, when I sing, when I knit a baby blanket for a new grandchild.  I look at whatever it is, then ask myself, how do I feel about this or that or the other?  And then I write that down, or paint it down, or knit it.

I create spontaneously, and work quickly.  Once I begin to write, I don’t stop to amend, repair or correct anything.  I just keep going until I know that part is done.  Its dangerous to question whilst the creative flow is upon me.  Once it is down, then reason can be applied, but not before. And when I am creating I have no sense of time.  Hours can pass as minutes, for I am truly a part of the process, a channel for the rhythm and music, the colours and swirls, the smell and the touch of whatever I am working on.

You can read my story, out now.  I hope you do.  People, so far, seem to love it.  They ask…..what will your next book be?  Well I can’t write another memoir, so its going to have to be a novel.  I have the notes, the ideas all scribbled down in my A4 pad.  I just have to begin.

–  Judy


PS: you can get in touch with me on Facebook and Twitter for all the latest news and updates on forthcoming events.

12 thoughts on “Author

  1. I found your book on a shelf in a small inn in Inverness 3 wks ago. My husband and I were on a 2 week driving trip around Scotland . We live in Kentucky in the US, and are home now. Enjoyed your story and now passing it on to friends here. G

  2. I found your book in a shop in Portree while on holiday several weeks ago. Enjoyed it thoroughly– SO much resonated! You are an inspiration! Very happy to have discovered your blog now. 🙂

  3. Hi Judy
    Just finished your wonderful book “Island Wife”. To say I enjoyed it would be an understatement- it touched me deeply. Especially the part where you left the family for 3 months … Your openness touched an echo within my life, however, my own escape for freedom didn’t have such a good ending!
    I’d really like to know the name of your island, as I moved to Scotland from England in 1986, and cannot return.
    Warmest wishes & blessings upon your journey, Mary

  4. A wonderfully honest and moving book that enhanced my recent holiday on Mull. Thank you and look forward to reading whatever you publish next, I know it will be good!

  5. Just finished reading Island Wife. I bought it two days ago in Livingston and couldn’t put it down. You’ve lived ten lifetimes in one! As I told my friend about it and how you are now an artist as well as an author she was encouraged that as she turned 56 there was renewed hope that she was not too old to realise her dreams of painting and writing. I was so moved and inspired by your story and by your honesty. I think many women will feel like you have peeked into their minds and seen the hidden thoughts. As I pass the book to my friends (and buy two copies for those I think must have it immediately) I hope they won’t mind the drips of melon on some of the pages as I hugged the book close while trying to eat my breakfast at the same time!
    Thank you for sharing your story with us. Every time I’m tempted to complain about being tired I will think of you in Tapselteerie and I hope I shall keep my mouth shut!

  6. Judy, I have just finished reading your book this morning, after buying it in Tobermory last Wednesday whilst on a two week holiday based on the Isle of Seil. It has brought more to me than you can imagine. Oh my goodness! I am just a little younger than you and although I have led a ‘town’ life in an old coal mining area of Yorkshire there are many, sometimes uncomfortable, parallels. You have made me laugh, cry and feel increasingly more hopeful that I can get out of this rut I laughing call my life. Thank you for sowing the seed Judy. Angie

  7. Just finished Island Wife. Thank you, I have loved every moment of reading it, although unsettled in parts. You write from an island I am deeply linked with from past generations. Amanda.

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