Interview with Judy Lytle

Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew in a blue-collar, Catholic neighborhood south of Philadelphia. But I grew up in a multi-cultural house. My mother was South Korean. She met my father when he was active duty Air Force and stationed in Korea. This was around 1970. They fell in love, got married, and moved to the United States. It was a little strange being "hapa" in an otherwise white and black neighborhood. But I think it provided an extra perspective. I take that perspective and that multi-cultural upbringing with me in everything I do.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
When I started writing 'A Mile in Her Shoes,' I didn't even think about the publishing process. When it came time to figure that piece out, I sent about a dozen cover letters to various agents. Then I thought, there's gotta be a better way. My book is novella length, at 25,000 words, and publishers don't really want to bother with stories that are that short. But I wanted my book out there, figuring it's a good book club story, a beach read, a lazy Saturday treat. But mostly, it's my mother's story. Smashwords gave me the opportunity to share my book with the world. I might not have otherwise had the opportunity to do so.
What's the story behind your latest book?
My mother was fierce. She loved with all of her heart, and hated with every fiber of her being. There was no in-between. She had a look that was downright frightening, and if you fund yourself on the receiving end of that look, you knew you were in for some major hurt. She never let anything stand in her way. She grew up in war-time poverty. She battled fibromyalgia, She had no tolerance for racism. And when she lost her battle with cancer, we were devastated. It took my father years to come to terms with it. I promised her that I would immortalize her, and this book was my way of doing it.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
There's so much to do! I'm a morning person, and I usually get in a workout before heading off to work. I have a great job working at a non-profit scientific research institute. I have a wonderful husband, who is a partner in every sense of the word. When the alarm goes off, the first thing I see is my kitty, purring and ready for breakfast. And I have two sweet dogs that are dying to go outside to pee in the morning - if that's not inspiration, I don't know what is.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Writing is a recently-acquired hobby of mine. I'm a trained scientist, and I spend my days working in Business Development at a non-profit research institution. I'm a fan of all things athletic, and participate in team sports activities, martial arts, cycling, running, yoga, you name it. I'm a huge Philadelphia Eagles fan, even though they've been making it tough to cheer for them lately. I'm also a glutton for punishment, and have got back to school to get another degree. My husband and I like to travel, and go on one or two trips a year, alternating between out-of-country and in-country trips.
What is your writing process?
I'm still figuring that out. This is my first fiction (well, semi-fictional story). I've written scientific literature, and I write a blog on alternative careers in science. But the process is different for each of these writing styles. This fiction was fun, I just let it flow, and then I went back and refined, and refined, and refined... I enlisted the help of close friends to read the story in it's earlier stages, and help with some of the details and nuance.
How do you approach cover design?
Ah, this is an easy one. My husband is a graphic designer, and he's really good at it. He read the story, and pretty much came up with the idea of the cover. We tossed a few ideas around based in his initial design, and viola! A cover was born.
What kind of books do you tend to read?
I mostly read brain-candy-fiction, sprinkled with some non-fiction and science fiction from time to time. My job is mentally demanding, and most of the time, I want something easy and entertaining to read to balance it all out. I've been known to dive into a book series or two that were written for a younger audience. Or to read action novels that are based on special ops-type protagonists. But I think that much like real candy, you can only take so much brain candy before you have to read something more substantial.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
This is my first go-around, but I'm enlisting the help of some social media experts at a small business called All About Leverage. They're going to launch a social media campaign around my book. I'm interested to see how it goes...
What do your fans mean to you?
Well, I don't have any yet! But I'm hoping that people will read and like the book. Maybe some will even message me on LinkedIn. I'd love to know what folks think of the book. I really appreciate feedback, and would love to engage in conversation.
What are you working on next?
I don't know yet. This first book was inspired by the life and death of an amazing woman. I hope I don't have to wait for another death before I'm inspired again - how morbid!
Published 2016-01-14.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

A Mile in Her Shoes
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 24,410. Language: English. Published: January 13, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Cultural & ethnic themes » Asian American
(5.00)
“A Mile in Her Shoes” is a semi-fictional tale that combines storytelling, science, and magical realism to transport the reader through 60 years and across two continents. Lytle presents a “life flashed before my eyes” scenario with a twist, chronicling the life of her mother, a Korean-born American full of vim and vigor, who was quick with a dirty joke, and fiercely battled racism and illness.