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Sofia Talks to USA Bestselling Author, Judy Corry!

jSofia Talks Podcast is available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, IHeart Radio, Amazon Music, and more!

This is not a word-for-word transcription.

Welcome Judy Corry, USA Bestselling Author of YA Contemporary Romance!

Thank you so much for coming on my show!

Sofia-How many books have you written now?

Judy-18, working on my 19th.

Sofia-I've actually preordered it! Nash and what's the other girl's name?


Sofia-Well, I like the premise that she works in his house and that they have a history.

Judy-Yea, I'm excited about that. I'm hoping it'll turn out good in the end.

Sofia-Since I have my second book coming out Valentine's Day (Terra, An Elemental Series) you are definitely someone I look up to in publishing. Are you a self published author?

Judy-I am self published. I started out with Kindle Scout, kind of like The American Idol of self publishing with my first one. But, right after publishing that one, I had a couple books ready to go, so I decided to publish them myself and see how it would go. And they ended up doing better than the traditionally published one. So, I thought that I'd stick to doing it that way (self publishing). It's been working pretty well ever since.

Sofia-You can publish through so many outlets now it's overwhelming. For me who's just starting out, I feel like a tiny little goldfish in an ocean of possibilities. It's super awesome to see you, who've waded those waters, have done really well. Your ratings, your book sales, they are really good.

Judy-It's worked out pretty good so far. I'm thankful.

Sofia-I'm super curious, do you have a favorite character you've written?

Judy-I like them all for different reasons. My older books, I spent a lot of time with them. In my most recent books, I really like Asher from The Ruse just because he has a hard backstory and has a lot going against him in the beginning. I really felt for him and liked how resilient he was. I don't know, he's really funny and flirty and he was fun to write.

Sofia-I do want to talk about The Ruse, that's my favorite story, but do any of the stories you've written reflect your own story?

Judy-Yea, so I met my husband in high school. Probably Protect My Heart, the dynamic between Emma and Ari. My husband wasn't my undercover bodyguard, but the dynamic between them is like how my husband and I were and how we got to know each other. So, no one's trying to kill me or anything but Protect my Heart is the one that is most like it. It was my first book.

Sofia- You write high school romances so well. I'm 44-years-old and I love your high school romances. They just take me back to the innocence of love and you are a master at sweet romances. One thing I want to talk to you about is that almost every book that I've read of yours, you have a really hard topic involved. You've got parental abuse, teen pregnancy, a parent has cancer. I want to say you've tackled them all.

Judy-What else is there left?

Sofia-Do you talk to people who have gone through these experiences? You do such a great job portraying the emotions of them, what it must feel like to go through it. Is there a research process involved?

Judy-So, usually I'll do research on Youtube where I can see people's stories. Some of them I've looked into online forums for people dealing with specific issues. Like The Facade, where Max deals with his mom who has a brain tumor. That's actually something that my dad's mom had. She died when she was like forty-something and my dad was like 5-years-old. It's something I've heard about. But I went into online forums and kind of saw what it was like for people who took care of people who had that and what the process was like. I also had a book that one of my cousins wrote about my grandma. And the experiences that my dad's older sister had had so I got a lot of things from that. I got a lot from reading and watching things just trying to think of how I would feel in certain situations.

Sofia-You do a fantastic job of handling these topics. I didn't think there was any possible way one person had dealt with all of these things. Some of these are very serious topics. I really respect the fact that you've tackled these topics. Because you know teens are going through them. I hope you've gotten some good responses.

Judy-I've had people say it felt like I was telling their story because they related so much. So that makes me feel good, like, great, I did okay because they thought it was okay.

Sofia-I beta read a few of your books now and I was really blown away with one of them because Max had lost his mom, that's the one we were just talking about (The Facade) and I really related because I lost my mom when I was 14. You relate, you recall what you've gone through. And I think I asked you, did you go through this? You have a wonderful range of emotions with your characters. I love them. They are so three dimensional.

Judy-Thank you.

Sofia-I'm excited about any new books. I hope I can help you with any future books.

Judy-Yea, I really like your feedback.

Sofia-It's funny because when I get a book, I'm sucked in and I can read it in like an hour, well not an hour, a day.

Judy-You're a fast reader then, I'm so slow. It'll take me at least a day if it's like 75,000 words.

Sofia-Are your books on audio?

Judy-I think I have 11 on audio. Both of my high school series are on audio. So both my Ridgewater High School Series and Eden Falls Academy Series. My third book in Eden Falls Academy, The Ruse, just came out, so I have the last two that need to be in audio. But then I still need to get my adult books in audio and a couple of standalones.

Sofia-How do you choose your narrator for your audiobooks?

Judy-I got really lucky. I got the contract with Tantor (Media) for my audiobooks because I didn't know how to handle all of that myself. And I didn't want to spend too much time in figuring it out. So they sent me a couple of samples where they auditioned by reading from a passage from my book. I would hear a few of those. It took me only a few of those before I found a voice I really liked the voice of. I've actually stuck with those same two. Because my books are generally in dual point of view for the most part. So, I have a female narrator and a male narrator that have done all of my books up until this point. So, I'm like, please keep doing this because I really like it!

Sofia-Going back to The Ruse, what made you choose Phantom of the Opera for that one?

Judy-I love it so much. It's the first musical I saw in college when the 2004 version came out. I actually asked my sister in law whose involved in drama, "Would a high school actually do this?" And she said, that's so complicated, there's no way. But then I looked on Youtube cause that's where I research and I saw there's high schools who have done it and did it really well. So, I'm like, I'm doing it! And I did it and it was fun and I loved it. So, it worked out.

Sofia-You can tell how much you love your stories and your characters. So your next story is an offshoot of The Ruse, where Nash gets his own story.

Judy-Yea, I'll finally stop torturing him where he'll finally get the girl. Maybe this time, cause he's tried so many other times.

Sofia-Well, we've fallen in love with Asher too. Asher was such a tortured soul. What girl does not fall in love with a tortured soul?

Judy-Especially if they have a weakness for bad boys, they can't help themselves.

Sofia-Well, it was funny with my book that's coming out Valentine's Day, when I was writing it, I would bring it to my writing group and they told me my guy was not likeable. And I was like, well he's a bad boy.

Judy-Sorry my internet is acting up.

Sofia-Are you in the mountains?

Judy-No, I'm right outside of them. I'm looking out my window and I see them right there.

Sofia-I'm in Florida, so it's as flat as can be here.

Judy-My next character is from Florida. I need to know about this Florida thing. I heard there's been a drug cartel in Florida before? What part of Florida would that be in?

Sofia-I'm just going to put this out there and I don't know if I'm right or wrong, but I'm going to say, Miami. I'm right in between Orlando and Tampa and I've not heard of any here.

Judy-I just started looking into that, it's for a future book because she knows someone from Florida and maybe had to deal with that kind of thing. If any of my readers are listening to this, they're going to be like, what is she going to write about? You never know. So, I'm thinking Miami.

Sofia-I did high school down in Naples, directly across from Miami. I only went once or twice.

Judy-Well, I've never even been in Florida, so I need to get there one day.

Sofia-Well, I will tell you that if you live in Miami, you must speak Spanish. It's dominantly Spanish.

Judy-My character is Spanish, or her mom is, so I'm hoping that will all fit.

Sofia-I don't have any experience with Florida cartels, but my dad lived in Mexico City and he was actually gunned down by members of the Mexican cartel.

Judy-Oh no. I'm so sorry. It's like me talking about this and ahhh!

Sofia-But that's what I mean though. You're very sensitive to the topic and you're not intrusive or anything like that. So if you need a first-hand conversation about something like that, I wasn't there, of course. Simple fact, they wanted access to his liquor store and my dad was a hundred percent Greek man and he when he says, no, it's no. They finally killed him. It's serious, it happens. That's what I mean when I say the issues you deal with in these books, people have gone through them. It's brave to write about them and tackle the emotions of people who have done them. I'm sure you have more stories in you.

Judy-Yea, too many. I need to learn to write faster. I've got to get to them. Hopefully I can write for years and years and years.

Sofia-Well, you know what I'm discovering in my writing world is that marketing takes a lot of my attention and time. My book comes out Valentine's Day, but I'm going to really focus after Valentine's Day on writing. You get sucked down all these rabbit holes. You've got Instagram, TikTok, Facebook where you can do posts, reels, stories.

Judy-I've had months where that is my main focus and I hardly get any writing done and I don't like it because my writing is my happy place. That's why I do it in the first place and that's where I get my joy from and not in all the marketing thing. It's not horrible, Tiktok can be fun and I like interacting with people. You have to find a way to balance it. Trying to get in time blocking where in this chunk of time, I'm doing writing, nothing else. Right now, I try to do a chunk of it before lunch then another chunk after lunch. At the very end of the day, from like 4 to 5 that's when I can think of marketing stuff because I've already used my creative brain on the writing stuff. And if I happen to have a TikTok that gets some attention, then it's not distracting me from the whole day when I'm supposed to be writing. It's in the evening, when I need to pay attention to my family still, but my brain is in a better place for that type of thing.

Sofia-That's a really good system. I find that when I get started in the morning I'll do something on Instagram and I find it's been two hours that I haven't done anything else. Are you a pantser or a plotter, or both?

Judy-I'm a plotter. For a while, I tried to be a pantser. I was stressed out because I didn't know what I was supposed to write. Now I'm going to take my time. Right now what I'm letting myself do is put a not so perfect first draft out where it's me outlining but it's already 35,000 words long. It's a messy first draft. Well before this past year, I'd outline a little bit where I knew a little bit what was going to happen. But nothing was set in stone. And I would start writing and it was stressful because I had to make it perfect every single word right from the beginning. So now I'm going to relax from the beginning and have more fun. I'm slower but I'm not as stressed out.

Sofia-Do you have any events where you'll be at where your readers can meet you and have a book signed?

Judy-Not right now. Those kind of things scare me. I'm so much cooler online than real life. You'll find out how awkward I am. Or I worry that I'll have it and no one would show up. I haven't really tried that yet. It's a goal to eventually to get there. Someday when I feel cool enough.

Sofia-With as many books as you have you can put a tent up at any book fair or any function you wanted.

Judy-I've thought of that. There's a craft fair in my town where I've seen an author there. Maybe one day, I'll be brave.

Sofia-Do you go to any writers conferences?

Judy-I do. There's one in Salt Lake I go to most years, called the Storymakers Conference and I have a goal to always go the Romance Writers Mastermind one in Texas in November. Those ones are the main ones on my list. I also might go to the 20 Books to 50K one because that's in Las Vegas, which is only 2 and a half hours from me. It's nice to meet other Indie authors and see what they are doing.

Sofia-I've been plugged into the 20 Books to 50K one.

Judy-That's a really good one. It helped me so much when I was trying to figure it all out. Still even now it's helpful.

Sofia-As I'm a YA Christian Fantasy author, there's a Christian conference I'm going to in California in the Redwood National Forest.

Judy-What's that one called?

Sofia-It's the Vision Christian Writer's Conference in the national Redwood Forest. It's a beautiful retreat, it's so stunning, the grounds. I'm hoping I can go anyway. It's at the end of March and my husband has an appointment in the middle of March at the Mayo Clinic to find out about his chiara malformation. He might need brain surgery. But I don't think they'll schedule surgery in two weeks, so I kept my place at the conference.

Judy-I hope everything's okay with your husband. A lot to do there.

Sofia-Do you have a project in the future that you're excited to get to?

Judy-I have The Confession right now and I have one that's a branch between that world and another one. I have a series I really want to write three books from now. I want to write an adult series with all the older brothers from Eden Falls Academy Series where I can revisit my favorites from the Eden Falls Academy Series.

Sofia-Thank you so much for coming on my show!

Judy-You're welcome! I'm excited for your book to come out, it comes out in a week, right?

Sofia-Yes! It's Terra, an Elemental Series, it's all about elementals where a fire user and earth user find they have a bond, but they are life-long enemies. It's an enemies-to-lovers romance. I'm actually going to be at a couple of places where I'll be signing copies of Terra. One is Book Launch Party where I've invited my friends and family to. That'll be at a bookstore downtown, called, Pressed February 18th from 6-8. Then I'll be at a book signing in March at a teen event in Mulberry Public Library where I can talk to teens about writing.

Judy-You're way cooler than me!

Sofia-No! I'm just super excited to talk about something I love and to be a part of teens and their writing journeys is super cool. I feel honored to be a part of that. Just telling them what my experiences have been can either push them forward, or, I mean, I hope it doesn't hold them back. Just want to encourage them.

Judy-That's how I got started writing, just hearing about it from someone else. And then I thought, maybe I can do it, maybe I can give it a try. I think that's really awesome you can share that.

Sofia-Well, it's about to cut us off, so thank you so much coming on my show!

Judy-Thanks for having me! I'll be sure to post this.

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