Judy Miller ~ Author Interview

Sep 11, 2015 by

Welcome back to Rachel’s Back Talk! Another Friday interview!

Today’s interview is with Judy Miller. This past Monday, I had the opportunity to review her book The Potter’s Lady.

So without further ado, on to Rachel’s Back Talk – Special Edition! 


RR: Hi Judy! Thanks for joining us here on this lovely Friday. To start, could you tell us when did you know that you wanted to be a writer?

JM: Unlike many of my contemporaries, I didn’t have an interest in writing until I was in my early 40’s. While I’ve always enjoyed reading, I’d not entertained the idea of writing a book until the idea for a novel just wouldn’t quit nagging me.

RR: So how would you describe your writing process? Are you more of a planner or freewriter?

JM: I plot my books prior to writing them, but if a character takes off and does something unexpected, then I “go with it” and see where it leads. It’s always fun when characters do something you’ve never even considered while plotting.

RR: Yes it is! I think that it keeps them from being so flat, but allows them to be more relateable and real. When is your best time in the day to write?

JM: I prefer writing in the morning while my thoughts are at least semi-fresh. When I was working full-time, I did most of my writing at night, but I much prefer the morning and early afternoon nowadays.

RR: I definitely agree that mornings are nicer to write! Sometimes that just can’t happen though, but it’s good to learn to adjust. How would you say you know when you have a great story idea?

JM: Basically, when it’s an idea that simply won’t leave my thoughts and the publishing house agrees with me.

RR: The best story ideas are with you for the long haul! Out of all your books, which has been your favorite to write?

JM: That’s somewhat like having to choose from among your children. Generally speaking, the book that has been most recently released is my favorite. I think that’s because writers attempt to produce a better book with each attempt, so it’s my hope that my latest book is my best which makes it a favorite. I’ve been particularly fond of writing this series because of the location. Although I’ve lived in Kansas for all of my adult life, my family roots are in Pennsylvania and West Virginia so it has been enjoyable to use those settings.

RR: It’s like asking me to pick my favorite book that I’m reading — the most recent usually ranks the highest! Let’s move on to your most recent release. How did you come up with the story idea for The Potter’s Lady?

JM: Once I decided upon the West Virginia settings for the series, I wanted my main characters employed in occupations other than coal mining. While many folks think of coal mines when they think of West Virginia, I wanted to reveal some of the other businesses during the 19th century. The area is rich in clay deposits so I decided to have each book reflect the use of clay, but in different products. The Brickmaker’s Bride centered around West Virginia’s brickmaking industry while The Potter’s Lady takes readers into a pottery business.

RR: What a great idea and I love that you are highlighting that! Are the characters Rose, Rylan, or Joshua based off of anyone you know?

JM: No, they aren’t based upon real people. However, I do draw upon unique characteristics and behaviors of people I’ve known through the years.

RR: I love how you can make fictional characters seem so real. One of the wonderful arts of historical fiction. Why do you write historical fiction?

JM: I have a love of history and find great pleasure researching and conveying that information to readers through fiction. I’m especially delighted when I learn that my books have caused readers to go back and research for themselves or to visit a place I’ve written about. I’m thrilled if I can create a deeper level of interest in our country’s history.

RR: Oh yes! I would say that my love and knowledge of historical fiction has grown so much through reading it. How much time was spent researching verses writing in this book in particular?

JM: I had done a great deal of research prior to beginning the series, but before I began this book, I needed to conduct some further research on potteries during the 19th Century as well as the city of Grafton. It’s always difficult to offer exacting numbers on research versus writing since I frequently stop in the writing process to research a particular item, but I would say one-third research and two-thirds writing and editing.

RR: Have I mentioned I love research? I find it fascinating to learn about different time periods and then incorporate them into a book! To conclude, is there one tip that you could share that has really benefited you in your writing?

JM: Read voraciously and study books on the craft of writing. (That’s really two, so forgive me.)

RR: Oh we will! Thank you so much for joining me me here today, Judy, and offering a peek into your writing life!

And if you haven’t already, be sure to check out my review of The Potter’s Lady!



Although born and reared in a small suburb of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Judy moved to Kansas at the age of seventeen and has considered the sunflower state ‘home’ ever since. She currently lives in Topeka. She enjoys reading, traveling, researching history, and Bible study.

Writing Christian fiction is Judy’s second career. For many years she worked as a legal assistant in law firms and later worked in government law offices. She has retired from legal work in order to write fulltime —a vocation she considers both a ministry and a blessing.

Judy has authored or co-authored more than twenty-five books since she began writing in 1996. She is an award-winning author whose avid research and love for history are reflected in her novels, several of which have placed in the CBA and ECPA top ten lists. It is her deep desire to point readers to the love and grace of Jesus

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