Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Judy Duarte

When this two time RITA finalist isn't

entertaining angels, she's prescribing a love cure for Dr. Fortune!

Judy Duarte always knew there was a book inside her, but since English was her least favorite subject in school, she never considered herself a writer. An avid reader who enjoys a happy ending, Judy couldn’t shake the dream of creating a book of her own.

That dream became a reality in 2002, when Silhouette released her first Special Edition. Since then, more than thirty of her books have hit the shelves, including three women’s fiction novels and two novellas.

Judy, a two-time RITA® finalist with Mulberry Park (2009) and Entertaining Angels (2010), was awarded two Maggies and a National Reader’s Choice Award for her heartwarming stories.

When she’s not cooped up in her writing cave, Judy spends time with her family near the beach in Southern California.

Healing Dr. Fortune

Is she his perfect cure?

Healing people was Jeremy Fortune’s specialty—not coming to the rescue of beautiful women with infants in their arms! The California surgeon was in Texas to locate his missing father. Instead, he might have found the woman of his dreams.

Kirsten Allen was only trying to look out for her brother’s son. And now the Red Rock accountant was worried about holding onto her heart! Jeremy had the most irresistible bedside manner, and the dedicated doc was filling her head with the sweet domestic fantasy of becoming Mrs. Dr. Fortune! But only if he planned to stick around long enough to fulfill both their dreams…

And from Entertaining Angels:

As a teen, Kristy Smith spent her nights dreaming of a college scholarship—dreams that ended abruptly when she became pregnant. Now Kristy works hard to support her young son, Jason, and her ailing grandmother, staving off regrets about the chances that slipped away. But one person will open Kristy’s eyes to the fact that she’s been selling herself short. For she has much to offer to the residents of Fairbrook, who are all about to learn that the

future can surprise and redeem us, especially when there’s courage and friendship in abundance, as well as a little help from an unexpected source…

Jillian: So, tell me Judy, how often to you get lost in a story?

Judy: I love to read, but I don’t have the opportunity to get lost in a story as often as I’d like. My critique partners are prolific, and we read over each other’s manuscripts before they’re sent to the publisher.

My critique partners are talented authors, but when I’m reading their work, I’m looking for problems or typos. (Of course, they’re such good writers that I sometimes get lost in their stories and have to go back and start over to make sure I didn’t miss anything!)

I also love to read while I travel, which is a real treat. (Hmm. I wonder if that’s why I agree to speak at so many RWA meetings and conferences… )

While flying, I don’t like to chat with the person in the seat beside me. I’d much rather disappear into another world until the plane lands again.

Jillian: What’s the first book you remember reading?

Judy: As a child, I remember reading King of the Wind. I loved horse stories and always dreamed of having one of my own. (I think that’s why I write so many cowboy heroes and often have ranch settings in my stories.)

In high school, I read Gwen Bristow and loved her work. I think that’s probably the first time I wondered if I could create stories of my own. I also read Gone with the Wind around the same time and loved it.

I had friends of mine refuse to read a 1000-page book because of its size, but I was sorry when it ended. (I also read it a second time!)

Jillian: What’s the first thing you do when you finish writing a book?

Judy: I schedule a massage! I’m usually under a tight deadline, so I spend hours each day bent over the keyboard, which leaves me with a lot of kinks and knots that need to be worked out. A massage is also a way to reward myself for staying on track and finishing the story.

Jillian: What do you do to unwind and relax?

Judy: Besides getting a massage? In the evening, I enjoy a cup of chamomile tea or a glass of wine, as well as a little television or a pay-per-view movie.

Reading is a great way to relax, but since I work at a computer and read so much during the day, I’d rather lose myself in a movie or sitcom at night.

One of my New Year’s resolutions is to exercise more often. So I think that will prove to be helpful, too. I’ll let you know how that’s working the next time I visit Get Lost in a Story.

Jillian: What is your favorite tradition from your childhood that you would love to pass on or did pass on to your children?

Judy: This isn’t my favorite tradition, but it’s one that’s unusual and fun. When my mother was a child, she and her siblings used to shred newspaper and make a nest for the Easter Bunny. Then, while they slept, the “bunny” would leave the usual pieces of candy and colored eggs. But they’d also get new hair ribbons, socks, a book, a puzzle—little goodies like that.

My mom didn’t practice that tradition for me, but when I heard about it, I decided it was something I wanted to do for my children—and they loved it. They’d make their nests the night before Easter, then they’d decorate name tags so the “bunny” would know where to leave the goodies.

Over the years, I saved money on buying baskets and that colored grass—which just made a mess all over the house anyway.

And now my daughter has started the tradition at her house.

Jillian: Which of your characters would you most/least like to invite to dinner, and why?

Judy: Without a doubt, it would be Jesse, a homeless man who made his first real appearance in Entertaining Angels. He also shows up at times in the other Mulberry Park books.

Jesse has a way of asking questions that makes a person think. He also seems to know things that haven’t been revealed to him. And he sometimes shares modern day parables with the people he meets.

Rumor has it that he might be an angel, but either way, he’s one of the most interesting characters I’ve created, and I’d love to meet him.

Jillian: What dreams have been realized as a result of your writing?

Judy: Writing a book and holding it in my hand was a dream in itself. In fact, just seeing one of my stories in print reminds me of a very important lesson I’ve learned.

And that lesson is: God doesn’t put a dream on someone’s heart without also giving them what it takes to make it come true.

Jillian: Tea or Coffee? And how do you take it?

Judy: Both. I usually have 2 cups of coffee in the morning—with cream and sweetener.

I also like a cup of tea in the afternoon or evening. Green tea or chamomile used to be my first choice, but I have a new favorite now.

When I was at a hotel in Hawaii last November, I tried a cup of white ambrosia, which was the most delicious tea I’d ever tasted. It’s made of white tea leaves, toasted coconut, and pineapple.

I marveled at the taste, and the woman who’d served it to me asked if I’d used the sugar. I told her I had, and she explained that the “lavender sugar” made the tea even more special. They borrowed it from the hotel pastry chef, who used it for all his desserts.

I purchased tea from the hotel and the sugar from a lavender farm on Maui. It’s not something I have every day, but when I do, it’s a real treat.

Jillian: What’s your favorite kid joke?

Judy: How do you catch a unique rabbit? You ‘neak up on it.


Jillian: Judy, whether the story is set in Red Rock, Texas or Mulberry Park your novels incorporate both the trials and joys of family and community. What draws you to these kinds of tales?

Judy: I’ve always loved cowboys. In fact, I really enjoy a good western, whether it’s a book, a TV show or a movie. So I often have a ranch or Texas setting in my books.

As for Mulberry Park? I created the fictitious town of Fairbrook, which could be AnyTown, USA. But there’s something special about Fairbrook. It’s a place where miracles happen.

If you like my Mulberry Park books, Christmas on Nutcracker Court will be coming out in October.

There won’t be any cowboys in that story, but you can count on some kids, a big, goofy dog, and more than a couple of people who desperately need a Christmas miracle.

WOW! Judy has got some great giveaways!

• An autographed copy of Healing Dr. Fortune • An autographed copy of Mulberry Park (RITA finalist 2009) • An autographed copy of Entertaining Angels (RITA finalist 2010) A Willow Tree angel ornament

Check out the list of books and prizes above! From the comments section Judy will draw four winners! And for those romance readers in foreign countries, an online Barnes and Noble gift certificate.***

Thanks for joining us today Judy, and we look forward to having you back in October!

Readers and fans can contact Judy at: http://www.JudyDuarte.com

***Note: Offer void where prohibited. Prizes will be mailed to North America addresses only. If an Advanced Reading Copy (ARC) is available, the author may utilize that option for International participants. Odds of winning vary due to the number of entrants.


  1. Welcome to GLIAS Judy!

    Looking forward to reading HEALING DR. FORTUNE!

    Ever since reading your answer to tea or coffee, I have been on a quest to steep some white ambrosia tea and stir in a bit of lavender sugar! For anyone else that might be interested, I found the tea at http://teaforte.com

  2. What a great interview! I loved learning more about you!!! Thanks so much for sharing!

    Healing Dr. Fortune & Entertaining Angels sounds like a great read!!!! They are now on my TBR pile!

    Wow, I have never heard of White Ambrosia tea or Lavender sugar but its sounds DIVINE!! Will have to check into that!!!

    Thanks again for sharing!!


  3. Judy! Loved hearing about how those books influenced and how you love that tea (Lovergirl from Extraordinary Desserts is my fave!). Oh, and very nice comments about your critique partners...we would definitely say the same about getting lost in *your* books! ; )

  4. Welcome to GLIAS, Judy! I've never heard of Lavendar Sugar. But, unfairly, I'm highly allergic to the smell of lavendar. Makes nice, hot soothing baths immpossible too. LOL


  5. Hi Judy! Welcome to GLIAS.

    I scheduled a massage after my last deadline and it was fabulous! I think I'll have to join you in the ritual :) But my favorite part of your interview is the lesson of us having the ability to achieve the dreams in our hearts.

    Your books sound fantastic! Congratulations on seeing your dreams achieved and I wish you the very best as you continue to achieve them!

  6. Thanks so much for the warm welcome to GLIAS!

    And what a nice surprise to see my friend and critique partner here. (Judy waves at Chris!)

  7. Angi,

    I'm so sorry to hear about your allergy to lavender. Those aromatic soaks in the tub are great... :(

  8. Heather,

    I firmly believe that we can reach the dreams in our hearts...

    Of course, sometimes it takes a great deal of work on our parts. :)

  9. I think massages after deadlines should be mandatory. Need to work that into my life. I could use one right now, as a matter of fact. :)

  10. GJillian,

    The tea you found looks yummy. It's a little different from the one I had, although not much.
    Here's the link to the one I found.


    It's a little pricey, but yummy. :)

  11. Maureen,

    You're so right. Massages after deadlines are a must. :)

  12. Judy, always glad to hear from a Saguaro Chapter RWA member. Your books are great and you're always generous with your time for a stressed author with tight deadlines.
    We're looking forward to seeing you at the Tucson Festival of Books.
    Robin Colburn redrobrr@aol com

  13. Thanks, Robin!

    I'm looking forward to seeing you and my other friends in Tucson. Thanks for stopping by Get Lost in a Story!

  14. What a wonderful opportunity to thank you "out loud" Judy, for your fantastic stories, and your beyond kindness to 'would be' writers. You share your time, thoughts, and expertise, openingly and it's sincerely appreciated. Joy

  15. Thanks, Joy!

    I'm glad you stopped by. :)

  16. Welcome, Judy! White ambrosia tea sounds heavenly. I've never even heard of lavender sugar but it sounds heavenly too. I'm off to look these up!

  17. I love the Easter Bunny nest idea and will have to try it when my little one is old enough. Congrats on the new release!

  18. Simone,

    You're going to love that sugar. :) If you're ever in Maui, you can actually tour the lavender farm.


  19. Hi, Georgie!

    It's fun to create new family traditions. :)

    Congratulations on your release, too. I've got Labor Relations on my TBR pile. :)

  20. Your success has always been an inspiration to me and I'm looking forward to getting lost in another one of your stories. We owned a condo on Maui for 20 years and never had white ambrosia tea. Okay, next time.

  21. I've never heard of white ambrosia tea either. Hmmmm. Great post, very informative.

  22. Judy, what a treat to see all these details -- now you've got me DYING to go try some of that tea!

  23. Hi Judy, I just found out you were 'here.' Looking forward to seeing you at the Tucson Festival of Books. I was part of the audience for your Revising with a quarter back in your corner table talk at Saguaro RWA last winter. And I appreciated your talk delivered by Mary Tate at Amore and more- the Pima Public Library series. Thanks for being a great mentor.

  24. Thanks, Phyllis!

    Maui is one of my favorite vacation spots. :)


  25. Hi, Pam and Laurie!

    I'll bring some White Ambrosia tea the next time I'm in Arizona, and we can have a cup. :)


  26. Laura,

    You're welcome! I'm glad you enjoyed the workshop, as well as the comments Mary shared.

    I'll be at the Tucson Festival of Books next month, so I hope I get a chance to see you again. :)