Interview with Judith Kiem

winnmom_beachhotel (2)How did I get started writing?

Like most authors, I’ve always written stories. And as a young child, my sister and I played Librarian because books and our library were a big part of growing up. Years ago my sister and I co-write a story for a Redbook writing competition and were runners up. Then in the mid-80’s I wrote my first children’s stories, sent it in to Highlights for Children and sold it. “This is a piece of cake,” I foolishly told my husband. As I say, I’ve had a lot of pieces of humble pie since then. After selling a couple of short stories and not selling to New York, I decided last year to self-published and I’m so happy I did!

What inspired my latest book?

My 10th book is just coming out. Because I write both children’s fantasy and women’s fiction/romance, this book – WINNING BIG, a little love story for all ages – is something I wrote for my readers and their families. I wrote this story when my husband and I and our long-haired dachshund, Winston, lived at a seaside resort in Florida while my husband worked on a long-term project there.

The story features Theodore, who’s just been given the job of doorman at the mouse entrance to the glamorous, ritzy Winston Hotel, and lovely, petite Lila, the pink-nosed mouse Theodore instantly falls in love with. When the owners of the hotel threaten to close it down due to bad publicity, Theodore, intent on winning Lila’s heart and saving his family, sets out to solve the mystery behind the problem, and comes up with a few surprises of his own.

Early readers are calling it “every kind of delight” and charming. Of all the stories I’ve written, this was, in many respects, the most fun! I’m hoping my readers find it a fun little story.

What is my next project and when will it be released?

My next book is called Baby Talk and it should be out in January. Readers who read my Hartwell Trilogy wanted more, so this is book 4 in what I refer to as the Talk series. It’s fun because it gives reader more information about this very different women.

What is my favorite part of writing?

I really enjoy the editing process. Being able to go back over my work and put more meat on the bones and get a different view of the story is a lot easier for me than pounding the story out.

winingbig (1)How has your experience with self-publishing been?

In less than a year, I will have put out ten books – 4 children’s books, 5 women’s fiction, 1 short story. It has been unbelievable – exciting, difficult, scary, exhilarating! I realize that none of this would have happened if I’d sold to New York. The creative energy is something else. The attention one has to pay to detail is another matter. Needless to say, it’s become a full-time job and more. My husband has taken over the financial end of it and is tracking sales and keeping data up to date, etc. so that I can continue to spend my time writing.

What advice do you have for other authors wanting to self-publish?

If you’re really serious about doing it, then take the time to set things up properly. It’s going to take more time and more money than you might think, though there are plenty of ways to save money. Everyone says the same thing –it’s all about quality and quantity. It’s that simple and that hard. I personally would wait to start until you have several books ready to go, then get them out quickly so that the readers who like one book will buy others.

How likely are people you meet to end up in your next book?

It’s funny, but people think others in their entirety are plopped down into a story as a complete character. For me, that doesn’t happen. My characters tend to be made up of bits and pieces of people I meet, I read about, I see on television, etc., mostly for motivation. So I think the people around me are pretty safe. Maybe. LOL

What genres are you drawn to as a reader?

I love women’s fiction with a lot of heart.

What do I have planned for the future?

When readers ask for more, I listen. So after Baby Talk is out, I will be working to get out Lunch at the Beach House Hotel (a follow-up to Breakfast at the Beach House Hotel) and Sassy Saturdays (A follow-up to Fat Fridays). Then I’d like to come up with some new characters and new stories.

How far do I plan ahead?

You can see from the above answer that I’m always planning ahead. It sometimes seems burdensome but I also like to know where I’m going.

Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?

Learning how to write is something that never ends. Like any craft, a writer is constantly learning. Be grateful for any critiques you get of your writing –good or bad—and listen to what people are telling you. Think of it as a teacher talking to you rather than someone who may or may not like your work. And keep plugging away. If you start a story, finish it, even if you know it will end up in a box beneath your bed. It’s the completion of it that matters. It will make the next book easier.

I, of course am still learning about so many things—writing, publishing, marketing. Thank you so much, Cindy, for having me here to share my story. Appreciate it!


Judy- Promo 8Bio: Judith Keim was born and raised in Elmira, New York, and now makes her home in Idaho with her husband and long-haired dachshund, Winston, and other members of her family.

Growing up, books were always present – being read, ready to go back to the library or about to be discovered. Information from the books was shared in general conversation, giving all of us in the family a wealth of knowledge and a lot of imagination. Perhaps that is why I was drawn to the idea of writing stories early on. I particularly love to write novels about women who face unexpected challenges with strength and find love along the way.

As J.S. Keim I write children’s middle-grade stories. I love writing about kids who have interesting, fun, exciting experiences with creatures real and fantastical and with characters who learn to see the world in a different way.

I have a story in Chicken Soup to Inspire a Woman’s Soul an a story in Belle Book’s Mossy Creek Series – A Summer in Mossy Creek. Some of my stories have finalled in RWA contests and three of my children’s stories have been published in magazines – Highlights for Children, Jack and Jill and Children’s Playmate.

I hope you enjoy my stories as much as I enjoy telling them!


babytalk (1)Excerpt from BABY TALK (The Hartwell Women-Book4)– coming out in November

On a clear, warm June day, I stood on the front porch of the house I now owned, staring out at the Maine coastline with a sigh of gratitude. I did this as often as I could. For me, taking a moment to appreciate all I’d been given had become a morning ritual I treasured.

In front of me, the blue-gray water met the sandy shore with a moist kiss, reared back like a shy lover and then, tempted for more, embraced the shore again. Gulls cried out, swooped down and lifted up in the air in unending musical acrobatics. A few large rocks, precursors of the rockier coastline down east, protruded from the water’s surface like sea creatures wanting a peek at the world.

Almost two years ago the sandy beach had hosted one of the most important events of my life. Even now my pulse quickened at the memory of Brad saying “I do” and sweeping me into an embrace that drew applause. The simplicity of the ceremony had touched the hearts of everyone. What a wonderful day that had been! I still felt the thrill of belonging to his family and mine—the family I’d discovered after a lonely childhood. Thinking of the group gathered there, I thought how lucky I was and smiled up at the sun, letting its warmth wash over me.

The screen door opened and closed behind me. Brad stepped out onto the wide porch that swept the front of the seaside estate and wrapped his arms around me. “Good morning, Marissa Cole Crawford!” The sound of my married name on his lips sent a tingle of delight throughout my body.

I smiled and turned to him, inhaling the spicy aroma of his aftershave lotion. Snuggling into his strong embrace, I stared up at him, taking in the caramel-colored hair and toffee eyes that were his alone. I adored this man who’d given me so much love, so much confidence. I treasured our life together, so different from the background that had once been my life.

“You’re off to Barnham?” I asked, hiding the emptiness I already felt at his upcoming departure.

He nodded. “Thank God this commuting back and forth will end in another year or so. I’m hoping Dad is fully retired by then and we can finally sell the law practice to someone else.” He gave me the lopsided grin I loved. “By then, we’ll have started our family, and I can stay settled right here.”

I didn’t reply but rested my head against his chest. We’d been trying for a baby since the wedding. Brad was anxious to have children, but the thought scared me to death. I had so many doubts about myself as a mother. I’d been raised by one of the worst.


My website (with buy links) is

My Amazon Website (with buy links) is:


I’m on Twitter and LinkedIn as well…come say hello

9 thoughts on “Interview with Judith Kiem

  1. Cindy, Thank you so much for having me here. It’s such fun to be able to tell a little bit about my ongoing story. I love to make new friends and to know about the stories of other writers. BTW – Love your website and am in awe of all you do. Hugs!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *