Interview with Author Judy Fishel

1) What inspired you to write your book?

When I was very young and my mother read stories to me, I decided that someday, I wanted to write stories like those. As I grew older, I thought about the stories I was reading, and tried to imagine stories I might write.

Later, it was mysteries that I enjoyed reading so when I retired, (I’d been a math and science teacher).what I wanted to write was a mystery – not what I called a “shoot-em-up, but a mystery that made you feel good.


2) If you could sit down with any character in your book, what would you ask them and why?

I’d like to talk to many of them, but most of all I’d like to talk to Jeenya Birdsong, the main character. She would greet me with a long, warm hug. Then she would offer me something good to eat. Finally, she would listen quietly to hear what I had to say. I’d want to thank Jeenya for helping me write this book.

How did she do this, you ask. Well, fifteen years ago I started to write the book – the way I thought a mystery should be written. It was really awful, so I put it away and wrote a couple books on study skills (Straight A’s Are NOT Enough).

Finally, last year, I went back to this book. This time, Jeenya appeared in my dreams. It’s hard to remember dreams, but after having these dreams, my writing improved. Sometimes I’d think about a problem I had, and in the morning, I’d know what to do. It was like letting a character decide what was best for them to do.

Sometimes, I say Jeenya Birdsong is my spiritual advisor.

3) What advice would you give to aspiring or just starting authors out there?

There are a lot of great books on how to write. Find one you like and read it at least once every year. As you read, take notes on things you need to do. Each time, you are likely to find new ideas that will help your reading.

4) What does the future hold in store for you? Any new books/projects on the horizon?

My son, Anthony, and I are working together on a book, “How Tony Learned to Read. For each chapter, I write my reflections and he writes his reflections. When Tony was 8 years old, and still not reading or writing, we visited a neurologist. After several hours of tests, the neurologist said, “Tony, you are extremely intelligent. You are also severely dyslexic. You might never learn to read or write.”  But he did say “Might.” Some people who are severely dyslexic do learn to read. Tony and I hope our book will inspire other dyslexic parents and students.


About the Author


Judy Fishel grew up in Florida, just across the river from Palm City. She and her grandfather often looked for wildflowers along the citrus groves. She also remembers the terrible freezes that killed the citrus trees. It made sense to set her story there. She started work on this book fifteen years ago but it just wasn’t working. She then wrote Straight A’s Are NOT Enough – study skills for college students. Finally, last summer she returned working on Murder of the Obeah Man. When one of her characters, Jeenya Birdsong, began appearing in her dreams, all the pieces began fitting together. Now, Judy likes to say that Jeenya is her spiritual advisor.

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