Judy Campbell-Smith interview


When did your love of books begin?

I fell in love with reading as a kid especially after getting my first library card. I loved getting lost in the stacks, but I also would go back to same spot over and over. The library had several different editions of my favorite book, Peter Pan. I checked out every single one because they all had different illustrations and I wanted to see them all.

When did you start to have the wish to become an author?

Even as a kid I loved writing my own stories. I filled notebooks with little picture books and cartoons. I have always had a dream to write a book and see it published. When my Peter Pan phase ended, I moved into a Little Women phase and wanted to be a writer like Jo. 

How have you found the process for becoming an author?

It's been very surprising! I may have always wanted to write and publish a book, but I didn't really consider becoming an author, if that makes sense. I have had other jobs and careers, and figured one day I would write a book on the side. When I finally wrote AJ's Neighborhood and started the work to get it self-published, I saw a possibility that this could be a career that I could stick with and enjoy. Self-publishing is a lot of work, so it's been one thing to write the book, but a whole other beast to release it. 

What would you say to those wanting to become an author?

I think the main thing is to keep writing. Write for fun. Write blogs. Write articles. Write books even if no one else sees them. That will help you develop your skills and work style, and then you can put all of that towards the book you want to see published. 
My second piece of advice would be to get into a writer's group of some kind. I have gained so much confidence as I have let other writers read my stuff and receive feedback. It has made my writing better, made be braver, and it's great to have a people supporting me while we're on the same journey.

Tell us about your book/books:

AJ's Neighborhood is a picture book illustrated by Amanda Dowell and will be coming out on March 29, 2022. 
AJ is new in town and is worried he and Mom will get lost on a walk to the library. With Mom's help, he makes a map. Along the way, AJ gets to know the people and places in his new neighborhood and figures out how to find his way home.
Amanda Dowell has done some really beautiful illustrations of the town so I am excited for everyone to see them. She also threw in some references to my actual neighborhood, downtown Ontario, California which should be fun for local readers.

What do you love about the writing/reading community?

It can be very encouraging. No one who has succeeded hasn't had rejection along the way, so I think most writers try to be uplifting and supportive. It's been fun to find the people who were the same book nerds as kids that I was.

If you could say anything to your readers what would it be?

I am so grateful for any readers that I have! I would say thank you front the bottom of my heart for reading my little book. My writing ambitions were very small at the beginning. I didn't really imagine having any readers but now we are selling copies and I am so grateful! 

Where can people connect with you?

I am on Twitter @j_cambellsmith and Instagram is @judycampbellsmith
My website where you can pre-order AJ's Neighborhood and sign up for my mailing list is www.judycampbellsmith.com


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