Judy Kentrus Interview Published on: 23, Jul 2020

Which is your favorite memory from being born and raised in NJ?

Growing up in a home filled with love. You were able to walk to the corner store and Mr. Bento, the owner, greeted you by name. On Friday evening’s, we’d walk to the local variety store so we could get a toy or book. On the way home, we’d stop in the Runkel’s bakery for freshly made bread or cookies. The phrase that now fits the area is, “they paved paradise and put in a parking lot.”

Being a romantic at heart, which was the first romance novel you read?

I’ll never forget it. The Flame and the Flower, a historical romance, by the late Kathleen Woodiwiss. From the first book, I was hooked to the stories written by this wonderful author.

Where did you meet your high school sweetheart?

I met Joe in the 9 th grade. We sat together on a field trip going to a football game. He confessed to wanting to ask me out. A month later I accepted his “friendship” ring. I married him seven years later. He is and always will be the love of my life.

Have your wonderful son and daughter read any of your books?

That is a funny question. I know my son hasn’t, but my daughter has. She confessed that when she read my first book, she got so caught up, she forgot that her “mother” wrote the book.

Who inspired the character of Cameron MacGregor in "A Kiss at Sunset"?

I knew that I wanted to write a series about US Park Rangers. Having interviewed a male ranger, he gave me the name of a female ranger to interview. She became “Cameron” and no, that isn’t her first name.

How did you begin writing the Eden Prairie series?

I love the holidays and decided I needed a small, hometown-like setting for these stories. I’ve covered Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Halloween and New Year’s Eve. Next year, there will be a new one. “Born on the 4 th of July.”

How did you come up with the story of your book, Billionaire For Sale?

That too is a good question. My son manages a hotel in Naples, Florida. It’s a mega rich area and I asked him if he’d mind if I wrote a series that took place in the hotel. It’s a fun filled story about a billionaire who finds himself in a bachelor-for-sale fund raiser.

What is your take on the importance of a good cover and title? Have you ever designed your own book cover?

The old saying, don’t judge a book by the cover may be a cliché, but a lot of readers are drawn to a book by said cover. I believe the title grabs them first. Half of my book covers were designed by me. Were the sales higher on the books professionally designed? Not really. Getting a reader to read the inside is the biggest challenge.

What quirky, fun and unique ways do you deal with writer's block?

I get away from the computer. I’ll watch an old or just released movie, read a book, listen to music. I also ask myself a lot of “what if,” questions. Sometimes a phrase, even in a song, is all I need to melt the block. Unfortunately, it’s not just writer’s block. Sometimes my characters take over and go in directions I never planned, so I have to deal with them too!

How many books do you plan to write in the Vanderbilt series?

Right now there are three, but a character in book 3, Song of my Heart, is whispering in my ear. That was such a fun book to write. The characters go shell collecting. I too, went with a friend and came home with a collection of unique shells that I keep in a tall jar.

According to you, what elements grab the attention of readers from the first page to the last page of your books?

I like dialogue to grab the reader right away. The first line in “A Kiss at Sunset” was “You’re fired.” The questions in the reader’s mind should immediately be, who was fired and why. In Uncharted Love, the first sentence. “Georgie Barlow turned away from her computer screen and announced, “I have a boring life.” Again, who, what, why. I also end all of my books with a short, catchy phrase that practically summarizes the book.

Which book took the longest time to write in the Beacon Pointe series?

If I had to pick one, it was the first one. I love this series and once again I created a small town on the New Jersey Shore. I had to introduce the reader to the town, all its fun places to visit, quirky characters, right down to the lighthouse that is rumored to be haunted. Each of the main characters: A Oscar-winning actor; high school principal; editor and owner of the newspaper; police lieutenant, have their own unique book. The hook is I introduce a murder in the 1 st book and it isn’t solved until the 4 th book. Page-turning, Romantic Suspense.

What does Judy Kentrus's Saturday looks like? What are some things you enjoy doing in your free time?

It doesn’t have to be Saturday, but I’ve been dubbed The Cookie Queen. I love to bake cookies, so it’s nothing for me to stop what I’m doing and whip up a batch of cookies. At Christmas time, I make at least fourteen kind of cookies and give most of them away as gifts. My favorite is Potato Chip Cookies. Readers can find my pins on Pinterest. They should go to my website: judykentrus.com and sign up for my newsletter. Depending on the season, I post cookie recipes there, too

Tell us about the next book that the readers can look forward to. What is its genre?

My next book comes out in August. A Seasoned Romance, romantic suspense. “Frozen Hearts” is exactly what the title implies. The story takes place in Alaska. I used that setting because two years ago I took a land/sea tour of Alaska. If you haven’t been there, I’ll take you there in this book. Margaret Taylor is a judge, mayor and a lawyer who takes a much needed vacation. That includes meeting up with a man you know is supposed to be in prison for murder. The widow never considered falling in love again, but things happen when you go on vacation. This is a second chance romance with lots of I-never-saw-that-coming twists and turns.

How has your experience of being associated with AllAuthor been?

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed working with All Author and will continue to do so. I’ve recommended you to a number of my author friends. Your site is easy to use and I love the promos you create and post my books on Twitter, etc. For me, it’s a win, win situation.

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