Thursday, September 17, 2015

What Are You Working On ... Judith Works?

Today I'm happy to welcome Judith Works to share her writing adventures and travels.

Judith Works, a graduate of Lewis & Clark law school, is now back in the Pacific Northwest after spending ten years in Italy working for the United Nations. She is the author of Coins in the Fountain, a memoir, and City of Illusions, a novel set in the expat world of Rome. 


I’m a morning writer so every day around six (well, almost every day) I’m at my keyboard with coffee and classical music playing in the background. I usually have several projects going at once. Right now I’m concentrating on a new novel, my second. I haven’t got a title yet but the story involves a woman, Nora, who is married to a much older widower, Martin. They have been living in Rome for twenty years. When he is murdered on the eve of his retirement, she must confront both his and her own secrets in her struggle to reunite an estranged family.

Unlike City of Illusions, which is set almost entirely in Rome, the new one moves between Rome, the Etruscan tombs north of the city, and Vashon Island near Seattle where Nora moves and must learn to navigate life in the U.S. as a young widow.

Since I often write about Italy but no longer live there, I have to do research. Although there are dozens of books about Italy on my bookshelves for advice there are often questions that still need to be answered. For this book I need to know how the Italian authorities investigate the death of a foreigner and what role the US Consulate plays. And I’m also going to need someone with knowledge of a soldier’s life during the Vietnam war. I may have to do “field research” in Rome (always an excuse) but I hope to find helpers here, too, like a retired FBI agent and consular official.

I find writing both a challenge and an opportunity to express my creativity. It is a challenge because for fiction both character and plot must move together to effectively tell the story.

For non-fiction I love the chance to tell colorful stories, especially on my blog. I’ve done a lot of traveling and met interesting people and had many experiences along the way. Although some travel is local my favorite stories come from Italy or from little-visited spots like Guyana and Suriname on the north part of South America, as well as Cambodia right after the fall of the Pol Pot regime. My last travel was only a short distance: the lovely Port Townsend on the northern end of Puget Sound, that will probably be my next blog subject and then I’ll return (at least in my words and photos) to Italy where I spent three weeks earlier this summer, most of the time in Sicily.

So many stories to tell, whether fiction or fact. How lucky we all are to be able to write and share with old friends and new thanks to the printing press and the internet. No need for a bard with a harp!  

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To read the prior posts, go to the posts listing in the left side bar. If titles are no longer visible, just click on "August" to select.


mary rowen said...

Wow, Judith, I'm so jealous! If you need anyone to hop over to Italy to talk to the Italian authorities about how they deal with the death of a foreigner, just let me know! But seriously, your books sound wonderful. Best of luck with the new novel.

arleen said...

Thanks for reading and commenting, Mary!