Francy Judge has been entering the Writing Challenge for several years – and is thrilled to have been recognized as third place Best of the Best. Read on to find out about her doubts about her writing talent, what she loves about FaithWriters, and the extent she was willing to go to get her challenge entry in in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.
JOANNE SHER: First of all, congratulations on your third place win! What was your reaction when you found out you were chosen as third place in Best of the Best?
FRANCY JUDGE: First I screamed, quietly. I reread my name, amazed to see it there. Then I had to tell everyone in my family the good news. No one was home, so I had to wait, ready to burst.
JOANNE: I can totally picture that. I’m almost positive I would do exactly the same. You had three different pieces in contention for Best of the Best. Did you have any feeling you might be one of the winners just because of “the odds?”
FRANCY: I did hope the odds would help me place, but didn’t want to think about it too much and be disappointed. When each story placed first, I remember thinking I only won because there weren’t as many entries that week. I love writing, but always doubt my ability since I went to an art college and didn’t major in English like so many writers.
JOANNE: Well, I certainly hope your doubts are decreased at least a bit . Your winning piece, Where’s My Kitchen?, struck a chord with a lot of people. I’m sure many assume it is at least somewhat autobiographical. Is it? Where did you get the idea for this piece? How did it come together for you?
FRANCY: I had so much fun writing about my oldest son. It is autobiographical, 100 percent, down to each of our personality quirks. This story flowed quickly as I felt so many emotions while writing it. The idea came to me as I was asking my son to clean up his kitchen mess for the billionth time. Well, more like the fourth.
JOANNE: I’m sure it felt like the bilionth You’ve been at FaithWriters for several years, and have been entering the Writing Challenge pretty regularly for four and a half years (and your first challenge entry got second place in level two, I noticed!). How has FaithWriters, and the challenge, been helpful to you?
FRANCY: The FaithWriters Challenge has given me a reason to write every day. It sets a goal for me to meet a deadline. And I appreciate all the feedback and encouragement from other writers. I strongly believe God lead me to stumble upon FaithWriters. I had written an article about eating disorders that I wanted to submit to magazines, but my freelance editor/ friend told me I had written an essay not an article. She suggested researching similar articles for magazines online. Though a bit discouraged, I listened and found someone—don’t remember who—from the FaithWriters website.
I was so excited to find this Christian community of writers and couldn’t wait to try the Challenge contest. I never did finish that article, but my second entry to FaithWriters was published in Clubhouse Jr. Magazine about a year later after I edited it some more. I would never have had the idea to write about an echidna if it wasn’t for FaithWriter’s topic of Australia that week.
JOANNE: What a great story. And very cool about Clubhouse Jr. Do you have a challenge entry of yours that you would call your favorite? One that perhaps flowed effortlessly, or means a lot to you personally?
FRANCY: Two entries: One Time (a poem) and What Not to Design (a biographical story) are special to me because of when they were written. I wrote both pieces within two weeks after Hurricane Sandy destroyed our home. I had to write, edit, and submit these entries at a library in another town. Everything was a challenge, but I had to keep writing, probably to escape my problems. I felt like crying when these won an editor’s choice.
JOANNE: Must have been such an emotional time for you. Have you always enjoyed writing, or is it something that developed later? What is your favorite genre to write in?
FRANCY: I’ve always been creative. As a kid, I liked to write two-page play scripts for my sister and me to perform. I went to F.I.T. in Manhattan for Fashion Design and Illustration and focused on art for many years. It wasn’t until I homeschooled my kids and didn’t have time for art that I discovered how much I loved writing. I’d stay up late every night to work on my novel. I usually write realistic fiction, but I like to experiment in other genres too. I’ve also written a lot for children.
JOANNE: How about reading? What’s your favorite type of book to read? Who are your favorite authors?
FRANCY: I’m usually drawn to realistic fiction with humor and interesting characters. Lisa Samson is my favorite Christian Fiction author, but I also enjoy Anne Lamott and Jodi Piccoult. So many more, but these were the first to come to mind.
JOANNE: Tell us a bit about you.
FRANCY: I asked Jesus into my life back in my college days and got married a month after graduating. I’ve had some interesting jobs: I airbrushed the makeup on store mannequins; did freelance art for Bridal Guide Magazine while engaged; assisted my husband in managing a group home for mentally handicapped adults for one year; and best yet…became a mom to five kids and a Yorkie. I homeschooled the kids for about eleven years, until finances demanded I work fulltime. I’ve written a middle-grade novel (still unpublished) and started a blog called “It’s a New Morning.”
JOANNE: What are your hopes and dreams for the future, both personally and professionally?
FRANCY: I’d like to go on a missions trip someday. I hope to keep writing consistently and have my first novel get published and finish the second one. I’d also like to get back to drawing and illustrate my picture book manuscripts. Of course, God may have other plans for me.
JOANNE: I’m sure you’ll do wonderfully, no matter what plans you, and God, have. Where can folks connect with you?
JOANNE: Congrats again, Francy (and did you guys notice she got a first place in the first challenge of the NEW BoB year just yesterday? May be talking to her again around this time in 2014 )!
Thanks, Francy! All the best to you!