Q&A with Judy Strick, Author of Kingdom Come, CA

A powdery pink glow infused the garage, and the door to the house closed behind me. To my utter astonishment, all the things I thought had been shipped off to the Salvation Army shimmered before me, resurrected from my past. the room was filled with quivering echoes of my childhood…. ~ from KINGDOM COME, CA

KingdomComeCA_HiRezCoverJudy Strick’s debut novel, KINGDOM COME, CA is a story about uncovering a past thought to be carefully stowed away, in both the  literal and figurative sense.

When a new family moves into an old abandoned house near recluse, Ruby Wellman, Ruby isn’t pleased. And when the neighbor’s son makes a strange connection with her, one that pulls at her memories, she is even more unsettled. Set in Southern California, KINGDOM COME, CA is steeped in landscape and mysticism and speaks to what happens when we finally let go of the past that grips us.

I’m honored to host Judy Strick today to talk about her book. And, there’s a book giveaway! Drop your name in the comments at the end of the post for a chance to win.

CC: On your website, you write that inspiration for Kingdom Come, Ca arose out of an incident with a “wandering print” (a cool story in itself, by the way). How did you decide on the story’s setting?

JudyStrickJS: I have a thing for small towns. I lived in Rapid City SD when I was very young. I harbor vividly strong memories of small town life, although perhaps it was not even a small town in those days. But that’s the way I remember it. Memory is slippery. As a child I visited Kanab Utah, and recalled it as the perfect archetypal small town until I went back as an adult to find it nothing at all like I remembered: what I found was a non-descript stuccoed town of very little charm; Perhaps at this moment in time it’s changed and is charming. Who knows?

CC: The strange connection between the protagonist, Ruby Wellman, and six-year old Finn is immediate, intense, and unmistakeable. And, it opens the story up to two plot lines–that of Ruby as she wrestles with her past and of Finn as he struggles with his own secrets. When you set out to write the novel, who came to you first, Ruby or Finn?

JS: Ruby was there first. She lived in Van Nuys, Ca and like the current Ruby, was scarred in an accident. Ruby #1 was so badly damaged that she wore a burkah- Finn was in my mind, somewhere. When Ruby #2 moved to Kingdom Come, Finn showed up, of his own accord, with his sea-glass green eyes.

CC: Your creative career has passed through several mediums: from art, children’s books, and screenwriting to novels and short stories. Do you still dabble in art or other genres?

JS: I tend to be somewhat obsessive-compulsive about what I’m working on. When I stopped being an artist I walked away cold. I never even doodle any more. I wish I had walked away as easily from lousy relationships, as I do from work that no longer works.

CC: What are you reading these days?

JS: I’m almost finished with Rick Bragg’s biography Jerry Lee Lewis: His Own Story. It’s wonderfully written, and a fascinating study of “The Killer,” and even more so of the Southern roots of rock ‘n roll.

CC: What piece of writing advice do you turn to most?

JS: To just keep doing it and doing it and doing it until you finally figure out what the hell it is you’re doing. I worked on KINGDOM COME, CA, for four years. It taught me so much, to keep pushing, and going for perfection, as you define it.


Judy Strick is a native of Southern California. She holds an MFA from Otis Art Institute, and in a former lifetime was a fine artist and then a toy designer. She studied screenwriting at AFI and fiction writing at UCLA, and has spent the last 10 years honing her novelistic skills. Kingdom Come, CA is her debut novel. She lives in Los Angeles with her 2.5 dogs.

Visit www.judystrick.com, where you can download (for free) her new short story series Living on the Fault Line: Tales from L. A.

Don’t forget: drop your name in the comments by noon on Tuesday, March 3rd, for a chance to win a copy of KINGDOM COME, CA, courtesy of Darlene Chan PR. 


About Christi

Christi Craig is a native Texan living in Wisconsin, working by day as a sign language interpreter and moonlighting as a writer, teacher, and editor. Her stories and essays have appeared online and in print, and she received an Honorable Mention in Glimmer Train's Family Matters Contest, 2010. You can send comments or questions via her contact page.
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