"English was my least favorite subject in school, but I was always a storyteller," she admits. "Growing up, I was the kid in the neighborhood who decided what roles we would play and the pretend situation were in."
As a single mom with four children, Judy returned to school and graduated from the University of California at Irvine with a degree in social ecology. The new direction helped her confidence grow, and when a hero she could believe in came into her real life, she was even more inspired. Determined to do something about her love of writing, Judy joined Romance Writers of America and met her two critique partners. The trio have worked together and encouraged each other ever since.
Judy likes to take ordinary characters and put them in emotionally compelling situations that make them grow. "It takes some of the stubborn and hurting characters a while to learn there is always a way out," Judy maintains, "but when they realize their options, there's no stopping them."
Her unpublished stories won not only the coveted Emily and Orange Rose Awards, but also earned her the status of a double Golden Heart finalist in 2001. Her first book, Cowboy Courage, sold to the Silhouette Special Edition line, where she seems to have found her niche. "I credit a large part of my success to my critique partners, Crystal Green and Sheri WhiteFeather, who also write for Silhouette," she says.
On those days when a stubborn hero and a headstrong heroine claim her undivided attention, she and her family are thankful for fast food, pizza delivery, and video games. When she's not at the keyboard or in a Walter-Mitty-type world, she enjoys traveling, romantic evenings with her personal hero, and playing board games with her kids.
Write to Judy at P.O. Box 498, San Luis Rey, CA 92068.
Books by Judy Duarte
Western Box Set 1-4 March 2020/The Mayor's Secret Fortune/Her Cowboy Daddy/Tennessee Homecoming/To Save a Child
A Fortune's Texas Reunion/The Maverick's Summer Sweetheart/The Cowboy's Secret Family/For Their Child's Sake/Having the Soldier's Baby/It Start