Writer Of The Week: Judy Jarvie

writer of the week

Fiction team’s Abbie talks to Judy Jarvie, our Writer Of The Week.

You can read Judy’s latest poem, “Contentment”, in our next Special out on Wednesday!

How did you get started as a writer?

I won an inter-school poetry competition with my first poem when I was 8. It got me hooked.

I also won a gift voucher and bought a pen with the aim to write my way to an exciting future.

Unfortunately, life got in the way and I forgot about poetry. Unless you count a humorous verse wedding speech that I wrote for a happy couple when I was asked to be a Best Man/Woman!

Thankfully, it went down well and they still speak to me.

A couple of years ago I realised I hadn’t lost the will to write poems, so I sent a query to “The People’s Friend”.

I felt so lucky when my poetry was accepted for publication.

Where did the idea for “Contentment” come from?

“Contentment” was written when I was trying to think of the key life ingredients that we often take for granted, but which are a soothing source of gratitude and comfort.

What about poetry appeals to you? Do you also write short stories?

I love poetry, particularly because I think I have a mind that works in verse and puns!

It’s very satisfying to write a short poem that means something, like a very short story, in only a few rhyming paragraphs. It’s a bit like solving a puzzle and I really enjoy it.

To see my poems published in the “Friend” is still a thrill.

I have written a few short stories in the past, and been published in other DC Thomson titles, but I have mostly written longer length romance novels for the last two decades.

These are published by Ulverscroft’s Linford Romance imprint as large print titles for libraries.

I’m addicted to love stories, both reading and writing them.

What motivated you to write for the “Friend”?

A lovely friend who writes short stories, and has done for many years, mentioned the “Friend” when I admitted I could write poetry. It felt like fate!

I’ve been truly fortunate to have had quite a few poems published over the last two years.

It got me addicted to “The People’s Friend” Specials in particular — they’re a great value, bumper fiction read that I highly recommend to everyone.

Notebook and pencil, or laptop? Kitchen table, or study? Blank wall, or inspiring view?

For poetry, it’s definitely a notebook—  sometimes even a notes app on my phone!

For novel-length work or short stories, always a laptop.

I write in the dining room, and my view is usually of a patrolling cat who’ll readily disturb me to replenish the cat bowl!

Cats are great writerly companions — though they do sometimes bully you into taking regular breaks. At least mine do.

And, as it’s a solitary occupation, I think that’s quite a good thing.

And a P.S. – What’s your top tip for an aspiring Writer Of The Week?

You’ve likely read it all before, but I’ll say it again – write, read, learn, repeat.

Every time you write, you learn and improve.

With every book or project, you hone the craft.

Just follow your instinct, believe, and go for it.

For more from our Writer Of The Week series, click the tag below.

Abigail Phillips

Abbie is the newest member of the fiction team at the "Friend." She loves how varied the role is - every day is different and there is always a new story to read. She is keen to work closely with established writers and discover new writers, too.