15 September 2012

Today's HNS Conference Guest: Judy Ridgeley

C’est moi  -
J.F. Ridgley
King Arthur started it all. 
Blame him. His story was my first venture into this sand trap called writing.

I shared my love of King Arthur and his glorious story with my Eighth grade students who encouraged me to ‘write it’.  (Yeah, I was once a teacher. Miss the kids still.) My research quickly uncovered the fact that King Arthur was not a king but a Celtic chief. So I became immersed in Celtic lore. Now I love that. But one does not mess around with a Celt that you don’t run into a Roman soldier. And yes, I fell into that trap.  And I love it. This ancient world enthralls me from Britannia to Pompeii/Herculaneum.

Published September 2012

However, having a story and knowing how to write is a serious task master. Years ago,  I joined Romance Writers of America. I did learn so much from RWA but discovered I didn’t fit in with these romancers. They kept telling me I’m not following the romance rules. It’s all about the hero and heroine. Can’t tell you how frustrated I became. It wasn’t until the first American HNS conference in Salt Lake City that I felt I came home. 

No wonder I didn’t fit in. I’m not a romancer. I’m a historical novelist. Thank you HNS  and all the other historical novelists for this discovery.

Judy's Banquet Guests

Now, if I could dine with nine guests from history, who would that be?
For starters I would like to sit and talk with the characters of my stories, Alexius and Messalina (Threatened Loyalties), Aelia and Lucianus (Vows of Revenge),  Queen Boudica, the Iceni queen who revolted against Rome and nearly won. “(Red Fury-the Revolt)

I would like to know if she did commit suicide, which I don’t think she did. Suetonius Paullinus conned that up.

I would like to chat with Gnaeus Julius Agricola who spent his entire career in  Britannia. (The Red Fury series) And Calgacus, who challenged Agricola at Mons Graupius (Also The Red Fury series).  And of course, King Arthur and Guinevere (Shadows in the Mist) who started it all for me so many years ago.

In my real world I’m married to my best friend. My dreams have come true because of his support…quite literally. I admit it. He spoils me. As I explain occasionally, 42 years ago, I traded my two geldings in for a great stud/my hubby who gave me two wonderful kids who I still ride no matter how hard they buck. We have a great time.

The two geldings I referred to was a past life. Once upon a time I cared for , trained, and showed American Saddlebred horses. Valjean was my bay gelding and, together, we won Reserve World Champion Five-gaited Pleasure Class-1966. He was my best friend then. The other gelding was the ‘Big Horse’ or Man of Integrity.  The Big horse was a  chestnut gelding that could stretch his neck up so high I needed a ladder to do his ears. He was three gaited but loved harness more than anything. I miss having horses, but my father raised me that, if I can’t take care of them, not to have them. Well that said, I dare not have a horse. We have enough challenge taking care of three dogs.


Now I write, crochet, and garden,  and spend time with my hubby. One of my nine gardens I have to weed.  Only this year it all nearly burned up due to the horrible drought. I can’t wait for the devil to take back his weather so it can rain.
I would like to invite you to my website website to sign up for my newsletter. You may possibly win an original reader… a scroll with your choice of one of my stories or win Aelia’s custom designed jewelry created by Genevieve Flynn. She’s busy now making a necklace for my men and Messalina. So be sure to sign up by November 1, 2012, because even I don’t know what else may be a prize.
So keep in touch!

Twitter:  @JGCasca

Writers Riding


  1. Thank you Helen for such a wonderful post. Looking forward to seeing you in London soon.

  2. My goodness, I'd love to be able to chat with Boudicca. What a great choice!


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