Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

(12-17-2016) Q: What happened to Steadfast? Are you giving up on the story?
A: Nope, in fact, that's the story I'm working on right now (offline). I have no deadline for finishing it, but will let my announcement list know when it's ready for readers. :)
(12-17-2016) Q: Are you planning any more sequels for the Dandelion series?
A: Yes, a third novel in the Dandelion series is being planned for Cassie.
Q: Where can I find Mountain Wild's sequel?
A: I haven't written it yet, as the sequel is in the research phase right now. It pretty much means I'm toying with the where's and how's, though I know the main who's of the novel. The American Civil War is going to be the backdrop, and it's going to be George and Mary's love story. The time period will approximately make George, 43, and Mary, 30; Emma would be about 52, and Josiah, 54. That's about as much as I'm prepared to say for the moment, as I'm still exploring plot possibilities. Join my list to be among the first to know when the sequel has been released.
Q: Are you planning on publishing any paperbacks of your stories?
A: I'm afraid not. Over the years, I've noticed my readers strongly prefer the digital forms of my work to the paperback versions, so I've decided to retire all the paperbacks. There's no printing or shipping with ebooks (which comprised almost the entire cost of my expensive paperbacks), and it reduces its environmental footprint. I apologize for any disappointment this may cause. However, this simplifies my workload, and the way going forward.
Q: Will you ever stop writing for free at this website?
A: God willing, I will continue writing for free at this website as always. I've been extremely blessed by this experience, and plan to continue for as long as I can.
Q: Why can't I find Journey of the Heart on Amazon?
A: I wrote Journey of the Heart a very long time ago. It isn't good enough for Amazon, but if you're interested you can find it here.
Q: I submitted feedback about one of your novels, but my comments were never added to this website. Why?
A: Comments aren't always posted so the table of contents pages don't get ridiculously long. If you're interested, check out the Judith group at Facebook and post your thoughts there. I visit the group regularly.
Q: John from Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, wondered if my stories had any relation to my own personal life experiences.
A: I've always joked that if I stuck to subject matter that I've actually lived, my stories would be fairly short. That's why I usually do so much research for my writing. Even though I sometimes draw inspiration from my personal life, it's just elements-- and not entire story plots. For instance, I've never experienced the things that Jake Murphy from Abigail's Journey did; I've never known the pain that comes from physical or emotional abuse. Abby, on the other hand, came from a family that I can very much relate to. But I'm not Abby, and these stories are in no way autobiographical. They're just the products of an overactive imagination, and the need to share it with others.
Q: Where did you get your pen name?
A: The name Judith was adopted from a young Russian-Jewish missionary who was martyred for her faith in Jesus Christ during the Russian Bolshevik Revolution*, and Bronte came from one of my literary heros, Charlotte Bronte. *Judith, by N.I. Saloff-Astakhoff, published by Zondervan.
Q: If you freely share your real name on this website, then why do you use a pen name?
A: When I took up the pen name Judith Bronte back in 1997, it was mostly out of privacy. I didn't want to give out too much personal information on the Internet, but I also wanted the anonymity that a pen name afforded. Writers pour their soul into their words, and I'm no different. A pen name gave me a little more courage to put myself out there and just write what I felt God led me to. When I later decided to pursue a career in Inspirational Romance, I made the decision to publish my real name on this website.
Q: While I like your stories, Journey of the Heart, Some Pass By, and even the first part of Greatest of These, don't seem to be as well written as your later work. Why is that?
A: Journey of the Heart was completed over a decade ago, and was my very first love story. With the exception of stories that I'm working on offline, this website has every single romance I've ever done. From my first foray into penning a short novel (Journey of the Heart), to trying my hand at something longer (Greatest of These), all my past mistakes are here for everyone to see. While I currently make greater efforts to polish the chapters and stories that I publish, the thought of going back and rewriting my old work is a little daunting. I have so many projects going on, I'd rather use my time writing new material.
Q: I've gone to my bookstore, but can't find any of your books? Is it possible for me to get a hard copy of them?
A: Thanks for looking, but my novels are only available as ebooks.
Q: Can I buy your ebook(s) in my country?
A: My ebooks are available internationally through,, and iBookstore.
Q: Do you base the characters in your stories on real people?
A: No, I don't.
Q: How do you come up with your story ideas?
A: That's a hard one. Sometimes, I get the emotion first, and then the characters follow. Sometimes, snippets of dialogue come to me, and then I have to break it apart to understand why I liked it so much. The bottom line is that I have to be intrigued by the storyline to follow up on it. I love trying to find out what makes a relationship work, and how people gravitate to each other. And then there's the everyday struggles that each Christian must face in life, and how they deal with their difficulties and problems. I don't care what anyone says-- the good guys are MUCH more interesting than the bad guys.
Q: Can you give me any pointers or advice on how to become a writer?
A: I believe it's extremely important to write on an ongoing basis. Write, write, write. It's one of the reasons why I like writing on a schedule so much. It forces me to keep going. I throw myself into the story, and then go back and fix all the typos and make sure the words flow properly. I have a few rules of thumb that I always try to hold myself to:
  • In all things, glorify God. He is the reason I'm writing, and it's essential that I never forget that.

  • Be as true to the moment as possible, no matter how hard or painful it may be.

  • Don't force it. If I sit down to write, and nothing comes, then it means I wasn't prepared. Go do more research and spend time thinking it through. Writer's block is just another way of saying that I wasn't properly prepared. When I am, the words should come as a free flowing stream.

  • Write with my heart. If I'm not ready and willing to empty myself into the story, then I might as well walk away. I shouldn't waste my time or anyone else's if I'm not willing to give it absolutely everything I've got.

  • Just tell the story. When writing rules are bogging me down, and self doubt threaten to stall creativity, push it all aside and simply tell the story.
Q: How do you write your dialogue? It's like it's real.
A: To me, it is real. I often wake up in the middle of the night, and find myself listening to the characters in my head as they try to work out their differences. Sounds crazy, I know, but it happens. By the time I go to write the story, it's almost as if I'm simply putting down what I heard and saw in my imagination.
Q: I love Jake from Abigail's Journey, and think it's great the way God sent Abby to help him. Because of this, I'm thinking about becoming penpals with someone behind bars. Should I?
A: Even though no one has asked me this question, I'd like to address it here. I would caution anyone becoming romantic penpals with someone behind bars. From the research I've done for this book, I've read of male prisoners soliciting women on the "outside" to be penpals, because the women felt sorry for them. Just because Jake is a sweetheart, doesn't necessarily mean that the majority of other prisoners are like that. I think this is best explained by one of my readers:

"I've lived around some pretty 'rough' people at times, even a few guys whose life was like Jake's... I've seen abused people become abusers and takers themselves. You have to be careful that you're not reacting out of emotion... I've been in a few situations where the worst thing I could do was to give them what they thought they needed... we have to be sensitive that in our interactions with others, we are being led by the Spirit."
Q: I think my life would make a great book. Will you write it?
A: Sorry, but my universal answer to this is always no.
Q: I have a great idea for a story. Will you incorporate it into, or write a story around it?
A: While I appreciate the thought, I already have so many ideas of my own, they're popping out of my ears because I don't have enough time or resources to use them all. But thanks for the thought.
Q: What version of the Bible do you use for your Scripture verses?
A: I use the King James Version, or KJV.
Q: Is it possible for you to write any faster?
A: Nope.
Q: I use InternetExplorer6 whenever I visit I just saw your website on someone else's computer and it looked better than on mine. Why?
A: No one has asked this yet, but I'm anticipating the question. is optimized for everything except the old IE6 web browsers. In IE6, it'll still be a fully functioning website, it just won't look as nice. If you can, upgrade, as even the text is more legible in later browsers (my opinion). Also, it's recommended to have javascript enabled to ensure these nifty Q and A's slide out like they're supposed to. Most people already have it enabled, but if it's off, go here for instructions on how to turn it on.
Q: "I've just finished reading ch. 22 of Mountain Wild, and it is fantastic!!! ... I have a question: what are your favorite books, and what authors inspire you to write? I'm also curious..."- Maggie (California)
Q: "... I'm also curious about another thing. Ray Bradbury (author of Fahrenheit 451) once stated that a good author doesn't make the decisions for his or her characters. Rather, the characters live their own stories and are like real people. Is that how it is with you and your stories? My dream is to become a writer. If you have any advice, it would be much appreciated! Thanks a million for your magnificent stories, and all the best to you!!!" - Maggie (California)

A: I'm glad you enjoy reading the stories. I have a good time writing them.

"what are your favorite books, and what authors inspire you to write?"

My favorites are many, but I'd have to say Jane Eyre and Pride and Prejudice top the list. I love those books; my copy of Jane Eyre falls open to my favorite passages, it knows me that well. Remember chapter 23, where Jane is walking outside Thornfield Hall, enjoying the quiet dark of the end of the day, and she avoids the open window in Mr. Rochester's library because she knows he's in there? Then when he comes out, and she tries to secretly steal away behind his back-- Jane crosses his shadow-- and he speaks to her without even seeing her, as though this man were so attuned to her presence, even his very shadow felt her. Oh, to write like that. Charlotte Bronte and Jane Austen write excellent dialogue, and you know how much I love quote marks. Each time I read those novels, it's like visiting with dear friends. They inspire me to write with my heart, and to not simply punch words into the keyboard without thinking.

"I'm also curious about another thing. Ray Bradbury (author of Fahrenheit 451) once stated that a good author doesn't make the decisions for his or her characters. Rather, the characters live their own stories and are like real people. Is that how it is with you and your stories?"

Every writer will pretty much give a different answer, for no two go through the creative process in the same way. Since I'm a combination seat-of-the-pantzer, and a plotter, I don't necessarily let the characters do whatever they want when I'm actually writing. I work all that out ahead of time in my outline, and make sure I haven't chosen characters who will act differently than what I want. Then when I'm writing, I keep them on a short leash and make sure they don't deviate too far from what I'd planned-- BUT-- (and here's the pantzer coming out in me) I try to be as flexible as possible, as spontaneous as possible. For me, that means not over-plotting, and giving room for the characters to be themselves. But not just letting the pieces fall where they may, and writing haphazardly, either. I have to balance spontaneity against knowing where in the world I'm going with the story, and how to get there. It's not really as complicated as it sounds. It just takes practice, and trial and error until you get a mix that works well for you.

When I plot and write, are the characters real? Absolutely. When my fingers are flying, and the words keep popping up on the screen, I forget I'm writing fiction and that's it's all pretend. If I have any advice, it's to not treat your characters as though they're fictional. If you write like you're just pretending, your reader will read those words in same way-- like it's not real. So breathe life into those characters!

Thanks for asking some good questions, and making me think.
Q: "My name is Rachel, and I live in Ontario. I love your online books... they are very encouraging... I have one question about the novel Abigail's Journey..." [Warning, the following contains one or two plot spoilers. If you haven't read Abigail's Journey yet, then stop here.]
Q: "I have one question about the novel Abigail's Journey. I am a writer myself... My focus when I write is on romantic relationships and marriage, quite similar to what you write. I was wondering how you got the courage and what went through your mind when you decided to write about such personal issues such as rape and the aftermath of it in a marriage. Sex is a misunderstood and rarely discussed topic in many congregations, but I believe that many people, single and married, struggle with problems in the area of sexuality. I'm not married myself but with everything that is said about sex in society, more books like yours need to be written... the people in the body of Jesus Christ need to know that the topic of sex is not dirty or disgusting in itself-- it is the way in which it is used. Did you have any misgivings about sex being one of the main issues in this novel? I commend you for bringing such an an important issue into this novel, and even though Abby and Jake are fictitious characters, I'm certain that your book will help free many people from situations in this area of their lives." - Rachel (Toronto, Ontario, Canada)

A: Rachel, you asked some very thoughtful questions... You wondered how I got the courage to write what I do. Well, when I'm writing, I'm not aware of anyone else but me, God, and the characters in my story. Creating the story is a very private process-- that's why I don't discuss my stories with anyone before they're written. I just keep them hidden away in my heart, until it's time for them to come out.

What went through my mind to write about rape and the aftermath of it in a marriage? I'd have to say it came from where my research led me while I was finding out who Jake was. I knew that he had been tortured and abused as a small boy by his father, but as I researched more of our prison system in America, I began to realize that it would be unrealistic of me to say that the abuse stopped there. But, that's such an awful thing to deal with. Then I remembered something that I had learned while writing about the subject of Alzheimer's Disease in The Greatest of These: the good MUST be sweeter than the bad, or else it's going to be a rotten story. Enter Abigail. I already knew that she was a very self-possessed, confident young woman who had grown up in a stable, loving home. Her childhood was everything that Jake could only imagine. The more contrasts that the two leading characters had, the more I realized I wanted to tell their story. To leave out the effects of such a violent and painful past, when trying to go on with your future, seemed to be ignoring that elephant sitting in the room. I had to address the issues, and not run from them.

Really, the only time I had to be brave about something I wrote, was when Jake was raped again in prison. I literally held my breath to see how the readers would react. Because the good was sweeter than the bad, it was received better than I hoped.

I agree that sex is often a misunderstood subject in the Christian community, but I think it's because we don't know how to talk about it without fearing that we will be seen as indecent or immoral. When depicting an intimate relationship, always remember that it's essential to never go beyond the limits of what your conscience tells you is right. I don't care if it's in the name of being realistic, or not. Right is right and wrong is wrong. Understandably, each person's conscience will differ from another's, so the place where you draw the line will depend on you. That said, I think there's a lot of latitude for the Christian writer who is sensitive to the Holy Spirit's leading.

When we read, we get a mental image from the words that the writer chooses to use. A good example of this is in chapter 24, "Jake's Choice," where the entire chapter is about sex. (See the end of this email for what one reader said.) I purposefully mentioned in a few key scenes, what Jake and Abby were wearing, so that it wouldn't be left to the reader's imagination. I wanted to influence their mental picture as much as possible, and even came right out and asked the reader to stop at the bedroom door.

I also strive to depict characters on an emotional level, so that their motives and attraction to each other are not solely based on whether her skin is showing or not. Relationships are hard things, and it takes a lot of commitment and dedication to make them work. Just because it's a story, doesn't mean that everything magically works out-- unless you're writing a fairy tale, that is. Instead of running from or stepping around the hard and difficult, use them to your advantage. Problems are your chance to let the characters prove themselves and who they really are. There's a saying, "People are like tea bags: you don't know how strong they are, until they're in hot water." The same is so for the characters in your stories.

Did I have any misgivings about discussing sex? Sure I did, but when you keep the focus not so much on the sensual but on the emotional, I think you can say more than someone who just uses physical attraction. The bond can be deeper, and mean more. After all, what makes your heroine better than the woman standing next to her? Is it just because the light is glinting off her hair and that makes the hero fall madly in love with her? Or, was it because just minutes before, he heard her witness to a homeless woman and saw her compassion for others? You get the idea. What's in a person's heart is worth more than how they look.

Below is an excerpt from a reader (thanks, Narelle!) who had told me previously, that she had such a vivid imagination, she had trouble not letting it get into trouble. This is what she had to say about chapter 24:

"Oh, Judith, I just finished reading chapter 24 of Abigail's Journey. Well done once again; but I am especially proud of the way you handled such a delicate chapter. To be able to draw us into the story-line with understanding and knowledge of Abby's and Jake's feelings and tumultuous, at times, emotions, without bordering on the indecent is a triumph in itself! I loved how, especially, you allowed the bedroom door to stay firmly shut to us, who had no right to cross the line on a married couple's intimacy. Too many writers are willing to cross that line simply because they know that their characters are not true people, with true feelings, and are willing to lead their readers into sin under this pretence. Thanks for still being an author that I am able to read without having to worry about what's around the corner, that spiritually, I know will cause me to have to walk away forever from a story and characters that I love."

That email meant a lot to me, and it's a great instance of how writers can control the story, so that it's safe to read-- even when the subject is sex.

Credit: The Lightweight JavaScript Accordion with CSS is from Michael Leigeber.