Judy Duarte always loved reading romances, but never thought of herself as a writer. "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 the roles we would play and the pretend situation we 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 first two critique partners, Sheri WhiteFeather and Crystal Green. They 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Her unpublished stories won not only the coveted Emily and Orange Rose Awards, but also earned her the status of a double Golden Heart finalist in 2001.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 Silhouette Special Edition, where she seems to have found her niche. "I credit a large part of my success to my three critique partners, Crystal Green and Sheri WhiteFeather, who also write for Silhouette, and to Sylvia Mendoza, published by Encanto," 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.