Monday, June 23, 2014




Author bio:
Judith is a registered nurse and native Virginian who grew up in Richmond who holds graduate and doctoral degrees from Virginia Commonwealth University and the University of Virginia.  She has been a practicing clinical nurse for over 25 years and is currently a professor of Nursing at James Madison University and the author of numerous academic and health-related articles and documents.  In addition to her academic writing she is the author of the Alexandra Destephano novels, a group of medical thrillers set in New Orleans and Virginia.  When not teaching or writing, Judith is an avid silk painter and multi-media artist.  She is an owner of the Artisan Galleries, an art gallery with locations in Harrisonburg and Massanutten.  She lives in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia with her family and a multiple number of canine creatures.  Feel free to contact her at or through her website at

Brief synopsis of your book:

It's Mardi Gras in New Orleans and thousands of tourists have flocked the city, paralyzing traffic and jamming the French Quarter with drunks and garbage. City officials are hoping for record crowds and the greatest economic boost since Hurricane Katrina. Alexandra Destephano, a nurse and legal counsel for the prestigious Crescent City Medical Center, is eagerly anticipating her third Carnival Season and her Saturday night date with dashing art historian Mitch Landry to the Endymion Extravaganza, the biggest Mardi Gras Ball in New Orleans.  However, things change when Alex is stat-paged to the medical center, where she learns from her former husband, hospital surgeon Robert Bonnet that the first lady of Louisiana has been found unconscious in her bed covered in blood.


It is hotter than hell in New Orleans and newly promoted NOPD Commander Jack Francoise is battling horrific crime in the Vieux Carre in the August heat.  At Crescent City Medical Center's Psychiatric Pavilion, nursing staff are constantly doling out Thorazine Slurpees and Geodon shots to some of the most criminally insane and viciously psychotic patients in the South.  Alexandra Destephano, a registered nurse and legal counsel for CCMC, is concerned about inadequate staff and safety issues in The Pavilion. So, she enlists the help of her former husband, dashing surgeon Robert Bonnet, in her battle against Lester Whitset, the odd and often bizarre Pavilion administrator. In the meantime, staff and patients are being brutally beaten and killed at Crescent City Medical Center and Alex must set aside her feelings about the chronic understaffing at the hospital as she works with Jack, Robert, and others to bring the perpetrators to justice.

It's a beautiful October day in Crescent City, probably the most beautiful day of the year, and Alexandra Destephano and Commander Jack Francoise are savoring the silence before the arrival of the most powerful leaders in America.  Unfortunately, the serenity does not last for long,  as they learn of a lethal viral outbreak in the Crescent City  Emergency Department.  The  unidentified virus has already claimed the lives of a political attache and a food service worker.  When another tragic murder in the Vieux Carre claims the life of a young politician, the protege of Alex's powerful  grandfather, Congressman Adam  Patrick Lee of Virginia,  Jack becomes suspicious of numerous threats to Crescent City.  With the arrival of POTUS in less than 48 hours, Jack must learn to play well with the FBI and the Secret Service, while Alex coordinates with medical leaders from the CDC, Tulane, LSU, and the University of Virginia to control the raging virus.

Book titles:
See above

Current book or project you’re working on:
Book 4 in the Alex Destephano Series

What was the inspiration for your novel?
The need to advocate for patients and healthcare providers and a desire to share my knowledge of issues relating to healthcare.

Please share three interesting facts about your book which are not covered in the synopsis.
1) They are based on events from my clinical practice.
2) Many of the scenarios in the book are true.
3) I research the books meticulously.

Who is the most complex character from your current novel?
Alexandra Destephano because she is always trying to do the right things and refuses to acknowledge her vulnerability.

Are there any characters in your book that remind you of yourself?
There are bits of me in every character.

If you could pick any well known or famous author to review your book who would you pick and why?
David Baldacci.


What genre does your book fall into?
Medical thriller.

What is the first book you remember reading that affected how you thought or felt about something?
Little Women.

Which three authors have inspired you the most, and why?
1) David Baldacci because he develops believable and memorable characters.
2) Robin Cook because he added the medical element to the thriller genre.
3) Patricia Cornwell because she pays such incredible attention to detail.

Have you ever read a book you couldn’t finish reading?
I always finish what I start, as frequently books get much better once one has gotten familiar with the characters and plot line.

Do you read a book, while you are writing a book?
Always, both for inspiration and diversion.

The process:

How many books have you written? Which book is your favourite and why?
I have finished three books and am working on my fourth one.  My favourite is always the one I am working on as I can’t wait to see what happens.

Is there anything that helps get you in the mood to write?
A quiet place at 4 in the morning.

What were three challenges you faced when writing your book?
1) Managing my time.
2) Overcoming writer’s block.
3) Creating believable characters.

What lessons have you learned as an aspiring writer?
I have learned to persevere in my writing and to have a thick skin in the face of critics.

Do you ever experience writer’s block? If so what helps you to ‘overcome’?
My prescription for writer’s block is to sit back and think about where I want to book to go.
What is the most important thing you’ve learned, either in the self-publishing or traditional publisher, route?
Be good to your fans and get several good editors.

How long does it usually take for you to complete a book?
Six months from concept to publication.

Do you have any ideas for your book and Hollywood? Actors, directors, music.
While I would be thrilled to have my book turned into a screenplay, right now I am happy connecting with my readers through the written word.

Which book to movie conversion is your favourite?
None come to mind.

Do you watch a lot of science fiction or fantasy movies?

Do you study science, the planets, history or anything special to help you with your writing?

What, who, and when first inspired you to write?
I was inspired by reading.

Personal favs:
Drink – Wine
Food – Avocados
Vacation – Europe
TV show – Any crime dramas and action shows
Movie – Thrillers with non-graphic violence
Animal – Dogs
Sport –  Aquatics
Book – I have so many, I can’t name just one.

How can people connect with you?

Facebook: Alex Destephano Novels

Where can readers find your book? 

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