Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Conversation 19: Author Judith Works

Welcome back to Clockwork Conversations!

I am thrilled to have the opportunity to interview fascinating people for this blog... and today's interview is one of my favorites yet!

Allow me to introduce you to amazing, inspiring author Judith Works!



Welcome, Judith! Please share a bit about yourself with us...



JW: Life was routine until mid-life when I decided to get a law degree. Then a chance meeting led me to run away to the Circus (Maximus) in Rome, Italy – actually to the United Nations office next door where I worked as an attorney in the Human Resources department. After four years of expatriate life my husband and I returned to the U.S. But we missed life in Italy with its wonderful food and wine, endless history, and our many friends. The gods smiled and another opportunity came along. Six more years in Rome, again working for the UN, was our fortune.

The many happy and sometimes fraught experiences in Rome are the subject of my memoir, Coins in the Fountain, published as an e-book on Amazon. I recently published a novel about struggling expats in Rome, City of Illusions. It is available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and iTunes. I continue to travel when not writing or volunteering for local arts organizations. And, when I am in Rome, I always toss a coin in the Trevi Fountain to ensure another visit.
  
I can't wait to hear more about you! Off we go...


Q1: You say on your website that your life changed when you pursued a law degree. Had you always wanted to study law?

JW: Years ago my first husband attended law school at night. I spent evenings typing his papers. He dropped out and we separated but I remained interested in his course work even though I had no way to attend the school. The idea died away. I earned my first degrees in psychology and a Masters of Public Administration and then began to work with a number of lawyers. Their abilities and opportunities rekindled my interest. An opportunity unexpectedly arose when my (new) husband and I moved to Portland, Oregon where there is a good law school. I took the dreaded LSAT, applied to the school and was accepted. I worked full time and went to law school, finishing in the standard three years with honors.

Shortly after I passed the bar exam I unexpectedly met a former friend who had been working for the United Nations in Rome. When I asked him about it he told me about an opening that required a law degree and my skills.

Q2: You and your husband made a brave and exciting leap when you happened upon that job opening. Where did it take you?

JW: It was 4:00 A.M. on the West Coast when I received the telephone call with an offer of an interview in Rome. My husband and I sat up the rest of the night deciding whether I should go. Off I went. It was an urgent call during a meeting on the East Coast when the offer of a job came through, and could I start work in a week? That wasn’t possible but I negotiated a start date, my husband took a very early retirement and I managed a leave of absence from my job. We sold the house, watched the movers pack up our furniture, and got on the plane to Rome. Since my new office was across the street from the ancient Roman race track, the Circus Maximus, our daughter said that her parents were running away to the circus. And what a circus it was!

Q3: What was the best part about living in Rome? 

JW: Some people love the food and wine, some love the weather. I loved it all except the chaotic traffic – what can you expect when they wind around ancient ruins? Since I am especially interested in both ancient and modern European history I was in heaven. Where else can you see Egyptian obelisks, Roman temples and market places, Medieval churches, Renaissance palaces, Baroque fountains, and Fascist civic buildings in one day? And then there are the fabulous museums.

No matter how many times I return, there are still places that I have never discovered along with new sights that have just emerged from the ground whenever a dig is undertaken.

Q4: Did you have a favorite place to go in Rome, somewhere that really inspired you (and your books?) 

JW: My favorite place in Rome is the Piazza Navona, an oblong space that began as a Roman race track built under the reign of Emperor Domitian in AD 81. Now it is surrounded by beautiful churches and palaces whose mellow colors look as though they had absorbed the sunlight of centuries to radiate it back on the strollers who admire the three fountains decorating the center of the piazza. City of Illusions has several scenes set in this location. The first one is when Laura realizes that she could easily be seduced by the beauties of Rome.

Q5: *bonus question for everyone* Do you collect anything? If so, why?

JW: I have visited over one hundred countries and have often returned with a memento to display: an icon from Bulgaria, a painting with tribal symbols from Togo, silver boxes in the shape of gourds from Cambodia, and a copper bowl from Oman. And that’s not to mention a home filled with Italian ceramics, linens, and paintings.

I take pleasure to looking at these objects, all of which bring back memories, fortunately mostly happy. 

~*~

Over a hundred countries! Your passport itself must look like a work of art! I am intrigued by your experiences, and I hope those reading this will be, too, and will be inspired to find out more about you! Thank you so much for being my guest today.
You can find out more about Judith Works and her books by visiting http://www.judithworks.net./

Stay tuned for our next interview (date to be determined) and thank you again to Judith Works for visiting and letting us get a glimpse into her amazing world!

1 comment:

  1. I love Italy too - but I've never been to Rome. The big Italian cities are very chaotic!

    ReplyDelete