Writing Superheroes: Judith Arnopp

Is that a superhero hiding there behind the chocolate ice cream? Find out…

superhero copyIf you were to write the ‘origin’s episode’ of your writing what would be the most important scenes? What did your early efforts look like? Are they still around to be used as bribes and blackmail material?

I was about eight years old when I first became aware of my super powers. It was raining outside, my dolls were gathered around me and one of them asked me to write them a story. I made a collection of tiny notebooks with a story judy50fixedfor each of them in miniscule handwriting. Unfortunately, I have no idea what happened to the stories but I still have the dolls. Later, whilst I was in my teens, I began to write romances to read to my best friend, Heather. Her enthusiasm was the first hint I had that people might actually enjoy my stories.

All super heroes have their mild-mannered secret identity, what is yours? I promise we won’t tell.
My secret identity is very different from my super sexy super hero appearance. To protect my superhero identity I appear to the general public as a short, rather plump middle aged woman with a partiality for chocolate ice-cream.

Who are your partners in crime? What are their superpowers?
I have just one side-kick. When in his superhero role he is a muscle bound god-like figure but to fool the public he appears as a grey haired old fellow who eats too many biscuits. His special power is to super inject me with self-esteem.

Where do you get your superpowers from?
That is a mystery to me, my friend. In fact, before you pointed it out just now I had no idea I was a super-hero.
Where is your secret lair and what does it look like?
It is on a lonely hillside far from the haunt of mankind. A tumble down cottage protects me from the rain and a roaring fire keeps out the cold. The larder is well-stocked with plot inspiring delicacies. My only companions there are my super-hero side-kick and an intellectually challenged Jack Russell dog named Bryn.
What kind of training do you do to keep your superpowers in world saving form? How do you insure they are used only for good?
To keep my super powers in tip top form I constantly tell myself I am never good enough. Only in striving to do better do I manage to keep my skills honed and my intentions pure. I am always researching. Being a super hero is a full time job, you cannot flag for a moment.
Granted, you probably don’t’ get to wear your superhero costume a lot, but if you did, what would it look like?
Oh, it is most definitely figure hugging black with very high heels which makes a great change from my alter-egos outfit of leggings, jumpers and wellington boots.
What is your kryptonite? What are the biggest challenges faced with in your writing?
A super combination of coffee and chocolate is my kryptonite. It prevents me from falling asleep. I need to be alert to keep my writing interesting while at the same time not becoming self-indulgent.
What important lessons have you learned along the way?
I have learned that perfection is unattainable but (and it is a big but) should always be striven for.


What have been the best/most memorable experiences along the way?
Meeting Prince Charles is probably the most memorable thing. He likes super heroes. He was the Chancellor of the University of Wales, Lampeter where I attended, and I was chosen among a few others to be introduced to him. I’ve never been a huge royalist (not that I am anti-royal either) but I found him very polite, very interesting and he looks exactly as he does on the telly.


 If you did this again what would you do differently and what would you not change?
I would start earlier. I didn’t enter into the world of super-heroism until I was almost forty and I feel if I had just begun sooner I would have reached all my goals by now. My advice to all aspiring super heroes is to go for it now because life is short and you have to grab it while you can.
What is the best (writing or otherwise) advice you have ever gotten and why.

bestoneyetkissof the conc

Click here to find the book on Amazon

To let people read my work. I have been a writer in one form or another since I was a little girl but it wasn’t until I was in my forties and went to university that I let anyone see it. My creative writing and English professors encouraged me to try for publication. I would never have dreamed of it otherwise. I owe them everything really. Apart from encouraging me to write they also taught me to be self-critical and to rein in my imagination a little bit to keep my writing plausible.


Tell us about you new book and why we need to drop everything and get it now.
As you know a couple of years ago I began to write novels set around the Tudor court. The Winchester Goose was set during the time of Anne of Cleves and Katherine Howard but the book is very different to other ‘Tudor’ books. I provide a different perspective. The Winchester Goose is largely from the perspective of a prostitute (a very nice one) from Southwark. My next book The Kiss of the Concubine is written first person from the point of view of Anne Boleyn; again it is very different from other books about Anne and provides a very plausible story. It is getting some very pleasing reviews. I am currently working on the story of Kateryn Parr, Henry’s last queen. In the few books there are about her she is quite dull, down trodden even but in my book she is intelligent, proactive and passionate. Look out for it toward the end of 2014.
What’s in store for you in the future? Do you have any other big projects on the horizon?
Oh, even super-heroes can’t see the future but I intend to ensure it is good. I shall continue to do as I am doing but hopefully with more and more success. I will continue to build up the small following I have and keep them supplied with the stories about the women they love to read about because, when it comes down to it, my readers are the people that matter. When it comes to promotion I place a lot of trust in word of mouth and look forward to meeting lots of new readers.


You can find Judith at



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