Judy L Mohr. Photo by Anthony Hovens
Hello and welcome, Judy, please tell us a little bit about yourself and your writing.
Let me start by saying a big thank you, Kura. I’m feel honoured that you would ask to interview me. Now that’s said, we can get to the questions and answers.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve always made up stories. As a child, I would spend hours with a tape recorder, making up plays for my Barbies to act out. (Yes, I’m really that old.) As soon as I could write, my mother encouraged me to kept a diary; I wrote poems and lyrics to songs. While I was studying my PhD, the writing became a much-needed escape from the pressures of being a part-time research student and a full-time mother of two. Even now, I use the writing to help me find the strength to face reality. The recent quakes have generated pages of writing. I’m also a freelance editor, and launched my own business, Black Wolf Editorial Services, back in December 2015.
My personal writing tends to have a fantastical flair, filled with adventure, dark monsters, humour and romance. Science fiction leaks in too, thanks to my PhD in Astronomy and Masters in Engineering. I have many projects on the go, but tell me what writer doesn’t.
You’re very involved with the Christchurch writing community. What’s your current role with the Christchurch Writers’ Guild?
I’m currently the president of the Christchurch Writers’ Guild and one of the coordinators for EastSide Writers, a coffee group for writers that meets every Thursday. I’m also one of the Municipal-Leaders for NaNoWriMo within the Christchurch region. Everything that I do for the writing community is meant to give back by paying it forward. So many I have meant on this journey have helped me develop my craft and become a better writer. I want to be able to do the same for others.
When was the CWG established?
Christchurch Writers’ Guild was established in 2012 by Angela Oliver and Beaulah Pragg. They noticed that many of the local writing groups required their members to produce works for critiquing and review, among other things. For a new writer, sharing your writing can be extremely daunting. Not only that, membership fees in some cases was beyond the means of the average new writer, and with very little reward. They wanted a group where everyone felt welcome with none of the pressure to share your writing, accessible to all. The Christchurch Writers’ Guild was born.
Since then, the membership has grown to over 80 members. In May 2015, the Guild became an incorporated society.
What is the CWG’s mission statement/ main purpose?
The Guild is a community of people who understand what it is to be a writer, from the first draft through to publication, and not just through traditional publishing houses. We’re there to help our members develop their craft to a level that they feel confident in sharing their writing with others.
At the same time, we love to celebrate our members’ successes. Writing can be a very isolated road. We aim to make it not so lonely.
What sort of writers can join? Do you have to be published?
Christchurch Writers’ Guild is open to all writers, published and unpublished, regardless of the genre. It doesn’t matter whether you write poetry, short stories, novels, or even screen plays — if you write, then you’re welcome to join us.
Are there any fees?
At this stage, there are no membership fees to join the Guild. All you have to do is visit our website and fill in the membership form with your contact details. It’s as simple as that.
Does the CWG offer its members internal competitions?
At the moment, the Guild does not run any internal competitions. However, we do offer our members with opportunities to participate in various anthologies, a chance to become published.
The criteria for each will depend on the anthology itself. More information can be found on our website.
What do you see as the benefits of being part of the CWG?
The biggest benefit of being part of the Guild is the support network. So many writers feel isolated, because their family and friends don’t understand who much of an obsession writing can be. Through the various activities that the Guild runs, writers are able to meet other kindred spirits.
Guild members also are entitled to discounts on our workshops, which are spread throughout the year.
Where does the CWG meet and how often?
Currently, the Guild runs two different weekly groups. The Night Owls meet every Tuesday night from 7pm at Coffee Culture in Bush Inn. Eastside Writers meet every Thursday morning from approximately 10:30am at Robert Harris in the Palms.
Members from the Guild also meets every second Monday of the month from 7pm at Undercroft at the University of Canterbury (under the James Hight Library).
These meetups are open to all. We always welcome new members.
Where can we find the CWG online?
The CWG has its own website (www.christchurch.wordpress.
com), as well as a public Facebook page. We also have a Facebook discussion group
Recently, the Guild has also joined the world of Twitter. Our username is @ChChWriters
And of course, if anyone just wants to send us an email, our address is
Thanks so much for your time, Judy, the Christchurch Writer’s Guild sounds like a very supportive bunch.
You're welcome. It was no problem at all.