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Mystery writer Judith Post pensively twists her strawberry blond hair between two long fingers as she explains how her life experience has made her the writer she is today. Post’s eyes are bright, flickering with intelligence and enthusiasm as she speaks about the heart of her mystery: how she became an author. A Waynedale native since her marriage, two grown daughters and two grandsons ago, she writes mysteries which often showcase the darker side of characters who are otherwise everyday people.

The author, who started writing when her husband surprised her by buying her a slot in a writing workshop when her two daughters were toddlers, says she “was getting bored changing diapers.” Post, who had previously been a teacher for six years at Waynedale Elementary School and has a Master’s degree, had taken time off to have children. The time off and life circumstances led her to a career in homemaking and writing; a career that she describes as being, “like an addiction.”

When she began her career, she had several short stories in Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine, Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine and many other publications. Since that time, Judith has decided to focus on writing books. Her latest book is titled, “It’s a Mystery: Tales of Intrigue.” The book is rich with a diverse cast of characters. Post believes that characters are the core of any story. She admits that because of her characters, many of her latest stories are often considered too dark for publication in traditional markets. She describes this dark quality, not as the gore that is so common, but as, “places where people are pushed into, something you wouldn’t normally think they would do, and they do it.” She decided to move into the more psychological aspects of mystery writing after being tired of the way some writers rely on shock value, “where they try to come up with a new gruesome way to hack somebody to death or just torture them.”

It is the “hard knocks” in life, she believes, that make her a good writer. Her brown eyes sparkle and her face lights up with ironic laughter when she says that her friends tease her that her happy childhood worked against her. Working as a teacher, she saw “parents who were really struggling. They were struggling to be good parents; they were struggling to make it financially.” Post learned from seeing the struggles of those around her, including her husband John. When they were dating, John was drafted into Vietnam during the Tet Offensive and was hit by sniper fire through both legs. Post says that the injury saved his life, requiring that he be sent home where the couple later married.

Living life and learning from it have led her to believe that she wouldn’t have been a good writer when she was younger. In her fifties, Judith Post is a middle class Geena Davis. Her story is one of determination, talent and good humor.