Judy Bagshaw was a retired elementary school teacher and writer in Southern Ontario, Canada. As a plus-sized woman, she longed to see stories featuring full-figured central characters. Much of her work features such women leading rich and active lives, as she did.
Romantic suspense was her genre of choice, but she also wrote humor, some non-fiction, and children’s stories. Her currently available works include several novels, work in multiple anthologies, and a short story collection. She was also part of the writing team for the Ginn Reading Steps from Pearson Educational, a program widely used in elementary schools.
Judy sadly passed away in 2015 but her legacy of size-positive romance novels lives on.
In her own words…
Judy Bagshaw describes herself as “a woman with a mission and a unique vision”. Her mission is to write romantic stories that show plus sized women living rich involved lives. This mission grew out of her own personal struggles living as a large sized person in a world where fat is reviled.
It wasn’t until her late twenties that she realized that she had wasted a good portion of her time obsessing about her weight and looks. At about this point, she discovered NAAFA, the National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance, a size acceptance organization in the United States. And she experienced an epiphany. She did not have to accept the notion that there was something about her that had to be fixed. She could be acceptable as she was. And she began a journey of self-acceptance that eventually led to her writing career. Part of her involvement with NAAFA was to write a semi-regular column for the SuperSIG (special interest group for Supersized members) newsletter. Some of these articles can be found here.
Writing has always been a part of Judy’s life, but it became a serious pursuit when Judy reached her mid-thirties. She started taking writing classes and one summer stumbled upon an ad for a publisher seeking plus-sized romances. So she sat down and wrote one. “I can remember a writing instructor telling me emphatically that there was no real market for romances featuring plus sized heroines,” she says.” I thought then that I would really enjoy proving him wrong!” Unfortunately, the publisher seemed to fade away and a disappointed Judy tucked the book in a drawer. But she never gave up her dream to sell her unique stories.
A few years later while surfing on her computer, she discovered a whole publishing world online and the rest, as they say, is history. She found a company called Wordbeams that was open to plus sized heroines, and she submitted her work. In the fall of 2000, Judy published that first book, Teacher’s Pet, as well as another novella she wrote called Love by the Pound.
Sadly, two years later, the company folded when the publisher became seriously ill. But Judy didn’t let that stop her and her search for a new home for her work began. “I was delighted when I learned about Real Romances, a company that shared my vision,” she says,” and I didn’t hesitate to submit some short stories to their first anthology.” Real Romances carried her two novellas as well until their closing in 2003.
Not willing to give up on this new career she had come to love, Judy began her search yet again for a home for her work. She had completed a new novel, Lady Blue, and, after researching several companies, settled on a Canadian e-publisher, Electric eBook Publishing for her submission. They offered a contract for Lady Blue and released it June of 2003. It sat for a time on the publisher’s best seller list!
But once again, as happens with many small businesses, the company closed and Judy had to yet again begin the search for new publishers. She did not let these setbacks stop her. At no point did she think about giving up her dreams.
In 2005, Judy retired after a twenty-eight year career as an elementary school teacher. She loves being able to write fulltime. “I have so many stories I want to tell. And since finding publishers who want work that is outside the mainstream box, I know that there are people out there that want to read stories where the big girl wins the hero’s heart and lives happily ever after.”