Goshen News, Goshen, IN

Local News

February 2, 2014

Goshen native pens a new 'Stella' novel

'Leave Tomorrow Behind' a result of reader requests.

Stella is back.

After what author Judy Clemens thought was the fifth and final book to her Stella Crown series, the tattooed, hardworking biker chick, dairy farmer found a new life in “Leave Tomorrow Behind.”

Here’s a quick synopsis: “Her sister-in-law is a nag, her fiancé Nick is ill and her bank account is in the red. But when a local country star turns up dead at the county fair, where Stella’s teenage employee Zach is an exhibitor, things turn from hot to ugly.”

The cops suspect Stella since she dug the victim out of a calf barn’s manure pile.

So Stella tries to get back her life by pointing the cops in the right direction while wondering, “Can’t a simple farm girl just get married in peace?”

Clemens said she returned to Stella after readers kept asking for more.

“She and I just needed a break from each other,” Clemens said during a phone interview. “I got an idea and the publisher said, ‘Let’s do it.’ It was like meeting up with old friends again.”

Clemens started the sixth book right where she left off with the fifth.

A Goshen native, who graduated from Bethany Christian High School in 1987 and Goshen College in 1991, Clemens features the 4-H county fair a lot in her newest installment. But instead of being set in Elkhart County, or even northwest Ohio where Clemens now resides, Stella lives life to the fullest in Pennsylvania. (And the author promises Stella is not based on anyone. “She just showed up,” Clemens said.)

So what did Clemens do during her break from Stella?

She wrote another series — the Grim Reaper series, which stands at four books. When she’s not writing, Clemens works at a recycling company part-time, is wife to Goshen native Steve Smucker, and mom to two kids — a son, Tristan, who is in eighth grade, and a daughter, Sophia, who is in sixth grade.

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