Judy was born and grew up on a farm on the prairies of North Dakota. An only child, she spent most of her days with imaginary people—either those she read about or those she made up in her head. Her most ambitious conjuring did not succeed, however. She kept a clean stall with fresh hay and oats for the horse she imagined would arrive. Unfortunately it didn't come, at least not until she was an adult. After she was unexpectedly given three horses, she bought even more and began raising foundation quarter horses.
She graduated from Concordia College, Moorhead, Minnesota with majors in English and education and a minor in religion. At the time, she was simply studying what interested her, but now realizes that she was educating herself for her future career as a Christian writer. Her first book was written with a toddler on her lap. Judy would type a few words and say "Now, Jennifer." He two year old daughter would hit the space bar so Judy could continue writing. It was't the fastest way to work but it was a very cozy time.
In 2001 Judy became a certified professional life coach. In 2008 Judy completed her Master's program. She studied in the areas of writing and coaching. Now certified in three coaching disciplines, Judy coaches primarily professional and aspiring writers. She is also a faculty advisor in the Department of Human Development at St. Mary's University in Minneapolis, MN. She is married, lives in Minnesota, has two daughters and three step children.
She is the author of more than 75 books. She grew up in rural North Dakota and has done many of the things her Hilltop characters experience.