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Judith Austin Mills is not a native Texan, but after having lived in the state for more than fifty years, she feels as if she knows the setting.

Maybe it was moving around in early childhood—from Kansas to Massachusetts to New York to New Jersey to Michigan, and then to Texas—that made setting catch so much of her attention.

In her short stories and novels, too, characters often find themselves at the point of departure. A new setting calls.

The author might joke that when she began her graduate work at the University of Texas in 1986, she “departed on the road to insanity.” She was already a full-time, secondary French teacher raising two children in their early teens.

Despite the time constraints, she found an energizing sense of purpose along the path to an MA in English. Being accepted into the Creative Writing concentration made all the difference.

The short story “Lost Autumn Blues” won first place fiction in UT’s Analecta, and near the end of her graduate studies, she was named runner-up for UT’s Nothwang Fellowship for creative writing. Not bad for a harried school-marm.

Since receiving her advanced degree, she has completed one short fiction collection and started on another. Three story publications are credited in literary journals beyond Texas. She also completed three other novels, including Tripping Home, which won first place in WLT’s 2001 mainstream manuscript contest.

The writer’s output shifts to poetry without her say, and she completed two book-length manuscripts in 2001, one before September 11–entitled Accidental Joy–and one after, entitled A Psalm by Any Other Name. In the last decade, poems from these volumes have appeared in AIPF’s Diverse-City.

Since getting caught up in How Far Tomorrow, Judith Austin Mills has developed a keen interest in the trails that ancestors embarked upon, and in history in general. While she continues to teach English as an Adjunct, Associate Professor at Austin Community College, she intends to start working next on a sequel to the HFT Texas Revolution story. A prequel accounting for many of the How Far Tomorrow characters is also hatching itself.

She is taking the trail one fork at a time.

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Accidental Joy: A Streak of Poetry
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How Far Tomorrow: Remembering the Georgia Battalion in Texas
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Those Bones at Goliad
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