Sign In  |  Register  |  About Pleasanton  |  Contact Us

Pleasanton, CA
September 01, 2020 1:32pm
7-Day Forecast | Traffic
  • Search Hotels in Pleasanton

  • ROOMS:

Naked Under the Lights by Judith Peck is a Captivating Work of Literary Fiction that Explores the Interplay between Art and Family Dynamics

Set in and around the iconic Art Students League in New York City, Naked Under the Lights spotlights a celebrated artist and his family, exposing long-concealed secrets that tear open their lives. As each member of this shattered family finds a path to move forward, art itself–the urgency to create–is revealed as a force of its own. Telling this story of passion in family and in art, Judith Peck, a renowned artist herself, makes both come vibrantly alive.

Judith Peck, Ed.D. is an award-winning author, sculptor and Professor Emeritus of Art at Ramapo (State) College of New Jersey. Her sculpture is displayed in 80 public and private collections internationally including the Yale Art Gallery, the Ghetto Fighters Museum in Israel,  libraries, colleges, offices and cultural and religious centers.

A multi-faceted artist, Dr. Peck has written several books in genres encompassing literary fiction, art technique, parenting, higher education, creative movement and children's picture books. Published most recently is Art and Social Interaction (Routledge), Dynamic Play and Creative Movement: Powering Body and Brain (Routledge) and Naked Under the Lights (Black Rose Writing). Dr. Peck's sculpture and writing reflects her interest in human rights, issues surrounding immigration, the Holocaust, but always about people and the situations in which they find themselves.

Dr. Peck obtained a doctorate at NYU, two master’s degrees at Columbia University and a bachelor’s degree at Adelphi University along with study at the Art Students League in NYC. She lives and works in Mahwah, New Jersey.

This one-on-one interview shares Dr. Peck’s background and experience in writing Naked Under the Lights.

Tell us about Naked Under the Lights.

The novel is set in and around the iconic Art Students League in New York City where 20th Century stars of the art world studied and taught. Here, Bert Kossoff teaches painting when he is not cloistered in his studio. His wife, Ruth defends her husband’s distance and tolerates his infidelities for the sake of their daughter.

Sonata at age 18, lacking purpose of her own, is drawn to the mystique of her father, to his world of artists and models. Venturing there she becomes betrayed by her artist/lover and comes to feel used, like Irene, a nude model posing for others to take what they want. In the struggle to find her way, Sonata encounters family secrets long concealed and later, one that tears open their lives, exposing the lies that have sustained them.

As each member of this shattered family finds a path to move forward, art itself—the urgency to create—is revealed as a force of its own. The terrain itself is confounding, where people searching for truth have learned to practice the art of illusion.

What inspired you to write Naked Under the Lights?

When I was 21, I was awarded a year’s full time merit scholarship at the Art Students League in New York City. One night after an evening sculpture class, the serious students were invited to a surprise birthday party for our teacher.

I was thrilled to be in the company of well-known artists, seeing them up close with their wives (well-known artists in the 70’s were only men). Everyone was in high spirits, the wife who made the party putting on a particularly spirited show as hours went by with her husband not showing up, the guest of honor in bed for the evening with a League model. This real event triggered the novel, my story about a family: a driven artist, their 18-year-old daughter, Sonata, idolizing her father—the artist dedicated to his work and rarely seen cloistered in his studio—while dismissing her devoted mother, Ruth, who holds the family together with a creative fabric of her own. A mix of thread-bare cloth and knotted cord, a fabrication.

How did your background and experience influence your writing?

Naked Under the Lights is about art and family dynamics. My life as a working artist (at this writing showing four large steel sculptures titled “Ladies of Steel” on the Dag Hammarskjold Plaza, Gateway to the UN, in New York), mother of four, granny of 12, seeking divorce after 32 years of marriage, demonstrates keen interest in both making art and making family. While family concerns accompanied everything for me, creating sculpture came several decades before writing, which came when I had too much to say to work as monolithic works on a pedestal, or even gigantic single figures in fiberglass outside.

I’ve dedicated this novel to the Art Students League in New York City, not only because it is set there but in homage to my years of study there. As I write: “where grateful artists learned, taught and pursued, to the world’s benefit, their noble professions.”

What is one message you would like readers, and maybe burgeoning writers, to remember?

Writing fiction is an adventure, another life…be open to ideas you’d never have thought of when something WOW strikes you. It’s also important to remember the importance of both confidence and courage – one leading to the other – in creative work. Creativity has ever been there but the process of putting it into form tests you from the start, for it requires courage to let out this energy.  Courage takes time, possibly a lifetime. As a sculptor and writer, I am still working on it.

Purchasing the Book

Naked Under the Lights has received positive reviews from well-renowned literary organizations, authors, and reviewers around the world. Author Terri Valentine writes, “Peck has wonderful characters, excellent dialogue, a strong understanding as to what makes a scene and a real sense of how to pace a story.”

Kirkus Reviews writes, “The author’s subtle, nuanced prose in this knotty tale explores Sonata’s tensions with a father who can seem monstrously cold…The result is a complex, moving story about the raptures and haunting price of the creative life…A rich depiction of the tangled ties of love, art, and family.”

Naked Under the Lights is available for sale on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other online bookstores. Readers are encouraged to purchase their copy today, best directly at:

To connect with Judith and learn more about her sculptures, novels, books on art techniques, parenting, higher education, elementary education and children's picture books, please visit: and


Media Contact
Company Name: Author News Network
Contact Person: Media Relations
Email: Send Email
Country: United States

Data & News supplied by
Stock quotes supplied by Barchart
Quotes delayed at least 20 minutes.
By accessing this page, you agree to the following
Privacy Policy and Terms and Conditions.
Photography by Christophe Tomatis
Copyright © 2010-2020 & California Media Partners, LLC. All rights reserved.