Joselyn, welcome to the blog. Please give us a brief bio.I grew up on a family farm in West Michigan and have always loved the charm and closeness of small towns. After getting married, my husband and I tried out the big city for a while and decided the pace just wasn’t for us. We moved to a small town and live there with our children and two beagles.
Before I became a stay at home mom, I worked as a librarian which kept me in close proximity to books. My favorite part of my job was buying books for the library. I got to read about all these great books coming out and pick ones that I knew our patrons would like. I miss having other people’s money to spend on books. The library’s budget was much bigger than mine.
I have always enjoyed reading and writing. I would check out stacks of books from my local library and finish them way before my mother was ready to make a return trip. I like that magic that reading brings to you. A whole other world that you can explore without having to go anywhere.
When did the writing bug bite, and in what genre(s)?
I’ve always wanted to write, but didn’t know exactly what length or genre. A couple years ago, a friend and I were talking and the idea for the Ladies Night Out in CEOs Don’t Cry came to me. I went home for lunch (benefit of being in a small town) and wrote the first chapter. At that point I knew the story would be a romance, but it languished until I ran into W.S. Gager and we became critique partners. She helped me get the story moving and has kept my feet to the fire ever since.
Currently, I am inspired to write romance. I have several romances in my mind for future novels. When that runs out, who knows what I will try to tackle.
When you started writing, what goals did you want to accomplish? Is there a message you want readers to grasp?
My first goal was to finish a novel length project. Then my characters started talking to me. The main characters are people who need to find their own destiny. They’ve been locked by preconceptions or outside pressures into roles or paths that won’t get them to the place where their dreams come true. Through the story they will discover how they can make their dreams come true. In CEOs Don’t Cry, the Ladies Night Out are manipulative, but Leslie ultimately makes the decisions for her future.
Briefly tell us about your latest book. Series or stand-alone?
CEOs Don’t Cry is the latest published book. It came out from Avalon Books in April of 2009. Courting Sparks has been contracted, but does not have a firm release date yet. They are both stand alone novels, but take place in the same community.
What’s the synopsis for the book?
After being passed over for a junior partnership and getting relegated to a branch office in the middle of nowhere, Leslie Knotts vows that she won’t let budget cuts, corporate upheaval or meddlesome ladies distract her from turning the branch around and showing she has the savvy for the upper echelons of the company.
Organizing and advertising his new construction business has been harder than Mark Schultz expected. Having his Aunt Minnie and her friends from the Ladies Night Out group throwing women in his path isn’t helping matters.
When his aunt's outrageous schemes spell trouble, Leslie and Mark team up to outsmart the Ladies. Mark introduces Leslie to his friends and she discovers genuine friendships as well as a love with Mark like she has never known. When a competing company offers her the big city partnership she has always dreamed of, will Leslie risk her future as a top executive to stay where her heart has found a home?
How do you develop characters? Setting? Do you have specific techniques you use to develop the plot and stay on track?
I usually try to write my first draft as quickly as possible. So far, all of my novels have been romances, so I use this draft to get the hero and heroine together. Subsequent drafts add complexity to the story, like more emotional content and other subplots. My critique group is fantastic at finding ways for me add more layers to each story and character. Sometimes it’s a bit overwhelming, but it definitely helps add to the story. About midway through my second draft, I will do some kind of outline to keep track of some of the plot lines or setting characteristics. For my WIP, I plotted the events on a calendar because I had a character with poison ivy. Once the events were on the calendar, I realized the character had the rash for two months! Ooops! I had to rearrange some events to shorten his illness. I hope he appreciates that.
How does your environment/upbringing color your writing?
Definitely. I grew up in a small town and I like to include that flavor in my novels. Everyone knows and cares about everyone – in good ways and not-so-good ways – but there is pride in the local community. Another thing about small towns that I like is how people refer to places – the Smith house, five-mile-corner – Everyone in town knows what these are.
What are your current projects?
I am currently working on another novel involving the origination of the Ladies Night Out. It takes place about seven years before CEOs Don’t Cry, so it’s been interesting working with some of the characters at a different time in their lives. In the WIP, several characters aren’t quite the people they grow into in CEOs Don’t Cry. It is hard to show the glimmers of the confidence they have in the later book in the less mature characters in the WIP.
Where can folks learn more about your books and events?
I love to have people visit my website: http://joselynvaughn.com/. They can sign up for my newsletter there. They can also friend me on Facebook. I also try to pop into the chats on Writerschatroom.com when I can.
Thanks for the interview, Joselyn, and have great success with your writing endeavors.
Hi Joselyn--loved your comments on small town nuances. Nice that you can capture that in your books!
Earlier today I happened to be reading "Off the Page: Writers Talk About Beginnings, Endings, and Everything in Between," (Carole Burns, ed.), and much of what you say here about the writing process and how characters "talk to" you and take shape as you write and revise meshes with comments of the writers interviewed for that book.
I love what you say about small towns, too, and how people refer to landmarks. (My husband still tries to give me directions like "across from where the movie theater used to be," even though the movie theater had been gone for decades before I moved to the small town where he has spent most of his life.)
Using a real calendar for the timeline is a good hint...and ohhh, I have had plenty of poison ivy but never for two months!! I'll be interested to read the book that takes place 7 years before CEO's. Lots of great characters to discover.
Nan, I came froma tiny town myself and live in a rural area now. I love it. My books are set in small towns in North Carolina because I can relate to that. Thanks for stopping by, you guys.
Thanks for the comments! The calendar really helped figure out when events were. I knew some had to be in January, but I didn't want all the rest to be in September. So using the calendar helped me plot them out. I still need to fine-tune it as nothing much happens in December.
I like the 'across from where the movie theatre used to be.' It sounds like something my mom would say. Lately she's been asking me if I remember things from when my older siblings were little. LOL.
Another thing I like about small towns is that there are unique people and everyone know who they are. You refer to the man with the grocery bag and everyone knows who you mean because they've all seen him walking down the street. I think setting your story in a small town gives your characters a set of shared experiences that you can delve into to develop the story.
Thanks for stopping by, everyone!
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