My dad spent a lot of time during his final years writing about his life and the area where he grew up. Now that I have my own children, I treasure these writings even more. My children will never meet him, but they will be able to hear his voice through his writing and his stories. He often asked me to help him ‘correct’ his stories- to fix the spelling, grammar and punctuation. This was one of the first lessons I learned about writing. None of these need to be perfect to tell a great story. I found I started out making a lot of corrections and eventually made less and less. Writing isn’t just about the grammar and punctuation; it’s about the author’s voice. If I wanted the words to sound like my dad, I had to leave the grammar less-than-perfect in places so we could hear how he would say it.
How long have you been writing? In what genres do you write?
I have been writing for about four years. I have always dabbled here and there, but never tackled anything seriously until I got the idea for CEOs Don’t Cry. I wrote about thirty pages and then it sat for a while. Then I ran into a friend who had just finished her first novel and we started talking. She got me motivated to keep writing and now we meet weekly for motivation, encouragement and critiques.
I am writing sweet romances right now. I may eventually try some other genres, but I have two romances in my head that I need to get down on paper. That darn Ladies Night Out group. They keep telling me about couples that they want to ‘matchmake.’ If I could get them to babysit, I might have a little more time with my computer.
Who is your favorite author and why do you like his/her work?
I would have a hard time picking just one. There are so many authors I like and for all different reasons. It depends on what I am in the mood to read. My all-time favorite is probably Jane Austen. I love her characters and witty remarks. I like Wallace Stegner because his descriptions are amazing and he shows the struggles of his characters so well. I like Julia Quinn because her characters are so lively they jump right off the page and force you to laugh. I like Sandra Boynton for the unexpected twists in her stories. Other authors I really enjoy are W.S. Gager, Janet Evanovich, Georgette Heyer, Carrie Bebris, Jodi Picoult, Philippa Gregory and a bunch of others I can’t think of right now. I most enjoy anything with great characters and at least a little bit of humor.
What is the biggest challenge you face as a writer?
Right now, it’s finding time to write. I have twin two year olds who are truly embracing being two and an infant. Some days surviving is all I can hope for. Writing time is a luxury. Maybe if the twins decide to nap again and the baby coordinates her nap with theirs
… Yeah, that’s probably wishful thinking. I’m going to have to learn to write in bits and pieces for a while. It does make me look forward to preschool.
What is the title of your most recently published book? Briefly tell us what it’s about and let us know where we can buy it.
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?
What are you working on now and when/where do you expect it to be available?
Courting Sparks will hopefully be available from Avalon Books toward the end of 2010/ beginning of 2011. I have two other novels in progress. One is close to being finished and I hope to start sending that one out in the spring. I don’t have a firm title for it yet. My working title was awesome, but it has an unintended innuendo in it, so I will have to come up with something else. At least my critique partners have had a good laugh about it. One of them is great with titles, so we’ll see what she comes up with. I am just starting the rough draft of the second one. Its working title is Heartbreak Hill.
Writers, especially new writers, are always looking for tips and helpful information. What is the single most important “tip” you can give to a new writer?
Keep writing. The hardest part of writing a novel is figuring out the middle of the story. What happens before the characters get to the end? After you finish the first thirty pages or so, the excitement of writing the story has worn off and I think a lot of people just give up. You have to force yourself to keep writing at that point and get the whole story on paper. It might mean writing a bunch of junky chapters, but once you have a rough draft of the story you have something to work with. You change things around or delete them – whatever you need to do. But if you don’t have anything written, you don’t have anything to work with.
Are you a member of any writer’s organizations? Why? Why not?
I am a member of the Romance Writers of America, the Grand Rapids Region Writers Group, and a local library group. I think they are a great way to connect with other writers. You can share joys and woes and experiences. I have learned so much about publishing and how the process works from these organizations. They are also great for motivation. The Grand Rapids Region Writers Group is doing a writing challenge to write 40,000 words between the January and February meeting. Realistically, I don’t think I can write 40,000 words in 5 weeks and keep my sanity, but I am hoping to at least finish the rough draft of my next novel by the February meeting.
FUN QUESTION: Which do you prefer, ice cream or potato chips, and why?
I love ice cream. A creamy chocolate is the best. The cool smooth texture is just heaven. I wouldn’t turn down a bowl with chocolate chips, or nuts, or fudge or brownie chunks. Unfortunately, ice cream doesn’t love me. It makes my pants shrink. and lactose intolerance is a *****.
What are the addresses of your website(s) and blog(s):
My website is http://joselynvaughn.com/. I also have a FaceBook page: http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?ref=name&id=100000088818448