Fiction Writing and Other Oddities

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Guest Author: Joselyn Vaughn

The holidays are a time for family, friends, and maybe a sweet romance or two. Joselyn's romances definitely fit the bill and are perfect for stealing away (perhaps to hide behind the Christmas tree) and relax for a few minutes.

Joselyn Vaughn

How much research do you do?
It depends on the story. For Hauntings of the Heart, I had to learn more about ghost hunters and inadvertently found out that a building across the street from my house is said to be haunted. The ghost hunters who had investigated there hadn’t finalized their investigation yet. I am no longer interested in seeing the inside of it. Of course, this fits with the stories I’ve heard. My friend was on the fire department and had to do a walk through. He said it was creepy. The closest I’ve been to a haunting experience is when my sewing machine started running on its own. We figured out that it was caused by a faulty extension cord, but it still gave me the creepy-crawlies. And my sewing machine has never been the same.

For Sucker for a Hot Rod, I had to do a lot of research into poison ivy cases. Because I had issues with the timeline of the story, the character had poison ivy for two months. Worst case scenario, a rash will last about two weeks. I also learned that I’m thankful I’m not particularly susceptible to it. You can get it from the dried roots in the winter. You can get it in your lungs by breathing in the smoke from burning it. There are some pretty scary cases documented online – they include pictures. Yikes.

When do you write/what is your writing day like?
I always wish I could answer this with something like I write for three hours in the morning, then revise or do marketing in the afternoon. But right now, I’m lucky if I get through my email in the afternoon when my kids are resting. Somehow the time they need for afternoon rest keeps shrinking. If I’m not completely exhausted when they go to bed, I try to do some then. I don’t set daily writing goals right now. It’s too frustrating for me when I can’t make them. So I mostly write in fits and bursts.

How do you approach a new book? Outlines? Just an idea?
I usually start out with one of the main characters. They start doing something and the story grows from there. Hauntings of the Heart started with Minnie, a character from my first book CEOs Don’t Cry, slamming the door in someone’s face. I had to find out who was on the door step, why they were there, why Minnie was angry with them and what she was going to do about it. Simply answering those questions developed quite a story.

What makes a great book in your opinion?
When you start writing, you notice the writing in other books. You don’t get to read for pleasure very much anymore. You notice that they repeated a word or phrase within two sentences or you pick up the sly hints/foreshadowing much too easily. For me a great book has become one where the story is so engaging that I don’t notice any of this stuff—that is allows me to read purely for pleasure. I know I’ve got a good one when I carry it around with me, trying to read here and there throughout the day.

If a reader took away one thing from your book(s), what would you like that to be?
At the least, I would hope that they didn’t feel that they wasted their time. My goal would be that they had a few laughs and enjoyed the story.

Do you have any tips for aspiring authors?
Write and rewrite. The great thing about writing is that your first draft doesn’t have to be your last. (Unless you’re taking an essay test. But then it only has to be mostly legible. ) I think I went through a million drafts on my first book, but each one was a learning experience that made it better.

Find a good critique partner or group. You need people you can trust to give you an honest opinion, but that you also know are trying to help you be a better writer. It’s easy to find the honesty, not so easy to find people who truly want the best for your writing.

Where do you see yourself as an author in five years?
Some days, I hope I’m still writing in five years. There are moments that can be quite discouraging and it’s hard to keep plugging away on your current story. I hope that in five years, I have continued to learn about the craft and have improved as a writer and a story teller. And maybe be able to write faster, and if not that, at least type faster. I think I’m the slowest typist in the world.

Joselyn Vaughn lives in the Great Lakes states with her husband, three energetic preschoolers and two barking Beagles. In the rare minutes when she is not chasing them and encouraging them to use their inside voices, she enjoys thrift store shopping, reconstructing clothing and, of course, reading.

Her first book, CEOs Don’t Cry, was the winner of the WisRWA Write Touch Readers Award in 2010. It was also a finalist in the GDRWA Booksellers Best Award and the USA Book News Best Books 2010 Award.
For more about Joselyn and to keep up with her adventures, you can visit her blog at  or hang out with her on Facebook Http:// .

Hauntings of the Heart Blurb
When lost love shows up on your doorstep, what do you do? Minnie Schultz slams the door in his face. She and Gordon Anderson have a history—close to ancient history, given the fifty years since their last encounter. After all that time, it might seem like water under the bridge. But the water pours from the plumbing in Minnie’s bed and breakfast, the Lilac Bower, uncovering all the secrets and heartache between them. With the help of some paranormal investigators, an Elvis impersonator and a couple of nosey friends, can Minnie and Gordon find the future they were meant to have?

Buy Links
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Contact Links

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Thanks Joselyn, and Happy Holidays!


Joselyn Vaughn said...

Amy, thank you so much for having me. Hope you are having a great day.

WS Gager said...

Great questions Amy. Joselyn you must keep writing. I love your stories! I love Minnie!
W.S. Gager on Writing

Guilie Castillo said...

Great interview--thank you! Joselyn, what you mentioned about reading, as a writer, resonated with me so much. YES--plot holes become gaping, faulty character arcs are glaring. I've been an avid reader from day one, but for a while, when I started writing, I thought I'd lost that pleasure forever--it was so *hard* to find a good book! And you defined it perfectly, by the way--the book where you, as a writer yourself, get caught up by the story and forget about the mechanics--yes! THAT'S a good book!

Thank you for sharing this, and keep writing!

Joselyn Vaughn said...

Guilie- Thanks for stopping by! I just got a kindle fire and that is making it so much easier to find time to read. I'm on my 4th book this week. Granted some of them were short, but they've been on my TBR list forever. It is lovely just to be able to read again.

Amy said...

Thanks to everyone for stopping by and saying, Hi! And thanks to Joselyn for taking the time out of her busy schedule to join us.

Happy Holidays to everyone!