It is nice to meet you! Tell us a bit about you where are you from and other than writing what else do you enjoy?
My name is Joselyn Vaughn, and I’m a stay at home mom and a romantic comedy writer. My hobbies include sewing. I’m trying to use up a bunch of fabric scraps by making fidget quilts, but my fabric stash doesn’t seem to be shrinking. I also love to run, the longer the better. This summer has been rough on running with a hip injury and super humid weather. I am looking forward to the cooler temperatures of fall.
How did you start writing? What was your inspiration to create?
I always thought I would write something at some time. I wasn’t sure what or when. Before kids, I worked at a library and wanted to start a writing group as a program. From the encouragement of that group, I wrote my first book, CEOs Don’t Cry.
Who is your favorite author, is there anyone out there that inspires you?
My favorite romance author is Julia Quinn. I love her characters and their hilarious conversations. I have recently discovered Kristan Higgins and love her humor as well.
What genre do you enjoy reading? What’s your favorite book and why?
Obviously, I enjoy reading romances, but I also enjoy historical fiction and dystopian fiction. My favorite book is probably Pride and Prejudice.
If you’ve published a series, what is the series about?
I have a series called The Meddlesome Matchmakers. It is about a group of women who meet at the library and help the singles in their small town meet each other. Their techniques are less than suble, but highly entertaining.
(4 Book Series)
I’m also working on a second series called The Pretty Penny Romances involving the Pounds family.
Have you ever thought about writing in a different genre? If you could, what genre would you like to dabble in?
I am working on a dystopian novel. It’s been interesting to try another genre. While my romances are sweet and fun and light, the dystopian is much darker. People have bad ulterior motives, and people die. It’s much different.
Was there ever a time you wanted to pick up your laptop, and then launch it out the window with frustration?
About once a month this year. I’ve been working through an incredibly frustrating editing experience. I’ve wanted to quit very, very often. I can’t say that feeling is gone. It doesn’t help that my computer is nearing the end of its usable life and decides to work at glacial speed (or not at all) at the most inopportune times.
Are you a “plotter” or a fly by the seat of your pants “pantster” as a writer?
I am a pantster. I rarely start a book with more than an opening line. A Penny Saved started with the line “I’m getting married.” The rest of the story evolved from there. Who would say this? Why would they say it? Who would they be speaking to? How would they enact their plans?
What three tips would you give any aspiring writer?
- Write. You can’t improve a blank page.
- Learn from the best. Find out who the industry standards are. Study what they do. Learn how to make it your own.
- Develop thick skin. Good writing is a lot of opinion. Not everyone is going to love your work. Don’t let discouraging comments get you down for too long. Even when you think you’ve got this nailed, there will be some comment that cuts you off at the knees. Get back up.
What are you working on now? What will you release next?
My in progress manuscript is the dystopian novel. I don’t know what will happen with that. At this point, it’s more a question of whether I can pull off the full story line. I also have a story involving Bigfoot with a publisher. I think it will be the next book released, but I don’t know the publisher’s timeline.
So… where can we get your books?
They are all available for Kindle on Amazon. A few of them are available on Barnes and Noble as well.
How would you define what being a successful writer means?
I’ve thought about this a lot this year. What do I want to get from writing? Since riches don’t seem to be there (haha!), I think I want to connect with people. To give people something they enjoy reading and touches them somehow. I have often felt that I was writing for the void and that has been discouraging. I would like to be writing for readers.
Does a big ego help or hurt writers?
Writers need to have a strong ego because there is a lot of discouragement involved. A writer also needs to be able to use constructive criticism and use it to make their writing better. They need to be somewhere in the middle. Not too big that they can’t improve, but not too small that they give up at the first negative experience.
What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?
Research can be a rabbit hole. I can’t tell you how many blurry Bigfoot videos I watched in prepping for the Bigfoot story. I did not need to watch hours and hours of videos, but it was kind of fun.
Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?
I do read reviews here and there mostly to see that my books are being read by someone. It is interesting to see what the readers take away from the stories. I rarely go out and search for reviews though.
What’s your writing schedule like?
My recent writing schedule has been sporadic. Because of the discouraging process, it usually takes me a week of so to get back on my feet. So I’ve been writing productively for about one week a month. I’m hoping that since school has restarted I can be more productive. I really want to finish that dystopian novel.
What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?
I have a small critique group that helps immensely. They offer constructive critiques for manuscripts and have a diverse background to draw from. I can trust their comments to be thoughtful and helpful.
How do you go from an idea for a book to the birth of the story? Is the process the same for every book you write? How long does it take you to write a book?
I usually start with a brief idea or scenario and write my first draft by hand. When I’m typing it into the computer, I do some editing. At this point, I start sharing it with my critique group. They offer some wonderful feedback and help with any plot problems I am having. After this, I do a couple more editing passes, then send it to my niece who looks for inconsistencies like doors opening twice or the days not matching a calendar. It usually take at least a year from the first sentence to the manuscript being ready to send out.
Do you tend to base your characters on real people or are they totally from your imagination?
They usually don’t start as real people, but after I’ve finished a book, I’ve met someone and thought “this is Minnie, I didn’t even realize it.”
Which one of your characters is your favorite and why?
Penny is my current favorite. She is so strong and independent and has a quick wit. She comes up with those snappy comebacks and she’s not afraid to say them even if they might be snippy. Writing her dialogue was fun, although I’m not sure I actually had any part of it. Her story was one that took on a life of its own.
A Penny Saved blurb:
Penny Pounds has never met a challenge she couldn’t plow straight through… until she starts forgetting things and misplacing items, causing her to worry that dementia is creeping into her brain. Recalling her mother’s similar descent and the burden as a caregiver, Penny’s solution is to snag a husband.
Ken Hayward, visiting to evaluate the flooding around the dam in Pine Bottom, is the first man she crosses off her list of potential mates. His no-nonsense attitude and ability to see beneath her motives threatens to ruin her perfect plans. He intends to finish his work before he gets swept up in any of Penny’s shenanigans.
When Penny breaks her ankle, her brother enlists a reluctant Ken as her primary caregiver. Ken soon learns the motives behind her husband hunt, and he must decide whether his heart will let him prevent her from walking down the aisle with the wrong man.
What would you like readers to know?
Thank you for visiting this interview. I hope you have a chance to check out Penny’s story and hopefully it will give you a laugh or two.