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Thursday, June 27, 2013

Author Interview - Jocelyn Green

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Anne: Hi, readers. We're in for a treat today. Jocelyn Green, author of the book I reviewed yesterday, Widow of Gettysburg, is our guest. [To read the review, click HERE].

For the first question, Jocelyn, I'd love to know what inspired Widow of Gettysburg.

Jocelyn: I visited Gettysburg to do research for a nonfiction book I co-authored called Stories of Faith and Courage from the Home Front. The stories that I uncovered were so powerful and personal, I knew I had stumbled upon the perfect material for a novel. Some novelists say they hear their characters speaking to them in their minds. But for me, when I read their diaries and letters, I felt like I could hear the voices of women buried long ago, whose stories had been uncelebrated and forgotten. This book brings their incredible contributions to light.

Anne: You certainly did bring one heroine to life! What is your favorite part of the book?

Jocelyn: Probably the scene where Liberty, the main character, goes off on a rant against the hero when he’s stuck in a rut of self-pity. We get to see how much she has grown in just a matter of a few weeks, and her strength just sparkles. The contrast between who she has become and who she once was is very stark.

Anne: Yes--I noticed the huge change in her, from selfish and immature to courageous and caring. What was the easiest part to write? The hardest?

Jocelyn: The easiest parts for me to write were the scenes from the perspective of the war correspondent, Harrison. Because I was a journalist covering war for many years, it was very natural for me to be able to get inside his head.

The hardest part to write was the ordeal near the end when Liberty’s worst fear is about to come to fruition. I felt all her physical reactions-goosebumps, tingles, nausea, etc. I was really “in” her character.

Anne: I didn't write this--but noticed some of the same symptoms. You have a knack for also putting us into the character. What about research? You obviously did a lot. About how much time did it take?

Jocelyn: A lot. For each book in this series, I spend about nine months researching and three months writing. Research includes a ton of reading, but it also involves traveling to the sites that are in the novels, both to do research in their local archives, and to get a sense of the setting and local culture. I’ve been to Washington, D.C., the Virginia Peninsula, Gettysburg, Atlanta, and Richmond. I’ve also visited the National Museum of Civil War Medicine in Frederick, Maryland, and kept up lively correspondence with historians and archivists in various locations, as they answer my questions and help me fact-check. I’m part of a Civil War writers group online, as well, and we share resources with each other all the time.

Anne: Wow, nine months of research; but even more wow-ish is that it only took you three months to write it. How long did it take from the birth of the idea for this story to the publishing date?

Jocelyn: The idea was born in October 2010, and the book was published in May 2013. But keep in mind that the book idea came as part of a four-book series, and this is Book 2. Book 1, Wedded to War, was published in June 2012.

Anne: What's your favorite part of writing a book?

Jocelyn: In general, my favorite aspect is knowing that when I write fiction, I can be certain of a happy ending.

But in terms of my favorite part of the process: finishing the first draft, and then being able to refine it. That first draft is often just painful to get out of the way, but once I spend time revising, it starts to take the shape I want it to.

Anne: Finally, would you like to tell us about your next release?

Jocelyn: It’s called Yankee in Atlanta, and it will release next spring. The main character is a woman who flees her past in New York only to find her future threatened in Atlanta. The story takes place all over the map – New York City, Atlanta, Nashville, Rock Island, IL, Fort Leavenworth and the frontier… whew! Readers of Wedded to War will recognize Ruby and Edward in Yankee in Atlanta. We will finish their stories in this one as a subplot to the main course.

Anne: Thanks, Jocelyn. I've really enjoyed getting to know you a little better. May God bless you as you work for Him.
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