Q&A with Christian Author Jo Huddleston
Jo Huddleston is a multi-published author who writes novels inspired by her fascination with the 1950s and her love of her native American South. Novels in her endearing Caney Creek series, her West Virginia Mountains series, as well as her stand-alone release, Tidewater Summer, are sweet Southern romance novels.
Jo's published nonfiction books number seven. One reader described her nonfiction books by saying they "offer spiritual tonic and hope."
Jo likes to laugh with people but not AT people. The beach is her favorite vacation spot. Jo doesn't like to see or hear about people or animals being abused. She's a spectator fan of several sports, her favorite being tennis. Jo doesn't like being in the dark and is fearful of snakes!
Her more than 200 articles and short stories have appeared in over fifty different Christian and general publications, including Guideposts, Decision, and The Upper Room. Jo is a contributing writer to Christian Devotions Ministries (http://www.ChristianDevotions.us). She wrote an inspirational newspaper column for seven years.
Jo's career spans a variety of work. She was a private secretary with the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (Atomic Energy Commission), a high school teacher and guidance counselor, a state political campaign secretary, two-time small business owner, and a real estate agent.
Huddleston holds a B.A. degree with honors from Lincoln Memorial University (TN) and is a member of their Literary Hall of Fame. She earned an M.Ed. degree from Mississippi State University.
Q: Hello Jo and thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions. I was quite impressed when I read your bio, still could you tell us something about yourself that is not in your bio?
A fun fact: In high school, I was a member of the varsity girls’ basketball team, lettering in the sport.
Q: Most of your books are set in the 1950s, can you tell why this particular period?
The 1950s was a more peaceful and simpler time than today, both in events and lifestyles. The 1960s brought America the assassinations of President John F. Kennedy, of his brother Robert, and of Martin Luther King, Jr. I prefer to write about the 1950s—when my characters don’t yet know about assassinations, Woodstock, the Vietnam War, and on and on.
Q: Have you always wanted to be a writer? When did you write your first novel?
My writer ambitions blossomed when I took creative writing in college. I was first published in nonfiction, and during that time, I wrote my first novel, That Summer, several years before it was published in 2012.
Q: Your book "Her reason to smile" is a sweet Romance. The hero and heroine aren't wasting time to get together. What can you tell us about this book that isn't in the blurb?
David and Susan expected an uneventful weekend, but when they meet, it turns out to be everything but usual. David is the most eligible bachelor in town and never dates any woman for more than six months. He's looking for a woman deserving of the pedestal he's reserved for her. Susan isn't looking for a relationship but knows right away that if she chose to have one, David could be her dream man. They're both mature, career-minded individuals and see what they want in each other. They realize they don't need to look any further.
Q: What do you hope reader will get out of your books?
After reading Her Christmas Dream, I hope readers will take away this thought: sometimes when we get what we’ve dreamed about, we finally recognize that we already had what we dreamed of all along.
Q: You write fiction and non-fiction, which one do you find easier to write and do you have a preference for one type or the other?
For much of my nonfiction writing, I draw from personal experience, while fiction writing depends on my ideas and creativity. I don’t find either one easier than the other to write. However, when writing fiction, I need to schedule more seclusion and quiet.
Q: Have you ever consider writing in a different genre?
I love to read romantic suspense and psychological thrillers. I would consider writing them, but have never tried.
Q: What are you writing plan for the future?
My plans are to continue writing for publication as long as God keeps putting ideas into my head.
Q: What comes first: the characters or the plot?
I don’t outline a story before I begin to write, but am what writers call a panster—I write by the seat of my pants. I do have ideas about the story I want to write, about the beginning and the ending, and a bit about the hero and heroine. Everything in between comes as I write, and many times, the characters lead me into unexpected places. I and my keyboard gladly follow. So, I suppose for me the character and plot come along together.
Q: Who is the author that inspires you the most?
Currently, I admire JoAnn Durgin, a prolific writer of wholesome romance who makes her characters literally jump off the page and into my heart. She inspires me to keep on writing.
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
I’m working on a summer romance set on a beach. Since the beach is my favorite place to be, I expect I’ll enjoy writing this story.
Q: Can you tell us about your writing space and your writing schedule?
First, a little history: two years ago, my husband broke a hip. Consequently, we moved from our home into an assisted living facility apartment where he could receive the care he needs. I have my computer and printer set up on the eating bar of the kitchenette. I prefer seclusion and quiet when I write. However, numerous daily interruptions by staff who meet my husband’s needs result in a scarcity of quiet and privacy. Sometimes I write during the night as others sleep, as I’m sure other writers do.
Q: What is your favourite part of writing?
The actual creativity of writing—putting the words on paper or computer screen.
Q: What do you think is the most difficult part of writing?
People who don’t write for publication usually don’t realize that other things are required besides the writing. Marketing your work—getting the word out about your work and giving it visibility—is the most difficult part of this writing career for me.
Q: Have you any hobbies that are not writing related?
I love to swim and I try to walk enough to keep myself healthy.
Q: Do you have any suggestion for people who want to start writing?
Study the craft of writing; attend writers’ conferences; and if you’re writing for publication, never give up—after all, Gone with the Wind was rejected by publishers over twenty-five times.
Q: Finally, a dinner with three famous people: who would you choose?
Abraham Lincoln; Amelia Earhart; and Catherine Marshall, an American author.
Q: Are you on social media? Where can people interact with you?
Yes, I’m on Facebook. I have a personal page.
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Jo's new release Her Christmas Dream is now available.
A 1959 Christmas romance sprinkled with suspense!
In this sweet romance set in north Georgia, all Marilyn dreams of for Christmas is a relationship with someone who cares for her. Someone who really knows her. A stranger volunteers at the rescue shelter where Marilyn and her best friend George volunteer. George has concerns about Marilyn’s safety if she dates the stranger. When George becomes overprotective of her, will Marilyn choose the bad-boy-stranger or her best friend to spend Christmas with this year?
Read this 20th-century story s to find out which one Marilyn chooses.
Amazon author page: http://amzn.to/1TY4uDI