Today, we’re visiting with Jo Huddleston, a multi-published author of books, articles, and short stories. Her debut novel, That Summer, released in December 2012, as the first book in The Caney Creek Series. Book 2, Beyond the Past, released in April 2013 and book 3, Claiming Peace, releases this month.
Jim: Please tell us a little about yourself.
Jo: We live in a college town, which made it convenient for our children to earn college degrees. We love living in the South and vacationing on the seashore of the Gulf of Mexico. We have grown children who live nearby.
Jim: What fun or unique thing can you tell us about yourself that we don’t know?
Jo: I don’t enjoy being in elevators. I don’t like being in the dark—at least one light is left on in my house 24-7. In other words, I’m claustrophobic.
Jim: I have some relatives who are claustrophobic. It’s no fun. Excluding that, if you had to describe yourself in three words, what would those words be?
Jo: Hopeful, enthusiastic, positive.
Jim: I like those words. What do you enjoy doing when you’re not writing?
Jo: Being with my children and grandchildren, spending time at the beach, and reading.
Jim: Hard to argue with those. How did you become involved in writing?
Jo: In college I became an avid reader. When I retired from working, I sent a few short stories out. When the swift rejections arrived, I decided maybe I needed to know more about writing than just reading it. After reading writing craft books and magazines, my first article was accepted. Three years later my first two books released.
Jim: Good solid approach. Where do you write? Do you have a dedicated office or a corner or nook in a room?
Jo: I have a corner of a room anchored with a desk that I used at home when I was in high school. I have a laptop, printer, and stacks of papers in my “office.”
Jim: Sounds typical. How long have you been writing? When did you sell your first book?
Jo: I began writing in 1990, sold my first article in 1991, and sold my first book from a contact at a writers’ conference in 1993.
Jim: Do you always know the title of your books before you write them?
Jo: In my mind I do. I plot my book in my mind. I don’t outline my stories. I choose a title that describes or summarizes that story. None of my titles have been changed by a publisher—yet.
Jim: Please tell us about your latest book, Claiming Peace.
Jo: It’s an inspirational Southern historical romance.
Facing her lowest moments, Callie’s life begins to crumble.
As he’s done for others of his extended family, can Jim help her find peace?
Visit again the Callaway family and friends in 1951 who live in the Southern Appalachians of East Tennessee. Why did Callie have an appointment with a neurologist? Will she work her way through whatever lies ahead for her and her family? Does Emmajean’s attraction for the young lawyer, Terry, blossom further or die on the vine when he wants her to meet his parents? Can Caroline and Jim find happiness in their long-delayed marriage? You’ll meet some new characters as the Callaway saga continues. Follow the Callaway family throughout the Caney Creek Series—live their triumphs, sorrows, achievements, and losses.
Jim: You have an interesting cover. How does it relate with your story?
Jo: Claiming Peace is book 3 in the Caney Creek Series. The top half of the cover shows a beautiful, peaceful creek that is as important as any character in the entire series. The lower half of the cover has a loving couple walking on the beach in winter. Which characters would go to the beach in winter instead of summer?
Jim: What takeaway value do you hope your readers receive after reading this book?
Jo: Claiming Peace is the story of how believers approach the peace that Jesus promised to leave with us when He left. Do some claim the peace and reap calm in their lives? Do others ignore that peace Jesus left and also don’t spend time with Him? Accepting God’s peace allows us to turn to Him in times of need. The book’s message is that claiming God’s peace, even in the midst of turmoil and chaos, we will be more likely to rely on Him and not try to take care of things without His help.
Jim: Where did you get the idea for your series?
Jo: All of my ancestors and I were raised in the East Tennessee Appalachian Mountains region. I listened to their entertaining stories, especially at family reunions. The Caney Creek Series is a story of many stories along with a good bit of my creativity as I write about a time before I was born.
Jim: Did you have to do any research for this book?
Jo: Yes. Google was my go-to source where I found factual details needed in my book.
Jim: What advice would you give to writers just starting out?
Jo: Read all you can about the craft of writing. Find a writers’ conference near enough to be affordable for you to attend. Soak in all you can in the workshops and from the speakers, editors, and publishers even at meal times. Be prepared for rejection. They won’t be rejecting you but what you wrote. Margaret Mitchell received over twenty-five rejections for Gone With the Wind! The publishers told her nobody wanted to read about the Civil War. Be patient and never give up if you believe God has given you the talent to write for His glory.
Jim: Thanks, Jo, for visiting and telling the readers a bit more about you and your writing. For readers, Jo is giving away a copy of her latest book to one person who leaves a comment. We’ll make the drawing at the end of the week. Only one restriction: the winner must have a U.S. mailing address (not needed until the winner is announced, so don’t post it here). So, why not take 30 seconds and leave a comment and get a chance to receive a free book. And, a great big THANKS from Jo and me.
Jo’s website is www.johuddleston.com/p/home.html
Jo’s blog is at www.johuddleston.com
On Facebook you can find Jo at https://facebook.com/jo.huddleston.hope
At ShoutLife Jo’s at http://www.shoutlife.com/profile_view.cfm?uid=134777
Paperback copies are available at her publisher’s website, http://www.donaldjamesparker.com/sOSProducts.aspx