Sunday Conversations with Jocelyn Green

Hi Everyone! I am excited to have Jocelyn Green on my blog today. I’d like to start off with some questions so your reader’s can get to know you a little bit better. – Becca

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your family?

My husband and I live in Iowa with our 9-year-old son, 11-year-old daughter, and two cats. Rob works at the University of Northern Iowa, and I homeschool the kids and  write. That’s about all I know how to do.

What hobbies and activities do you like to do?

I enjoy baking, gardening, reading, and sometimes knitting. I really don’t know how to make anything but scarves though!

Are you a morning person or a night owl?

I have historically been a night owl, but you know how it goes, when you have kids, you have to be up in the morning anyway. These days I’m at my best  around 2pm.

Growing up, what did you see yourself doing as a career?

Writing. I always wanted to be an author, ever since I could  hold a pencil.

Where did your love of books/storytelling/reading/writing/etc. come from?

I have just always loved stories and books. My grandmother was a newspaper reporter in Minneapolis in the 1930s. If she were still alive, I think she’d be tickled pink that I write, too.

Thank you for these great answers! I have some questions about your writing and books.

What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?

I do all  kinds of research, from books and digital archives to PBS documentaries, site visits to the places in the novel, YouTube how-to videos, 18th-century cookbooks, even paperdolls designed by fashion historians for my time period. I usually spend 3-6 months researching before I write, but then I research all the way through the writing and re-writing and editing, too. Always fact checking and looking for ways to make it better.

Is anything in your books based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?

Well, it’s all based on other people’s real life experiences, not mine, since I write historical fiction. I get most of my inspiration from people who actually lived, and what they really went through. I do use my imagination to fill in historical blanks, of course, and to create characters who can best portray my chosen slice of history.

What weather inspires you the most, in terms of bringing out your literary best?

Ah! Great question! I love a variety of weather. I probably write best when it’s rainy or cold outside, because then I’m really in the mood to cocoon myself into my writing cave. If it’s glorious weather, I will try to write or edit outside. I love all four  seasons and really try to pay attention to all the details so I can portray it in my novels.

Do you set a plot or prefer going wherever an idea takes you?

I set a plot. It can change along the way, and I can  make adjustments, but my editors won’t approve a contract if I don’t have a plot to present to them.

Are there certain characters you would like to go back to, or is there a theme or idea you’d love to work with again?   

In A Refuge Assured, I really loved the hero’s sister, Tara. If I ever get bored (unlikely) it would be fun to write a novella for her.

If you had the choice to rewrite any of your books, which one would it be and why?

If I had that choice, I’d turn it down flat. I’d rather start fresh with a new novel.

Which book would you want adapted for the silver screen?

Ha! What a whimsical question. I’d be thrilled if any of them were, but if I had to choose, maybe Spy of Richmond. Or The Mark of the King. Or possibly, A Refuge Assured.

I loved hearing your answers! Your latest book A Refuge Assured recently came out. It’s takes place during great change in France and America.

Can you tell us a bit about your novel?

Here’s the book blurb:

Lacemaker Vivienne Rivard never imagined her craft could threaten her life. Yet in revolutionary France, it is a death sentence when the nobility, and those associated with them, are forced to the guillotine. Vivienne flees to Philadelphia, but danger lurks in the French Quarter, as revolutionary sympathizers begin to suspect a young boy left in her care might be the Dauphin. Can the French settlement Asylum offer permanent refuge?

Militiaman Liam Delaney proudly served in the American Revolution, but now that the new government has imposed an oppressive tax that impacts his family, he barely recognizes the democracy he fought for. He wants only to cultivate his hard-won farm near Asylum, but he soon finds himself drawn into the escalating tension of the Whiskey Rebellion. When he meets a beautiful young Frenchwoman recently arrived from Paris, they are drawn together in surprising ways to fight for the peace and safety for which they long.

What inspired you to write this story?

I had no idea,  before I stumbled  upon the research, that there was a settlement in Pennsylvania for refugees from the French Revolution, and that they intended to keep Marie-Antoinette there. It was too fascinating not to explore further, and the more I learned about it, the more hooked I was. I was especially interested in the connection between the French Revolution and the American response to it, since our country was so young when it transpired. Questions of law and liberty from way back then are still relevant for today.

What is one thing  that you learned while researching for this book that was surprising to you?

I was surprised to learn that an entire village of lacemakers (at Chantilly) was executed during the French Revolution, for the crime of making lace.

What do you want readers to take away from your books?

My slogan as an author, for fiction and nonfiction, is “Inspiring Faith and Courage.” That’s what I want for my readers, no matter which book they read. I want them to have stronger faith and greater courage to face life’s trials.

What will you be writing next?

I just turned in the first draft of my next historical novel, which will release in 2019. It’s set during the French & Indian War and takes place in Montreal, Quebec, and points between.

Do you hide any Easter Eggs  in your books that only a few people will find? Would you be willing to share a clue with your readers?

I did in A Refuge Assured, yes. Laura Frantz (The Lacemaker) and I created a shared ancestry for our heroines, since both are lacemakers whose family tree has roots in France. The clues are on page 26 and 54 of our novels, but I won’t tell you which pages go with which books. I have to make you hunt at least a little!

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