Welcome, Jocelyn. Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.
I haven’t written a character completely inspired by own life or personality, but in several characters, I find there are traits I can relate to, which makes it easier for me to write those aspects. For example, in Wedded to War, the main character is Charlotte Waverly, a single wealthy young woman from
who wants to give up a life of comfort to have a significant role in the Civil
War as a nurse with the newly formed Sanitary Commission. Her independent
streak conflicts with others’ expectations of her. I could easily write about
her independence, because that’s something we share in common. But her sister,
Alice, says her priority is serving her husband first, then the rest of the
world. I can relate to that too, so I invest that part of myself into her
In the book I’m writing now, Widow of Gettysburg, Harrison Caldwell is a war correspondent who develops combat stress from being in so many battles in a row, and from all his interactions with the wounded. As a journalist and nonfiction author, and former military wife, I have spent the last five years collecting war stories from veterans, soldiers, chaplains, and their families, and I can tell you, even though it is fulfilling, it can really take an emotional toll. I don’t pretend to have combat stress, but my own experience has helped me understand what Harrison is going through from being in the midst of the battles at Antietam,
Gettysburg, etc. Even
just researching for my own books, I have nightmares I won’t describe, so I
can’t imagine what it would be like if I were “embedded” like Harrison.
For a magazine article several years ago, I interviewed a Pulitzer-prize
winning photographer who struggled similarly. His life was all about capturing
images of human injustice, and it was extremely difficult for him to process
that. It affected his personal relationships, too.
But all three of these characters I mentioned were crafted first from diaries of real people who did what I’m having my characters do. A Civil War nurse, her sister, and a war correspondent. Then I layer my own experiences/perspectives on top of that to help fill in the blanks and round out the characters.
What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
Hmmmm. I bought and used a dog stroller for my pug. Let me explain. After my husband’s tour in
with the Coast Guard, it was time to move cross-country, and he was at a
conference, which left me to drive our pick-up truck five thousand miles. My
friend from college made the trip with me, and we made an adventure out of it,
hitting seven national parks and monuments, camping in the back of the truck
almost every night. We also had our one-year-old pug with us, who we gave half
a tranquilizer pill to help him cope with the twelve hour days of driving. But
that meant when we wanted to get out and walk around a beautiful place for a while,
he couldn’t walk! So we popped him in the little stroller feeling like idiots
and pushed him around. The best reaction we got to our pug baby in the dog
stroller was from a group of rough-looking motorcyclists in .
They oohed and ahed! Jackson Hole, Wyoming
When did you first discover that you were a writer?
When I could pick up a pencil. Writing stories has always been part of who I am. My first book was narrating a Bugs Bunny coloring book.
Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
Nonfiction, including biographies, Christian living, memoirs, history, etc., plus fiction—historical fiction is my favorite genre.
How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?
My two kids, ages three and six, help keep life in perspective. Plus, we live in a small college town in
Iowa, where the pace is much slower than
most. After living in Washington D.C., and Alaska,
this is a great middle ground. J
How do you choose your characters’ names?
Some I choose because I like the sound of them. Others have special meaning that is tied to the theme of the book, and others I can’t decide so I let my Facebook fans suggest names and I choose from those! We have lots of fun, especially with villain names. I also hold a contest where the winner gets a character named after her. www.jocelyngreen.com/contest
What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
The accomplishment I am most proud of is being present and active in my children’s lives. Writing books is really time-consuming, and juggling it with family is a real challenge. A few weeks ago, my six-year-old colored a family picture of us at the park, and I was in the picture. I can’t tell you how much this meant to me, because lots of times, my husband will take the kids out so I can write. To know that I’m still “in the picture” for them anyway, tells me God has been answering my prayers on the whole work-life balance.
If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?
A dolphin, because they are smart and social.
What is your favorite food?
Depends on the mood. But on any given day, I could either go for chocolate, or Mexican.
What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?
Time. Creativity can’t be rushed, and when you try, bad things happen. J I overcame it with the help of a team of people- my husband, my parents, child care providers, and the freezer section of the grocery store.
Other than that, a big roadblock when switching from nonfiction to fiction was just confidence. To overcome that one, I did my homework, studying the craft, hired a book mentor for my first novel, and just kept pushing through it even when a little voice told me to quit.
Tell us about the featured book.
Wedded to War was inspired by the diary of real-life Civil War nurse Georgeanna Woolsey. Here’s the synopsis of my fictionalized tale:
It's April 1861, and the Union Army's Medical Department is a disaster, completely unprepared for the magnitude of war. A small group of
New York City women, including 28-year-old
Charlotte Waverly, decide to do something about it, and end up changing the
course of the war, despite criticism, ridicule and social ostracism. Charlotte leaves a life
of privilege, wealth-and confining expectations-to be one of the first female
nurses for the Union Army. She quickly discovers that she's fighting more than
just the Rebellion by working in the hospitals. Corruption, harassment, and
opposition from Northern doctors threaten to push her out of her new role. At
the same time, her sweetheart disapproves of her shocking strength and
independence, forcing her to make an impossible decision: Will she choose love
and marriage, or duty to a cause that seems to be losing? An Irish immigrant
named Ruby O'Flannery, who turns to the unthinkable in the face of starvation,
holds the secret that will unlock the door to Charlotte's future. But will the rich and
poor confide in each other in time?
Please give us the first page of the book.
Monday, April 22, 1861
When Charlotte and Alice told their mother they were taking the omnibus down Broadway, they weren’t lying. They just didn’t tell her where they would be getting off. There was simply no time for an argument today.
Street, the sisters paid the extra fare for their
hoop skirts, as if they were separate passengers, and sat back on the long
wooden bench for the ride.
“This is against my better judgment, you know.”
Alice’s voice was barely audible
above the clatter of wheels and horse hooves over the cobblestones.
“Don’t you mean Jacob’s?”
cast a sidelong glance at her sister.
She didn’t have to. Ever since she had married the wealthy businessman a few months ago, she had been even more pampered—and sheltered—than she had been growing up. Heaven help her when they reached their destination.
How can readers find you on the Internet?
Author Web site: www.jocelyngreen.com
Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/jocelyngreen77For military wives (based on my devotional books): www.faithdeployed.com
Thank you, Jocelyn, for sharing this book with us.
Readers, here are links to the book. By using one when you order, you help support this blog.
Wedded to War (Heroines Behind the Lines) - paperback
Wedded to War (Heroines Behind the Lines) - Kindle
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