Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Interview with Diana’s romance author Jean C. Gordon

Dear From the Heart reader, it is my privilege today to introduce to you, published author Jean Gordon.

Jean, tell us a little bit about yourself. What part of the country do you hail from and are you married with children or pets?

I’m from Upstate New York. I grew up in Western New York and after a short stint in Los Angeles for college, settled near Albany, NY. For the past eleven years, my husband and I have shared a big old (circa 1840) farmhouse with my daughter, her husband, and their two kids. Our son lives about 20 minutes away. And do we have pets. My husband and I have Xena, a two-year-old lab boxer mix, and Colossus, an almost 15-year-old lab mini-rottweiler mix. We also have a cat named Catskill Red; Red for short. My daughter has twin tiger cats, Cat One and Cat Two, and my grandson just got a lab-boxer mix puppy he’s named Mr. Buttons. Then, there’s my son-in-law’s “pets”: ten chickens, 15 pigs, and two rams that either think they’re dogs or that my Xena is a black sheep. They love her.

That is some extended family! When did you first know you wanted to take writing seriously enough to pursue publishing?

In high school. My undergraduate degree is in Journalism. (My master’s degree is in public affairs with a concentration in public law.) I’m a financial writer in my day job.

In your writing journey, how and when did you decide to focus your writing on writing romance novels?

1995. I had been reviewing romance novels for a magazine that’s since gone out of business and thought, “I could do this.” I joined the old Prodigy online romance writers community and Romance Writers of America and plunged in. Later, I helped the Capital Region Romance Writers and joined RWA’s Faith Hope and Love Chapter and the American Christian Fiction Writers.

Has it been a fun experience over all, having your writing published and promoting your books?

I have had a great writing experience. I think the best part has been all of the wonderful people I have met and stayed connected with, including my very eclectic critique partners. As for promotion, my books have all been with Avalon Books, which sells primarily to libraries, so my promotional efforts have been limited mostly to literacy book signings at writing conferences, my website, and some blogging.
I am currently shopping around a title, Everlasting Vows, for you. Where did you get your inspiration from for this particular story?

The idea for this book dates back about ten years, or maybe more. For a long time, it was a bigger book than I was ready to write, so I worked on it sporadically. I don’t really know where I got the idea. Maybe a little from my husband and me. He husband used to ride bikes and we married young and moved far away from our families. But that’s about the only similarities.

What do you hope people will take away from reading your book, Everlasting Vows?

To hop up on my soap box: a realization of the sanctity of marriage vows. I think that a lot of people don’t try hard enough to make their marriages work. They give up when they run into a little conflict. But I do understand that some marriages aren’t meant to be. Dana and Mac’s, the main characters in Everlasting Vows, marriage was. They just needed the maturity and faith to make it work.

Are the love interests in your story drawn from your personal life at all?

Not so much the love interests, but definitely story elements as I mentioned above. Another example is my first book Bachelor Father. The hero becomes the guardian of a baby his sister and brother-in-law were in the process of adopting when they were killed in a car accident. Our son is adopted from Korea. When we were attending pre-adoption classes, we heard about an adoptive family in which the mother died before the adoption was final. The Korean agency wanted to take the baby back because the father was a widower and the agency didn’t allow single parent adoptions. That was the inspiration for that book. Also, the heroine’s father in my second book, Love Undercover, is my dad. In fact, I used Dad’s first name in the original manuscript to keep in character and did a search and replace when I revised.

In your 2009 release Mara's Move, the characters are childhood friends who meet again on a Honeymoon cruise. Did you personally go on a cruise for ‘research’? Sounds like a necessary trip to me! Joyce and I are both rather fond of cruises!

My husband keeps suggesting cruises, but I get terribly motion sick. I do have a long-time friend who works in customer service for one of the major cruise lines. I ran many of my details by her.

What new projects are you working on, are they in the same genre and time period?

I have two projects going. One is another contemporary inspirational romance set in the Adirondack Mountains in northern New York. I’ve also started an historical romance with a heroine who’s involved in the Underground Railroad. It’s set in 1850 in my hometown, Attica, NY.

What new gadget have you added as a tool to help you in your everyday writing life?

My HP Netbook. It’s a great size to take anywhere. I love my Netbook as well. Saw Jill Hart using one in Colorado last year and the very next royalty commission I made, I bought one for myself. It goes everywhere with me!

Is there an area in your writing that you are working on improving?

Two areas: description and characterization. I once had a critique partner read three chapters of a draft manuscript and tell me that she had no idea what either my hero or heroine looked like. I fixed that immediately.

What obstacles have you run up against in your writing journey?

Time has been my biggest obstacle. With a demanding day job, I had to decide how important my fiction writing was and prioritize my book-writing time. It was a lot harder when my kids were small.

Where can people find out more about you and your writing and your previously published titles?

My website and Now and Again blog can be found at
I am also on FaceBook.

Jean, thank you so much for joining us here today and I hope our readers will check out your sites and your title. I would imagine you are building a healthy reader group who are anxious to read your next release. I hope we can soon satisfy them.

From my heart to yours,


Jennifer Shirk said...

Great interview, Jean!
Time is my biggest obstacle, too. :)

Raquel Byrnes said...

Your novel sounds like a refreshing and fun read. I agree...blocking out writing time can be difficult.

Zelda Benjamin said...

Working at another job and finding time to write is a job too.

writer jim said...


Working at a demanding day job AND writing really impresses me, too. I'm glad you have succeeded so well.
Having DIANA is a blessing, I'm sure.

The reason I found this blog is because of hearing from several people...what a TRUE SINCERE Christian Diana is.

Diana said...

Writer Jim; I hope we get to meet in person some time- maybe at a conference?

tara leigh coons said...

Great interview, Jean!! And even better news on the news you threw on the loops! Way to go, darlin'!