About Jo

"Jo Huddleston is a great story teller..."
 ~Patricia, a reader

I like to laugh with people but not at people. The beach is my
Jo Huddleston
favorite vacation spot. I don't like to see or hear about people or animals being abused. I'm a spectator fan of several sports, my favorite being tennis. I don't like being in the dark and am fearful of snakes!

My West Virginia Mountains series, my endearing Caney Creek series, and my standalone novels and novellas are all sweet Southern mid-20th-century romance stories.

I have four nonfiction books published: Amen and Good Morning, God: A Book of Morning PrayersAmen and Good Night, God: A Book of Evening PrayersHis Awesome Majesty: Praising God's Greatness, and America: Her Hope for the Future. I've coauthored with Vickie Phelps Writing 101: A Handbook of Tips and Encouragement for Writers, Simply Christmas: Memories, Traditions, and Stories of the Season, and How to Write for the Christian Marketplace.

My writing career includes more than 200 articles and short stories, which have appeared in over 50 well-known Christian and secular publications including Guideposts, Decision, and The Upper Room. I'm an online contributor to Christian Devotions Ministries (http://www.ChristianDevotions.us).

My devotions appear in eight anthologies and I wrote devotions on assignment and freelance for the following daily devotionals: Devotions, Open Windows, Pathways to God, The Quiet Hour, The Secret Place, and The Upper Room. I've taught workshops at writers’ conferences and I wrote an inspirational newspaper column for seven years.

Everything You've Always Wanted to Know (FAQ)

Why do you write the type of books that you
do--sweet Southern historical romances?
I enjoy reading novels set in the U.S. South in the 1950s and early 1960s. That time was more peaceful and simpler, both in happenings and lifestyles. Into the 1960s, things in America changed with unique events—the assassinations of President John F. Kennedy, of his brother Robert, and of Martin Luther King, Jr. The youth appeared to become unfounded in noble principles. I prefer to write about the 1950s and early 1960s—a time when we didn’t yet know about assassinations, Woodstock, the Vietnam War, and on and on.

How do you spend your writing days?  Do you set goals to reach a certain number of words per day? Can you give us a general idea of how long it takes you to write a novel?
When I’m writing a novel, I set a goal of 1,000 words per day and/or a 5,000-word goal per week. Some days I don’t reach my goal but then some days I go over the goal. That helps me to get the 5,000 words per week. If I stick to those goals I can get the first draft of a full-length novel finished in about four months. However, many times life prevents me from writing every day and that four months turn into five, or six, or more. After I complete my first draft, editing, and polishing of the draft into an enjoyable, published novel follows.

Where do you get ideas? Character names? Do you find your characters similar to you in any way? Who is your favorite character you've created?

My ideas just pop in my head, not suggested by any of my environment. So I believe that God puts them there. I don’t believe in coincidences, only God incidents. I try to choose my character names that were used in the time and place of my books. I’ve read that authors put a little something of themselves into their characters. Maybe, but not into all their characters. My favorite character (in the Caney Creek series) is Emmajean. I would love to be a person who could think and act somewhat as she does.

Do you believe in writer’s block? If so, how often do you get it? How do you fix it? 
I’ve never had writer’s block. I’m what many call a panster writer—one who writes from the seat of her pants. I don’t write an outline. A story simmers in my mind for a while, the plots, the characters, the ending, etc. When I begin to get the story on paper, I already have those things worked out in my mind. I find that the characters do pretty much what they want to because in my mind I have developed them well. Sometimes I have to pull them back onto their path, but not often.

Who has inspired you the most on your writing journey—a loved one, fellow author, favorite teacher?
When I began writing, I kept it to myself. Many people describe writers as introverts. That was me—truly a closet writer. So my inspiration came solely from God. Then I met Karen Ball—author, editor, and literary agent—and she is a great inspiration to me. So, to answer the question: God and Karen Ball.

What can readers who enjoy your book do to help make it successful?
When readers enjoy my book, I hope (1) they will tell their family and friends about the book and how much they loved it, (2) spread the word about the book on their social media, and (3) post a short review of the book telling why they liked it on the book’s Amazon page. All are very much appreciated!

What has no one asked that you would like to share? 

No one has ever asked me about how to handle success. Even if you feel a calling to write for God and then become highly successful with many books in print you may be tempted to be prideful of your own efforts. Remaining humble is a requirement of a servant of God. Not that I’m super successful, but I try to have the servant-attitude that Jesus had—he was most successful but remained humble (Philippians 2:5-8).

For Fun:

How do people react when they find out you write?
The funniest reaction I have received was from a twenty-something. When she heard me talking about my books, she asked me, “You mean if I google you, you’ll be there?”

If you could travel in a time machine, would you go back to the past or into the future? 

The past. Life was less materialistic and simpler then.

If you were stranded on a desert island, what three things would you absolutely want to have with you? 

Only three? Let me think here. Many people know I am uncomfortable in the dark. So…my Bible, lots of candles and matches, and lots of drinkable water. I’d love to have paper and pencil to write, but that would be more than three things.

What 3 fun or unique things can you tell us about yourself that we don’t know?
I don’t enjoy being in elevators. I can’t jump rope. I played varsity basketball in high school.

Please describe yourself in three words.
Hopeful, enthusiastic, positive.

Lightning Round:

Laptop or Desktop? Laptop
Biscuits or Dinner Roll? Dinner Roll
Vacation: Beach or Mountains? Beach
Y’all or You Guys? Y’all
Spring, summer, winter, or fall? Fall

If you have a question for me, please click the Contact tab above and send it to me in an email. You can sign up for my mailing list on the sidebar above to receive my free quarterly e-newsletter and timely updates and announcements throughout the year.