A Stanford graduate and award-winning marketing manager with over twenty-five years of experience in the high tech industry, Jill Caugherty lives in Raleigh, North Carolina with her husband and daughter. Her short stories have been published in 805Lit and Oyster River Pages, and her debut short story was nominated for the 2019 PEN/Robert J. Dau Short Story Prize for Emerging Writers. WALTZ IN SWING TIME is her first novel, with a publication date of April 2020 by Black Rose Writing.
What inspires you to write?
I love slipping into another person's life and vicariously exploring wildly different decisions and adventures. The creative process energizes me, and ever since I was a child, I've enjoyed imagining and crafting different worlds, people, and circumstances. As I've matured as a writer, I also draw energy from the protagonist's dramatic arc and the change that main character undergoes in the course of a story.
Tell us about your writing process.
I'm an outliner, but only at a very high level. I typically start with a general idea of a plot: beginning, middle, and end; but ultimately, I allow for divergence and deviation from the story line, depending on the developing personality and decisions of the protagonist and supporting characters.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
I often engross myself in the attitudes and thoughts of the characters, to understand how they might react to an event, or which decisions they may make. At the same time, on the advice of an excellent literary agent, I don't protect them from bad circumstances, but instead try to "raise the stakes" to ensure that the plot helps accentuate their innate character traits and keeps the reader engaged.
Who are your favorite authors?
Wallace Stegner's ANGLE OF REPOSE
Margaret Atwood's BLIND ASSASSIN and ALIAS GRACE
Hosseini Khaled's A THOUSAND SPLENDID SUNS
TC Boyle's SAN MIGUEL
Chang Rae-Lee's A GESTURE LIFE
Ian McEwan's ATONEMENT
Jane Smiley's A THOUSAND ACRES
Anthony Doerr's ALL THE LIGHT WE CANNOT SEE
Maria Hummel's MOTHERLAND
Michael Cunningham's THE HOURS
Amy Tan's JOY LUCK CLUB
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I began my historical novel, WALTZ IN SWING TIME, over a decade ago. I had written novels before, but ones that I ultimately shoved into a drawer. WALTZ IN SWING TIME was different. As I wrote it, I incorporated lessons learned from past writing and from reading excellent authors whom I admired. As the fait accompli of the twelve plus years it took to write and edit it, I wanted badly to publish it and share it with readers who might enjoy historical/literary fiction.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
Book publishing is becoming more competitive, of course, with the advent of Amazon Publishing and other online publishing houses. However, I believe that traditional publishing will survive in the next decade to some extent, as many readers still prefer actual books to electronic manuscripts.
What genres do you write?
Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction
What formats are your books in?
Jill Caugherty Home Page Link
All information is provided by the author and is presented as it was submitted so you the reader get to hear the author’s own “voice” in their interview.