Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Behind the Stories w/Author Jo-Huddleston

I am pleased to once again welcome author Jo Huddleston to Whispers in Purple. Today, Jo will be sharing her research efforts in writing her current WEST VIRGINIA MOUNTAINS SERIES.

But first, lets meet Jo:

JO PK b2 copy (2)

Jo Huddleston is an Amazon Bestselling author of books, articles, and short stories. Novels in her West Virginia Mountains series and her Caney Creek series are sweet Southern historical romances.

Her novels are endorsed by Amanda Cabot, Cara Lynn James, Sharlene MacLaren, and Ann Tatlock.

The redeeming story of God’s pursuing love is the foundation of her novels, and in them you will find inspiration, hope, and gentle stories that are intriguing and entertaining.

Jo is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and the Literary Hall of Fame at Lincoln Memorial University (TN).



The Story Behind the Stories in the Recently Completed West Virginia Mountain Series, by Jo Huddleston

When I wrote Wait for Me, I had been to a real coal mine community one time. One memorable time. I went home from college with a friend for a weekend. Her home was in the coal mining region in southern West Virginia. Her daddy was the owner of the coal mine there.

When my friend took me around her small community, she didn’t show me the miners’ homes. What she knew and I didn’t was how the miners’ families lived—not in palatial dwellings!

Wait for Me (300)Until I researched for my story did I learn about coal miners’ substandard housing. In the 1950s, the owner of a coal mine also owned the miners’ rental homes—

better described as shacks. All had only two bedrooms, no running water, and no bathrooms. The community had one well from which all the families drew water and carried back to their houses.

My research for this story was an eye-opener. Photos from coal communities swelled my compassion for the people who lived there and subsequently I was able to write passionately about their lives.

With Wait for Me, research became more than valuable. Without this research I could not have written authentically—my descriptions and dialog would have been cardboard imitations. When you read Wait for Me, please know that compassion oozed from my fingertips as I tapped my keyboard.

In book 1 when Julie and Robby enrolled at West Virginia University in the northern part of the state, an unexpected character walked into the story: the Dean of Women at the university—Dean Fletcher.

I gave Dean Fletcher sophistication I’d learned about from my seventh grade homeroom teacher. Dean Fletcher was reserved and a bit stand-offish, traits of my favorite female actor on a TV one hour drama. Dean Fletcher was a good person, always helpful to Julie with any request she had.


Trust Me-300 dpi

But why was Dean Fletcher not married? Why did she never date anyone? Why was she reticent to reveal her emotions or feelings, always and only the professional? She was restrained in words and actions. Why? Her role in book 1, Wait for Me, was a minor one, with not much opportunity to dig for the answers to my questions.

These questions motivated me to give Dean Fletcher a larger character part in book 2, Trust Me. So, in Trust Me you’ll learn much about this elegant woman. You’ll learn why Dean Fletcher is reserved, reticent, a bit stand-offish, unmarried, restrained, and sophisticated.

And, a surprise to me, Dean Fletcher volunteered all this information about herself without anyone having to ask. Yes, characters do live, breathe, and speak to their authors. They share their secrets, doubts, and insecurities. Dean Fletcher did so, and I wrote it all down in Trust Me.




Promise Me (300)

As for the inspiration for the third and final book in the West Virginia Mountains series, Promise Me—as the series continued, the characters of Adriana and Patrick strengthened until they deserved a book of their own. This story opens in late 1960 in West Virginia. However, when the plot of Promise Me wove its way to the battlefields of the Vietnam War, I had to turn to research to make my story authentic and convincing.

For my research about the Vietnam War, I relied on encyclopedic references, photos taken on location, and testimonials of Vietnam War veterans. In addition, one of my most valuable resources was face-to-face accounts from American servicemen.

Although some of the personal accounts I was privileged to get were from veterans of wars other than the Vietnam War, war is war. As you read Patrick and Adriana’s story in Promise Me, I hope you will find Patrick’s experiences realistic. I wrote them based on facts and feelings I received from respected, reliable, and living resources.

Yes, Promise Me, is fiction. But to make historical fiction believable, an adequate amount of reality must be woven with the threads of fiction. That’s what I attempted to do when writing this new release. I hope you won’t doubt what you read about the historical situations and locations mentioned within its pages.

3 box setx

The Box Set of the West Virginia Mountains Series

Now, all together in one volume, enjoy all three sweet Southern historical romances in the West Virginia Mountains series. Beginning in the simpler and more innocent times of the 1950s and continuing into the chaotic early 1960s, read about the journeys of Julie and Robby, Loreen and Claude, and Adriana and Patrick. You will develop strong feelings for these clear, true-to-life characters.

Their stories take you from the hardscrabble lifestyle of coal miners in West Virginia to the affluence of South Carolina coastal living. This volume includes three full-length novels: Wait for Me, Trust Me, and Promise Me.



Buy Links:

Wait for Me:

Trust Me:

Promise Me:

Box Set:

Where to find Jo on the Internet:


  1. Peg, thanks for having me visit with your readers!

  2. My pleasure, Jo. Thanks for spending some time with us today.