History buff, Francophile, and hopeless romantic-- the perfect mixture for writing romance! An avid reader, as a teen, I loved the "happily ever after" sweet romances, but I quickly plunged into the world of historical romance--my get-away-from-real-life transporter. Add in a degree in Political Studies with six years of French--twenty years later, I found a new career. 4 published works with one due in June, my focus is Historical Romance, although I'm branching out into other sub-genres. I'm all about the HEA.
I live in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan with my husband of 22 years and my four children. I spend the long winters plotting and scheming my next book, and in the mild summers, my family and I spend every waking moment we can hiking and kayaking the Northwoods. Lake Superior and its awe-inspiring beauty is my muse, my happy place. I live where I play, and it suits me perfectly.
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Silence the Northwoods (Northwoods Series Book 1)by Auria JourdainPublish: Jan 21, 2017Series: The Northwoods TrilogyRomantic Suspense
Lantern at the Gateby Auria JourdainPublish: Jul 31, 2019Paranormal Romance
Silence the Waters (Northwoods Trilogy Book 2)by Auria JourdainPublish: Aug 21, 2018Series: The Northwoods TrilogyRomantic Suspense
Spirit of the Northwoodsby Auria JourdainPublish: Apr 29, 2016Teen & Young Adult
Pure of Heart (Pure Escapades Book 1)by Auria JourdainPublish: Sep 01, 2016Series: The Pure Escapades SeriesHistorical Romance
Pure Temptation (Pure Escapades Book 2)by Auria JourdainPublish: Mar 01, 2016Series: The Pure Escapades SeriesHistorical Romance
Pure Enchantmentby Auria JourdainPublish: Jul 25, 2017Series: The Pure Escapades SeriesHistorical Romance
I have always had a love of languages and history. In high school, I took both Spanish and French and excelled at both. I had a fantastic French teacher, and that’s what I wanted to be. I received a full-tuition scholarship to our local junior college specifically for education, and I continued my French studies there. However, I have always been extremely civic minded, so I changed majors and ended up majoring in Political Science with an emphasis on Constitutional History. The French Revolution was directly impacted by the U.S. Revolution -- like-mindedness along with some well-placed diplomats. I took a class that emphasized the likenesses and differences between the two, and I was hooked. From there, I read and studied everything I could about France, its history, and even its colonies in the New World. Most of my historicals revolve around this period. Because of its heavy French influence, New Orleans is still one of my favorite places to visit.How do you think your degree in Political Science has bettered your writing? Did you decide to become a writer before or after college?
As a Political Science student, all I did was write. However, the writing is different. My books, being works of fiction, are creative versus the persuasive or informational papers (not to mention law briefs -- I had planned on going into Law), and the writing styles are unique. Writing historical fiction, I get to use some of my knowledge, with the fun twist of placing my characters in scenarios that were true to the times. I spend nearly six months researching a historical before I begin writing because I want my readers to feel like they’re in that place and time, wholly accurate. I think my major helped better my writing in this respect. Research is methodical. I love it. I took three trips to New Orleans for two of my novels, immersing myself in every museum and plantation tour I could. And research was a large part of my college studies. One of my life-long dreams was to become a writer. I started when I was a child, but I didn’t think about actually selling a novel until ten years after college. I was a stay-at-home mother, a voracious reader, and I had time on my hands. I began writing my first book, Pure of Heart, in 2003. I researched everything I could, and I wrote the middle of the story first. Because of my job (I was a program director for a non-profit youth soccer league), I couldn’t dedicate all my time to it. But when my husband’s job moved to a new state, I found I had plenty of time to pursue writing. I finished Pure of Heart, and wrote the next book in the series, Pure Temptation, in two months. I hadn’t planned on the publishing so soon, but after entering a pitch contest, I got three publishing offers for both of my novels. Thus, my writing career was bornHow did you and your husband of 22 years meet and will this story be making it onto your pages soon?
Interesting question! My husband and I met when we were a very young 18 (he was 21). I worked at a video store near his home, and he finally asked me out. He was going into medical school, and it was the last thing I expected because I hate doctors! But, we fell in love, and here we are. My first book, Pure of Heart, is actually our love story. I’ve always said my husband was my knight in shining armor. He’s always so grounded, and at the time, I was on my way toward self-destruction. Because historical romance has always been one of my favorite genres to read, I wanted to attempt our story in this fashion. And, of course, because I’m a self-proclaimed Francophile, I had to set it around the French Revolution. I romanticize our story in Pure of Heart. But Eric, an apprentice of medicine, is still my hero. My husband is an ER physician, although he and Eric are worlds apart as far as personality (more on that in a bit). Contesse--and her adoptive father--is the personification of everything I hold dear… my values and opinions, especially in the wake of her special needs. It wouldn’t be difficult to ascertain my political leanings if you read this book. Through all of this, my husband has been a tremendous support. He’s read all of my books, helping me proof them as well. He deserved his own hero.What does writing mean to you?
Wow… that’s a tough question. Writing means so many things to me. But if I had to choose the most important reason I write, I’d have to say it’s my lifeline to communication. Like many writers, I’m not comfortable in the limelight. I prefer to be behind the scenes because I’m not a fantastic orator, even in small groups (hence one of the reasons I never went to Law School). Having a strong sense of justice, I have so much to say, and the best way for me to be able to communicate my feelings is by writing. Today, I do it creatively, but I best express my ideas, dreams, fears, and everything in between through writing. If you asked me to tell you what makes me tick in a face-to-face interview, I’d stammer. I can’t spontaneously think like that because I’m more concerned about people looking at me and forming judgments. But with writing, I can eloquently give you my opinion or describe the beauty I see in my homeland while I hike through the forests and place you right there with me. Writing has also been an outlet for me. I had a tough childhood, and I often turned to writing as an escape. Even today, I still keep a journal because it’s the best form of therapy I’ve ever had.How long did it take you to write "Silence the Northwoods"? Is there anything about thing book that was particularly easy or hard or emotional to write?
From start to finish, it took me about four months to write Silence the Northwoods. But, I already had the story in my head. I wanted to write a romantic suspense novel because my mentor, Dixie Lee Brown, had urged me to try it. The notion of an FBI murder/mystery/romance intrigued me, and after living in the Northwoods for a few years, I wanted to base a story in my hometown. My youngest son is a ski racer at one of our local hills (one we live behind, just like the heroine in the story). This ski hill is a learning facility attached to the junior college, and they do indeed have a S.A.M. program (Ski Area Management) where students learn how to run a ski hill. They also teach our kids to ski and race. I spent many nights listening to stories from the hill managers and students, stories that made it into the book. Because the characters were all a figment of my imagination, I didn’t have any emotional ties to any of them. I researched our area and found that Ironwood and Hurley (in Wisconsin, 5 miles over the border) had a huge mafia presence in the 1920’s. So, I brought a modern-day mafia spin into the mix with Kyra and her ex. Right now, I’m working on the next book in this series, Silence the Waters. It will be a little more emotional for me because it continues the story of the girl in Silence the Northwoods that was raped, Sierra Cleary.How many scenarios do you run through in your head before you finally pick the scene where the two protagonists meet?
Again, interesting! I don’t run scenarios through my head. I write them down. I start a novel with a premise-- a plot that’s I've thought up and an outline. Then, I choose my hero and heroine (because I write mainly romance) and build them as three dimensionally as I can. In my historicals, I like to do some background and building before my protagonists meet. To me, it’s more exciting that way. I’ve been told, however, that many publishers want them to meet in the first chapter. However, now that I’m an Indie writer, I don’t feel I need to adhere to that rule. I like the excitement and the build-up of my hero and heroine when they meet for the first time. In the novel I’m releasing in July, my hero and heroine don’t meet until Chapter 8. But when they do, the sparks fly, and that’s exactly what makes a romance so exciting. I set out to write novels that I want to read. To me, it’s boring to be held to a standard or formula that publishing companies set. And, since I read a lot in my genre, I’m finding there is no right way to do it. Some of my favorite novels break standards all the time. My mantra is to step outside the box, do something different. I get tired of reading the same tropes and standardized novels all the time, so I aim to mix it up.As a writer, are there some stories that are more personal and therefore, harder to tell?
Definitely. I wrote a YA novel for my autistic son in for NaNoWriMo. I published it during Autism Awareness Month in 2016. We had just taken him out of school because he was being bullied, and it was a difficult time for all of us. And, Spirit of the Northwoods is centered around this very theme. Shane, my autistic hero, was one of the toughest characters I’ve ever had to write because I made him non-verbal. My son is verbal, so this was a definite challenge. Even so, because autistic people’s brains aren’t wired neurotypically (like the rest of us), their thought processes are difficult for the rest of us to understand. My son often says things that are off-the-wall, but what I’ve found is he’s trying to communicate his feelings, but he can’t seem to get the message across. He gets frustrated. It has to be ten times harder for a non-verbal autistic to communicate, and Shane often gets frustrated with his twin sister’s inability to interpret what he’s trying to say. So, yes. This story definitely hit home, but I’m extremely proud of it. All the proceeds from that book go to the K of C Developmental Center in St. Louis, Missouri, where my son was diagnosed.What are some aspects one has to consider when creating historical figures? Who was your inspiration for Contesse Blanchefort from your book "Pure of Heart"?
The most important aspect of any historical, in my opinion, is accuracy. I’ve read some historicals that used words or phrases that weren’t of that time period, and it makes me cringe. My goal in researching and writing a historical is to create it so accurately that a history professor would be able to give it a 100% grade. I think this filters over to character development as well. Knowing the history of the time is important. People--society--are products of their generations, and we can’t rightly place a character in New Orleans in 1814, for example, during the Battle of New Orleans if we don’t understand the entire history surrounding the time period. To go further, one of my characters is an Irish immigrant during the early 1800’s. That history also plays a part in the story, because the relations between Ireland and England during this time had a large impact on American immigration (in fact, my Irish relatives were deported to the U.S. in the late 1700’s as indentured servants). But I would say this filters over into contemporary characters, as well. Americans have changed dramatically since 9/11. We’re more fearful. I’m nostalgic for the late 1990’s because it was a less tumultuous time, and the so-called American dream seemed more attainable (I’m living proof of that). But my kids’ generation, is much different, and a lot of that is the by-product of historical events that have taken place in our world during their birth. Oftentimes, I lecture my kids about why history is so important, and this is the reason. How can we put ourselves in someone else’s shoes without knowing the experiences and events (AKA history) that have impacted their lives? As far as Contesse goes, I mentioned above that she was actually a personification of everything that I hold dear, every value, every slight to any person that might look, see, hear, or act differently. Some of that comes from having an autistic son and watching his struggle against intolerance. But, a lot of my value system comes from my 90 year old father. He loves history. He was drafted at the tail end of WWII, and he was a blue-collar worker that would give his last nickel to a person that truly needed it. He inspired me to do unto others in a rather Zen-like fashion, and for his age, that’s almost unheard of. I’ve been fortunate to hear his stories over the years, and I oftentimes think of him when reading about Contesse Blanchefort’s adoptive father, Edouard. When Edouard dies in Pure of Heart, I cry every time. He is my father.If one day, you woke up in old France, what is the first thing you would do?
It depends. What "old France" are you talking about? Revolutionary France, ancien régime? Honestly, I’m not sure I’d want to wake up in this period. If I woke up in Paris, for example, I’d find myself embroiled deep in the revolutionary cause--maybe not the Jacobins, but I surely wouldn’t stand idly by while the monarchy starved their people. Rural France was just as tumultuous. During this time, France still operated in a semi-feudal state. I wouldn’t have been one of the upper-class daughters… I probably would have been one of the peasants, and life for the rural folk with the grain shortages and rebels storming the fields was just as dangerous as storming the Bastille. Now, ask me where I’d go in modern day France…What is the worst thing that's ever happened to you in your writing career and how did you overcome it?
This question is rather difficult to answer--emotionally. But, the worst thing I could have done was sign a contract for my first two books with a traditional publisher. I was honored to have been signed, and at the time, the company I went with seemed like a good choice. However, my experience with them was horrible. Without going into too much detail, I learned the hard way that everything they did for me, I can do myself, in a timely manner. I’m an amateur photographer and graphic artist (I say that loosely because I don’t sell my photographs, but I’ve won contests), so I create my own covers. I learned how to format eBooks for publication. The good thing that came from my traditional publishing experience was I found a great editor. I was already marketing myself. When I got my rights back for both my novels and published them myself, I was pleasantly surprised to see my book sales go up ten fold. I’m not where I want to be as far as sales go, but I’ve only been at this for three years. It’s farther than I thought I’d be. At this point, I’m not sure I would ever accept another contract from a publisher, even one of the big five. That one experience pretty much ruined traditional publishing for me.Who is one writer, deceased or alive, that you would love to have a coffee and chat with?
Dan Brown. I know he isn’t a romance novelist. But I love his writing style. And, of course, he delves into history with fervor. George R.R. Martin is a close second. Yes, he’s fantasy, and I rarely read that genre. But his world building and character development are amazing. Maybe over coffee, I could offer to ghost write the rest of the Fire and Ice series for him… I’d love to play “God” with Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen!Would you rather have a head bursting with amazing stories but never be published? Or be a published author with average stories that don't really stand out?
Can’t I have both? At the moment, I have five stories in my head (or actually, ideas on paper) that haven’t been written, and I have four novels written that need to be edited for publication. Writer’s block has never been a big issue for me. But, I’m not interested in putting out seven books a year. My max is three, and even that was too much. From start to finish, it takes me about 15 months to write, re-write, edit, CP, create, market, etc. a novel. I have so many ideas for books, and I’d love to write in other genres as well. But I won’t give up quality for quantity--ever.
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