First off I love, love, love this cover!! It doesn't give too much away, but it ties into the book perfectly. Such a beautiful cover just love it!!
I am a BIG character person. I fall in love with them and get attached to them. I always want to know more about the characters. This book was amazing for me in that way. I loved how you get to follow the characters from childhood into adulthood. You get to grow up with Tessa and Shane. I felt a part of their lives which let me totally immerse myself into the story. Saying that, know the story was fast paced, it didn't drag. It is a one reading kind of book, so plan accordingly;)
Shane and Tessa have the kind of love we all wish we had. To still have that magical connection with someone you have known for so long is amazing. Their journey is anything but smooth sailing, which I believe made the story all that more relateable. Everyone will be able to relate to the characters at one point or another as you follow them on their journey. With all this Long Way Home made me believe in true love and amazing friendship.
This book will hook you from the beginning. I was laughing and crying, I was angry, and I one point I just wanted to hug Shane. Overall this is an amazing debut by author Ann Vaughn. Make sure you check it out!
Meet Author Ann Vaughn
First, thank you so much for featuring me on your blog! I really appreciate it! I am a Native Texan now living in Oklahoma. I am soooo out of my element in Soonerville!!!! That being said, I do enjoy living in Central Oklahoma and actually getting to experience 4 distinct seasons, rather than just Hot, Real Hot and Melt-Down City! I could do without the tornados, though.
What genre do you write, why?
I write Contemporary Romance. One of my early influences was Nora Roberts. I absolutely adore her writing! I've tried my hand at historicals but just found that Contemporary was
where my heart was.
What got you started writing?
I'm the youngest of five kids, and a child of the 80s. I loved to read but access to books back then wasn't as easy as it is now. I mainly relied on my school library and whatever books my friends and I shared between us, mainly the Sweet Valley High books. In the summer when I didn't get to see my friends as often, I began thinking up stories to save me from boredom! When school started, I'd pass my spiral notebook of stories around to my friends and had them hanging on my every chapter...and then I was hooked! I literally have hundreds of spiral notebooks full of my stories (and a very understanding husband who puts up with the boxes and boxes of them). I still pass my stuff around to pretty much the same group of friends (gotta love Facebook and email).
What made you decide to start publishing your work?
A friend introduced me to the wonderful, fantastic works of the talented Kristen Ashley, who, as we all know, is a self-publishing super star. The more I read of her work, the more I loved it. I was talking to my husband about how eReaders have changed the publishing industry so much, how so many of us avid readers are making the switch to Kindles and freeing up
our shelves and closets now that we can carry our entire library with us wherever we go. He asked why I didn't try to self-publish some of my stuff. I looked at him like he was crazy. And then he dared me. He freakin' dared me! We've been married 20 years. We've been
together 24 years. I've known him since Kindergarten. We are competitive to a fault. So, what was a girl to do? I roped in one of my BFF's from my school days to help me polish up one of my stories and the rest is history. I don't think he really thought I would do it.
Guess who got the last laugh!
Who is your favorite author and what is your favorite book?
I have to pick one?!?!?! That's like asking which of my kids is my favorite!!! As mentioned above, I love all things Nora (J.D. Robb included) and I adore Kristen Ashley. My favorite Nora Roberts book would have to be The Heart of Devin MacKade. There's something about Devin that just pulls at my heartstrings. My favorite Kristen Ashley book is harder to
pin down. I haven't read one I DON'T like. Oh, and I also love, love, love all things Jude Deveraux. My all-time favorite book by her is Sweet Liar. I have read it so many times I had to buy three new copies before I got my Kindle because the pages were falling out!
What is your writing style? Do you follow an outline? Or do you just sit down and let the story unfold organically?
A little of both,actually. The characters usually come to me first, the names, what they look like. Then I think about who those people are and what would bring them together. For Long Way Home, I'd actually written a short story for a creative writing class I was taking to fulfill a credit in college, about a volunteer Texas Ranger in the 1800's whose wife died
in childbirth, leaving him to raise his pre-teen daughter. He meets a young lady who eventually steals his heart. Anyway, his name was Gabriel Shane McCanton and he became the Sheriff of Indian Springs, Texas...so one day I sat down with an empty spiral notebook, and began to write a story about Gabe's descendant, Shane Gabriel McCanton. I'd written all the opening scenes with Shane and Tessa meeting in Kindergarten and then plotted out the rest of the story in a rough outline, just so I wouldn't lose my original vision along the way.
Do you ever get inspired by someone you know (or yourself) and write them into a character?
All the time! The scene where Tessa tells Shane
when they are in Kindergarten that they would be married someday when
they were big, was actually inspired by something that happened to my
son on his first day of Kindergarten. A little girl on the playground
told him they were going to get married when they grew up. I thought
that was funny and knew I had to include it in a story someday. My
next book, Finding Home, has several characters inspired by people I
used to work with, and the lead character has the same job I had in my
What do you want everyone to know about Long Way Home?
It was a blast for me to write. I learned so much about the writing and publishing process. My husband and I have known each other since Kindergarten, too, so writing about characters who grew up together was easy and close to my heart, though their story is way more exciting than ours is!
Who is your favorite character from your book and why?
Shane. Because he's a sweetheart. He is the classic good guy with a heart of gold. My heart hurt for him so many times and I hated the way Tessa hurt him but I loved that he was there to pick up the pieces, even after she'd ripped his heart out. I also have a soft spot for Tessa's former boss, Gib.
Do you have a least favorite character?
Paul Helton. Because he was just your classic creep!!!! He felt that women were beneath him and only there for the pleasure of men. I'm also not too fond of Tessa's father, Harrison, for obvious reasons.
If you could change one thing about Long Way Home what would it be and why?
I originally had a lot more detail of what happened to the women in the compound but in the end felt that it was a bit too graphic for a contemporary romance. Living in Central Texas and having a father in law enforcement, I was very interested in the Branch Davidian compound
and what went on inside there. I've seen several documentaries on cults and the cult mentality and that was where the idea for the Naturalists came from. I'd based what went on there on a culmination of reports from several different cults featured in the documentaries
I'd seen. But in the end, I decided that adding all of that would take away from the romance of the book, so I left it out. Looking back, I kinda wish I had left some of it in...maybe I'll include it in a Deleted Scenes feature someday, who knows?
Tell us about the cover art for Long Way Home, how did you come up with it?
I knew I didn't want a classic romance cover. No bodies in bed or anything like that. When I spoke with cover artist Carey Abbott (ebookcoverdesignsbycarey.com)
Anything else you like to tell us?
Being a self-published author is a dream come true for me. Just knowing that there is a story out there of my creation that complete strangers are reading is something I've dreamed of since I was in the 7th grade, writing stories for my friends. I love that eReaders have opened up a whole new world for people who love to read. No more are we relying on what a publisher in an office thinks we will like to read. The reader now has the power to
decide what will be a success and to me, that is the coolest thing in the world!!
How can people find you?