“Jessie is a friend. Yeah, I know he’s been a good friend of mine. But lately somethings changed, it aint hard to define. Jessie’s got himself a girl and I want to make her mine…”
Where does your novel take place? Why did you choose that location? Have you ever been there?
Jesse’s Girl is set in Ohio, about seventy miles northeast of Columbus. Choosing that location was an easy decision. There is something about Ohio that screams old-fashioned goodness to me.
I didn’t come by that idealism lightly, for I lived in Newark, Ohio back in the mid-Eighties, and I have wonderful memories of life in Ohio. I created Skitter Lake based on those memories: driving along Buckeye Lake, the hot, moist summers when the sun sheens over the trees and you can smell roses on the air as you walk through your neighborhood. Newark isn’t as small as Skitter Lake, but that neighborly caring comes through just the same.
As soon as I chose Ohio and started creating Skitter Lake, I knew I had the right place for Tim and Dorothy. And Jesse, because I also needed a place close enough to a big city like Columbus, that it would lure him there during high school when he was at his wildest and had access to a car. Setting the story in 1965 also gave me that time of tainted innocence. We had just come out of the overly naïve Fifties and the later Sixties drug culture was gearing up. For my story, I needed a segue between both.
What is your favorite childhood TV show and what do you remember fondly about it?
From a very young age I was fascinated by horror. I loved being scared, shocked, hiding my eyes with my hands and then peeking through my fingers. I’ve seen my share of scary films, and then some. When I was in grade school, my older brother would sneak me downstairs on Saturday night to watch Chiller Theater on TV.
Mostly B-rated movies, the worst of the worst. I loved them all.
But my favorite above anything was The Twilight Zone. It even surpassed my lust for shows like The Monkees, which of course most girl teens swooned over during the mid-to-late Sixties. That show couldn’t take the place of The Twilight Zone. I never missed an episode, and actually got shivers whenever I heard Rod Serling’s voice. To this day, his voice can still make me shiver. But, you know, they’re good shivers. I’m also an oddity who welcomes nightmares. That’s a whole other blog subject, better believe it!
A shiver for you, Char…
“You unlock this door with the key of imagination. Beyond it is another dimension. A dimension of sound. A dimension of sight. A dimension of mind. You’re moving into a land of both shadow, and substance of things and ideas. You’ve just crossed over into…
The Twilight Zone!”
Fine print: Intro for the original broadcast of The Twilight Zone in 1959. This is for an academic presentation only all copyright remains with original holder.
Click below for original video:
Find my favorite episode at TV.com…”The Eye of the Beholder”
Char, I am right with you on the love of being scared by movies, books, and TV!
What was one of your favorite songs/bands in high school?
I don’t even have to think twice about it. I still have all their albums (on vinyl), bought with my carefully-hoarded allowance as each one hit the record store. There isn’t a Beatles song I don’t know by heart. Every guitar riff, each downbeat, the roll of Ringo’s drum, the throb of Paul’s voice. I can tell when it’s the original recording or a remake even if the difference is nothing more than the addition of another guitar or a tambourine. I have favorite songs from years of living through and loving the progression of rock ‘n roll. From 1955 to 1995, there are so many crammed into my head, it’s scary. Of course they’re not all by the Fab Four. But my ‘go-to’ band will always be my very first boyfriends, the guys I fell in love with when I was just ten years old.
Love the Beatles, I grew up with them playing all the time. My husband continues with the tradition.
If you had one do-over in your life, what would it be?
Honestly, I can’t think of one. I say that because every single thing that’s happened to me in fifty-nine years of living has brought me all that I have. Changing one thing could have altered so many others. I would never want to take that chance. Over the years I have had moments of thinking, “If I had only done (insert event) differently, then (insert result) would have happened.” But that’s not really true. Variables affect everything. And small variables can make big differences that you can’t always see up front.
Oh, I have a few but that would take a long post to even scratch the surface!
What is your favorite decade and why?
That’s a tough one. My past is wrapped up in specific moments and those moments occurred over the span of fifty years of what resonated with me the strongest: family, music, fashion and movies. I was a little kid of the mid-Fifties, a girl of the Sixties, a young woman of the Seventies, the mother of a young girl—also wrapped up in music, fashion, and movies—of the Eighties. Each decade gave me pieces of myself, but I would have to say the decade that gave me the most . . . was all of them.
I am definitely an 80’s girl.
Char talks about her new novel, Jesse’s Girl:
In 1965, Tim O’Malley returns to his home town of Skitter Lake, Ohio, to clear his name and get the girl: Dorothy Whitaker, the love of his life since eighth grade. Blamed for a destructive fire he didn’t set, only Tim and Dorothy know the truth; that Jesse Prescott, Tim’s best friend and Dorothy’s boyfriend, did the deed that changed an entire town. But Jesse died in that tragedy and seven years later, Skitter Lake still honors him as a hero, rather than Tim, the boy from the seedy side of town whose father was a drunk . . . and whose quick actions saved six people from perishing in that horrendous fire. In trying to set the record straight and finally claim Dorothy as his own, Tim—and Dorothy, too—will discover that in some small towns the legend often outweighs the truth . . . and their family and friends will forever see Dorothy as “Jesse’s girl.”
Buy from Amazon
I highly recommend this book, and you can get it for the low price of $2.99.
My review of Jesse’s girl:
I sat down one evening, planning to read a chapter or two of Jesse’s Girl before bed, expecting a sweet romance I could read when time allowed. I didn’t get it. What I found was a book I couldn’t put down, and fatigue the next day from loss of sleep. But it was well worth the dark circles under my eyes.
Jesse’s Girl was a real treat. A sweet romance full of passion between the hero and heroine. I immediately fell in love with both characters. They are both tortured in their own way from past and present events, and this commonality both brings them together and pushes them apart. They are written deeply and fully realized to the point that the reader feels as though they know them personally.
The novel is set in the sixties in a small town, and Char Chaffin has captured the essence of small town America beautifully; the good and the bad aspects of it. I highly recommend this to all. I have not read anything else by Char, but plan to read her other novels and anything she writes in the future.
Book Trailer for Jesse’s Girl:
Char Chaffin writes mainstream and contemporary romance filled with family, rich characters and engaging plots. For her, it all comes back to the love. From crafting Victorian-style poetry to writing short stories and novellas, Char finally settled on romance novels as her true passion. Over the years she worked a variety of jobs, from farm hand to costume designer to fiscal accountant, before deciding a writing career was her desired focus.
In addition to writing, Char is also an Acquisitions Editor for Soul Mate Publishing. A displaced Alaskan, Char currently divides her time between Fairbanks, Alaska and an Upstate NY, sixty-acre farm with husband Don. Their extended family is scattered all over the Lower Forty-Eight and Alaska. When she’s not pounding away at her keyboard, sneaking away to the Last Frontier or burying her nose in books and her beloved Kindle, she edits manuscripts and helps Don maintain their farm.
Thank you so much Char for being here today. It has been wonderful getting to know you a bit more.
Please take a moment and leave a comment or question for Char…she’s really nice.