I’m so excited for today’s author interview with Jaycee Weaver. Jaycee is one of my critique partners and I just love her stories and her heart. So this is going to be a great conversation. Grab a cup of tea (or coffee) and chat with us!
Toni: Welcome, Jaycee! I can’t wait to talk about your novel Whatever Happens Next. It’s probably my favorite in the Everyday Love series. So my first question for you, is how does it feel to end a series?
Jaycee: Well, I guess while technically it’s the end of the series, I don’t think it’s really a true end in the traditional sense. I may not have any more Everyday Love books, but I do plan to continue setting all of my future books in the same universe, so to speak. I can pretty much guarantee you’ll see familiar faces pop up from time to time everywhere you look. So I guess it feels more like a transition than an ending, if that makes sense.
Toni: That makes perfect sense! So glad we’ll see them popup in future books. 🙂 Now, some people might believe that contemporary novels don’t require as much research as historical? So tell us a little about your research process for this novel.
Jaycee: Ha ha! I guess I can see the validity of that theory to a point, but I think it’s more that people expect historical novels to be completely accurate while contemporary tales have more freedom to fudge things. But there are some things you just can’t fudge, like Dyson being in the Air Force. Getting the details of where he’d been, where he might go, and where he was from required a whole lot more research than I usually prefer to do.
My parents lived in Altus, OK for several years, so when Dyson presented himself to me as an Oklahoma boy, I knew just where in the state he was from. I used my memories and consulted my family for details in those scenes and filled in the details with help from the internet when needed.
When it came to Air Force jobs and military life, I’m blessed to have several dear friends (you especially, Toni!) who were able to answer my gazillion questions and correct false assumptions. The internet is helpful for a lot of things, but no technology can replace real, human experience!
Toni: And it was so fun to help! If Whatever Happens Next was turned into a film, who would you cast to play Jenna and Dyson?
Jaycee: This question always makes me laugh, because if I’m honest, I never actually picture celebrities playing book characters. Even when I read, they’re kind of blank faces just telling me their stories. I spend far too many hours scouring obscure celebrity images on Pinterest because I know there are readers who DO want to know that sort of thing, but it’s always an afterthought. I don’t even know the names of the faces I stuck in my WHN board (grimace, I know!).
Toni: Lol, that’s awesome you don’t even know what they look like. What Bible verse is at the heart of your story and why?
Jaycee: There are a lot of different passages that inspired parts of Jenna and Dyson’s story, but if I had to choose a verse at the core, it’s probably the same central verse as What Could Be (fitting, as the first and last book in the series)—Proverbs 16:9 (NLT). “We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps.” It’s human nature to think we can control our lives, but ultimately, everything in creation belongs to Him. Sure, there’s free will, but He’s never surprised by our choices. He’s always there, ready with plans B, C, and D to guide us back to His path when we finally acknowledge our need to give up control to the One who had it all along.
Another would be the repetition of Jesus’ words, “Whoever has ears, let them hear” (Matt. 4:23, 11:15, 13:9, Mark 4:9 NIV). So often we get caught up in going our own way, living life and listening to the noises and voices all around us that it becomes hard to hear the voice of our Shepherd. But no voice is more important that the still, small one He places inside us via the Holy Spirit. We have to be willing to take time away from the noise to listen to Him and really hear what He has to say.
Toni: Love that! Great verses to imprint upon our hearts. Now let’s talk a little about yourself. What’s your writing process like? How long does it take you to write a novel from start to finish?
Jaycee: Oh, man, ha ha! I am the least routine person I know. Erratic is probably a good word for my writing process. I’ll get into a spurt of writing nonstop for a few days, then I’m burned out for a week. Then I’ll write here and there again until the next burst hits or I feel the crunch of a looming deadline. And every book has been different. Some novels take the better part of a year, some a few months. WHN took less time than the other three, mostly because they spoke loudly and kept pestering me until I got things nailed down.
COVID quarantine has actually been kind of a blessing because it’s forced me to stick to a routine. While my husband and the kids are doing their own work during the day, I can hole up in my office and have several hours of mostly uninterrupted writing time. I’ll get ready for the day, read my Word over breakfast, critique for my partners over coffee, and then I’m ready to dive into writing (with more coffee) until it’s time to make dinner, then family time and fall asleep reading. Sometimes I’ll get in a really good groove and write until one in the morning, but that’s rare.
Ton: Awesome! Do you prefer coffee or tea? Spring or fall? Beaches or mountains?
Jaycee: I like both, but coffee owns my heart. I have a whole Pinterest board dedicated to my love of coffee if that tells you anything.
Spring AND fall, thank you very much, but really, I enjoy all four seasons in their time and look forward to the next (though I do get sick of winter after about a month).
And I can’t choose beach or mountains. If you haven’t sensed a trend, I am not an either/or girl, I am 100% a both/and girl. Optimally, my house in heaven will be beachfront with a mountain view.
Toni: That would be a fantastic view! Last but not least, what’s next in your writing journey?
Jaycee: I have no ideas for novels right now, but that doesn’t mean I won’t get one at any time. For now, the only plans I have are novellas (like crazy). I’m working toward three different Christmas sets this year and I have two in the Grace Springs novella series that I’m hoping to get finished—Refined and Deserted—both with the same journal-like, intense-imagery style as Adrift. And I’m dying to do another fairy tale or two, but we’ll see.
Toni: Yay for more books!! Readers, do you have any questions for Jaycee?
About the Book
Growing up in nowhere Oklahoma gave US Air Force vehicle maintainer TSgt Dyson what his momma calls itchy feet. His wanderlust has kept him from romantic entanglements for years, until the day an over-dramatic, strawberry-scented chatterbox slams into him and turns his world upside down.
Jenna Davis was a quintessential good girl, deeply rooted in her family and faith until one mistake three years ago changed everything. Unable to admit her failure, she goes through the motions watching everyone else live their dreams. But it’s hard to find her purpose when opening up to anyone—even God—feels impossible. Then she meets Dyson, who personifies the strong, silent type.
Dyson gets her to open up and begin dreaming again, rebuilding the trust she’s lost in men and especially in herself. But Dyson has something important to tell Jenna, and he knows it’ll be the end of everything they’ve built. After all, how can he ask her to leave everything and everyone behind when he can never stay?
The Everyday Love Series is a contemporary romance series set in Albuquerque, featuring ordinary people in lifelike stories that inspire, uplift, and share hope. Stories in which a very real God shows Himself in everyday ways to carry His people through any circumstance.
Other Books in the Series
About the Author
Jaycee Weaver lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico, with her amazing husband, three daughters, a crazy shih-tzu, and a dwarf rabbit. When she’s not writing, she’s probably in hot pursuit of her 90 million other hobbies or shuttling the kids around. Jaycee loves to read books in multiple genres, drink too much coffee (honestly, when are they going to make the coffee IV a real thing?!), sing, take landscape and floral photos, sew, cook, bake, and craft nearly anything. She considers herself a recovering perfectionist and sometimes hot mess. She does her best to live her faith in action, being open, honest, and real; letting God be Lord over the good, the bad, and the ugly even when it’s hard.