Jones, Veda Boyd 1948–
Jones, Veda Boyd 1948–
PERSONAL: Born November 30, 1948, in Sulphur Springs, AR; daughter of Raymond E. (a clerk) and Dorothy (a volunteer) Boyd; married Jimmie L. Jones (an architect), November 15, 1975; children: Landon, Morgan, Marshall. Ethnicity: "White." Education: Crowder College, A.A., 1968; Pittsburgh State University, Pittsburgh, KS, B.A., 1970; University of Arkansas, M.A., 1974; Missouri Southern State College, teaching certificate, 1976. Hobbies and other interests: Sailing.
ADDRESSES: Home—Joplin, MO. E-mail—[email protected]
CAREER: Blue Cross, Blue Shield of Oklahoma, Tulsa, assistant manager of actuarial services, 1973–75; freelance writer, 1982–; Crowder College, Neosho, MO, instructor, 1993; Institute of Children's Literature, instructor, 1993–. Joplin Public Library, board member, 1999–, president, 2005–.
MEMBER: Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, American Society of Journalists and Authors, American Association of University Women (president of Joplin chapter, 1987–89), Ozark Writers League, Missouri Writers' Guild (president, 2001–03).
AWARDS, HONORS: Winner of Writer's Digest writing competition, articles division, 1993, for "Naturalist Rachel Carson"; numerous awards from Missouri Writers' Guild, including awards for best children's fiction, 1993, best adult fiction, 1993, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2001, best magazine article, 1996, 2001, best historical article, 1997, best romance novel, 1997, 1998, and best children's book, 2005; readers' poll winner, best contemporary romance, Heartsong Presents, 1995, for Callie's Mountain.
Bible Story Coloring Book, Barbour (Ulrichsville, OH), 1996.
Adventure in the Wilderness, illustrated by Adam Wallenta, Barbour (Ulrichsville, OH), 1997.
Cincinnati Epidemic, Barbour (Ulrichsville, OH), 1997.
The New Citizen, Barbour (Ulrichsville, OH), 1998.
Tara Lipinski, Chelsea House (Philadelphia, PA), 1998.
Coming Home, illustrated by Adam Wallenta, Barbour (Ulrichsville, OH), 1999.
Caves, illustrated by Ryan Durney, Seedling, 1999.
Government and Politics, Chelsea House (Philadelphia, PA), 1999.
Nicole Bobek, Chelsea House (Philadelphia, PA), 1999.
Selena ("They Died Too Young" series) Chelsea House (Philadelphia, PA), 2000.
Alexander Hamilton: First Secretary of the Treasury, Chelsea House (Philadelphia, PA), 2000.
Ewan MacGregor, Chelsea House (Philadelphia, PA), 2000.
The Senate, Chelsea House (Philadelphia, PA), 2000.
Selena ("Latinos in the Limelight" series), Chelsea House (Philadelphia, PA), 2001.
Ernest Hemingway, Chelsea House (Philadelphia, PA), 2001.
Samuel Adams, Chelsea House (Philadelphia, PA), 2001.
George W. Bush, Chelsea House (Philadelphia, PA), 2003.
Condoleezza Rice, Wright Group (Chicago, IL), 2004.
Abraham Lincoln, Wright Group (Chicago, IL), 2005.
Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Wright Group (Chicago, IL), 2005.
Sandra Day O'Connor, Wright Group (Chicago, IL), 2005.
Patrick Henry, Wright Group (Chicago, IL), 2005.
Langston Hughes, Lerner Books (Minneapolis, MN), 2005.
Thurgood Marshall, Wright Group (Chicago, IL), 2006.
Sacagawea, Wright Group (Chicago, IL), 2006.
John F. Kennedy, Children's Press (Danbury, CT), 2006.
Jones and Jones, Investigations: The Case of the Missing Shoe, Wendy Pye (Auckland, New Zealand), 2007.
Jones and Jones, Investigations: The Case of the Missing Clicker, Wendy Pye (Auckland, New Zealand), 2007.
Math Symbols, Celebration Press (Parsippany, NJ), 2007.
Immigration, Pearson Education (Parsippany, NJ), 2007.
Contributor of short stories and articles to magazines, including Cricket, Highlights for Children, and Humpty Dumpty.
JUVENILE FICTION; "SISTERS IN TIME" SERIES
Betsy's River Adventures, Barbour (Ulrichsville, OH), 2004.
Emma's Secret, Barbour (Ulrichsville, OH), 2005.
Maureen the Detective, Barbour (Ulrichsville, OH), 2005.
Laura's Victory, Barbour (Ulrichsville, OH), 2006.
Nellie the Brave, Barbour (Ulrichsville, OH), 2006.
April's Autumn, Avalon (New York, NY), 1991.
Gentle Persuasion, Heartsong Presents (Ulrichsville, OH), 1993.
Under a Texas Sky, Heartsong Presents (Ulrichsville, OH), 1993.
The Governor's Daughter, Heartsong Presents (Ulrichsville, OH), 1993.
A Sign of Love, Heartsong Presents (Ulrichsville, OH), 1994.
Callie's Mountain, Heartsong Presents (Ulrichsville, OH), 1995.
Callie's Challenge, Heartsong Presents (Ulrichsville, OH), 1996.
A Question of Balance, Heartsong Presents (Ulrichsville, OH), 1997.
A Sense of Place, Heartsong Presents (Ulrichsville, OH), 1998.
Novellas represented in anthologies, including Christmas Treasures, Barbour, 1996; Summer Dreams, Barbour, 1997; Christmas Dreams: Four New Love Stories from Christmas Present, Barbour, 1997; I Do: A Romantic Collection of Inspirational Novellas, Barbour, 1998; and Gift of Love, Barbour, 2000. Contributor of short stories and articles to magazines, including Writer, Writer's Digest, and Woman's World.
SIDELIGHTS: Veda Boyd Jones once told CA: "I was born in Arkansas and spent the first nine years of my life in a town of 466 people, mostly relatives. Although my family moved to a metropolis (Neosho, a town of almost 10,000) in Missouri when I was in the fourth grade, I returned to Arkansas for graduate school at the University of Arkansas, where my father had attended school. I can call those hogs with the best of them, and now it's actually fashionable to say 'y'all' and know what it means.
"I never consciously intended to be a writer, although I edited the school paper in high school and at the junior college I attended. It was a decade later when I decided to write and submit my work for publication. After I had read some romance novels and said, 'I can do better than that,' my life as a writer began.
"I learned that it wasn't as easy to write a romance as it looked. But I was determined, and I loved creating characters and manipulating them. I wrote five contemporary romance manuscripts before one sold. So, I'm a firm believer in the adage that 'writing is ten percent inspiration and ninety percent perspiration.'
"While I was in the midst of writing about falling in love, my three sons, Landon, Morgan, and Marshall, asked me to write something for them. I took time to write a story not only for them, but starring them. It sold to Cricket magazine, and I was immediately bitten by the children's writing bug.
"Most of my fiction writing for children comes directly from my sons' experiences. Sometimes my own smalltown upbringing sneaks into my writing—big porches, long summer days, lightning bugs, five-cent bottles of pop. I use my emotional experiences, too—the tears from falling off a bike twelve times before victoriously riding four feet, the joy of catching snowflakes on my tongue, and the fascination of watching a snake slither into the pond.
"When writing nonfiction, I use the research skills I was taught in college, and I've learned that the reference librarian is a writer's best friend. I don't settle for finding a fact in one source. I keep digging until I find other facts to substantiate it. When writing biographies, I like to immerse myself in the subject's world until I know his reasons for making the choices he made in his life.
"If we met in a crowded room you would remember me, simply because I'm short, almost four-foot nine. Standing out in a crowd isn't always a good thing, especially for an adolescent who's trying to blend into the group, but I've found its good points. I never had to worry that my dates would be shorter than I. And I've learned to talk easily with strangers so they will help me with items on the top shelves of grocery stores. Of course, my boys used me as a measuring stick until they all passed me, which was usually in their fourth-grade years.
"My husband, who's almost six feet tall, is an architect. We have always gotten along well except for the summer we built the new room onto our house. He thought I should anticipate his needs: he's holding a hammer, I should hand him nails; he's lifting one end of the board, I should pick up the other end. Of course, I didn't. His dream is to someday design and build us a house. I'm all for it (I want my dream library/study), but we have an agreement. All I will do is carry him a cold drink from time to time. He'll get someone else to be his assistant."
More recently Boyd added: "For years I wrote on a computer in the family room, right next to the pool table and the fireplace and close to the kitchen refrigerator. My dream library/study would rival that of Professor Higgins of My Fair Lady. For now I'm settling for an upstairs bedroom, freshly painted and with new bookshelves, which I call my office. My L-shaped work station puts me facing the corner when I work at the computer, but looking out on the street or the back yard through large windows when I'm in the think-phase of writing.
"My writing career has been enriched by my association with other writers I've met at conferences and at children's literature festivals. Only other writers can empathize with the ups and downs of this crazy writing business. Although deadlines can sometimes be overwhelming, I love writing. I can't imagine a more satisfying life."
Boyd also stated: "I've learned that 'voice,' that illusive quality that makes writing stand out, is critical to good writing and much more important than some of the where-does-the-comma-go technical items that sometimes take too much of my focus.
"I heard for years that a writer should write what she knows, and as a nonfiction writer, I discount that because research can teach a great deal. But as a fiction writer, I agree. When a writer incorporates personal emotions and personal experiences, the writing becomes richer and more textured with layers of meaning. The last few years have been filled with personal challenges. My husband, a Vietnam vet, has had three different types of cancer and survived them all. My wonderful dad died of Alzheimer's, and my nephew jumped off a bridge to his death. I can write more knowingly about cancer, Alzheimer's, and suicide because I've lived close to these events. I can give my characters more depth because I know more of anguish, confusion, anger, and despair.
"I have always been dismayed when teachers of literature ask students, 'What did the writer mean?' Only the writer can tell someone what she meant. What readers take away from fiction is how the writing and the story and characters affect them. That's the value of a good book. It is not what the writer meant, it's what the reader takes away."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Veda Boyd Jones Home Page, http://www.vedaboydjones.com (February 9, 2007).