JacQueline Vaughn Roe ’02

Author and Author Coach in Owens Cross Road, AL

Bachelor of Arts in Christian Theatre

Please describe your position and what you enjoy most about it.

I currently write young adult fairy tale retellings, weaving Christian faith into the narrative as the characters grapple with their struggles. I also help editors and authors with their businesses; providing coaching, social media management, and self-publishing services.

What aspects of your HLGU experience helped you prepare for your career?

As my degree centered around theatre (and specifically how to use theatre as a tool for evangelism and discipleship) it’s no surprise that my love of storytelling has grown beyond script-writing and performance. My theatre training helped develop a love of character-driven stories. HLGU’s Christian studies gave my stories the foundation in the Bible to always bring the reader back to the understanding that God is good and has a greater plan than we can fathom.

What have you enjoyed most about your career?

Though writing seems a solitary career, I love the interactions I have each week with readers and other writers. Through newsletters, social media, in-person events, and online meetings I have been able to find opportunities to share my love of books and my faith. Best of all? I am raising three voracious book nerds here at home and we have our own “unofficial book club”. Discussing books together has given us a language to discuss challenges they are facing and what temptations they might be scared to talk about.

Have you or are you currently continuing your education? If so, please list the institution(s) and degree(s) you earned or are working toward.

Though not through any institution, I was encouraged to ALWAYS be reading and studying. So, I am working my way through my own DIY MFA. Each year I am studying stacks of books on the craft of writing, marketing, and best business practices for entrepreneurs, as well as the Bible and how to grow in my faith.

How did HLGU shape you as a person?

As I said, the professors instilled a love of learning beyond the classroom (or onstage). They also emphasized the need to look beyond the monetary value of work and toward the eternal impact that each person’s life can make. I have been grateful for these lessons. I also made life-long friendships that have stayed with me despite how far we live from one another. They have encouraged and exhorted me to make the most of the life God has given me. These friends have seen me through triumphs and tragedies. I don’t want to imagine what my life would have been like had I not gone to HLGU.

What professional accomplishment are you most proud of?

I am thrilled to be completing the last two books in The Journey series, a retelling of Rapunzel. The series has been a challenge and has taught me how to use stories to bring faith to life for bookworms who like to live their adventures between the pages of a book. I am about to start recording my audiobooks of the series, which will marry what I loved in theatre with what I love about books.

What HLGU professors played a part in your success? How did your relationship with faculty help you succeed?

Kimberly Weast was a huge part of my success. Though when I began at HLGU I was NOT a good actress, I was given wonderful direction that helped me find my way as a storyteller on and off the stage. I learned what makes a character interesting, what makes a story compelling, and how to engage an audience so that they won’t want to look away. She taught me how to be honest and real, which has made all the difference as I’ve taken what I learned for the stage to the page.

Do you have any tips to share with students interested in this field?

Read, read, READ! Devour books and books about books if you want to be a writer. If you begin to lose your love of reading while you are studying at school, pick up something fun and addictive. Perhaps try a different format, like audiobooks or maybe a graphic novel, you’ve never tried before.

Write and write some more, but don’t judge yourself too harshly. As you learn what you love about writing and the art of storytelling, remember you are learning. Your first draft (likely) will not be as polished as your favorite book. Don’t give up. Keep writing, get feedback, revise, edit, and keep writing.

Visit JacQueline’s Website