Jocelyn A Dorgan was born in Princeton, New Jersey in 1962 and raised in nearby Hamilton Square. From a very early age, she was aware of social issues as her parents were both activists. Heavily involved in civil rights, some of Jocelyn’s fondest memories were of her father, early on a Saturday morning, donning his “marching boots”—as she dubbed them—in preparation for yet another march on Washington, DC. A few years later, books about Women’s Liberation began filling the shelves at home as her mother became involved in the fight for women’s equality. Names such as Gloria Steinem, Shirley Chisholm, and Betty Friedan were as familiar to Jocelyn as were Archie Bunker and Paul McCartney.
The many bookcases around her house provided great adventure, mystery, knowledge, and excitement beginning as early as she can remember. No day was complete without hours spent visiting the other places and time periods she found on those shelves. One of her greatest literary heroes was Louisa May Alcott, and visions of following in the footsteps of “Jo” took hold. Since the 1960s and 1970s predated the technology boom, a simple pile of leaves in the fall afforded hours of play. On rainy days inside, a bed became a boat sailing to faraway lands. With neighborhood kids, riding bikes along wooded trails, roller skating to the local candy store, or writing skits to entertain each other was what life before technology looked like.
Summers were spent in rural North Brookfield, Massachusetts with her beloved great-aunt and great-uncle who had remained on the family farm built in 1840. With fields and woods to explore, a barn that held countless memories, and an attic filled with family secrets, it was paradise for an imaginative young girl.
After graduating from Randolph-Macon Woman’s College in Virginia, Jocelyn began working in radio and then for a newspaper. It was at the latter where she met her husband. They settled in central New Jersey, not far from where she grew up, and life became a whirlwind of raising her two children and adopting countless pets. She joined her husband’s air freight forwarding company, but her lifelong love of living in the imaginary worlds she created in her head demanded that she finally put pen to paper—or fingers to keyboard.
With her memories of the time spent in North Brookfield, the setting for Etched in Shadow Hill Cemetery seemed obvious. Working with her childhood friend from those magical summers, Sandy Fairbanks, they created a coming-of-age tale set in the 1970s that speaks to anyone who knows the strength of the bond with a best friend.
Jocelyn is still living in New Jersey with her husband, three dogs, one cat, and occasionally one of her two grown children. Her upbringing of activism continues to show in her work for animal rights. When she isn’t outlining new stories, she dabbles in vegan cooking in an attempt to wow her friends and family.
I have always had a fondness for reading about strongly developed characters in realistic situations. I am particularly drawn to stories about female friendships, probably because I have been fortunate enough to have some wonderfully enduring friendships with some amazing women. Consequently, when I finally decided to pursue my lifelong dream of writing a novel, it made sense that I chose to make the bond between two girls the central focus of my first story. It also made sense to collaborate with a friend I first met when I was eleven.