The Hippo


Oct 16, 2019








Jennifer Vaughn. Courtesy photo.

Author events

Barnes & Noble, 1741 S. Willow St., Manchester: Saturday, July 16, from 1 to 3 p.m.
Water Street Bookstore, 125 Water St., Exeter: Friday, July 22, at 7:30 p.m.
Barnes & Noble, 235 DW Highway, Nashua: Saturday, July 23, from 1 to 3 p.m.
Toadstool Bookshop, 614 Nashua St., Milford: Saturday, Aug. 27, from 1 to 2 p.m.
Gibson’s Bookstore, 45 S. Main St., Concord: Saturday, Sept. 24, from 3 to 4 p.m.

Controlling the story
WMUR news anchor on new book, Throw Away Girls

By Kelly Sennott

 You probably know Jennifer Vaughn from her day job as a WMUR news anchor, but by night she’s a novelist, and her most recent project, Throw Away Girls, hits shelves July 15.

The book follows ambitious L.A. reporter Jaycee Wilder, who’s looking to take her TV news career to the next level — so when dead girls begin piling up at seedy nightclubs, she becomes involved with the investigation, aligning herself with the police force. She suspects it’s a serial killer at work, but as it turns out, the murderer is actually a lot closer to her than she could have predicted.
Vaughn hopes Throw Away Girls becomes part of  a Jaycee Wilder series; at the time of her phone interview, she was wrapping up the second, tentatively called Legacy Girls, which is set to be released next year. 
Her journalism career inspired both stories.
“There have been stories I’ve told in my career — breaking news stories, or stories I’ve had to anchor, where my heart is breaking on the inside, but I can’t show that as a journalist or news anchor because that would be inappropriate or unprofessional,” Vaughn said. “And there are things we see in our job that I can’t talk about in regular circles because it’s just wildly inappropriate or it’s too disturbing, or people just can’t imagine that that would be real. … This gives me an outlet to take all that and then spin it into a story of my own making and tell it in my own way.”
Vaughn researched by consulting with local and L.A. police sources for details on how they approach crimes, giving them scenarios and learning the methodical, step-by-step process of how they flesh out suspects and identify clues. 
It’s not just criminal reporting that’s inspiring her writing; Vaughn has contributed to televised presidential debates and interviewed every sitting president and presidential candidate since 1999, and her first novel, Last Flight Out, published in 2011, is a political drama. So is another book in the works, Echo Valley, which follows a young single mother hairdresser who stumbles into a scandal involving a presidential candidate during a family photo shoot at a New Hampshire apple orchard.
“Quintessential New Hampshire politics,” she said. “Just in doing my own job, and the political exposure we have here in New Hampshire, I could look behind the facades of a campaign and see the individuals ... and see how the inner workings of politics can affect a person’s life.”
She’s spent the past five years writing these stories down between WMUR and family time.
“It’s not as hard as you would expect so long as you’re creative with your time. There’s obviously stuff that has to get done each day. Your kids have to be taken care of. You have to make sure dinners are made and that you get to work on time. When I get to work, I need to be 100-percent present. But what I’ll do in the middle of a crazy day is sit at a computer in the kitchen, the TV on, dog barking, and I’ve got notes on the table,” she said.
One day she might whip through three chapters, and other times, she might not write at all. There’s no financial incentive — all Last Flight Out sale proceeds were distributed to New Hampshire organizations, and she’s currently looking for more charities to donate to — and as such, she feels no pressure, which makes all the difference.
As a journalist, she’s the conveyor of information. This time, she’s the one in control, which is satisfying and doesn’t feel like work in the same way reporting does.
“My career has showed me that unimaginable darkness lives inside of people, [which] can lead to pretty intense storylines. … But when I’m working in a news environment, I’m really just the go-between. ... I have zero control over this. This is an interesting departure from that. I can control all the elements. I can make the climb as grisly as I want, and I can make the heroine as brave or as loaded with faults as need be,” Vaughn said. 

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