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May 1945, Grand Peak Internment Camp, Wyoming
As Hana Kato hurried to wrap the framed family picture in one of Papa’s plain white hankies, she held the fabric to her nose to make sure it didn’t smell of bluing. Papa hated that. He was safe—only the fragrance of Mama’s special soap remained. A minor detail, but the little things would mean so much from now on, because today Papa was going to prison.
Never mind that he was already in a prison of sorts, confined to a 46,000 acre camp surrounded by a barbed wire fence. And never mind that he was an innocent man.
The howling wind grated against her frayed nerves. All night it had persisted, sifting dirt through the small cracks in the family’s barrack cubicle. Any other day her mother would scold her brother, Martin, directing him where to stuff mud in the holes in the floor and walls to keep out the dust. Today it didn’t seem important. Today none of them could even fill the holes in their hearts.
-Excerpt from EMANCIPATED HEART
Let’s get to know Jan Cline, author of EMANCIPATED HEART:
What inspired you to start writing?
I’ve been writing since childhood, it’s in my bones I guess. Non-fiction was my genre of choice, but I started writing fiction on a dare. Once I finished that poorly written novel I was hooked.
How much research, if any, do you do when writing a book?
I spend several months to a year researching. I love that almost as much as writing. I grew up with a father who taught me to love history and I’ve been a researcher ever since.
Where do you get your ideas?
I get my ideas from reading about history – especially as it applies to women. I have a manuscript I plan to dig out of my desk that was inspired by my mother’s WW2 experience. That is what really got me interested in that era – finding her box of WW2 treasures after she passed away.
Do you write fiction, nonfiction, or both?
I write both. Devotionals are my specialty, but fiction is my passion.
Do you use an outline, or do you prefer to write by the seat of your pants?
I use a combination of plotting and pantsing. I find it frustrating to spend too much time outlining, so I do just enough to keep me focused.
Do you work on more than one project at once?
Although I’m usually thinking ahead a bit, I stick to one manuscript at a time. I’m always tempted to dabble, but I know it would be my undoing as a writer!
What’s your favorite writing exercise?
I would say blogging is good for my writing muscles. I also study the writing craft a lot. My library of 35 – 40 how to write books keeps me practicing.
Where do you write?
I do best at home in one of my writing spaces. I have two offices, but only one has a door that shuts off household noise. When I’m needing to dig in and make progress I shut myself away in my closed door room. I surround myself with pictures of my characters and inspiring nic nak antiques.
What does your writing schedule look like?
I’m not disciplined to stay with a schedule. That is something I plan to work on for 2016. I have worked out a publishing calendar to give myself deadlines. For the most part, I like to write in the mornings, provided my semi-retired husband doesn’t bug me too much!
Are you traditionally published, indie published, or a hybrid author?
Some of my non-fiction is traditionally published. I plan to be an Indie fiction author unless I’m “discovered” and feel led to go with a publishing house. It was a tough decision to go Indie, and I guess I’ll see if I can meet the challenge this year.
How important are book covers to you, as both an author and a reader?
Very important. I love, love to look at covers when I browse at the bookstores. The cover done by Lynnette Bonner for Emancipated Heart turned out better than I dreamed. I like covers to represent what’s inside, and as a reader, they have to look professional before I will buy it.
How do you market your books?
I have found that this is a lot of work! I got some advice from a publicist friend who told me that face to face is best, meaning radio/TV interviews and speaking gigs. But those are hard to come by for an unknown author. I rely on my friends and family to talk up my books, and then finding bloggers and reviewers is very important too. I think some book signings will be in the plan as well.
Be sure to catch part 2 of my interview with Jan tomorrow, Tuesday, March 29, 2016.
Where to find Jan:
Where to find EMANCIPATED HEART: