I’m always grateful for new friends gathered during the year, and 2019 has brought me a written friend from Idaho. I’m so looking forward to getting to know her better during the new year, and am delighted to share her new historical novel with readers. Happily, I’ve read this story, and still think about its characters. If you enjoy historical fiction of this era, this book belongs on your reading list!
Jan is offering a free paperback copy of ALL MY GOOD-BYES to one commenter here. Now, she shares with us a little of her family history behind this novel.
I Wish I’d Known
It dawned on me the other day that I was born just 9 years after the end of WW2. This boggles my mind. As I have been researching for my latest release, set in those years, I had it set in my mind that the war was far removed from me. But the more we discover about our pasts, the more we realize how things that happen long ago effect who we are today.
If it had not been for certain circumstances of the war, I would not be here at all. I don’t mean to sound mysterious, okay maybe I do, but legacies were cut short for many of the men and women who fought and died then. World War II changed the course of history for families everywhere.
I had to research to find out how my life came to be, because my parents both were gone by the time I became interested in their stories. I never bothered to prod them about their experiences as they lived through the depression and the war. I took for granted that life had been as smooth as mine. I never realized there were so many secrets unspoken, so many unpleasant memories tucked down deep. By the time I felt the weight of the past calling me to write, it was too late to ask those close to me all the important questions.
This is now a sort of mission for me – to encourage folks to talk to their aging parents and grandparents and even great-grandparents. Some may still not want to explain their experiences, but it doesn’t hurt to ask. Most of them have rich stories that should be written down and passed down to the next generation. How tragic that so many of these stories are being lost as the people of those war years die.
One thing I discovered as I pulled out family photos and documents is that most of them were not marked with names and dates. It would have been so much easier to put the puzzle pieces of my family together if those items had been identified. This is something each family can do when they are together for the holidays – catalog all those pictures of places and people.
As I finished up my historical series, I was so thankful for the treasures of knowledge I had gained. But I long for more. I want my children to know where they came from and the solid, courageous, and honorable heritage they can be proud of. I tell what I know, even when they look bored or roll their eyes.
But I’ve noticed one thing…the little ones are fascinated by the stories I tell.
Like me, my grown children may not be all that interested until it’s too late, but when I’m not around to tell them anymore, my books will be. This is why I must keep writing them. It’s my way to leave the story legacy of the family for the future.
I hope if you haven’t gleaned those experiences from your loved ones that you will take a few minutes to make a plan for the new year. Go through your closets and find the old albums and use them to start conversations with your elders. Or if you are the elder, initiate a reveal of those special memories.
My book All My Goodbyes is based on the life of my mother and I hope the parts I had to guess about are close to accurate. It is a work of fiction but with real life entwined, with a surprise at the end. I hope you will read it to inspire you to uncover your own legacy.
I would love for you to follow me on Facebook at Jan Cline author. Also, you can check out my website and sign up for my monthly newsletter to receive a free short story. Jancline.net
Blessings to your and your family.
I have already started reading book 3! So happy to get the last book of the series!!!
Thanks Tonja! Hope you enjoy it for many reasons! ; )
Sounds like a great read. As a historian with a passion for WWII, I would love to read it 🙂
Hi Julia, So glad to meet another WW2 historian. I hope you get a chance to read the book. Thanks for stopping by.
Sounds like a fabulous book set during my favorite era. We had a dear friend who served in the armored division during WWII and was part of the Battle of the Bulge. He would often tell funny stories about incidents that happened when he was off duty, but he only shared a handful of recollections about the awful times he was in combat. I’m a docent at a WWII museum, and one of my greatest joys is meeting folks from that generation and hearing their stories.
Hi Linda….what a great job! I love hearing the stories that generation have to tell, and I’m grateful for the ones willing to share that part of their life. Thank you for commenting.
Oh Jan, this is the book I’ve always wanted to write. In 1979 when my military husband, our 5 kids and I moved to Augsburg w. Germany for what was to be our last military assignment. There we all became more aware of what had gone on in Germany many years before. My children are now part of the Mixsell Diaspora and I have become passionate about WWII and the people involved. I have been back to Bavaria 3-4 times, the last time spent on the Obersalzberg where we picked out the ruins of the Berghof and saw other Nazi buildings that are still there but not advertised as such. Thank you for writing and giving this to all of us. Happy Holidays
Judy, how wonderful that you experienced a taste of the past that way. It’s so important for our next generation to learn about this. I visited Dachau some years ago and was never the same. I hope my writing makes a difference to someone out there who doesn’t know about what happened to mankind back then. Blessings!
What a blessing to meet Ms. Jan on this post; and to read the story behind her story. My niece has been working to re-write her great grandfather’s (my dad’s grandfather) farm journal. And my 90 year old dad can still tell his great grandchildren about growing up during the depression as a young boy, etc. Blessed memories to capture and learn indeed.
J.D., I love hearing that people are chronicling the stories and lives of our elders. And a farm journal??? My husband farmed for 35 years! It’s a pleasure to meet you and I hope you will encourage your niece to keep going with that project. It’s so important. Thanks for commenting!
Your book is a great reminder to ask questions when you can. Reading WWII fiction based on history helps me come up with questions to ask my dad. I definitely want to read your book. It is a special time in history!
Hi Irene, it’s a special time in history that has such great significance to all of us. Do keep asking questions! I hope you enjoy the book. Blessings!