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.

Blessings to your and your family. 


A December Twist

About a year ago, my publisher released a book I thought I’d never write. For one thing, it was a novella, much shorter than my usual. For another, it turned out to be a romance.

I must admit I’ve never held romances in high esteem. They seemed too predictable to qualify as “real” literature–I suppose those of you with tastes like mine will nod your heads about now. Some of us like not knowing how things will turn out–we feel characters exhibit more depth when the reader has no clue about their destiny.

Or the author, I might say, because that’s how it was for me. When I began writing Kiss Me Once Again, titled after a popular WWII song, I had no idea it would turn into a romance.

But my heroine Glenora knew all along. She tried to prepare me for this turn of events, but her gangly stature and low self-concept tricked me. She always thought, “Who could ever entertain romantic thoughts about me, such a tall girl with an angular face?

She felt this way even though Joe, her high school friend, had pledged his love to her before he left for the war. To her, it seemed an aberration that he had evinced interest in her, and nothing like this would ever occur again.

So she tucked away the word “romance” forever, like the prom dress she wore to the dance. Everything connected with that arena belonged in the past, in effect buried with Joe in the Arizona at the bottom of Pearl Harbor.

Glenora cherished these memories, but took on life’s present challenges with practical pluck. Writing faithful letters to her brother Red, especially in the terrible uncertainty after a typhoon struck his ship, became her duty. Though her own cup felt empty, she determined to keep Red’s full.

Her father’s angst over Red and his growing health concerns, and the family business–a small-town garage in need of a grease monkey in Red’s absence–these were tasks Glenora took on with a make-do attitude. Just as she took on the household when her mother died instead of following her dream to Iowa State.

She’d help her dad out at the shop, write faithful letters to Red, and keep her chin up. Yep, that’s what she’d do!

For readers who like lots of WWII information but also appreciate a sweet romance, this might just be the book for you to read over the holidays.