The other day I wrote about a fun “Forties Frolic” event set at a USO during World War II. This event focused on the positive aspects of life on the homefront during the war: the determined efforts to support the men in uniform, the camaraderie of a community pulling together during difficult times, and even the cheerful Big Band music that lifted the spirits and soothed the heart.
But despite these nostalgic aspects, the reality is that war is hell, and even on the homefront there was a darker side. One of the more shameful blots on U.S. history is the internment of Japanese-Americans in internment camps for the duration of the war.
Pacific Northwest author Jan Cline has just released a novel whose story revolves around one such internment camp in Wyoming. Emancipated Heart follows one family through the trials of life behind barbed wire. “Considering the current events in our country, this book will remind us how easily history repeats itself, and how God calls us to act humanely in all situations,” Jan explains. “The topic of internment is not well taught in history books. Emancipated Heart will inform and educate, all while providing an entertaining, enjoyable read for anyone, especially history lovers.”
I asked Jan to tell us about Emancipated Heart and the writing life, and she graciously agreed. Better still, she’s going to send a copy of Emancipated Heart to a lucky winner! Simply post a comment below or e-mail me privately at jenny (at) jenniferlamontleo.com to be entered in a Rafflecopter drawing for a copy of Emancipated Heart. I’ll hold the drawing on Tuesday, April 12, 2016, and will notify the winner.
Let’s give a warm Sparkling Vintage welcome to Jan Cline!
Jennifer Lamont Leo: First, the basics. Where did you grow up? Where do you live now? Husband, kids, pets…?
Jan Cline: I grew up in central California and moved to Washington State in Jr. High. Been here ever since with my hubby of 43 years. We have 3 children and 8 grandchildren – most live nearby but some are across the U.S. We have a Yorkie named Cooper who rules the house and pretty much runs our life!
JLL: Tell us about your writing journey and how you got started as an author.
I’ve been writing since childhood, and started writing devotionals as an adult and some other non-fiction pieces for magazines and other publications. I always thought I would forever be a non-fiction writer. But a friend dared me to write fiction and I gave it a try. After completing my first “novel” I was hooked. Of course it was terrible, but it got me started on the road to learning how to write fiction.
JLL: How did you get inspired to write Emancipated Heart?
JC: I was researching for another story I planned to write and happened on information about the Japanese American’s plight during WWII. I was fascinated and knew I had to write about it.
JLL: Tell us about your research process for Emancipated Heart.
JC: I LOVE to research and I did extensive reading on the topic, and found several documentaries with personal interviews. I decided to visit the Heart Mountain Internment Camp in Wyoming to see for myself what it might have been like. They have a wonderful interpretive center there and it captured my imagination. I visited Japantown and Chinatown in the Seattle area and read and viewed everything I could get my hands on. Most Japanese who were interned are not willing to talk too much about their experience, so I didn’t have the opportunity to speak personally with many who were interned. I returned to Heart Mountain when the manuscript was done and was even more moved – Heart Mt. is what I modeled my story after.
JLL: Did writing Emancipated Heart reflect your own life and/or faith journey in any way? If so, discuss.
JC: I think the theme of freedom is one we can all relate to – especially as it concerns the message of Christianity. And I think we have all been treated unfairly at some time. I remember as a young girl being looked down upon for being poor, and that’s just a very small experience with prejudice. I discovered the Japanese American people of that time were far more dignified that I would have been under those circumstances. I was encouraged in my own faith, just by the mere perseverance of these people.
JLL: What 2 or 3 people have had the greatest influence on your writing thus far, and why?
JC: I have been coached by Susan May Warren, who always encouraged me in my writing. She has been an inspiration to me. My friends in the business like James L. Rubart, Mick Silva, Tracie Peterson, and others, have been faithful to encourage and inspire me by their creative and spiritual walks. I have been blessed that way.
JLL: Are there any particular challenges you’re facing in your writing life?
JC: I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis about 8 years ago, and I find it difficult to keep up with life and writing sometimes. The challenges of chronic pain is something I have to deal with daily, but writing is a good escape, when I’m able. Being disciplined is always an issue for me, so I’m trying hard to do better now.
JLL: How do you stay spiritually grounded?
JC: Writing and being accountable to the message God has asked me to share is a way for me to stay dependent on Him. I know that without Him I would write only for self-glory, and I would surely fail.
JLL: What reading material is next to your favorite reading spot?
JC: I am a slow reader, so I don’t get as much read in a year as I would like. Some of my favorite authors are Charles Martin, James L. Rubart, Susan May Warren, and Lynn Austen. I also enjoy reading non-fiction – especially by Ravi Zacharis and other great spiritual leaders.
JLL: What’s on your music playlist?
JC: I love listening to movie soundtracks. I have several different playlists to listen to depending on what I’m writing.
JLL: Are there any can’t-miss TV series, blogs, podcasts, vlogs, etc., that you’d recommend?
JC: For podcasts, I recommend Author Media and Write from the Deep. Blogs – I have a million I love, but the key ones I’m following right now are Jane Friedman, Chip MacGregor, My Book Therapy. TV series? Anything Alaska!
JLL: What do you do for fun?
We own a cabin up at Twin Lakes, Idaho, and we spend a lot of time there. Also love to golf, spend time with grandchildren, and I’m a craft addict for sure. We love to travel, and have been to many wonderful places around the world.
JLL: What’s the next project coming up next from Jan Cline, Author?
JC: I’m working on what I hope will be a series of women’s fiction set in the depression days up through WWII. I also peck away at a Christmas novella I hope to have out this Christmas season. I will keep doing all the promo and marketing for Emancipated Heart as well. I’d love for readers to pick up a copy and also help spread the word, AND write Amazon reviews for all the books they read!
JLL: Where can readers learn more about you and your books?
JC: Visit my website, jancline.net, sign up for my newsletter/blog, and receive a free download of a booklet I wrote titled “What to Do While You’re Waiting to Be Published.”
JLL: Thanks for chatting with us today, Jan.
JC: Thanks so much, Jenny, for this opportunity to share with your readers. It’s been a treat!
Jan Cline is an author and speaker from the Pacific Northwest. She has been involved with the writing/publishing community for several years, and was the founder and director of the Inland NW Christian Writers conference for 5 years. She teaches at writer’s conferences and speaks for women’s groups in the Northwest.
Jan enjoys golf, attending her grandchildren’s sports activities, and loves to bake – proud to be called the queen of cheesecakes by her friends and family. She also indulges heavily in crafts such as quilting, painting, and scrapbooking. When she needs a break from a hectic life, she and her husband of 40+ years escape to their cabin on a northern Idaho lake.