latest books by New York Times best-selling author J.A. Jance
have very powerful themes. The mystery, Second Watch,
is a J.P. Beumont novel in which the main character delves
into his days in Viet Nam. Her second book, a re-release,
After The Fire, is the author's memoir in poetry and prose
about her years trying to save her alcohol addicted husband.
Jance's writing style engrosses the reader in a storyline
line that is full of insightful material surrounding her personal
a pioneer for working mothers because she overcame the attitude
that women could not be mystery writers. Working Mother President
Carol Evans said in June that "we've come so far;"
yet Jance is a reminder of those women who had to fight the
uphill battle in their careers. After The Fire has
two references to her being shunned from the writing field.
Jance tells of her husband being allowed into a creative writing
class, in 1964, at the University of Arizona, while the professor
refused her admittance because she was a woman. Instead of
comfort, her husband commented, "There's only going to
be one writer in our family and I am it."
prose in the book, entitled "Shifting Gears," tells
of the slow change in attitude from the 1950s to the 1970s.
It powerfully notes, "The vast majority of women from
that era came complete with a panoply of mixed messages. This
was a time when girls who wanted to become doctors became
nurses; girls who wanted to become engineers became high school
geometry teachers; girls who wanted to become ministers became
ministers' wives; and girls who wanted to become writers married
men who were allowed into creative writing programs that were
closed to women."
directly commented that even today there is still an uphill
battle for some women. Her granddaughter's university advised
her not to be an engineering major but to major in sociology.
"Today those kind of messages are still there but they
are not as blatant as it was with me. The good news is she
chose to be an engineering major, one of four women out of
a class of 47. Because she is at the top of her class the
boys always request her to be in their study group."
The lesson being today brains and grades overpowers any sexual
was not always the case, and Jance acquiesced for fourteen
years before starting her writing career. When she started
writing, she was a single mom with two children, selling insurance
to survive. To achieve her dream she was able to write only
between 4 am to 7 am. Her on the job training was with her
unpublished first book that taught pacing, dialogue, and expository
fictional novel features the character "Beaumont,"
her famous male Seattle police detective. Her first publisher
listed her name as "J.A." Jance because of the belief
that a female, during that time period, could not write a
police procedural and would not appeal to the male readers,
since these series of books had to be written from a male
point of view. In fact, for her first six books there was
no cover picture and no biography.
at her fan base, it is obvious that she appeals to both male
and female readers and no longer has to hide her identity.
Now forty-six books and four series later, her just released
novel, Second Watch, also includes a part of the author, or
as she refers to herself, "writers are re-cyclers. There
are huge pieces of me in my books." Jance is hoping that
those reading her books are entertained but also are impacted
by important issues.
in Second Watch's fast paced murder plot are the
potent issues of alcoholism, losing a loved one to the Viet
Nam War, and the attempt to solve a cold case. The other release,
After the Fire, is a memoir that chronicles her first
husband's alcohol addiction, and her ability to rise above
these dark times.
books Jance is able to create a storyline that is poignant
and captivating. She does not lecture, and instead insightfully
crafts very powerful plots. In reading her books people can
get a glimpse into who she is and where she has been. Whether
in biographical form as in After The Fire, or through
her riveting characters, as in Second Watch, she
writes about those who struggled with a problem and stood
up to it without making any excuses.