Janet Jean is familiar with the writing world — she poured her heart into her first book, “The Daughter I Lost and Found,” about the tribulations she and her daughter went through after a car accident.
“With nonfiction, you have to have a lot of research, you have a lot of notes that you have to refer to, you have to try to get things in chronological order,” she said. “I have over 100 footnotes (in my first book because) you have to prove everything, you have to be so accurate.”
After that grueling experience, Jean, better known to Sequim residents as Janet Johnson, decided to dip her toes into the world of fiction.
“I decided to try fiction because one of the members in my writer’s group challenged me to be serious about writing,” Jean said. “I realized I had the life experience to do it.”
Jean took the dare and in 2000 began working on “The Adventures of Harry and Claire.” After struggling for a while, Jean said she put it on the back burner until deciding to complete it last year.
“Writing dialogue was challenging,” she said. “I’d never really done that before.”
According to the author, “Adventures” is a trilogy about a couple, Harry and Claire, and follows them through the 1970s, ’80s and ’90s. The story begins with Harry traveling constantly for business and leaving Claire alone at home to “get into trouble” with other men. The couple takes a journey similar to Jean’s own journey, from San Francisco to retirement in the Northwest.
“Part One is to show how some people go about getting a life when they are alone too much, Part Two is to tell what it takes to be strong under pressure and Part Three is to show what can happen when one is brave,” Jean wrote in a statement.
Jean explained that even in fiction, she has used experiences from her own life as inspiration, and while she said none of the characters are fully based on any single person, she took personalities from people she had met in the past.
“They’re people I’ve met in the workplace and social settings, and even strangers, and I made them up from there,” she said.
Jean had an advantage — she’d spent much of her career in the airline industry, working as an administrative assistant for United Airlines in San Francisco.
“I met a lot of different people and traveled a lot,” she said. “They always say you’re supposed to write what you know, so that’s what I did.”
She is happy with her second book and has no plans to quit writing or exploring new areas of the field. She already has started writing a memoir and eventually hopes to put together a book of poetry.
“Finishing the book and getting it published has given me a sense of accomplishment,” Jean said. “More important, though, writing this book has given me the notion that anything is possible.”
A work of fiction
“The Adventures of Harry and Claire,” by Janet Jean, has been published by iUniverse, Inc., and is available by order at Sequim bookstores and online at www.iuniverse.com and www.amazon.com. The book is a trilogy that chronicles the lives and trials of a couple working to keep their marriage together. Jean lives in Sequim and is also known by the name Janet Johnson. For more on the author, visit www.j4-writenow.com or e-mail email@example.com.