by John A. Heldt
File size: 537 KB (Kindle)
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services
Genres: Romance-Time Travel, Historical Fiction.
In 2000, Joel Smith is a cocky, adventurous young man who sees the world as his playground. But when the college senior, days from graduation, enters an abandoned Montana mine, he discovers the price of reckless curiosity. He emerges in May 1941 with a cell phone he can't use, money he can't spend, and little but his wits to guide his way. Stuck in the age of Whirlaway, swing dancing, and a peacetime draft, Joel begins a new life as the nation drifts toward war. With the help of his 21-year-old trailblazing grandmother and her friends, he finds his place in a world he knew only from movies and books. But when an opportunity comes to return to the present, Joel must decide whether to leave his new love in the past or choose a course that will alter their lives forever. THE MINE follows a humbled man through a critical time in history as he adjusts to new surroundings and wrestles with the knowledge of things to come.
John A. Heldt is a reference librarian who lives and works in Montana. The former award-winning sportswriter and newspaper editor has loved reading and writing since writing book reports on baseball heroes in grade school. A graduate of both the University of Oregon and University of Iowa, he is an avid fisherman, sports fan, home brewer, and reader of thrillers and historical fiction. Heldt is the author of THE MINE, THE JOURNEY, and THE SHOW, the first three novels of his Northwest Passage time-travel series.
What inspired you to write the series?
The decision to write the series followed the decision to write the first book. I decided to write The Mine in the summer of 2011, shortly after reading and watching The Time Traveler's Wife. I enjoyed both the book and the movie but was inspired more by the possibilities of twentieth century time travel than that particular story. Even then, however, I did not plan to write a series. I planned to produce one novel, the top item on my bucket list, and move on to other things. Then a funny thing happened. People likedThe Mine. They liked the characters and the history. They liked story and wanted to see it continue. A few weeks after The Mine's February 2012 release, I gave the matter more thought and ultimately decided that I could produce an entire series. But I wanted to write a series around certain themes and not a specific story. So I chose to write books about modern-day protagonists who travel back to a critical time in the twentieth century and confront people and problems that they still consider recent history. I chose to set each of the books in the Pacific Northwest because that is the region I know. When I wrote The Journey, I made another decision. I decided to put Joel Smith, The Mine'sprotagonist, in all five books and to write books three through five as sequels. The Show, the third book and the first of the sequels, was released in February.
Do you have a favorite scene in The Mine?
That's a difficult question. I like so many. Some are funny, others are poignant, and a few are both. But there is one scene, rarely mentioned by reviewers, that brings out the best in Joel Smith and Grace Vandenberg and sets the stage for their relationship. In Chapter 35, Grace sorts 3-by-5-inch cards as part of her job at a university library when Joel makes an unexpected visit. It is just days after their hastily-arranged double date at a baseball game, where Grace filled in for a sick friend – a friend who has eyes for Joel. Joel knows that Grace is engaged and that they have no future, but he visits her anyway on his day off. He teases her about her work – which she considers important and he considers mundane – and she throws his annoying comments back at him. They verbally spar for several minutes but in the process discover that they really like each other. The playful banter leads to a walk and then a movie. Within days, the two become inseparable and the story heads in a vastly different direction.
Share something personal! Favorite research methods? Writing quirks? Unusual habits?
When I wrote each of the first three Northwest Passage books, I had to jump into the past – in two cases, a past I had never experienced. So I listened to music from the jazz, Big Band, and disco eras; flipped through yearbooks; watched old movies; scanned newspaper microfilm; and consulted a variety of subject experts. I wanted to write about 1941 (The Mine), 1979-80 (The Journey), and 1918-19 (The Show) as if they had happened yesterday. I found the music and movies, in particular, to be very inspiring. Long walks helped too. I discovered early on that few activities clear a writer's mind of clutter and foster creativity better than a long walk through a quiet venue. I came up with some of the best ideas for characters, plot twists, and dialogue walking my dog through the neighborhood or walking through the streets of my town on lunch breaks. It's a habit I plan to keep up.
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