I’m happy to have author June McCrary Jacobs here today to talk about her book, Handmade Hearts. Before we get into the interview, here is a little about the book.
Handmade HeartsJMJ Story Stitcher Books
Publication Date December 18, 2018
Genres: Historical Fiction, Clean Romance
Setting: Louisiana World War II Era - 1939 - 1946
Written for: Adults
'Handmade Hearts' is an historical romance short story set in New Orleans during World War II and was inspired by a true story.
Toward the end of his life, the author asked her Uncle 'Allen' how he met his wife. He shared about how he met 'Irene' at a church social in their neighborhood in New Orleans in the early 1940s. He had been seriously wounded in Guadalcanal in the South Pacific as a young Marine and was using crutches to get around as best he could.
He had many inner wounds which needed time to heal, too. He had no way of knowing when they first met that Irene had suffered her own wartime tragedy. She bravely sought to keep her grief locked away deep inside because thinking about her loss caused her even more sorrow. She needed to be strong because she was the breadwinner for her small family.
Times were tough, but these two unique individuals made it through each day with inner fortitude, determination, and the sincere hope of something greater just over the horizon.
This inspirational short story follows the growth of Allen and Irene's relationship beginning with their chance meeting and leading forward to a lifetime spent together. 'Handmade Hearts' was created to honor this unique couple's love for and devotion to each other in a relationship which spanned seven decades.
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Praise for 'Handmade Hearts':
"What a lovely tribute to your aunt and uncle. It was a joy to read! . . . I just wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed your story and thank you again for sharing it with me." ~Sandy
Which person (living or dead) would you most want to be able to interview? What is one question you would ask them?
JUNE: This is a tough question to answer because there are so many people I would enjoy interviewing, but I will choose one of my favorite authors from my childhood, Louisa May Alcott. (I finally had to replace my personal copy of Little Women a few years ago because I literally wore it out after reading it so many times over the past few decades!).
One question I would ask Miss Alcott: “Did you know the ending of each story when you began writing it, or did you just follow the story’s development until it led you to what you felt was its natural conclusion?”
If you had the opportunity to live anywhere in the world for a year while writing a book that took place in that same setting, where would you go?
JUNE: I have always wanted to visit Alaska. I’ve just always been fascinated about its history, native peoples, spectacular natural scenery, museums, and art. The thought of writing in a peaceful, semi-remote locale is very appealing to this city girl!
Handmade Hearts is based on the real-life romance between your aunt and uncle. What was it about their story that drew you to write it? How much of the story is based on their story and how much is imagination?
JUNE: After observing my aunt and uncle together during my life I was struck by how devoted they were to each other and how ‘crazy in love’ they seemed even after over fifty years together. I enjoy asking women and men how they met their spouse. People who are happily married are eager to share their remembrance of the first time they met their partner. I asked my uncle over the telephone how he and my aunt met and this conversation launched the idea of writing a short story about their relationship. Regarding how much of the story is based on their story and how much is imagination I will reveal that the facts of where and how they met are true as are the facts about their respective wounds—physical and emotional. Some of the details about their families are true as far as what I knew to be fact. Some of the historical details about pop culture in New Orleans at that time were found through research. Details about their dating and outings and relationship are purely attributable to my very active (some have said ‘overactive’) imagination.
What kind of challenges did you face basing your story on real people versus your previous books that are not?
JUNE: It was my sincere goal to protect the privacy of my aunt and uncle and their family by not using their real names. Since my other books were fictional, I didn’t have that challenge in those cases. As mentioned above, I researched about the time period for Handmade Hearts; however, I do thorough research for all of my writing projects to be certain I don’t step on anyone’s toes regarding naming fictional towns, restaurants, hotels, etc.
Handmade Hearts takes place in New Orleans. Why did you choose to use that as the setting?
JUNE: New Orleans is where Allen and Irene lived when they met during World War II. Since I visited my grandparents, both sets, and other relatives in New Orleans every other summer or so when I was growing up I was familiar with the language patterns, local vocabulary, and places I wrote about. New Orleans is a beautiful city, and I decided to keep it as the setting when I penned Handmade Hearts.
What in particular do you hope your readers will take away from their reading of Handmade Hearts?
JUNE: I will be honored if readers feel a connection to the main characters and are able to empathize with their delicate emotional states when they first meet. I will be happy if readers sense the growth of Allen and Irene’s affection for each other as the story progresses and realize what a major breakthrough their strong bond actually was for two wounded hearts. Most of all, I hope readers enjoy reading Handmade Hearts even half as much as I enjoyed writing it!
JUNE: Thank you for the chance to chat with you here on Among the Reads. I appreciate your thought-provoking questions, and wish you and your readers a wonderful, healthful, happy 2019!
One winner will receive
- Handmade Hearts ebook by June McCrary Jacobs
- $15 Amazon Gift Code
Two additional winners will each receive
- Handmade Hearts ebook by June McCrary Jacobs
Enter via the Rafflecopter giveaway below.
Giveaway will begin at midnight January 15, 2019 and last through 11:59 pm January 22, 2019. Open internationally except where prohibited by law. Winners will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen.
Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.
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