Message From The Author
Thirteen years ago, when Pocket bought my first book, I could not have imagined the path my life would take. I was married to a wonderful man who was truly part of who I wasthe blood and bone of me. Wed met when I was sixteen, married when I was twenty, and had lasted through all the hard times that can tear apart even strong couples. I had a three-year-old daughter who ran through the pumpkin patch before Halloween, squealing with delight at pumpkins that were bigger than she was. I lived in the warm sunshine of California, my native state, and my husbands parents and my dad were always around for the holidays.
In those days I talked to my father on the telephone every week, because I had been daddys girl from the time I was small. My mother had died in 1960, and after that, it had been just us. My sister was married and busy having her own family. I was eleven, and I suppose in an ideal world, probably too young to have to deal with death.
But picture the way a newborn colt stands, with a sudden burst of strength and will, on his wobbly legs, surprise and wonder in his eyes. That was me as a child. Perhaps that was even me as a woman, lover, wife, as a daughter and a mother, maybe even as a writer. I know I have moved through my life with bursts of strength and will, and been constantly surprised by where Ive found myself.
I am a widow now. My daughter doesnt squeal at pumpkins anymore, but instead she finds delight in make-up, movies, music and cute boys she refers to as hotties. My husbands parents have gone on, and so has my dad. The men in my life arent there anymore, not by my side, or even on the other end of the phone. My house is on the water in a different state, where the weather is moody and unpredictable, and the sunshine a rare blessing that reminds me I can be warm even without the arms of my husband or father around me.
I am still a writer. Like the joy I get from my daughter, it is the one thing in my life that remains constant. Truly, I am a lucky woman, and if my legs sometimes still wobble, well, I find the strength to stand from the memories of those who loved me.
I have a reason for telling you something so deeply personal. Two years ago I began a book I had to write, because I had something important to say about love and life and family. For a long time, I have had a deep need to write something that came from inside of me and not from only my imagination. Is this my catharsis? I dont know really. What I do know is that on the pages of this book are the words I had to write.
SENTIMENTAL JOURNEY is about my father, about his generation and the memories he shared with me for all those loving years. I grew up with his tales of the war. He was in the Air Force during WWII and his stories were always very human. He had this great sense of humor, a gift people say he gave to me, but I think the true gifts he gave me were an appreciation for the time period, a love for the music, and an understanding of his generation. From my dad, I learned who our parents and grandparents were, how they lived and loved, how they fought for their country and why: it wasnt a matter of bravery or honor or avarice, but simply because their freedom was at stake.
Im not going to tell you about the story, just introduce you to the cast of SENTIMENTAL JOURNEY: Kathryn Kincaid, J.R. Cassidy, George Agar Inskip, Charley Morrison, and Red Walkermain players in an epic adventure of love and war. I invite you to come along with them from the marketplace in Morocco to a five-and-dime in New Mexico, from the heat of the Sahara Desert to the wilds of Scotland, from the red farmland of Texas to the damp, cobbled streets of London, and perhaps, somewhere along the way, you might remember someone from your own life who lived at that same great time, someone who gave you the strength to stand when your legs were wobbling.
Readers may write to Jill in care of Pocket Books, 1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10020, or visit her website at www.jillbarnett.com.
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