From the Author
Writing The Brothers was a personal dream of mine. I wanted tobe able to say "I wrote a book." It became a goal, but a goal that I really didnot pursue with any great effort. At some point, I put it on my Bucket List, asa "wishful thinking" goal. But in the end, it became my obsession. I started outto write my book in 1974, using a 7th grade writing assignment as thefoundation of my story about the American Civil War. In that original 1965version, Beau and Stuart had no last name, they were identical twins born on aSouthern plantation, and the plot line was a simple "one went North, one stayedSouth" conflict. It was my "piece de resistance" in 1965 (and by the way, itgot me an A+), and by my 1974 standards (when I had dreams of Margaret Mitchellgrandeur) it was going to be the next Gone With The Wind. I sketched out aplot, and even determined that I would write two books, one for the first halfof the war, and then another for the second half of the war. Ihunted-and-pecked at my electric typewriter now and then (enjoying thecoincidental fact that I was writing The Brothers on a Brother brandtypewriter), over the years, and every time I dragged out the stack oftypewritten pages, I vowed I'd work on it until I finished it...until I wouldgive up on it and put it away again. Somewhere along the line in the mid-1980s,I got an early Macintosh computer and transferred everything to a floppy disk.My husband and I spent some nomad years during which we moved about the country(as he was posted to short-term assignments as ancillary hospital staff), andevery time we moved, I hauled the box of papers, disks, and a growing folder ofnotes with me (during a couple "nomad" assignments I spent quality hours inlocal libraries doing research, convincing myself that I'd knuckle down andwrite the book). We had stopped gypsy-ing our way across just about every statein the mid-2000s, and I thought again about finishing it...when I put all thework to date on a shelf in a closet (after I had, at some point, transferredthe files on the floppy disks to a computer external hard drive, and thosefiles ultimately made their way onto a flash drive). And there it all sat,until January 1, 2011. On that day, I made a single New Year's Resolution:Finish it, or throw it away. Obviously, you know the outcome of thatresolution. My first task was to, basically, delete everything that I'd alreadywritten. After more than 30 years of non-fiction self-education (including anentire summer during which we spent every available day off prowling around aCivil War battlefield from Georgia to Pennsylvania), I knew that everything I'dalready written was all hogwash. I determined that if I was going to publish a CivilWar novel that bore my name as the author, then it was going to be a real book,as historically true as I could make it. My characters were the same, theconflict was the basically the same, but they were going to act as they wouldhave in the 1860s, they were going to say things that they would have said,they were going to have experiences that they would have had. As I began torewrite my story, I began to develop my writing style...my voice, and myfictional characters started to become more real, more appropriate for theirtime and surroundings. By the time I hit Chapter 15, I was cookin' on all 4burners. I typed THE END on December 31, 2012. On January 1, 2013, I made asingle resolution: Write the sequel. The McCulloughs, the sequel, is done andas I write this, it's just about ready to release. I have fulfilled my dream.I've written a book...I've written two books! I've created characters who feel asthough they are real. They aren't fake. They have depth, they have flaws, theyhave opinions, and they have, well, character. Their story works within thereal history of an important era during our American history. My proud to havemy name on these two books. And now, I think you can guess what my January 1,2017 resolution will be...
About the Author
Jan was born and raised in New Jersey, but married a gypsy who had thebeach sands of wanderlust in his surf sandals. They packed up herPlymouth Cricket (that's right, it was a car...), drove to Florida rightafter the wedding, and spent the next seven years worshipping the sun at Daytona Beach every chance they got. They decided to try California for awhile, and traded in their sandals for hiking boots. After a ten-yearstay there, they traipsed around the country for the better part ofanother ten years, zigzagged across the country and back again (fivetimes!), and crammed in as much of these marvelous United States aspossible along the way. Now back in Florida to stay, Jan works at homeas a freelance copyeditor and proofreader. When they need an adventure,they go off in search of the real Florida...there's plenty of it left tosee.