Jonathan Husband has been a human resources executive throughout his post graduate career. He attended the University of Hull in Yorkshire, England during the early 1960’s. His career has helped him develop a deep understanding of interpersonal relationships and the value of emotional intelligence.
He has combined this knowledge with his passion for history to perceptively describe people he knew who, from 1943 to 1972, had to deal with emotions that would spiral out of control and take charge of their regular lives. An Unplanned Encounter begins in war time England in the midst of the bombing campaign over Nazi-occupied Europe. It ends with the death of his father in 1972.
Authors Welcome had the chance to speak to Jonathan Husband about his writing career and his first novel.
AW: Tell us a little bit about your book.
Jonathan: The book is a story about a woman’s right to choose and how the circumstances of war and history can affect this decision and its consequences. It is set in England and California 1943-1972. A sexual assault takes place in July 1943, the woman discovers she is pregnant, and then makes a series of decisions that change forever the lives of the two protagonists. The central incident takes place in Yorkshire, England but the story also includes events that take place elsewhere in England, in Sacramento, Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area, and in Vienna, Austria and in Shanghai, China.
AW: Who is your intended audience and why should they read your book?
Jonathan: The book should appeal to a broad range of readers, with a likely focus on women over 30. It is an interesting and detail rich story about human relationships against a backcloth of war torn Europe. I tried to weave a broad understanding of what life was like during the middle of the last century in Europe and the US, especially for women who were still to be socially liberated. While it is historical fiction, the events are based on a true story. The novel examines the mother’s love for a child, how this love develops before birth, and the sacrifices a woman will make to defend the well-being of her baby.
The book should also have an appeal to various narrower groups of readers because it contains stories within the main story. Its coverage of the World War II European bombing campaign should appeal to those interested in the Second World War. Additionally, Karen, the woman who one of the main characters marries, talks about her parents escape from Vienna at the start of the war and their subsequent flight across Northern Europe to Shanghai. This event is also based on a true story. Finally, towards the end of the book, there are chapters that cover the “hippy” scene in San Francisco during the early 1960’s. This may appeal to baby-boomers.
AW: How did you come up with the title for your book/series?
Jonathan: The title focuses on a single encounter (albeit unplanned) that causes two people’s lives to spin out of control, and demonstrates that all actions have consequences, and that some consequences can last a lifetime.
AW: Tell us a bit about your cover design? Who designed it and did you have a lot of input into the design?
Jonathan: I designed the cover myself. The front page depicts a farmhouse alongside a river which is the house next door to the one where the main character in the book grew up. It also backs on to the church where this main character is buried. The Nazi image on the back cover is used with permission of the Imperial War Museum in London. It illustrates the innocence of adolescence during a time when horrifying actions took place.
AW: How long did it take to complete your novel?
Jonathan: The novel took about four months to write and a further two months while approximately a dozen people reviewed the draft and provided helpful feedback to the author. Events were researched during this period and the personal stories of the two main protagonists in the book were already known.
AW: Did you ever experience writer’s block? If so, what did you do to get out of the funk?
Jonathan: I had relatively short periods of writer’s block. Typically the answers to these obstacles would occur during the middle of the night, and on many occasions it was if the main protagonists (all dead) were giving me insights that he was not aware of previously.
AW: Tell us about the challenges of getting your first novel published? About how long did it take?
Jonathan: It took about six months to self-publish. Literary Agents approached were encouraging and kind with their comments, but appeared unwilling to support an unknown writer. To expedite the process, I researched alternative publishing methods and chose to use Lulu.com to assist. The process has been unpredictable and rocky from time-to-time, but overall has been satisfactory.
AW: Who is your favorite character from your book and why?
Jonathan: Mary Louise, the main character. She is the author’s mother and without her courage and love, the author would not be alive to tell the story.
AW: Who is your least favorite character and what makes them less appealing to you?
Jonathan: Bob Hutchinson, the step-father. Although many of his actions were driven by illness, he was often obstructive, disrespectful, unkind, and occasionally violent.
AW: If you could change only one thing about your novel, what would it be?
Jonathan: I would have preferred to have made the main character the storyteller throughout the book. However, because much of the story was unknown to her until after the events, this was very difficult to realistically accomplish.
AW: Give us an interesting or fun fact about your book/series.
Jonathan: It is being published to coincide with my 70th birthday.
AW: What other books are similar to your own? What makes them alike? Did they inspire you?
Jonathan: This novel was written without reference to others. The inspiration for the book came from the discovery by the author of his birth circumstances told to him by his mother in December 2007 when he was 63 years old.
AW: What made you decide to become an author?
Attending school with my son at Creative Writing courses, and a sense of creativity/imagination that my work as a Human Resources specialist had not allowed me to use.
AW: What is the toughest criticism that you have received as an author?
Jonathan: Insufficient coverage of people’s emotions and how their feelings after extraordinary events. The author has worked hard to correct this impression.
AW: What is the best compliment?
Jonathan: This is a book that is hard to put down. The best compliment I received was that someone got up at 5:00AM to finish it before going to work.
AW: Do you have another job or are you a full-time author?
Jonathan: My plan is to write additional “encounter series” novels. I also do part-time consulting in Human Resources.
AW: Do you have any tips for readers or advice for other writers trying to get published?
Jonathan: Persevere and have fun. Undertake the task for enjoyment and sharing, not for money.
AW: How to you market your book?
I will use a professional Publicity Firm and my network of friends and relatives. I also use Facebook and Twitter to promote myself. My Twitter handle is @JonathanHusband. I also have my website and blog at www.jonathanhusband.com.