Jane Hartenstein is a local writer who lives outside of St. Augustine, Florida. She combines her love of history and her job experience in the mental health field into a work of historical fiction. She has one book published and is currently working on another. She has worked in the field for over 30 years in 4 different states. Now that she is living in Northeast Florida she is finally able to let her creative side go and has been writing ever since. Her website is a delight to read through and is one of those FREE ones offered by Google. However, she has chosen a good theme, filled out her pages well, has created her Facebook page and now just needs more people to buy her book.
We wish Ms. Hartenstein well with your writing endeavors and look forward to the second book as well.
Books Published:Voices – available on Amazon for Download
Who or What Got You Started in Writing?
I grew up in the land of James Fenimore Cooper so was surrounded by wonderful historical sites and stories with rich characters. Working in mental health I often wondered why words like “nuts” and “cracked” were used to describe someone with an illness so it seemed natural to find the answers in the history of treatment where of course I found wonderful characters as well.
What Do You Like Most About Writing?
I really enjoy the research and love it when the characters “appear”. They are composites of people with the symptoms of schizophrenia and I follow them as they encounter the laws, medicine, and common beliefs of their era. I can’t wait to see what will happen to them!
What Inspires You As You Are Writing?
As I write I am inspired to keep going by the characters. The large variety of research needed, everything from the clothing they would wear to the type of ship they would use to travel, provides infinite variety and directs the story. If I “hit a block” I go back and review my research . For instance, I find I need a change in direction because a building did not exist at that time or another historical event may have occurred.
What Do You Dislike Most About Writing?
My least favorite part of writing is the marketing; looking for an agent or publisher, running the gauntlet of e-publishing, trying to get the book and the message in front of the public. This is such a wonderful opportunity you are providing for a writer!
Which Books Do You Read Most? (Top Five Authors and/or Series)
I read mainly historical fiction, I always liked James Michner and Irving Stone but I like the way Dan Brown uses history in a modern setting. Edward Rutherfurd’s historical novels are wonderful. I read John Grisham because I like his succinct character development.
What Do You Do To Relax? (What are your hobbies)
I like to travel when I have spare time, especially to sites with a historical significance to the mentally ill. I spent my 20th wedding anniversary in the psychiatric ward of Alcatraz! I had gotten permission from the National Park Service to see the area that had been closed to the public for years! Fortunately my husband is a good sport.
Do You Do A Lot Of Research For Your Stories? And if so, what sources do you find the most valuable?
Obviously my writing is based on a great deal of research. Along with the usual sources; books by recognized authorities, academic papers, blogs, I have found paintings done by a recognized artist during the time period I’ve been researching to be extremely helpful (e.g. Rembrandt). Visiting sites and personal interviews are also helpful but in my case, a 35 year career in mental health was the best resource I could have had.
What is the one piece of advice you would give to upcoming writers?
If I could give upcoming writers one piece of advice, it would be to find other writers. The Florida Writer’s Association is one such excellent group. Other writers will share their knowledge and expertise, critique in a positive and meaningful way, and above all, provide support and encouragement. Unless someone is writing themselves, they cannot provide the type of support a writer needs. This is a very lonely calling.