That fire can cleanse as well as destroy is no mystery to J. A. Jance. Before she found fame as a best-selling mystery author, Judith Jance wrestled with the personal anguish of being married to an alcoholic. For years she composed poetry in secret and kept it locked away. Finally it was published as "After the Fire" in 1984, the year before her debut novel. "After the Fire" chronicled the death of a relationship as Jance's marriage to her first husband gradually collapsed under the weight of his addiction aided and abetted by her own unwitting denial and co-dependence while she struggled to find herself. "I will not be the price of your redemption," she wrote then. "I will not pay my life to ransom yours." Now this deeply personal work is available in a new annotated edition. In it, Jance offers unblinking insights into where she was and what was happening when each of these searing poems was written remaking "After the Fire" as more than a collection of poetry. Now it is a portrait of addiction and the insidious ways in which it destroys relationships. As Jance now observes while reflecting on these poems, "I could remember that spring morning sitting at the Formica table in my Phoenix kitchen and writing 'The Collector' while bags of unpacked groceries waited on the table beside me. I recalled everything about that long, long New Year's Eve vigil at my dying former husband's bedside. I felt once again the velvet smoothness of 'Fog' as I walked through a Seattle September morning on my way to a new life. . . . My life is far richer because of this book. My hope is that others will find answers here as well answers and their own share of strength and courage." A work of crushing defeat and ultimate triumph, "After the Fire" relates an emotional journey that will be readily recognizable to anyone who has seen love destroyed and then found the strength to go on. It will inspire others who are struggling with similar issues as it allows fans of Jance's mysteries to better know the mind and heart of a favorite author.
About the Author
J. A. Jance's eighteen-year involvement with an alcoholic helped shape the experience and personality of Detective J. P. Beaumont, a character in sixteen of her novels. Her most recent novel is "Exit Wounds."
"Accompanied by Jance's thoughtful and heartfelt narration, this edition of After the Fire becomes a testimonial to emotional survival and offers quiet but powerful encouragement to others who might find themselves in similar situations." The Bookmonger "Showcases a spirit who has endured failure, tasted success, and accumulated an enviable store of wisdom in the process." Seattle Times "Fans will love it. It’s a nice insight into the workings of a creative mind." Arizona Daily Star