Thursday, January 27, 2011

She Built Ships During WWII!

Your new book, She Built Ships During WWII is about women welders. It sounds like it could be boring!

My novel doesn’t really have that much welding in it at all.
It is really about three diverse women on the home front during the forties.
The main character, Lolly experiences what it is like to work  and place her children in the first day care center in Richmond California.
The second woman, Sumi a Japanese American storekeeper, gets taken away to the Tanforan horse stable in San Bruno.
 Hattie, the third woman, is a Negro welder whose brother is in the Port Chicago explosion (Contra Costa county) and her husband joins the Tuskegee Airmen.

Well now, your novel is beginning to sound interesting!
I see this is your second historical fiction. Why do you write historical fiction?

I like to write about little known parts of history.
  The beginning of my novel says, “let us not forget the good parts of history in order to enjoy them. Let us not forget the bad parts of history in order to not repeat them.”
Finding little known pieces of the past and blending them together with factious characters is challenging for me as well as gratifying. It is like putting a puzzle together.

How long have you been writing?

I have only been writing for about six years.
Unlike most authors I never wrote when I was younger.
 In my previous life,  (before retirement), I bought a Mac laptop for my business. I owned a large daycare center.
I didn’t have much time to write a novel  between working fulltime and raising a family, but I enjoyed the magic of my Mac after only having a typewriter.
 I was so amazed at the “delete” button and the “cut and paste.”
I started fooling around with it and thought I would write about my mother.

Is She Flew Bombers about your mother?

No, my mother was in the Army during World War II but all she did was type for the Colonel. This was a  necessary job but boring to write about!
How I discovered information about the Women Airforce Service Pilots was after reading a huge scrapbook my mother had left me, which even included ration coupons!
I read a two-inch column in one of her Army base newsletters titled, WASPS Fly into WAAC’s barracks. 
 I was quite surprised to read there were women pilots during WWII.
 Asking everyone I knew, I found very few people heard about the adventures of the women pilots during WWII.
This tiny article began my three-year research.

Why do you always write about war?

Many people would be surprised to hear that I actually was a peace activist and marched against the Vietnam War in 1970 in Washington, D.C. (I almost got tear gassed!)
I have a wonderful chapter in  She Built Ships where the heroine says, “How could so much death and destruction motivate people to accomplish such feats of cooperation and productivity? I was able to help build an entire ship in four days. Why can’t peace become the motivating force to bring this country together instead of war?”
 The last chapter tells the true story of  Sadako Sasaki, who was hospitalized with leukemia after the bombing of Hisroshima.
She died at age 12 and  followed a Japanese legend trying to fold 1,000 paper cranes so she could be granted one wish.
After folding 644 paper cranes she passed away. There is a statue of her in Japan. Engraved upon the stone it says:
This is our cry
This is our prayer
Peace on earth

Then why do you write about war?

I am totally fascinated by the forties era.
My parents brought me up with forties values; waste not want not, a stitch in time saves nine, etc.!
  I enjoy writing and researching about a very short period of time when women were allowed to become strong individuals, because most of the men left and went to war.
Women became pilots, riveters, welders, policewomen, bus drivers, etc . Then the men came home and the women were told to go back into the kitchen, enjoy their modern appliances and MULTIPLY!
Even the women pilots were turned down for commercial pilot jobs and were offered to become stewardesses.

Will men like your new book, She Built Ships During WWII?

I was pleasantly surprised how much men enjoyed She Flew Bombers, but then there are a lot of pilots today!
 I’m sure men will like my new book, She Built Ships because of the mutiny  after the Port Chicago explosion and Freeman Field Mutiny of the Tuskeege Airmen.

I see you have two blogs.

Yes, the first blog is: It has been very rewarding to interview other author's. I love helping authors succeed in selling their book after so much hard work! Any author can email me if they wish to be interviewed on my blog.
My second blog is: it is about females during WWII.

Why did you self-publish this book, I thought you were going to get an agent this time?

 As VP of Redwood Writers Club, I   attended Agent’s day.
 I thought I would  traditionally publish She Built Ships, even though it was completely finished and I had already paid for the cover design.
I promised myself that I would send out 100 query letters.
  At agent’s day, I discovered that agent’s would not look at the already self-published, She Flew Bomber’s. 
Self-published books are not picked up by agents unless they have sold thousands. I have sold 650 so far.
I had my editor’s: Stefanie Freele, (content editor)  and Karen Batchelor, (grammar editor) help me make  my query letter  top notch.
At a Redwood Writer's  meeting Donna Levin, X-agent turned editor, read many query letters from the members and said mine was the best!
After over 100 query letters to many types of agents and categories, I self-published, She Built Ships.

What type of rejection letters did you get?

Typical answers from my queries were:

  • While your project sounds interesting, I don’t think it is right fit for our agency.
  • Promises to be thoughtful and compelling BUT…..I’m not the right agent for your work, see what others think
  • The story concept may not be of interest to the publishers
  • Due to volumes of submissions we received from unpublished authors this past year, we regret to inform you that we are NOT currently accepting ANY first time fiction authors at this time
  • Our agency receives 300 queries a day and are not able to read yours at this time, good luck
  • We are currently looking only for historical fiction set in the 16th century, in Europe with Royalty ties

I saw on your web site that you speak to many clubs about your book.

Yes, that is how I sell most of the copies of my novel, by being a guest presenter.
 For my new book I have developed a beautiful power point presentation with super photographs from the forties. Readers may email me to arranged guest presentations or book clubs.

Where can I buy She Built Ships During WWII?

You can buy an autographed copy of my book on my website: through pay pal or email me at  and I will mail it to you.
I love selling my books at the three local coffee shops: The Bean Affair and Geyserville Mud and SOCO Coffee because they take a low percentage.
Limited copies of my book are available at Copperfield’s in California

Why are there limited copies in Copperfield’s.?

 I only receive $2.00 a copy after a long period of time when sold at all bookstores.

Can I buy it on line on Amazon?

Yes, it is available on Amazon but again I only receive $1-2 after many months.


It is available on all electronic devices but again I get very little money for all the work I have done. There are also 25 historical photographs in it and they don’t always come out well electronically. Also you cannot autograph electronic books!

Do you have any advice for writers?

Writing is all about Rewriting!
Writing is fun, rewriting can be tedious. It takes a tremendous amount of discipline.
It is best to pick the time of day or night that you have the most mental energy and write everyday.
When I am done with my first draft, I start reading it aloud. I find more mistakes this way.
Another piece of advice is to pay for an editor or editors. I really liked having a content editor and a grammar editor this time.
Editors who write get an editor for their books because you become critically blind to their own work.
All editors are not good. Take the time and look at all previous books they have edited.
I think it is worth it to pay for a cover designer. A good cover is everything and even the spine is important. I have tiny ships on my spine! I have a great, well qualified cover designer:

What books do you read?

I mostly read books from author’s I have met and have a huge shelf of autographed books. That’s one disadvantage of electronic books, you can’t get them autographed. Autographed books make very special copies. When I read them I like to picture and think about the author.

Are you writing a third historical fiction?

Yes, I am researching women spy's during WWII. It is intriguing but also hard to find information.

That book sound like it will be quite a winner! Good luck and thank you for the interview! Everyone please post a comment to be in the drawing to win a copy of Jeane Slone's new historical fiction, She Built Ships During WWII.

Last time winners of Carolyn Jewel's My Immortal Assassin are Sharon, Lisa and Arletta, congratulations!
To Post a Comment: Go to bottom of interview, press blue comment button. Go to the end of everyone's comments, under post a comment, write a comment, select Name/Url, type your name and email address on ONE line, NO url necessary, the press POST comment.
Thank you.


  1. Love the sound if your next book about women spies during WWII.


    alterlisa AT yahoo DOT com

  2. Linda Loveland ReidJanuary 27, 2011 at 6:17 PM

    Jeane's books are always surprising in that you learn new things about woman during an important period of our history, WWII. I've read She Built Ships and I think you will enjoy it.

  3. What a great interviewer and interviewee! What they're the same? Well, bless my socks! Good information, Jeane, and I'll really look forward to your spy book. My mom worked at Picatinny Aresenal in NJ during the war but scarcely talked about it later.
    Thanks for Carolyn's book prize!

  4. This is a period of history that has intrigued me all my life, perhaps because my father fought in the Infantry during WWII. And, as the 'greatest generation' continues to age, and disappear from our lives, I believe it is critical to record their stories for future generations. Many thanks to Jeane for focusing on women's roles in this extraordinary moment of time. (I'll never forget the morning my daughter was born, and the Ob came into the room wearing a shirt with the image of Rosie the Riveter, with "we can do it" printed beneath! Inspirational then, inspirational now.
    And can't wait for the spy stories!!

  5. Granny Vee francofyle@hotmail.comJanuary 27, 2011 at 7:28 PM

    Can't wait for the women spy novel. I take it you will be limiting yourself to American women, in other words no Mata Hari stories. Did you know this famous European WWII double-spy, courtizane and exotic dancer was really a Dutch woman? No doubt your novel will be equally, if not more, intriguing.

  6. Congratulations on the new book, Jeanne. I really enjoyed your first book and look forward to reading this one. Hope it will be available at the next Redwood Writers meeting.
    Good writing advice, too.
    Thanks for this blog- very enjoyable.

  7. Barbara -barbara@barbarasmirror.comJanuary 28, 2011 at 10:52 AM

    Great idea to interview yourself. It would be fun to win your book. I like the idea of weaving the 3 women's stories into the history. Thanks for adding the bit about publishing. 100 queries!! Wow. Glad you weren't discouraged. Gives me hope.

  8. So nice to read an interview about YOU, the author! I really want to read your books, and I am sure they are not at all boring!

  9. Hi Jeanne,
    I loved your self interview. I learned more about the writer's angle of the publishing business. I didn't know that the publishers didn't have a market for women in war books.
    Maybe there are so few books in this area that it the market hasn't opened up yet. I knew that writers get very little back on e-books but I didn't know that it was so bad with beautiful paperbacks.

    My mother typed for the army too, but not for a a colonel. My father flew a piper cub for reconnaisance in WWII. And I was a peace activist too but didn't make the Washington trip because I needed to study for a mid-term.
    I always wondered what would have happened if I had taken that group bus trip from Indiana.

    I loved your book, "She Flew Bombers". I wonder how you can get more publicity for it. After people hear about the book, I am sure that they will want to read it.

    I am looking forward to reading "She Built Ships" I am particurly interested in the story about the storekeeper who got taken away to a stable in San Bruno. I live for a while in Arcadia where the famous race track Santa Anita is. At that time, I was taking a class on Asian
    literature. My professor started a class and she
    got remark from one of my classmates. He said that he didn't understand why there was so much fuss about the internment of Japanese Americans during WWII. Everyone was shocke into silence.
    Then my professor stated that she had married a Chinese American but that she was Japanese American. For the rest of the class period, she told with fierce anger and tears streaming down her face about what it was like. She said that she thought of herself as being America, after all she was in the girl scouts. But she could remember her mother burying her china in the backyard and the whole family being taken away.
    Yes, they did have schooling, good meals etc. but they also had a guard looking down on them all the time for fear that they might escape. After she was released, she moved out of state and vowed to never return.

    I had heard that the race track that I lived a short walking distance from was also the first step for internment for many Japanese Americans in our area. I went to the local library asked the librarian if there was anything written about it and she told me of set of photos of the people interned at Santa Anita. I received permission to make copies of them for own Asian
    Appreciation Day at work. There pictures of smiling children in school, playing games and standing in cafeteria lines but also pictures of walls and the guards standing up high. So,I am very glad that besides the heros of the war ,
    you are including one of the United States' biggest mistakes.

    Sorry, this is so long but your new book brought a memory that I will never forget.

    Carol Wong


  10. You did a wonderful job of interviewing of the better interviews I have read.

    lkish77123 at gmail dot com

  11. Your answers to your own questions echoed much of my experience too
    as the author of one published novel ( and owner of WriteWords Press. I'd like to interview you, Jeanne, because your answers made me think of more to ask. What's more, your advice to writers, beginning and otherwise, is GREAT.

  12. Osha, osha@renaissancecs.comFebruary 9, 2011 at 11:31 AM


    This is fascinating. You cover important topics in these novels, like the "wages" of war, activating peace, and women's empowerment.

    Your comments about the types of publishing from the standpoint of how much the author reaps for her or his work, are useful for those authors wondering which path might be best for them.

  13. Jeanne - You did a nice job of interviewing yourself without any discernible bias. I resonated with your experience submitting queries.
    WWII holds both a fascination and a horror for me. As a young boy living in San Francisco, I was scared that we were going to be attacked. Even though the films during that period were filled with propaganda, they horrified me. I guess I just couldn't identify with John Wayne.
    At the time, I knew that women were holding men's jobs. They were praised for it in the media, although my sense was that it was always tongue in cheek, i.e. we have to use women to do the work even though they're not quite the best. I think your books and the recent recognition given the women who shuttled planes for the Air Force contribute to a well deserved credit that has been a long time coming. Congratulations!

  14. jeane Slone info@jeaneslone.comFebruary 10, 2011 at 5:53 AM

    I enjoyed everyone's comments immensely. It is an added bonus after writing a book to hear new stories from people and their own personal experiences. Thank you everyone!

  15. I don't know what's happened. I answered this blog twice & my comments did not appear??????

  16. Congratulations Jeane. I admire your stick-to-it-ness. The premise of your novel sounds fascinating.

  17. Your blog was very interesting. As a self-publihsed author, it's always good to read about others efforts and successes. When you live in the middle of nowhere like I do, the internet and blogs play a big part of what is available to me. Thanks for your efforts on behalf of all writers.