DOVER, Del. (AP) - Dover resident Brenda Jones has always been fascinated with World War II since she was a little girl.
“My dad was in World War II,” Ms. Jones said. “My father left when I was 4 or 5 and I didn’t ask him a lot of questions about it. But as I got older, I was able to research the war and I just became fascinated with it.”
“I have a lot of World War II memorabilia,” Ms. Jones said. “I have discharge papers and memorabilia from my father and other collections. My husband and I do a lot of antiquing. He would find things and I would buy them. For two years, I’ve done the display of collections down at the museum on the air base. After a while, my collection just started to get bigger and bigger.”
But her biggest passion is writing about the war. She has authored two novels, “Nurses Under Fire” and her most recent book “Keeping Hope Alive.”
“I’ve always had the niche or feeling that I wanted to write a book,” Ms. Jones said.
“Writing is an escape. I really enjoy it. When you’re done writing that part isn’t fun, but the actual writing process is the best part to me because you can get in your own space and nothing else exists.”
Ms. Jones was a dental hygienist for 30 years. During her career she worked in various areas of dentistry including private practice, surgery and manufacturing. After her retirement Ms. Jones participated in five surgical medical missions to the Philippines sponsored by the Dover, Delaware and Gallipolis, Ohio Rotary Clubs. She and her husband Ed live part of the year in Ohio.
Her trips to the South Pacific only increased her interest in World War II, which helped her appreciate and understand the experiences of characters from her first novel “Nurses Under Fire.”
“When I retired I started writing as a hobby,” Ms. Jones said. “I wrote that book a year before I went to the Philippines. It took me three years to write. I had everything perfect for my research, but once I went to the Philippines I was able to actually experience the atmosphere for myself.”
The book is based on the diaries of American nurses caught up in the Japanese occupation of the Philippines soon after Pearl Harbor.
“I read an article on those nurses and it just aggravated me,” Ms. Jones said. “I was so angry to think that some man told them to never mention what happened. I just wrote it out of anger, as a lot of tears went into that book.
“But while I was there the people were super friendly. It was overwhelming. It was long days. It was a lot of hard work and it makes you feel good helping out those in need.”
In her latest book, “Keeping Hope Alive,” the main character Maggie Amos takes on a new identity after her fiancé enlists in the Navy. But the two soon lose contact and Maggie is forced to adapt to a new and unfamiliar culture while dealing with single motherhood and the responsibility of managing a business.
Scenes are set in both Delaware and the Ohio Valley.
“It’s a story about a couple torn apart by World War II,” Ms. Jones said. “The story is fictional. I always had the idea in my head. I had an article about unwed mothers from the war and always kept that in the back of my mind. Even though I made up the story, it could be true, but it isn’t.
“But I did make sure that everything in the story pertaining to the plot was accurate. I made sure I had the correct hotel names and routes and anything you can image to make the story seem historically accurate as possible.”
Ms. Jones said the feedback from both books have been great so far.
“It’s been excellent,” Ms. Jones said. “I was surprised by all of the comments and great reviews. As far as I know, people really enjoy them.”
She hopes her stories and knowledge will help educate the younger generation about World War II.
“After the first book I got asked to speak in several states and speaking to the grade school kids, it was just fascinating that they knew nothing about the war,” Ms. Jones said. “Even in high school I found out it was just a paragraph or so about World War II. I think it just needs to be talked about and learned more throughout our schools.”
Ms. Jones isn’t sure if she will write another book, but her fascination with the war is something that she will never let go.
“If I write another book of course it will be about that,” Ms. Jones said. “I already have it in my head and have an outline for the story. It’s so much work and time and I don’t know if I want to get into that yet. I would rather continue with my paintings, which I recently just picked up. It’s more relaxing. But I do love writing. Everything about the war just fascinates me.”
Information from: Delaware State News, http://delawarestatenews.net
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