Janet Howle – Uncharted: The Start Of The New Beginning

Janet Howle experienced hardship as a young child but continued living the life she wants. She started writing academic paper, but after all of her hard work, she finally published a book entitled Uncharted, a combination of fiction and non-fiction novel.

LONDON – 27 March 2023

Janet Howle’s life story is a mesmerizing journey through resilience, adventure, and profound accomplishments. Hailing from a humble background in Michigan, her childhood was disrupted by a battle against polio at a tender age. The strength she exhibited during her recovery, coupled with the unwavering support of her family, laid the foundation for her unwavering spirit in the face of adversity.

Her academic pursuits took her through the corridors of the University of Michigan, where she graduated with a BS in physical therapy. Specializing in pediatrics, Janet delved into a career that blended compassion with expertise. Her journey continued at the University of North Carolina for graduate studies, eventually leading her to join the faculty, where she not only practiced but also contributed significantly to the academic world through her nonfiction writings.

Life’s twists and turns saw her through marriages, each with its unique lessons. The trials of her first marriage taught her invaluable truths about resilience and the futility of dwelling on unanswered questions. However, it was her second marriage that became a cornerstone of her life, nurturing a partnership filled with love, adventures, and shared passions. Together, they embarked on a journey that spanned continents, raising a blended family of six children while actively engaging in both entrepreneurial endeavors and philanthropy.

Their business venture in manufacturing mobility products for children with neuromuscular impairments stands as a testament to their commitment to improving lives. Janet’s creativity and dedication birthed revolutionary products like the walker that continues to impact the lives of countless children worldwide.

Her zest for adventure found expression not just in sailing but also in vintage car rallies that took them through the terrains of Africa, South America, and North America, including daring drives through the Arctic Circle and an epic around-the-world rally. The experiences from this global expedition formed the basis of a novel co-authored with her husband, showcasing their remarkable journey.

Undeterred by the challenges of self-publishing their first novel, the lessons learned only fueled Janet’s determination to share more stories. “Uncharted,” a novel brain-stormed by the duo and published under her name, intricately weaves together their sailing experiences with the intriguing history of the Bahamas, particularly the tumultuous era of the Columbian drug cartel’s influence on Norman’s Cay.

With a publishing home found in Sistership Press, Janet Howle continues her literary journey, currently working on a sequel set in the Bahamas, exploring the controversial period of the 1940s when the Duke of Windsor served as Governor General amid suspicions of Nazi affiliations.

Janet Howle’s life stands as an ode to resilience, adventure, and a relentless pursuit of making a difference both in the lives she touched directly and through the stories she weaves. Her narrative mirrors the spirit of embracing life’s challenges and turning them into avenues for growth and inspiration.

What’s your favorite book on one else has heard of?

I am sure some people know this book, and more should.  My Left Foot by Christy Brown is a long-time favorite. Mr. Brown was one of 15 children raised in a Dublin slum. Not only that, he was born with a severe form of cerebral palsy and could not walk, talk, eat, or care for himself.  Born in 1932, he never went to school. The very fact he wrote two books, typing with his left foot, is nothing short of amazing and his ability to find humor while describing a tough and often lonely life is remarkable. My Left Foot was made into a movie.  I still own this books along with his novel, Down All the Days.

You’re organizing a party. Which two authors, dead or alive, do you invite?

Only two? I would invite Abraham Verghese and Amor Towles, both brilliant writers with extraordinary imaginations. I am constantly underlining sentences in their novels (and in the case of Verghese, his two memoirs) that I wish I could emulate.

If I could include one more, it would be Ernest Hemmingway. Not because I admire his writing so much, in truth, some of his novels, I find hard to read, but because he led such an adventurous, unconventional life, even for a writer, and certainly would add to the mix. Unfortunately, I would be so intimidated by these men, I would probably only be able to come up with something stupid like, “Well, what do you think of this weather we’re having?”

Which writers-working today, do you admire most?

Certainly both Verghese and Towles as stated above, but I would also include Barbara Kingsolver, Fredrik Backman, Anthony Doerr, and Delia Owens. Kingsolver’s most recent novel, Demon Copperhead is a brilliant modern day retelling of David Copperfield. I admire Backman for his smooth storytelling and charming, quirky, yet believable characters. I thoroughly enjoyed Owens’ novel, Where the Crawdad’s Sing but more so her honest and thoughtful memoirs describing her on-site animal research in the Kalahri Desert and the remote areas of Zambia. I have read three of Doerr’s novels, all very different, but I was blown away with Cloud Cuckoo Land. I could not imagine how he was going to pull together these three time lines and he nailed it. Brilliant. ( note to self:   find a synonym for brilliant.)

What do you read when you’re working on a book? What kind of reading do you avoid while writing?

At the stage that I am researching background for my novels, I read both fiction and non-fiction based on the factual parts of my novels. During the early stages of writing UNCHARTED, I read many books about the years the Colombian drug cartel operated in the Bahamas. When I include factual information, I want to get it right. I am currently reading books about the time the Duke of Windsor governed in the Bahamas in the 1940s as this plays a role in my WIP, the sequel to UNCHARTED.

I usually have a novel going as well. Some days I need a distraction from my writing. While I am not usually not a fan of science fiction or fantasy, I have thoroughly enjoyed Doerr’s novel. Cloud Cuckoo Land, Anthony Weir’s, Project Hail Mary and TJ Klune, House in the Cerulean Sea. All with fascinating characters and elegant writing. I also read popular novels to see what people are reading and buying as I always wonder if I am writing what people are looking for.

In addition to reading to escape, I read to improve my writing by analyzing how authors advance their plots and describe characters that pull the reader in. I am also currently reading Dreyer’s English, which is the only grammar book that makes me laugh while improving my writing.

What kind of reader was I as a child?

A constant one. My mother was a teacher and later a librarian. She set the bar. She always  made sure both my sister and I had books. Our community library was on the corner of our street and we often walked there, usually after dinner, to check out as many books as we were allowed. My sister and I collected the popular series, Little House on the Prairie, Nancy Drew, Judy Bolten among others. ( I did not read Anna of Green Gables or any in that series, not sure why) A trip to the local bookstore was often a reward. We were never without stacks of books on the tables in our house.

What genres do you especially enjoy reading?

I particularly like contemporary fiction that also introduce me to bits of history I know nothing about. The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Richardson comes to mind as does The Lost History of Stars by Dave Boling.

It’s easier to say what I don’t read. I don’t read horror, not when I’m writing and not when I’m not. Reality in the real world is enough.  (I live in the U.S. with almost daily shootings.) I am also not a fan of sci-fi or fantasy. I have read some, but not my go-to. I did thoroughly enjoy The Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett as well as those I mentioned in my answer to question 4. I will read most anything that is well-written. I am always curious about what pulls a reader in and makes a book a best-seller.   

When did you start writing?

I wrote my first piece of fiction the summer I was nine or maybe ten. It was a story about a young, bored girl who, despite an otherwise happy childhood, runs away to join a circus. It wasn’t a very long story since I couldn’t decide if my heroine was going to be a bareback rider or aerialist, but I did know she would wear one of those sparkly, sequined leotards and tights-pink, or maybe purple. I also had no idea how to develop a plot or describe characters.  

After a long pause for career and family, I didn’t write or publish a novel until I was 63. I coauthored a novel, The Long Road to Paris with my husband. It was, and still is a great plot with intriguing characters. It is based on our around the world car rally. It is, I will admit, not particularly well-written and has many grammatical and spelling errors do to the fact it was hurriedly self-edited. In fact, I’m kind of embarrassed but it’s out there and someday, I hope to revise it and publish it under a different title. I have learned a lot about writing since that time.

Which writer would you want to write your life story?

I am not ready to write my story. There are parts of my life that would be hurtful to family and friends close to me and I am not willing to expose those things for the sake of a juicy autobiography. If I had to choose a writer, it would be one who writes fiction that reads almost as non-fiction. Beatriz Williams or Erik Larson come to mind. I wouldn’t mind a bit of embellishment.

What books are you embarrassed not to have read yet?

I have never read Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte or Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austin (or any of this series). Often Heathcliff and Catherine or Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth are referenced in modern stories, so I am probably missing out on things, but I still can’t generate the interest to follow these stilted relationships. 

Are there any classic novels that you only recently read for the first time?

I’m not sure this qualifies, but it should. I recently read the epic Lonesome Dove by Larry Mc Murtry. This is not a genre that I usually read- historical American west- and I gravitate toward novels with strong female protagonists which this certainly isn’t. At 900 pages, it was a bit daunting but I decided to give it a go. It is a dramatic, authentic read and I didn’t want it to end. I will read another in this tetralogy.

How would you describe your writing?

I write first to entertain but everything I have written is based on my life experiences. Fortunately, I have had many and some unconventional ones. In addition, I want my novels to introduce readers to parts of history they may not know about. My novels are set in contemporary times and in places I know well. I do change things around to move the story forward, but the settings are authentic.  All my writing involves a strong female protagonist. If I had to apply a genre, it would be suspense with a romantic subplot. However, my novels would not be considered thrillers.

I admire writers such as JK Rowling who can create alternative universes but my mind doesn’t work that way.

       Testimonials for UNCHARTED An intricately plotted, impressive suspense. Realistic details that draw on the author’s experiences. Meticulously researched history and culture with stirring descriptions of the Bahamas. Prairie Review Howle’s intimate knowledge of both the Bahamian setting and sailing impact an authenticity which elevates the story and makes it utterly engaging. Karen Dionne, international best-selling author Fast-paced action set in the exotic Bahamas with memorable characters and intrigue. Helene Young, Best-selling Australian author UNCHARTED sets a turbulent period in the Bahamas’ history as the backdrop for a present-day catastrophe. Exceptionally well-written and showcasing her genuine flair as a novelist for narrative driven storytelling, Howle’s novel will captivate both seasoned and armchair sailors. Midwest Book Review The settings are exotic, the characters fascinating and the boating idyllic, but like the crystal blue waters, sharks are circling. A wonderful read that I highly recommend. David Cameron, author
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