Jay Harman on PLAINS TO THE PACIFIC: The source of my motivation comes from just one thing; sharing the story

Plains to the Pacific received a 4+ star review, making it an IndieReader Approved title.

Following find an interview with author Jay Harman.

What is the name of the book and when was it published?

    The name of the book is Plains to the Pacific and it was published on February 6, 2017.

What’s the book about? Give us the “pitch”. 

The book is based on a life-story manuscript written by Robert Slothower, my great-grandfather. Robert’s story represents a challenging life met with great courage. The son and grandson of Civil War soldiers who fought on the Union side, Robert Slothower clearly inherited the strength of a bygone era. As a boy in Kansas, he was separated from the rest of the family for seven years, then was finally reunited with them in Denver. Farming, homesteading, and painful lessons of loss are part of Robert Slothower’s life. The pain of losing his young wife and their first two babies on the remote Wyoming homestead is overwhelming, but Robert overcomes adversity and rebuilds his life. An emerging relationship with God, along with a new life out west, takes Robert and his family from the Kansas Prairie to the Pacific Northwest. Starting over in Western Washington with a new wife, Robert adapts to a different kind of farming and his wife gives birth to triplets. Plains to the Pacific, a historical narrative, reminds us that life was not always so easy, but from great trials can emerge great joy.

What inspired you to write the book? A particular person? An event?

When I first picked up a rough copy of the manuscript I could hardly put it down. The story and the way my great-grandfather was telling it was incredible. By the time I got through the first chapter, I knew I had a book project ahead of me.

What’s the main reason someone should really read this book?

The book is really about courage, endurance, and faith and the legacy of our pioneer ancestors. 

If they made your book into a movie, who would you like to see play the main character(s)?

Kevin Costner would make a good “Robert”. I thought about his role in the movie, “Dances with Wolves”. Costner has a compelling way of portraying someone who is humble, knows right from wrong, and has the courage to stay the course during tough times and this was Great-grandfather Robert.

When did you first decide to become an author?

 Robert’s life story was my inspiration for writing this book. I’ve never written a book before.  I’ve written a few short stories about some of my outdoor adventures, such as hunting trips to Alaska.

What do you do for work when you’re not writing?

I’m a retired Technical Education teacher, and my wife and I live on a small farm in the Pacific Northwest, in Oregon. I always have farm chores or some kind of project in the works, all the way from erecting windmills to raising cattle to trapping skunks. Last year, my wife and I hiked the West Highland Way, in Scotland. I enjoy spending time with family, especially my two adult kids and my new grandson. Life’s good.

How much time do you generally spend on your writing?

I am someone who came to writing late in life, but when I got my great-grandfather’s manuscript, I knew it needed to become a book.

What’s the best and the hardest part of being an indie?   

The best part is finally completing a book project and then receiving rewarding feedback from readers. The hardest part is probably the marketing aspect.

Is there something in particular that motivates you?

The source of my motivation to write this book comes from just one thing; sharing the story. My great-grandfather’s life story is simply too incredible not to be shared with others. Authors of non-fiction dream up interesting and exciting characters and events to make a good story, but this story doesn’t need “fictionalized dream work” to be amazing.

Which writer, living or dead, do you most admire?

I really like Jon Krakauer’s work. Incidentally, he and I both grew up in the same town, Corvallis, Oregon. 

Which book do you wish you could have written?

This is the only book I will write! I feel completely satisfied knowing that I did what I was meant to do. Others’ books are their own, and I respect that.


1 reply
  1. avatar
    Kit says:

    Jay- you’re a natural! Amazing interview, and even better book. I get the impression that you are very ‘well dressed’. Is this true?

    A fan from Buckeye


Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *