Friday, June 8, 2012

The Mine by John A. Heldt

The Mine

About the Book:

In 2000, Joel Smith is a cocky, adventurous young man who sees the world as his playground. But when the college senior, days from graduation, enters an abandoned Montana mine, he discovers the price of reckless curiosity. He emerges in May 1941 with a cell phone he can't use, money he can't spend, and little but his wits to guide his way. Stuck in the age of Whirlaway, swing dancing, and a peacetime draft, Joel begins a new life as the nation drifts toward war. With the help of his 21-year-old trailblazing grandmother and her friends, he finds his place in a world he knew only from movies and books. But when an opportunity comes to return to the present, Joel must decide whether to leave his new love in the past or choose a course that will alter their lives forever. THE MINE follows a humbled man through a critical time in history as he adjusts to new surroundings and wrestles with the knowledge of things to come.

About the Author:

Image of John A. Heldt

John A. Heldt is a reference librarian who lives and works in Montana. The former award-winning sportswriter and newspaper editor has loved reading and writing since writing book reports on baseball heroes in grade school. A graduate of both the University of Oregon and University of Iowa, he is an avid fisherman, sports fan, home brewer, and reader of thrillers and historical fiction. THE MINE is his first novel.

Guest Post by John A. Heldt


There are many challenges that confront first-time novelists, particularly those who take the self-publishing route. We must create a compelling plot, develop interesting characters, find suitable cover art, enlist competent editorial assistance, and sketch out a marketing plan.

But when I began writing The Mine last summer, I didn't think selecting a genre would be one of these challenges. A genre, I thought, was a relatively minor consideration that fell somewhere between font type and word count. I quickly discovered otherwise. Choosing a genre is not only an exercise in classification, but also an exercise in marketing.

For many authors the matter is not a problem. They write thrillers or mysteries or romances that fall well within established boundaries of genre fiction. Even when they write in other genres, they produce works that are easy to label. A romance written by a mystery writer is still a romance. But what do you call a book that cuts fairly evenly across three or four genres?

My biggest challenge in producing The Mine was deciding what kind of book to write. I wanted the best of all worlds: a novel that appealed to a general audience but one with elements that suited specific tastes. I wanted to write a coming-of-age time-travel tale filled with adventure, humor, and serious themes. One with interesting characters in interesting times. A historical novel that paid more than lip service to historical accuracy. A tender, old-fashioned love story. A book that made readers think and ask questions.

I eventually wrote a story that covered all of these bases. But as my self-assigned publishing deadline approached, I still had not decided how to market it. Was a book set in the Pacific Northwest in 1941 and 2000 historical fiction or contemporary fiction? Was time travel a world unto itself or a sub-genre of romance? And where did adventure and humor fit in?

I did not want important elements of my first novel to be swept aside in the name of structure and expediency. In at least one sales venue, I was allowed no more than two genre selections. I considered the heading of general fiction to be too vague, even if it was probably the most accurate.

In the end, I took a hard look at the manuscript and tried to decide which label(s) best represented the spirit of the work. I also did what most middle-aged men would have done in a similar situation: I listened to my 17-year-old daughter.

"It's a romance novel, Dad. Get over it!"

I took her sage advice.

The Mine is currently available through Amazon and Barnes & Noble under the headings Romance-Time Travel and Historical Fiction. I encourage you to give it a look. In any genre, it is a good read.

Check back August for my review and a give away!

The Mine can be purchased on Amazon:

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