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Jane Doe 235 – From the Afterword

This is my nineteenth published novel and it was the most difficult of all to write. This book taught me that attempting to re-create on the page the dynamics of human thought is the most difficult chore of all. This is because memory and consciousness exist inside of layers that the human mind is capable of calling up all at one time and considering all at one time. This isn’t possible to do on the page without reducing a story to a serious jumble of words and phrases and feelings that change like clouds.
So what I was left facing was how to do the mechanics of this life of layers. What I finally resorted to, as you who have read this book have just seen, is a linear series of present day stories layered over the characters’ history in the form of diary entries and police reports. The challenge to the writer is like seasoning a stew: not too much of one or the other but still enough to achieve the taste. Too much history makes the story choppy. Too little and we have characters who are operating in a context without depth.
So here I sit, a few days before publishing this novel, wondering whether I have achieved what I set out to do and at the same time wondering whether this book is understandable and at the same time hoping the book is entertaining.
If I accomplished any of these things, I’m pleased. If I did not, I am challenged.
Either way, I’ll be back with more in future books.
John Ellsworth
California 2017


  • February 18, 2017
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