- Associated Press - Sunday, April 19, 2015

GREENVILLE, Miss. (AP) - Holding up her copy of “The Leather Satchel,” Helen K. Jordan gave a little chuckle and said she hopes her readers don’t ask for a third book as her “mind is blank.” She justified it, saying, “when you’re going on 89 years old, that’s to be expected.”

Within the past year, Jordan did what she thought was unimaginable: authored two 300-plus page novels.

After several requests for a sequel to her first one, “The Journal” - a book, published in July, that is full of suspense, history of World War II, romance and faith - Jordan sat down at her computer and began writing.

“Everybody kept asking for a sequel,” she said. “I thought ‘The Journal’ would be the only book I wrote, but as I got to thinking, I had a little seed - a little thought - about East Germany that I could develop. And, I was willing to develop that thought.”

She had a plot, which still included information about pre- and post-war Germany, but it wasn’t defined when she started writing, the author said.

“The more I wrote, the easier it came; and before long, I had a book,” she said. “The characters just kind of developed as I went along.”

Within four months, she had written 373 pages and published “The Leather Satchel.”

“I didn’t dream I would get through with it that quickly. But at my age, I felt like I needed to,” she said.

With a good sense of humor, Jordan kept the conversation light as she talked about the characters in her most recent novel as if they were her friends.

“I enjoyed writing it. I can only hope readers will enjoy reading it,” she said, adding she had to do her fair share of research about current German laws, the Berlin Wall, the Iron Curtain and World War II for the book.

Readers, she said, will be familiar with a handful of characters - Susan and William Handel and Leonard Kroft - from “The Journal.”

However, in her second book, Jordan, of course, “wanted to develop some new characters.”

Her second book, similar to her first, has a strong spiritual plot. While it has a Christian theme, it also has romance and suspense.

“I like to write what I like to read,” she said.

Joining her mother in the living room, Carolyn Cunningham, one of Jordan’s three daughters, said “The Leather Satchel” will appeal to a wide audience.

“It’s more of an action book (when compared to ‘The Journal’). It moves so fast,” she said.

“It’s an easy read that has something in it that everyone will like.”

While the book could stand alone, Jordan said, it was intended as a sequel to “The Journal.”

“To really appreciate the second book fully, you really need to read ‘The Journal’ first,” she said.

Cunningham furthered her mother’s comment, saying, “It can be a stand-alone book, but just as you get into any series, it’s more enjoyable when you’ve read the other books.”

The two agreed both books, “The Journal” and “The Leather Satchel,” will appeal to people 16 years of age and older.

Will there be a third book?

With her 90th birthday in view, Jordan said her writing days are most likely done.

“Right now, I don’t have any ideas or plans,” she said.

Cunningham, however, said several friends and family members want Jordan to continue writing, even if her mother strays from the current series.

Not restraining from singing her mother’s praises, Cunningham said her mother is “gifted in many things.”

“I never knew she was gifted in writing until she wrote ‘The Journal.’ She could have easily been an architect, portrait artist and she’s a fabulous seamstress and cook,” she said. “She’s an avid, avid reader. Artistic ability just exudes from her.”

Jordan, a Greenville native who grew up during World War II, blushed as her daughter complimented her.

Though she can add “author” to her list of accomplishments, Jordan said writing and literature weren’t always her forte.

“Math is what I love,” she said. “I’m ashamed to say I liked English well enough, but I didn’t care about literature. I wish I had paid more attention to phrases and expressions.”

To that end, Jordan has surprised herself by authoring two books.

“I didn’t know I could do this,” she said. “I wish I had started writing earlier.”

___

Information from: Delta Democrat-Times, https://www.ddtonline.com

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