Cover image for After the fire
After the fire
Jance, Judith A.
Personal Author:
Second edition.
Publication Information:
Tucson, AZ : University of Arizona Libraries, [2004]

Physical Description:
xv, 84 pages ; 19 cm
General Note:
Poems with new annotations by the author.

"The poems in this book were originally published in 1984 by Lance Publications, Seattle, Washington"--T.p. verso.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PS3560.A44 A48 2004 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



That fire can cleanse as well as destroy is no mystery to J. A. Jance. Before she found fame as a best-selling mystery author, Judith Jance wrestled with the personal anguish of being married to an alcoholic. For years she composed poetry in secret and kept it locked away. Finally it was published as After the Fire in 1984, the year before her debut novel.

After the Fire chronicled the death of a relationship as Jance's marriage to her first husband gradually collapsed under the weight of his addiction--aided and abetted by her own unwitting denial and co-dependence--while she struggled to find herself. "I will not be the price of your redemption," she wrote then. "I will not pay my life to ransom yours." Now this deeply personal work is available in a new annotated edition. In it, Jance offers unblinking insights into where she was and what was happening when each of these searing poems was written--remaking After the Fire as more than a collection of poetry. Now it is a portrait of addiction and the insidious ways in which it destroys relationships.

As Jance now observes while reflecting on these poems, "I could remember that spring morning sitting at the Formica table in my Phoenix kitchen and writing 'The Collector' while bags of unpacked groceries waited on the table beside me. I recalled everything about that long, long New Year's Eve vigil at my dying former husband's bedside. I felt once again the velvet smoothness of 'Fog' as I walked through a Seattle September morning on my way to a new life. . . . My life is far richer because of this book. My hope is that others will find answers here as well--answers and their own share of strength and courage." A work of crushing defeat and ultimate triumph, After the Fire relates an emotional journey that will be readily recognizable to anyone who has seen love destroyed and then found the strength to go on. It will inspire others who are struggling with similar issues as it allows fans of Jance's mysteries to better know the mind--and heart--of a favorite author.

Author Notes

Judith Ann (J. A.) Jance was born in Watertown, South Dakota on October 27, 1944. She received a degree in English and secondary education in 1966 and a M. Ed. in library science in 1970 from the University of Arizona. Before becoming an author, she taught high school English, worked as a school librarian on a Native American reservation, and sold insurance.

She is the author of many popular mystery series including the J. P. Beaumont Mystery series, Joanna Brady Mystery series, and the Ali Reynolds series. She won the American Mystery Award for Without Due Process in 1992 and for Failure to Appear in 1993. Both of these titles are books in the J. P. Beaumont Mystery series. In 2014, her fiction book, A Last Goodbye, made the New York Times bestseller list.

Random Acts, a title in A Joanna Brady and Ali Reynolds Novella Series, made the New York Times bestseller list in 2016.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Table of Contents

Prefacep. xi
A Question of Genderp. 3
Morningp. 5
Bitter Fruitp. 7
Shifting Gearsp. 10
Strangersp. 12
Choicesp. 15
Best Friendsp. 17
Misgivingsp. 19
Portraitp. 21
Entrapmentp. 23
Idle Conversationp. 25
Homestead Revisitedp. 28
The Rivalp. 30
Missed Connectionsp. 31
Hidden Agendap. 33
Breakagep. 34
Dirgep. 37
Watershedp. 39
Moving Outp. 41
The Collectorp. 43
Conversation on a Front Porchp. 45
Why?p. 47
Insomniap. 49
Undying Lovep. 51
After the Firep. 53
Unilateral Disarmamentp. 55
Death Sentencep. 57
Vigilp. 59
Death After Divorcep. 61
Missing Condolencep. 63
Mother's Day, 1983p. 65
Building a Legendp. 67
Kindred Spiritp. 69
Fogp. 71
Walking Woundedp. 73
Maiden Namesp. 75
Changing Timesp. 77
Interimp. 79
Daybreakp. 81
Benedictionp. 83
Postscriptp. 85