"Jouney of Honor" is local writer’s first published work | ParkRecord.com

"Jouney of Honor" is local writer’s first published work

One day, Joni M. Hatch, an unassuming mother of four who lives in Oakley, decided to write a book.

"I’m definitely not one of those people who have wanted to write all their lives," Hatch told The Park Record. "About two and a half years a go, I had an idea kicking around in my head and I thought I’d better write it down. I don’t know why. I just felt the need to put something down on paper."

The floodgates opened. Within the first 12 months of jotting down that idea, Hatch wrote nine books.

"Journey of Honor" is been the first to be published.

The book, which is available at Hi Mountain Drug in Kamas and Dolly’s Bookstore in Park City, is about Giselle, an immigrant from Holland migrating to Utah on the Mormon Pioneer Trail in 1848.

But that doesn’t mean Hatch writes mainly about Mormon themes.

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"All my books are different," she said. "They are historical, contemporary. Some are mainstream. I have a four-book series set on a ranch in southwestern Wyoming and I do have another that has a ranch theme. But all my books are considered inspirational, even though I tried not to have them all alike."

Hatch said the idea for "Journey of Honor" came from her love of American history.

"I’ve always loved history," she said. "I’ve had some great history teachers in the past and I’m a history buff.

"I’ve also had a number of ancestors who came across with the Mormon pioneers and with the California pioneers. And I’ve had some ancestors who traveled on the Oregon Trail."

Hatch also likes Western literature.

"I have a keen interest in the pioneers and mountain men," she said. "I have done some in-depth study on the trails and some of the different eras of the West, as far as the pioneers and the mountain men and the cattle drives, that kind of stuff has always fascinated me."

The heroine, Giselle, was based loosely on people she knows, Hatch said.

"One of my oldest brothers married a girl from Holland," Hatch said. "She’s a beautiful blonde and has been offered modeling contracts. She is the most down-to-earth, hard-working, sweetest human being on the planet. But she’s really funny and mixes up her languages."

Likewise, in the book Giselle, is a hard-working, optimistic human being, who often confuses English with Dutch.

"That is what happens with my sister-in-law," Hatch said. "We were helping her with her wedding and she said she wanted ‘red roses and pineapples.’ We though that was the weirdest combination. But after asking her to explain more, we realized what she really wanted was the combination of red roses and conifers pine cones. But it got lost in the translation."

Humor is an essential part of Hatch’s books.

"I think there is a real need for light-hearted literature," she said. "People need a distraction and a break from the world and the economy. They need to check out of life for a little while.

"Life is just better with some belly laughs."

Hatch wrote the book under a penname, Jaclyn M. Hawkes.

Her family agreed on Jaclyn M. Hawkes because Hatch’s initials are JMH.

"The problem is when I do book signings, I sign them all crazy like Jaclyn M. Hatch or Joni M. Hawkes," Hatch said with a laugh.