About Jan Nichols Batts

Jan

I am an author, public relations strategist and copywriter who helps people find the right words to tell their stories. I began my writing career working for free at my hometown newspaper in my early teens. Since then, I have blended words and thoughts to persuade, inform and entertain people over the world, to help police identify a murderer, families to grieve a death, and businesses to differentiate themselves online. My current project is an historical fiction series called Before the Civil War.

I employ my passion for authenticity and in-depth research to bring richness to my storytelling. I am a living historian, having organized one of the largest civilian Civil War reenactor groups, and have conducted and participated in numerous school programs and homeschool classes, teaching students about the War Between the States.

I have been published in magazines, newspapers and online. I wrote the text of the award-winning Cowboys of the Waggoner Ranch, a pictorial record of the cowboys and one cowgirl on the largest ranch within one fence in the world.

I am a native Texan and live in Fort Worth.


Welcome to the Continuing Story

Larger-Jan at Star-Telegram -Nixon Resigns-1
Jan, third from right, at the Star-Telegram city desk.

You might say I started my career in fiction in the fourth grade, when I wrote serial novels that I passed around to the girls in my class. These novels, self-illustrated in pencil, coincidentally featured characters with the same names as the heroines in Little Women, my favorite book at the time. I learned the dangers of killing off a popular character and the influence critics can have on plot lines.

My ambition at that time was to write an encyclopedia. I’m thankful ambitions can change. Now I’m writing about the War Between the States. Have I learned nothing from my fourth grade experience?

In the eighth grade I discovered newspaper reporting. Who, what, where, when, how and why, with the most important thing first and the least important last. My first story was about an upcoming volleyball game. I discovered newspaper writing was easy for me. A new career ambition was born. … More


Worn Out in the Pursuit of Authenticity

Worn-out boots
My boots held together with gaffers tape

 

He gave me a challenge I couldn’t ignore: “Well, if you don’t want to write it right….”

And that’s how I started doing Civil War reenacting. Dick Smart, sergeant of the 19th Alabama Infantry (Confederate States of America) reenactors, had invited me to encamp with his unit to learn first-hand about soldiering in the Army of Tennessee.

I demurred. I had never camped overnight in my life. Girl Scout day camp one summer was the most I could boast.

But when Dick issued the challenge, I knew I had to go. And he was right. … More


A New Look for a Well-Known Tale

Texas Census
Daniel Waggoner’s family in the 1850 Census, 8th Judicial District, Hopkins County, TX

The only reason a man registers a cattle brand is to differentiate his stock from other people’s. And that fact is what led me to a new angle on a story that’s been told more times than a house has nails.

It’s not easy to entice people to read a story they’ve heard before. I try to find something new to say. The way to do that is to do more research.

I was writing the history of the famous Waggoner Ranch for the book Cowboys of the Waggoner Ranch, published in October 2015. Most stories about the ranch begin with Daniel Waggoner driving a herd to his 160-acre preemption grant on the Rolling Plains of Texas in 1854, or thereabouts. I began to wonder where he got that herd. … More


Contact:  Jan@JanNicholsBatts.com

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