Today our guest is J’nell Ciesleski who has generously agreed to share her writing space with us!
Karla: J’nell, I’ve noted from your website that you write adventurous, historical romance. Where do you settle in to weave your stories?
J’nell: I have two spaces of writing. One, my designated office with a pretty view of the tree filled backyard, a plush rug beneath my feet, and a zebra print chair to sit at my feminine desk.
And the second, the ‘other’ couch in the ‘other’ room where my daughter’s toys spill out from under the bench, the dog snores six feet away, and the tempting fridge is within eyeline. Guess which one gets used more? Yep. The second. It’s not that I don’t love stepping on legos and tripping over a Minnie Mouse musical car every time I need a drink of water, but the couch is much more practical. See, I use my daughter’s naptime as my writing time and if I so much as tiptoe past her room upstairs she’ll wake up. Pretty sure she has bat sonar. So long writing time! Plus, my designated office upstairs sits over the garage and it’s a furnace in the summertime.
Karla: When do you find time to write?
J’nell: I honestly wish I could spend all day writing. Unfortunately, chores and errands take up my morning because I like to get them done and out of the way. Then comes lunch, and then comes naptime which means freedom! If it’s a good day and she’s willing to give me a break then I’ll have at least 2 ½ hours of writing time. If she decides she wants to serenade me from the crib then I’ll attempt writing, but it usually ends up being research time as I don’t need absolute quiet for that. Sometimes I’ll get a few minutes on the weekend, but that time usually goes to family and church.
Karla: What do you write?
J’nell: Historical romances are my passion. Throw in a world war and I’m gold. Nothing like a man heading off to war or some other dangerous mission to amp up the passion, those are the moments I love to capture. Take a look at Braveheart, Gone With the Wind, Downton Abbey, Casablanca, Lord of the Rings, and Outlander and few other of my favorites and you’ll see what I mean.
Karla: What’s your process?
J’nell: Part of me is afraid to share a few unknown tidbits about what really happens behind the screen, but you asked so I guess I’ll brave the raised eyebrows and tell you. I usually play a round of Soda Crush before I get started. Helps to loosen the muscles. Then I reread the last few paragraphs of what I wrote yesterday to remind myself where I am and plunge in. Note: Sometimes staring blankly at the screen or wall happens first as I await divine inspiration. As the writing forges ahead, I often check with my notes which I have in a hot pink binder that is meticulously divided into sections: WWI, WWII, Scotland, Pirates, Clothing, Words, Transportation, etc. I often feel like Gandolf pouring over ancient manuscripts which makes me giggle. When hunger strikes, I try grab something healthy like yogurt or almonds, but sometimes those darn Kit Kats jump right into my hands.
Karla: What are you working on now?
J’nell: My last work in progress, or WIP for those in the know, is set in WWII France and is inspired by the Mitford sisters. Kat Whitford is on a mission to bring back her wayward sister after she ran away to occupied France and became the Nazis’s social secretary. Struggling to keep himself out of jail for a back alley brawl, Barrett Anderson is paying back his debt by working for British intelligence and they’ve just assigned him as babysitter to Kat. With direct access to the inner Nazi parties, they are immediately pressed to play the loving couple and gather all the information they can. When his past comes to call, it could spell disaster, and possibly, death for them all.
Karla: Tell us some more about yourself!
J’nelL: Born in Florida, I spent a happy childhood splashing on the sugar white beaches only known to the Sunshine Stare. While in middle school, my dad got a job transfer to Texas where I graduated from Texas A&M with a B.S. in Psychology. Not knowing what else to do with my life and seeing as how writing wasn’t paying the bills yet, I joined the Air Force. Stationed in Germany I was privileged to travel to France, Austria, the Netherlands, England, and my favorite Scotland. I also met my awesome husband over there. Finding him was worth wearing camouflage and combat boots every day. After serving our four years, we now live in Virginia where I’m a stay at home mom to a busy one and a half year old and a very lazy beagle.
Karla: Thank you, J’nell for giving us a peek into your writing life!
And thank YOU, dear readers, for stopping by! You can learn more about J’nell at the links below:
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