My special guest today is J. Arlene Culiner. She’s sharing a bit about her new contemporary romance novel, Felicity’s Power from The Wild Rose Press, and her other writing
Born in New York, raised in Toronto, J. Arlene Culiner has spent most of her life in England, Germany, Turkey, Greece, Hungary and the Sahara. She now resides in a 400-year-old former inn in a French village of no real interest. Much to everyone's dismay, she protects all living creatures — especially spiders and snakes — and her wild (or wildlife) garden is a classified butterfly and bird reserve.
In her perfectly realistic contemporary romances, heroines are funny, and heroes are dashingly lovable.
Welcome, Arlene. Please tell us about your current release. What inspired you to write this book?
Don’t we all have a memory tucked away of someone we once loved, or someone we just might have fallen in love with had the circumstances been right? And what would happen if we came face-to-face with that person today? Would the magic still be there? Would our hands tremble, our knees knock together just the way they did back then? Or would we just stare, appalled, wonder how we could once have been so silly?
For me, the idea of meeting up with a romantic ex was just intriguing enough to write about. And so, Felicity Powers came to life. She’s a strong, determined woman, just the sort who fights for what she wants. And when she first sees Marek Sumner, she wants him to fall in love with her. And because he’s a smart guy, a romantic, he realizes how wonderful his life will be with Felicity in it.
But love doesn’t solve everything, and that’s the problem. If the relationship is going to work, it will mean sacrifice. Too much compromise. Marek wants security, a family; Felicity wants adventure. So, after living together for almost two years, the love story is over.
Well…in a way it’s over. Because, even after years of separation, Felicity has never forgotten Marek. She has spent her life as a foreign aid worker, has been in danger countless times, has done exactly what she set out to do, but she knows Marek was the love of her life. And because she’s a fighter, she’s going to see if their relationship can start all over again.
What does Marek think? Of course he’s never forgotten Felicity, and it’s great to see her again. She looks wonderful. And sexy. And exciting. But start over? All these years later? Risk having his heart broken again? He’s older and wiser now. Too smart for all the turbulence and drama.
And that’s definitely not how Felicity sees things.
Excerpt from Felicity’s Power:
“Making a quick getaway?” Felicity stood in the doorway taking in the scene: the open but fully packed suitcase on the bed, Marek’s trench coat flung over the table. He was on his way out. No denying the evidence.
Marek sat in the armchair by the window, his face tight, his eyes haunted. “I’m sitting here, in a chair, right? Aren’t the words ‘a quick getaway’ somewhat of an exaggeration?” He drawled the words out slowly, mockingly.
“Okay then. A slow getaway.”
He stared at her, unable to pull his eyes away. Her face was pale, her expression wild. Loose tendrils of hair shadowed her neck, calling attention to the slow throb of veins under the delicate skin. She looked sexy as hell. Tempting and far too dangerous to think about.
“Not quick, not slow. Neither one of the above. No getaway.” His voice was icy, impersonal.
“That!” Her arm waved wildly, gesticulated in the direction of the suitcase. A sharp, searing feeling of betrayal mixed with humiliation kept her tense, unrelenting. “I mean, if you want me out of here, all you have to do is tell me. Since you’re obviously desperate to get rid of me.” She felt as if she’d been stabbed. She crossed the room slowly until she was standing beside him, staring down at him, her eyes flashing with determination and fury. “But let’s not forget you were the one who invited me up here. Remember? I didn’t ask to be put up in your hotel room.”
But you might have done so. If he hadn’t taken matters into his own hands. Well, never again. Never. Your time is up as far as I’m concerned, Marek Sumner!
He stood up, studied her for a minute, silently.
“God, you’re beautiful.” It was as if the words had been wrenched out of him, as if he would have given anything not to say them, but they made her heart stand still.
What exciting story are you working on next?
I’m working on the narrative non-fiction biography of a forgotten nineteenth century Ukrainian poet, but that’s another story altogether.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Like pretty well every author, writing is something I’ve done for most of my life. But that didn’t make me a writer, of course. I was just someone who writes. Then I got a job writing and broadcasting stories on Radio France, and I could finally say I was a writer…of sorts. But I didn’t feel like a real writer until my first book was accepted by a publisher, and the contract arrived in the mail. It was an exciting, heady moment because I’d waited years for it to happen.
Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
I write full time, yes, but that doesn’t mean I write all day long. I can do three or four hours in the morning, and then that’s it. I’m drained. After that, I can do other things: concentrate on music, for example. I play oboe and English horn in an orchestra in the city of Laval, and baroque instruments in a baroque orchestra in the Paris area, so I am often shifting back and forth the few hundred kilometers between both places. Or else, I can do research: I write narrative non-fiction as well as fiction, and I usually have to spend a considerable amount of time in the Paris archives or in the libraries, or even in the libraries in other countries.
What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
Well, I wouldn’t call it a quirk but, for me, the most exciting thing in the world in waking up at four-thirty or five in the morning, when almost everyone for miles around is still sound asleep. I sit down with a cup of cold herbal tea (made the night before) and write. The silence is glorious; the atmosphere is somehow magical. Soon the birds will wake up, start singing, and the sun will rise. But for the moment, I have the feeling the world is all mine.
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A princess or a queen. I’m still working on achieving either position; in the modern world, however, those jobs aren’t so easy to come by.
Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
I love hearing from readers or potential writers or even just those who are curious. Please do write to me at romance at j-arleneculiner dot com.
Also, Lisa, thank you very much for giving me the opportunity to talk about this new release (and about myself, of course.)
Thank you for stopping by today Arlene! It's been my pleasure!