J’nell Ciesielski on WWII drama
Believing she was born in the wrong era, J’nell Ciesielski spends her days writing heart-stopping heroes, brave heroines, and adventurous exploits in times gone by.
Born a Florida girl, she now calls Virginia home, along with her very understanding husband, young daughter, and one very lazy beagle.
The idea for Songbird came to me after watching a movie with a British soldier who posed as a Nazi to spy for the Allies. One of his rendezvous happened in this little French bar, and I though aha! Now that would be interesting. Could a woman fall in love with the enemy and what would that look like? The story would be ripe for drama!
What genre do you focus on and why?
I’ve always loved the WWII mainly for the clothes and music. The US was heavily involved in this war and its history surrounds us. I was completely drawn to the way citizens pulled together in the name patriotism to overcome horrific circumstances. WWI and Scotland are also huge interests to me.
Why do you write? What drives you?
I write because I have to write. It’s really that simple. Writing is how I express myself, and if I keep it all inside I’ll explode. I love telling stories and bringing to life characters in situations that I find fascinating and will continue to do just that for as long as I can.
Who is your main character, and how did you choose that name?
Claire Baudin is my heroine. I wanted a name that was American and French sounding, plus I just think it’s pretty. My hero Michael Reiner has a more interesting tale. He’s named after Michael Fassbender who played a British solider posing as a Nazi in the movie that inspired this whole story. I felt it appropriate to honor him.
What does a day in your writing world look like?
I’m a stay at home mom so most of my day revolves around keeping a little person alive. Around 1 pm she heads into her room for quiet time and that’s when my writing begins. I get about 2 ½ hours to put words on paper before she comes breezing out again. At night time I’ll try to go over the pages I wrote earlier or do some reading.
What is the hardest part of being an author? Why?
Time management. I’m a very organized person, but when a bunch of to-dos start piling up I get overwhelmed and then shut down. So finding time to get it all done without completely ignoring my family can be difficult.
What’s the best part of your author’s life? Why?
Creating stories. I just love imaging new and different things, things I would never be able to do in my own life, but I get to experience via these characters and circumstances.
What is the craziest thing you’ve experienced as an author?
I don’t know if this is crazy, but I still find it mind blowing that people want my autograph. Autographs are supposed to be for famous people!
What are you most proud of?
Hanging in there and not giving up. There are days when I question if it’s worth it, am I good enough, but I forge ahead simply because I cannot stop writing. It’s who I am, and blessedly, I’ve found readers who want to read my stories. That’s pretty amazing.
What is your favorite pastime?
Reading and eating. If together even better!
Do you have other books? We’d love to know.
My debut novel Among the Poppies came out last year. It’s about a female ambulance driver who falls in love with an army captain on the frontlines of WWI.
What are you working on now?
I just wrote a novella for a collection coming out this fall. Night Fox takes readers to 1716 at the end of Jacobite rebellion where the weary hero is returning home from war only to discover a thief creating chaos on his lands. But this thief isn’t like any others. When she set out to steal jewels to repay her family debts, never did our heroine imagine snagging the laird’s heart.
Link to book: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1946016799/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_bibl_vppi_i1
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