Interviews by Matilda - Coffee Time Romance
Lets welcome J. Arlene Culiner to Coffee Time Romance and More. We are so excited you are here to talk to us today. We'd like to ask a few questions so that your readers and others can get to know you better.
Your latest release is Felicity's Power, would you like to share with us a bit about this book?
Felicity’s Power is the story of a couple that couldn’t make their romance work the first time around. Marek, my hero, is a gentle, kind man who needs security and a family. His own father is violent, alcoholic, and his mother is a martyr. Desperate to escape this background, he is finishing a doctorate in literature, hopes to embark on an intellectual career. He is, of course, immediately attracted to my heroine, Felicity: she represents adventure, sexuality, all the things that are exciting in life. However, the last thing Felicity wants is stability: she needs to see the world, be useful. When she refuses to settle down, marry, have a family, the romance is doomed.
Years later, Felicity seeks out Marek again. She’s been living in the world’s danger spots as an aid worker, and now she’s ready to come home. Can she convince Marek to give their romance another chance? It doesn’t seem likely. Now a famous author, Marek lives in isolation, hates travel, and has no desire to have Felicity break his heart a second time.
This sounds like a good read with some real life flawed characters we all can relate too. When you write is atmosphere important? For example do you use mood music or candles? Do you need complete quiet to concentrate?
For me, the atmosphere in a story is very important: where the characters are, the scenery, the architecture, the seasons, and where I happen to be is of no importance at all. I’ve written in cafés, on trains, in bus stations, in a closet, on a film set (when I work as an extra) while waiting the long hours before the scene I’m in is shot. However, when I refine what I’ve written (I re-write many times until phrases and paragraphs sing) I need silence. I happen to hate mood music. To me, if music is worth listening to, I give it my full attention. Anything else is background noise. It seems to me that if there’s background noise, it’s impossible to hear writing’s own rhythm.
A closet? wow that's interesting.LOL How do you create your characters and story line? Are your characters modeled after actual people?
Of course, all fictional characters in all books are modeled after real people. They’re composites: a trait taken from one person, a quirk from another. However, a character’s depth is a reflection of the author’s ability to analyze society. If you read a book and are annoyed at the superficiality of the people portrayed, then you know the author has a rather limited perception too. I try to create a story that could really happen, with characters that have annoying flaws, admirable values and lots of humor. And I hope my readers are entertained, amused and even stimulated.
Feeling apart of the story; totally immersed into it definitely is a sign of a very talented author. Has anyone ever told you that you couldn't write or that you just couldn't
do it? If so how did you handle that?
For me, this is an amusing question. I’ve been living in foreign places for most of my adult life, places like Turkey, Greece, France, Germany and Hungary, and the people around me rarely speak English. Therefore, I’ve never been able to share what I write with friends or mates, so no one was there to discourage me. Lucky huh? Of course, that also meant I was working in the dark. Only rejection letters told me I was doing something wrong — or very right.
That would make me more nervous about my writing. Why romance stories for older audiences? What is the draw to them for you that compels you to write them?
I must admit I’m not much interested in young heroes and heroines. When you’re young, falling in love is as easy as falling off a log. Young people are hormone driven, determined to find a mate and reproduce. It’s pure chemistry at work.
Older heroes and heroines don’t have that same compulsion. I like heroes and heroines who have done interesting things in life, who have developed a point of view and standards — and such things usually come with age. I know there are many other romance readers who are looking for interesting older heroes and heroines too.
I have noticed older heroes and heroines seem to be popular reading right now. What motto do you have that you say over and over when/if things get tough for you?
Motto? I don’t think I have one. I usually just go and do something else, start another project for a year, or two, or three.
It seems like you don't need a motto with the determination you have. Time to switch gears and ask a few fun personal questions. Any hobbies that you enjoy?
I’m an amateur musician (oboe, oboe d’amore, English horn, baroque oboe, oboe da caccia, flute, piccolo) and play in several orchestras. I also restore old houses, climbing up on scaffolding, using traditional materials like sand, lime, mud and straw, making my own paints with ochre and linseed oil.
They are great hobbies; different from the norm. Is there a place you have never been to that you always longed to go?
Frozen Baffin Island (way above Canada) in the winter. But how would I get there? And where would I have dinner and a glass of wine? Find a cozy bed?
Oh the horror of extreme cold; definitely not for me lol I am so not a fan of coldness. If you won a million dollars what would you do with it?
This is so unlikely (how would I win it? I don’t play anything, or gamble), I can’t even conceive of an answer.
That would definitely limit the chances. If we asked your friends to name 3 personality traits about you what do you think they would say?
I hope they’d say I’m intrepid, easy-going and kind. Whether they really would, is another question altogether…
Those are some great qualities to have. What is something about you that people would be surprised to know?
I also work as a baby boomer fashion model with Masters Models in Paris.
A fashion model! I bet that's exciting work. What genres and authors would we find you reading when taking a break from your own writing?
Mostly non-fiction books on the history of Eastern Europe.
I bet that makes for interesting reading as well as some research. As we end the interview do you have any final words or advice?
Read, read more, read more and more. And read history books, mainstream novels, translated works, literary works, and classics. Learn to recognize and take delight in beautiful writing and original ideas. And question everything and everyone.
Great Advice, that is a great sentiment I agree with. I want to thank you so much for being with us today and answering a few questions. I wish you luck, success, and many sales in your future.
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. All are proudly over the age of forty.
Great Romance and Engaging Stories!