It’s a special honor today to introduce J’nell Ciesielski, author of historical romance. I had the pleasure of working with J’nell on her first two novels, and I can’t wait to read her next one!
Today, she’s going to share some secrets of her reading life (including a favorite fictional place that might surprise you).
Welcome, and thanks for being here! Let’s start with some background: what was the first adult novel that you read (not “adult,” but not in the young adult section)?
The Appomattox Series by Gilbert Morris. My mom would check them out at the library and I loved the covers—they were so fancy and grownup looking. Then one day she decided I was old enough to start reading them. And I never looked back!
Sounds like you inherited a bit of your mom’s tastes in fiction. What about other people’s tastes — have you ever had a book recommended to you that you didn’t like?
Hahaha! Yes. As I’ve gotten older, I realize more of what I like and what I don’t. There are so many books out there that people absolutely adore and recommend to me and I read them and think, ‘Meh. Not my cup of tea.’ But that’s the great thing about books. There’s something for everyone. If I’m recommended a book that reads like a Hallmark movie, you’ve lost me. Don’t get me wrong, I need some sugary romance, but I also need the action to have some depth and grit to it for balance.
I completely understand! I can’t do straight drama. I need some fluff to keep me going, which is why all books aren’t for everyone. Have you ever finished a story and wished it had ended differently? How would you have changed the ending?
This is one of the main catalysts that started me writing: books I was reading just weren’t ending how I wanted them to end so—by golly—I was going to write my own story and my own kind of ending! One of the biggest literature let downs for me was War and Peace. Natasha should’ve ended up with Andrei. Pierre was a total drip.
If you could visit any fiction place, where would you go?
Middle Earth! I want to say Rivendell specifically, because it’s so elegant with the elves and waterfalls and gentle music, but I think I’d do better in Hobbiton. They know how to eat. And I like food. So, win-win.
Excellent choice! Peter Jackson turned those books into some great movies. Have you ever thought about that for your books? If you could turn any of them into a movie, which would you pick? Who would cast as the main characters?
Ooh, that’s a tough one. If you’re holding my feet to the fire, I’d go with Among the Poppies. It holds a special place in my heart. Plus, there aren’t that many WWI stories being told. I, for one, would love to see more set during this time period. For the lead roles I’d choose Lynn Collins (she played Wolverine’s girlfriend) and Oliver Jackson Cohen (the penniless artist from Mr. Selfridge).
What book are you most looking forward to reading next?
The 7 ½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton. The cover alone is gorgeous, and it’s got this fun map and list of players in the front. It’s about a mysterious death told through the eyes of the different people who were there. I’m so excited to find out the mystery.
So you read a little speculative fiction and some mysteries, but what’s your favorite genre?
Historical romance. I simply prefer to read about ye olden times where things appear simpler, love was often more straight forward, and society had manners. I like to slip into a world in which I can get lost. Very hard to do with a contemporary because it’s my everyday life.
Thank you so much for sharing all of this with us and for giving us a glimpse into your reading habits.
If you’d like to know more about J’nell and her latest book, keep reading!
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. Winner of the Romance Through the Ages contest and Maggie Award, J’nell can often be found dreaming of a second home in Scotland, indulging in chocolate of any kind, or watching old black and white movies. Born a Florida girl, she now calls Virginia home, along with her very understanding husband, young daughter, and one lazy beagle.
J’nell’s latest book, The Socialite, is available now!
WWII Paris. Glamour, treachery, and espionage collide when an English socialite rushes to save her sister from the Nazis, but it may cost her the man she loves.
Where can people find you online?