Author Name: Thank you so much, Barb, for having me here on your blog. My author name is Jill Culiner but I also write romance as J. Arlene Culiner
Genre: I write non-fiction, mysteries, as well as romance, and romantic suspense.
Books: My non-fiction book is: Finding Home in the Footsteps of the Jewish Fusgeyers.
My mysteries are: Death by Slanderous Tongue and Sad Summer in Biarritz.
My romances are: All About Charming Alice, Desert Rose, A Swan’s Sweet Song, Felicity’s Power and A Turkish Affair.
Are you a full-time author? If not, what’s your side gig? I am also a social critical artist, a cartoonist, a photographer, and very occasionally I work as an actress.
Favorite authors/books: At the moment I love Kapka Kassabova, Charles King, Robert A. Rosenstone, Stephen Morris, W.G. Sebald and Anita Brookner.
What experiences or people have influenced your writing the most? Wonderful books like those of the above authors.
Do you keep a writing journal and if so, how do you use it? I kept a journal for most of my life and I’m glad I did because much of my writing is the result of what I wrote down. However, unless I’m travelling and working on a project, I no longer keep one. Everything I write is for my books or my podcast. That’s enough writing for me.
Do you belong to a writers’ group? If so, describe your experience: No, I don’t. I live in a French-speaking country and I write in English. I do have the feeling I write in isolation, but that’s just fine.
Are you up with the sun or do you burn the midnight oil? Usually, I’m an early riser. My brain turns itself off at around 9:00 pm and I become lazy and dull-witted.
How do you get over a writing slump? I go do something else. If it is a temporary slump—being at war with a paragraph, for example—I’ll go for a walk. If it is a long slump, I’ll just stop writing for a few months. I know the world won’t come to an end if I take a big pause and let my subconscious get to work.
Do you prefer writing dialogue or descriptive passages? I love both. I love writing down cynical, satirical, tongue-in-cheek descriptions, and conversations.
What are you working on now? I’m editing my two most recent manuscripts. One is a non-fiction about a rebellious poet I fell madly in love with. Unfortunately, he died 130 years ago, but I tracked him down in Ukraine, Romania, Austria, and Turkey. The book, A Contrary Journey: with Velvel Zbarzher, Bard, will be published by Claret Press in October.
The other manuscript, The Room in Blake’s Folly, is a romance that starts in 1889 in a Nevada saloon and ends in 2020. I was inspired by the idea that we’ll never know the sort of mischief our ancestors got up to.
What advice would you give to someone thinking about writing and publishing a book? Read, read some more, read in other genres, read non-fiction, read history, read excellent poetry, read wonderful writers like Anita Brookner or the other authors mentioned above.
Do you listen to podcasts? If so, which podcasts do you find the most interesting? I have my own storytelling podcast: https://soundcloud.com/j-arlene-culiner. But I love old the Podcasts on France Culture (history, analysis, stimulating stuff).
Favorite escape: Cooking, experimenting with food, inventing dishes and eating
Have you ever tried Kombucha tea? No. What is it?
Do you prefer a couch with pillows or no pillows? Don’t own one so I can’t answer.
Would you rather rake leaves, shovel snow or weed? I never weed because weeds are simply wild flowers that insects need: we desperately need insects. Ditto for raking, because they provide ground cover for the beasties we need and because leaves are also wonderful mulch. As for snow, I live in such a temperate part of the world (France) that snow only comes around for a day or two each year. It’s so lovely, why shovel it away?
Favorite mask – disposable paper, plain fabric, colorful print or something else? Definitely a reusable mask. We don’t need more throw-away items in the world.
Biggest writing challenge since Covid-19 I haven’t really noticed a difference in my life other than not being able to sit in cafés and restaurants for long lunches with friends.
Website and social media links:
Amazon Author: J. Arlene Culiner
Goodreads Author: J. Arlene Culiner
Facebook: J Arlene Culiner (J Arlene Culiner Romances)
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