Today’s guest is J. Arlene Culiner who is here to talk with us about her latest release, A Swan’s Sweet Song:
A Swan’s Sweet Song: A Contemporary Romance from The Wild Rose Press
The air sizzles when a country music star and renowned playwright meet, but can opposites fall in love?
The instant Sherry Valentine and Carston Hewlett meet, there’s desire and fascination in the air…but they’re complete opposites.
Smart-talking Sherry fought her way up from poverty to stardom as a country music singer. Now, she’s ever in the limelight, ever surrounded by clamoring fans, male admirers and paparazzi, and her spangled cowboy boots carry her all across the country, from one brightly lit stage to the next.
A renowned but reclusive playwright, Carston cherishes his freedom, the silence of his home in the woods and his solitary country walks.
Any long-term commitment is obviously out of the question: how about a quick and passionate fling?
But when their names are linked in the scandal press, Sherry’s plans to become an actress are revealed. And the budding relationship seems doomed.
Can you ignore a passionate attraction? Of course you can’t. Carston soon decides he’ll do anything in his power to bring Sherry into his orbit again. And that also means letting go of a few well-kept secrets…
Hi, and welcome back to Authors to Watch. Can you tell us a little about yourself?
I live in a small French village for six months of the year, and in the Paris area for the other six months. I do go on the road too, for research, to “gather atmospheres” for my stories, or just for the pleasure of spending days walking along the ancient sunken pre-Roman green lanes, going from one village to the other — you can do that sort of thing in Europe.
I write in several different genres: contemporary romance, narrative non-fiction, social critical mystery, but all the books get the same amount of attention. I put my heart into all of them, rewrite each many times over so they sound like something that will be pleasurable to read.
Can you tell us about your most recent release?
My recent release is, A Swan’s Sweet Song. It’s the story of a country singer, Sherry Valentine, who is tired of being on stage, of being followed by journalists and fans, of stage make-up, and dyed hair, and pointy cowboy boots. She wants a career change and thinks this is the right time to follow her dream and become an actress. Her agent, Charlie Bacon, thinks that’s a great idea too, especially when he notices that there’s a definite attraction between Sherry and a very intelligent, sexy playwright, Carston Hewlett. Carston, however, is a loner. He lives in the country, in an isolated house, and although he really does think Sherry is quite wonderful and very funny, he just doesn’t see how a romance will work. Not only that…he has a definite allergy to people who want to use him for his contacts in the theater world.
How did you get the idea for the book?
Years ago, I worked in a local (French) radio station and had a country music program. My job wasn’t just to play music: I had to talk about the origins of country music, present different musicians and talk about their musical styles. I had to do considerable research, and all that information has stayed with me. I did sometimes think about using it in a story, but I wasn’t quite sure how.
Around a year and a half ago, I decided to write a romance with a hero and heroine who were complete opposites. For some reason, I remembered those long ago days at the radio station, and how exciting it was to see new people walk through the door every day — some were very charming. I was single at the time, and I wondered if, one day, I’d fall madly in love with one of them… And remembering that, gave me the beginning of my book, A Swan’s Sweet Song.
What is your primary goal as an author?
My primary goal is to entertain, make people feel good, laugh to carry them away to another world. If my characters are well written and original, then people will be happy to meet them, spend time with them. For me, meeting delightful characters is like making new friends. But I also want people to learn about something new when they read my books – I love learning from others, so this is just a way of sharing — so I always make sure there is juicy information of some kind in everything I write.
What advice would you offer to new or aspiring authors?
To polish every phrase. To never be discouraged. To strive for originality. To challenge yourself, never get too comfortable, and never be smug. Always remember that you won’t make money as a writer, but you’re doing it because you have an important story to tell and because you love the people you’re writing for.
About J. Arlene Culiner:
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.