Tuesday, September 4, 2012

VBT: Janelle's Time

Today I'm interviewing Dayna Leigh Cheser, author of Janelle's Time.

Welcome, Dayna! Glad to have you here with us today. Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions.

Tell me about yourself, and your writing.

I'm retired and living in southwest Florida.  I was born in CT and lived in MA and NH with my husband before we came here in 1992.
I've been a writer-wannabe all my life, and did dabble in it a bit over the years.  But, upon retiring, well, my time has come.
I started reading at a very young age.  Writing was a natural progression from there.  Serious (if you want to call it that) writing started as a teen when I wrote short stories to entertain my classmates.
Today, I'm making up for lost time.  Janelle's Time, written 10 years ago and shelved for many years, was finally released in July.  Now, I'm working on the other four books in the series.

How long have you been writing? How many published books do you have, and what genres?
I've been writing - or thinking about writing - most of my life.  At this moment, I only have the one book, Janelle's Time, out, but, as I mentioned, there are four more in the series in various stages of completion.  I hope to have book two, Moria's Time, ready for submission by the end of this year or early next year.  My one book, and the series, is adult historical romance.

Do you write in multiple genres or just one? If just one, do you ever consider straying outside your genre?
I'm a dedicated romance writer, but I wrote a short story - a mystery - that will be published in an anthology on or about September 9th (and available on Kindle) - EDF1: Starship Goodwords, from Carrick Publishing.
As for 'straying outside' my genre, anything is possible.  I see me perhaps doing short stories in other genres.  If that goes well, who knows?

Are you a plotter or do you write from the seat of your pants?
Oh, I'm a 'pantser' all the way.  I just LOVE sitting down to a blank screen and seeing where it goes.  I've tried organizing things, but the best I can do is a timeline, and even that is after-the-fact so I can keep things straight.

What is a typical writing day like for you?
Usually, I'm up around 7:30 AM.  I feed the cat and tend to things around the house.  Then, I fire up the computer and check email and the sites I hang out on.  By mid-to-late morning (most days), I'm ready to roll and normally work until 8 PM, or a bit later (sometimes even later than that), taking time out for things like food, and other necessities.  I'm not always actually writing - as we all know, there are other writing-related duties we all have to do.  Some days are different, of course - shopping, social life, holidays, etc., but I have my routine.

Who do you love to read? Favorite authors, favorite books?
I read Bertrice Small, Lynn Kurland, early Karen Marie Moning, Jean Auel, Diana Gabaldon, and others.  I'm open to new/other authors, based on the jacket blurb and what I might have heard.  The authors listed are all my favorites, for different reasons.  Of them, Bertrice Small has had the most influence on my writing.  Books by the authors listed are my favorites, but Jean Auel's series, Earth's Children, are the most amazing books - Ms. Auel redefined 'reseach' with her work.  A special mention to Stephen King (who I don't normally read) and his book, On Writing, A Memoir of the Craft - outstanding!

What is something you'd like to accomplish in your writing career next year?
I'm working on four books now.  Two are over half-way through the first draft.  One of them was my NaNo project in 2011.  A third book will be my NaNo project this year.  The last book is the last book in the series, so there's no rush to get into that one right now.  My plan is to have the next book, Moria's Time, ready for submission by the end of the year, or early next year.  The next two books - Adelle's Time and Logan's Time - I'd like to see in print within a year after that.  The final book will likely be my 2013 NaNo project so it could be out in 2014.

If you could have one paranormal ability, what would it be?
Time travel, so I would be able to experience, first hand, life in other time periods.

Tell us a little about your latest release.    
Janelle is the youngest daughter of a well-to-do New Hampshire farmer who meets Richard, the youngest son of an English Duke who has brought his younger sons to America (they can't inherit by English law) to find a way for themselves in life.  They go on a 'first date' that goes wildly wrong.  The adventures - and mis-adventures - continue, even after they marry.  Their wedding trip in England is interrupted by a madman who tries to kidnap Janelle, and, later, but Richard getting bopped over the head and robbed, resulting in losing his memory - and it goes downhill from there.
Do they ever get it right?  It takes a while, but before long, they've got 3 kids, including twins who were delivered by a man who normally delivers horses - with a doctor present who was banished to the hall for doing nothing!

What is something that you absolutely can't live without? (Other than family members)
My computer (or at least A computer).  As a hearing-impaired introvert, I literally live through my computer.

Could you ever co author a book with someone? If so, who would you choose, and what would you write?
I have no experience in this arena, but it would seem to me that a pantser would be a difficult partner with whom to write a book.  When I'm writing, I never know from one minute to the next where the story is going.  The story line would be total chaos, especially if BOTH people were pantsers.

If you could spend a day with anyone from history, dead or alive, who would it be, and what would you do? What would you ask them?

Oh man!  This is a tough one.  While not a historical scholar, after English, history (especially American History) was a favorite subject.  I'm thinking I'd like to meet and talk with one of the Founding Fathers, probably Thomas Jefferson.  As a major driving force behind the creation of our country, I think spending some time with him, finding out how he, and the others, were able to devise the plan that has served us so well for so many years, even when they had zero knowledge of the future.  Of course, maybe Ben Franklyn had a time machine that they used, but was never made public.

What are some of your other hobbies outside of writing?
Reading and writing are tops, of course.  Beyond that, I like walking (my primary exercise), living and eating healthy, social media, camping, sewing, other crafts, ham radio (it's how I met my husband back in 1967), and other lesser interests.

If you were on the staff to have a book adapted to movie, what would you pick?
Jean Auel's Clan of the Cave Bear was made into a movie with Darryl Hanna playing Ayla.  At the time, it was panned by the critics, but it still has a cult following.  I've heard rumors that Valley of the Horses, the second book of the series, is being planned.  I'd really like to see the entire series become films.  While they'd never be blockbusters (like Harry Potter and others), these books are no 'just entertainment.'  They, because of Ms. Auel's work, could be valuable as learning tools on how people lived at that time (if the producers didn't butcher the intent of the books along the way).

What is a talent you wish you had, but don't? 
Visual arts.  I can't draw a straight line!  I can 'paint' pictures with words, but to be able to translate those words to visual arts would be wonderful.  There are a lot of writers who are also visual artists.  It's amazing to not only be able to write the book, but to do the cover art, too!

Favorite color?
Depends on my mood.  Sometimes it's yellow, other times, it's a royal purple.  Or, it could be blue.

Weather: Hot or cold?
I've lived in New England where it's both hot and cold, and, now, I've lived for 20 years in Florida where it's hot and not-quite-so-hot.  Something between hot and cold would be good.  In a perfect world, I'd go to northern New England by the end of April, and return to Florida in October.  That way, I'd get to see the colors of autumn, and pick apples fresh from the trees, but not have to worry about shoveling snow, or black ice.

Favorite place to read?
On my stomach in bed with the book propped up against the headboard.  In New England, I liked a big, overstuffed chair, with a blanket and my cat to keep me warm on a howling winter's night.

Favorite meal
Anything with shrimp in it.

Favorite non-alcoholic drink.
A combination of fresh or frozen fruits, especially strawberries, blueberries, and pineapple, made into a cold smoothie.

If you could travel anywhere and do anything, no limits or money holding you back, where would you go?
I'm actually planning that trip ... While money IS problematic, I'm hoping I can spend a month roaming around England/Scotland in the fall of 2014.  I'm half-English by heritage, so there's that aspect of it, but now that I'm an author, and I'm using locales in England and Scotland in my stories, I'd like to visit those places, too.  Logan's Time, book 4, takes place largely in Scotland.  Logan is the Duke of Muileach, with a castle on a small island in a large lake in the Highlands.  I spent a long time finding that bit of real estate for his castle, and it would be a huge thrill to stand on that island and imagine the castle around me.  Other than that trip, I'd love to see more of the good ol' US of A!

Title: Janelle's Time (TIME Series, Book 1)
Author: Dayna Leigh Cheser
Publisher: All Things That Matter Press
Length: 98,600 words
Genres: Historical Romance (ADULT with a little time travel)
Heat Level: Steamy

Janelle’s Time is the story of the great love between a New Hampshire farmer’s daughter and the younger son of an English Duke.

From her father’s death to the birth of twin daughters, Janelle makes it difficult for Richard to keep her safe.

Unaware of Janelle’s maternal-line powers, the couple time-travel to 14th century England, where they meet Richard’s ancestors - and discover some startling truths about his aristocratic family.

Logan Conor, the Scots Duke of Muileach, crashes Richard and Janelle’s wedding, bent on revenge, but finds his own true love instead.

On their wedding trip, a madman attempts to kidnap Janelle - twice.

Later, Richard unknowingly betrays Janelle who strands him in England. Richard finally arrives home, but fate separates them again – and he misses the birth of his son. Will they ever make a life together?

Filled with unexpected twists and turns, their love story spans two continents, and hundreds of years. But, can their love survive their very different backgrounds and the endless obstacles life throws at them?

Writing ‘runs in the family.’ My mother is a multi-published non-fiction author, and my two brothers make a living writing, one as a newspaperman, the other as a copywriter. My sister edits her church newsletter.

My father was a school teacher/reading specialist (later an elementary school principal) when I was little. During story-time one night when I was about four years old, I stopped him and asked how he said the same thing every time he read that story to me. That night, he started teaching me to read. It began a life-long love affair between books and me – for that, I am grateful.

In junior high, I wrote short stories to entertain classmates. In high school, one English assignment was to write my autobiography. In the teacher-specified chapter entitled ‘Future Plans,’ being a published writer topped the list.

After a college professor told me I ‘couldn’t write my way out of a paper bag,’ I stopped writing for many years. Then, in the late 1970s, I wrote an article for “World Radio News” (San Diego, CA) about our amateur radio club providing communications for a March of Dimes Walkathon. The ‘WRN’ editor used my article word-for-word.

In early 2002, between jobs and wanting to write, I sought a third-shift position and used the ‘free time’ to write what became ‘Janelle’s Time.’ When it was complete, I shelved it. In 2009, the WIP came off the shelf. By August 2011, it was ready – at last - for submission.

In 2009, I started a Twitter account, @Writers_Cafe. I feel as if I’ve earned a degree in ‘book publishing’ since then! You can learn so much from over 14,000 followers.

I penned an article about @RileyCarney, a Colorado teen, and very prolific YA fantasy author, who heads her own non-profit literacy project. Never officially published, countless people have seen it, thanks to Twitter retweets and some carefully chosen email inboxes.

On New Year’s Day, 2010, I went ‘live’ with my blog. It has evolved into a combination of chronicling my writing journey and hopefully helpful posts on publishing industry topics.

In the fall of 2011, I added ‘DIY Interviews’ to my blog (see the left column of my blog for details on doing your own interview). Several authors have submitted ‘interviews’ to date.

Janelle’s Time is Book 1 of my TIME Series. Book 2, ‘Moria’s Time’ was my NaNoWriMo project for 2011. I reached 51,000 words on November 26! Now, I have to finish that book, and three more in the series: ‘Adelle’s Time,’ ‘Logan’s Time,’ and ‘Clarissa’s Time.’

Moving into 2012, I’m very excited about the release of ‘Janelle’s Time.’ It’s the culmination of a life-long dream – and is only the beginning of my retirement career. I’m working on “Moria’s Time,” book 2 of the Time Series.
My husband, Pete, and I have been married over forty-three years – no children. We lived in Massachusetts for thirteen years, and then moved to New Hampshire for eleven years. In 1992, we moved to Florida.

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Author Dayna Leigh Cheser

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  1. Congrats on your new book Dayna...sounds like Janelle and Richard have an action packed, eventful life!

    Have fun on your travels in 2014...visiting Scotland and England are on my list of "to dos" as well!

  2. Good interview! Congratulations on the release of Janelle's Time - It sounds like a fun book. I loved the Jean Auel's books but think the movie with Daryl Hannah was just poorly done. If they are thinking of doing the next book in the series, I hope they get a better screen play and a much different type of actress - I would love to see it brought to the big screen.