Interview with novelist J. Arlene Culiner about Felicity’s Power

My special
guest today is J. Arlene Culiner. She’s sharing a bit about her new contemporary
romance novel, Felicity’s Power from The Wild Rose Pressand her other writing
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
In her
perfectly realistic contemporary romances, heroines are funny, and heroes are
dashingly lovable.
Welcome, Arlene. Please tell us about
your current release. What inspired you to write this book?
Don’t we all
have a memory tucked away of someone we once loved, or someone we just might
have fallen in love with had the circumstances been right? And what would
happen if we came face-to-face with that person today? Would the magic still be
there? Would our hands tremble, our knees knock together just the way they did
back then? Or would we just stare, appalled, wonder how we could once have been
so silly?
For me, the
idea of meeting up with a romantic ex was just intriguing enough to write
about. And so, Felicity Powers came to life. She’s a strong, determined woman,
just the sort who fights for what she wants. And when she first sees Marek
Sumner, she wants him to fall in love with her. And because he’s a smart guy, a
romantic, he realizes how wonderful his life will be with Felicity in it.
But love
doesn’t solve everything, and that’s the problem. If the relationship is going
to work, it will mean sacrifice. Too much compromise. Marek wants security, a
family; Felicity wants adventure. So, after living together for almost two
years, the love story is over.
Well…in a way
it’s over. Because, even after years of separation, Felicity has never
forgotten Marek. She has spent her life as a foreign aid worker, has been in
danger countless times, has done exactly what she set out to do, but she knows
Marek was the love of her life. And because she’s a fighter, she’s going to see
if their relationship can start all over again.
What does
Marek think? Of course he’s never forgotten Felicity, and it’s great to see her
again. She looks wonderful. And sexy. And exciting. But start over? All these
years later? Risk having his heart broken again? He’s older and wiser now. Too
smart for all the turbulence and drama.
And that’s
definitely not how Felicity sees things.
Excerpt from Felicity’s Power:
            “Making a quick getaway?” Felicity
stood in the doorway taking in the scene: the open but fully packed suitcase on
the bed, Marek’s trench coat flung over the table. He was on his way out. No
denying the evidence.
             Marek sat in the armchair by the window, his
face tight, his eyes haunted. “I’m sitting here, in a chair, right? Aren’t the
words ‘a quick getaway’ somewhat of an exaggeration?” He drawled the words out
slowly, mockingly.
            “Okay then. A slow getaway.”
             He stared at her, unable to pull his eyes
away. Her face was pale, her expression wild. Loose tendrils of hair shadowed
her neck, calling attention to the slow throb of veins under the delicate skin.
She looked sexy as hell. Tempting and far too dangerous to think about.
            “Not quick, not slow. Neither one of
the above. No getaway.” His voice was icy, impersonal.
            “That!” Her arm waved wildly,
gesticulated in the direction of the suitcase. A sharp, searing feeling of
betrayal mixed with humiliation kept her tense, unrelenting. “I mean, if you
want me out of here, all you have to do is tell me. Since you’re obviously
desperate to get rid of me.” She felt as if she’d been stabbed. She crossed the
room slowly until she was standing beside him, staring down at him, her eyes
flashing with determination and fury. “But let’s not forget you were the one
who invited me up here. Remember? I didn’t ask to be put up in your hotel
            But you might have done so. If he hadn’t
taken matters into his own hands. Well, never again. Never. Your time is up as far as I’m concerned,
Marek Sumner
stood up, studied her for a minute, silently.
            “God, you’re beautiful.” It was as
if the words had been wrenched out of him, as if he would have given anything
not to say them, but they made her heart stand still.
What exciting story are you working on
I’m working
on the narrative non-fiction biography of a forgotten nineteenth century
Ukrainian poet, but that’s another story altogether.
When did you first consider yourself a
Like pretty
well every author, writing is something I’ve done for most of my life. But that
didn’t make me a writer, of course. I was just someone who writes. Then I got a
job writing and broadcasting stories on Radio France, and I could finally say I
was a writer…of sorts. But I didn’t feel like a real writer until my first book was accepted by a publisher, and
the contract arrived in the mail. It was an exciting, heady moment because I’d
waited years for it to happen.
Do you write full-time? If so, what’s
your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find
time to write?
I write
full time, yes, but that doesn’t mean I write all day long. I can do three or
four hours in the morning, and then that’s it. I’m drained. After that, I can
do other things: concentrate on music, for example. I play oboe and English
horn in an orchestra in the city of Laval, and baroque instruments in a baroque
orchestra in the Paris area, so I am often shifting back and forth the few
hundred kilometers between both places. Or else, I can do research: I write
narrative non-fiction as well as fiction, and I usually have to spend a
considerable amount of time in the Paris archives or in the libraries, or even
in the libraries in other countries.
What would you say is your interesting
writing quirk?
Well, I
wouldn’t call it a quirk but, for me, the most exciting thing in the world in
waking up at four-thirty or five in the morning, when almost everyone for miles
around is still sound asleep. I sit down with a cup of cold herbal tea (made
the night before) and write. The silence is glorious; the atmosphere is somehow
magical. Soon the birds will wake up, start singing, and the sun will rise. But
for the moment, I have the feeling the world is all mine.
As a child, what did you want to be
when you grew up?
A princess
or a queen. I’m still working on achieving either position; in the modern
world, however, those jobs aren’t so easy to come by.
Anything additional you want to share
with the readers?
I love
hearing from readers or potential writers or even just those who are curious.
Please do write to me at romance at j-arleneculiner dot com.

Also, Lisa,
thank you very much for giving me the opportunity to talk about this new
release (and about myself, of course.)

Thank you for stopping by today
Arlene! It’s been my pleasure!

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