Thanks for coming today for my interview with J’nell Ciesielski. She has written several historical romance books and is one of many writers still waiting for that lucky day to come to be snagged by a publisher. Until then, she’s continuing to write and promote herself to gain an audience (you!). Please share in her journey, as she discusses what kinds of books she has written, what she thinks is holding her back, and what she’s doing to promote herself.
Born in Florida, I spent a happy childhood splashing on the sugar white beaches only known to the Sunshine State. While in middle school, my dad got a job transfer to Texas where I graduated from Texas A&M with a B.S. in Psychology. Not knowing what else to do with my life and seeing as how writing wasn’t paying the bills yet, I joined the Air Force. Stationed in Germany I was privileged to travel to France, Austria, the Netherlands, England, and my favorite Scotland. I also met my awesome husband over there. Finding him was worth wearing camouflage and combat boots every day. After serving our four years, we now live in Virginia where I’m a stay-at-home mom to a busy two year old and a very lazy beagle.
Connect with J’nell:
How many books have you written?
Let’s see. Way back in my college days I started off writing a book set in eighteenth century Scotland. Like all first accomplishments, I was so proud of that story, but I doubt it’ll ever see the light of day as it’s riddled with beginner mistakes. Then I set sail on the high seas with a reformed ship captain who’s pirating days are well behind him until a black haired beauty pulls him back in. Then I jumped forward to a spy story set in Nazi-occupied France, and the next novel was about a female ambulance driver who falls in love with a staunch military man during WWI. Noticing a pattern yet? Yes, I’m a historical romance writer who can’t decide which era I like best. I just finished another WWII spy story inspired by the infamous Mitford sisters and a novella set in Scotland. Right now I’m dropping myself back in WWI, this time at a convalescent home in Scotland with a spirited American heiress who sets to pull the starch from the gruff estate owner. Overall, that makes for five completed manuscripts, one novella, one novel in progress, and several started that I hope to finish someday.
What has held you back from being published so far?
Other than the powers that be not seeing my utter brilliance??! If I’m absolutely, totally honest then it’s probably my lack of social media. I’d much rather be writing than posting updates about my dog or commenting on National Chocolate Day (though this does get my utmost respect). I’m an introvert, big time, as most writers are. Talking to new people makes me freeze like a deer in headlights with the desperate need to retreat back to my safe, solitary writing cave. I miss the days of simply putting out a good story and that was enough, but Facebook, blog posts, and Twitter have become a necessary evil in our line of work.
Do you plan to self-publish or look for a publisher?
Most definitely a publisher! There’s something special about being traditionally published that appeals to me. There’s a whole professional team dedicated to making your book the best it can possibly be, while most of that work falls on the author’s shoulders with self-publishing. Some people are great at that, but I wouldn’t be. Not that I’m disorganized, far from it! But it’s just not a challenge that I need to tackle. At least not at this time.
What have you done so far to promote you and your books?
First things first, I got myself a website. It’s the easiest, fastest, and most convenient way to get yourself out there. A little space all my own to put up information about me, my writing, my interests, my research, and any little fun things I want to add. So far, my website has had a few face lifts as my writing has grown, but hopefully I’ll be satisfied with it soon. I’m a huuuge fan of Pinterest. I can spend hours on there following down rabbit hole after rabbit hole. It’s a great place to store everything I love, am interested in, and all the ideas I have for my novels including locations, characters, fashion, transportation, and historical trivia. I’m on Twitter, though I don’t do too much beyond re-tweeting. Then there’s the super monster Facebook. Believe it or not, I’ve only recently joined. I resisted as long as I possibly could, but finally gave in. While I still don’t love it, I will say it makes it so much easier to connect with people, sign up for contests, find out about industry news, discover new blogs to read and write for (wink wink), and talk to other authors.
Thanks again for reading! If you have any questions for J’nell, don’t hesitate to ask in the comment section below. Until next time, keep reading and writing. And don’t be afraid to visit Pinterest if you’re in need of inspiration. You can check out my boards to get started 🙂