02 December 2007

Interview & Giveaway: Jannine Corti Petska

Out guest this week is Jannine Corti Petska. Jannine used to be a regular contributor to UH until demands and her time forced her to bow out, but we're very glad to welcome her back as a guest interview. Her book REBEL HEART was a 2006 Highland Press release.

Rebel Heart by Jannine Corti Petska
She traveled West to marry the man she loves...instead found the man of her dreams.

In 1873, New York City heiress Courtney Danning shuns privilege and position to follow her heart to the fledgling community of Santa Fe . Widowed the same day she's wed, Courtney soon discovers her husband wasn't the only man awaiting her arrival. The stranger's indifference makes New Mexico 's summer even hotter, but what she keeps hidden might be the key to the life she's always dreamed about.

He was hired to guard her...but forgot to guard his heart.

Ex-gunfighter Beau Hamilton's past and present are shrouded in mystery. From the moment Leif Danning hires him to watch over his pampered daughter, Beau fights his attraction. To win her love, he must find the courage to expose all, knowing the truth might become his worst nightmare.

A range war threatens...

Struggling against their unbidden love, Beau and Courtney must protect themselves from everything trying to tear them apart. When the woman he's sworn to protect finds herself in the middle of a range war, will he send her back East and lose her forever, or will he do whatever it takes to defend her...even it if costs him his life?


Thanks for joining us this week, Jannine!

Where do you find your inspiration for your characters? Your settings? Your storylines?

My characters are born out of a name. It's the first thing that hits me before I get any ideas for a story. For me, a character's name is the most important part of his or her story. The name has to fit the era and the individual character. I usually don't mold any character after an acquaintance or family member. I mold them from their ethnic background.

After character names, the title of the book comes next. I always need a working title from the start. Most often, I work the book title into the story. Naming a book is difficult, especially if it's contemporary. It's much easier for me to title a historical romance.

The setting goes hand in hand with the character names. For the most part, I love writing in 15th century Italy. However, I also write in other centuries and other countries, usually a country not the norm in historical settings. I guess I dare to be different.

What is a typical writing day like for you?

First I get a cup of coffee. Then I feed my 4 dogs, after which I read part of the newspaper. Before I get dressed, I check my email. After that, I will write for an hour or two. I take breaks often, mainly to play with my dogs. Three of them are Rat Terriers who have an abundance of energy. They need to run at least three times a day.

After my morning session of writing, I try to fit in at least two more throughout the day. The problem I find with working at home, I see the mess the house is in if I don't clean. It's hard to be blind to it. Some days I only have the morning to write. Each time I sit down at the computer, I will reread part of what I had written to get back into the story.

What is your strength when writing a new story?

Dialogue. I absolutely love dialogue and usually my heroine is quite witty and my hero sarcastic. I will also reread my dialogue without the narrative to see if the characters sound natural and if there is any part of their conversation that has nothing to do with moving the story.

What is your weakness when writing a new story?

I'd say putting in extraneous words. For example, overuse of that, just, nearly. It seems each manuscript has a different set of overused words.

Do you work alone or with a critique partner?

I work alone. Years ago, I co-wrote three books with a fellow author. We were each other's critique partner. Since, we have gone our separate ways, and I have never been able to work with anyone else. I usually use my three daughters as my readers. My husband will also read parts of my stories for authenticity. Because I like adding mystery and action to my stories, it's nice to get a male point of view.

What drives you to continue writing each day?

The voices in my head. If I don't write, my characters hound me until I sit down and get something written. And they can be brutal. As with most writers, stories and ideas abound. I keep a notebook with possible future books. I think I have about 35 now. Whether I will write them all remains to be seen. But the ideas never stop coming.

What can we expect to read from you in the future?

I hope to see books three and four published in my Italian Medieval Series. The first, THE LILY AND THE FALCON, is a reissue that will be out in stores December 2007. The second, SURRENDER TO HONOR, will be out in Spring 2008. The third, "Dante's Flame," is written, but I need to revise it. The fourth, "Tempt Not My Heart," has yet to be written. This series takes place in the 15th century, each story in a different town. Books two-four have a hero or heroine who was a secondary character in THE LILY AND THE FALCON.

I am also working on my "Sisters of Destiny" trilogy. These books take place in the 15th century and are about three psychic sisters (triplets) separated at birth. I am almost finished revising the first book, "Carina and the Nobleman." Book two, "Charlotte and the Gypsy," and book three, "Callie and the Knight" are not yet written.

I am also researching a contemporary police story and a story set in WWII.

If you weren't a writer, what would you be doing?

I hope I would have been a translator. I had dreamed of working for the U.N. since I was in elementary school. I think my fascination with foreign languages came about through my parents whose first language was Italian. I tutored Italian, Spanish and German in college. I was about to start French and was self-teaching myself Dutch. With marriage and babies, it was difficult to keep up. And if you don't use the languages, you forget so much.


REBEL HEART is still available. "Fiery and Passionate" ~ Tami Brady from TCM Reviews.

The Lily and the Falcon is due out in December 2007. Set amid the splendor of 15th century Florence, Italy, the story pits the powerful Medici family against the Albizzi in a struggle for supreme rule of Florence.

"Jannine Corti Petska is a magnificent storyteller who brings alive the golden glory of Renaissance Italy with a talent I genuinely envy. Read her!" ~ Multi-published and award-wining author Bertrice Small


So, are you in the mood for a great western? Jannine has agreed to give away a copy of her book REBEL HEART. Just leave a comment or a question. We'd love to hear from you. The winner will be drawn next week, so stop back and see if you're the lucky gal.