Over the next few weeks, I’m featuring one of the authors of The Highlanders: A Smitten Historical Romance Collection. This week, I’m pleased to introduce J’nell Ciesielski, author of Night Fox, the first story in the collection.
J’nell, please tell us something about yourself and how long you’ve been writing.
Like most writers, I can tell you that I’ve loved reading for a very long time, but it wasn’t until I was a junior in college when I started to write my first real novel. It took a few years to actually finish and it wasn’t very good, as most first novels aren’t. Then I started my next and then my next. It wasn’t until six years ago when I got my agent and then two years ago when I landed my first contract. It’s been a long journey and one I’m excited to see where it’ll go next!
Is Night Fox your first novella? Did you find writing it more or less challenging than writing a novel?
Night Fox is my second written novella, but the first one I’ve had published. It was both challenging and easier than a full-length novel. More challenging because you have to cram an entire story into a very short amount of words, and easier because you can strip away all the extraneous lines and focus on the central story. And for a romance writer, that means more love.
Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you?
I’m a planner in life and on the page. That being said, while I do have a plot it’s not necessarily written line for line without room for budging. I have certain plot points I want to hit, but I don’t always know exactly how I’ll get to them until I’m actually writing the scene. This can often lead to fun little surprises that I never considered before but can make the story more wonderful.
Was there anything that surprised you about writing this story?
How much fun it can be to write a female vigilante. I’ve never written one before and most stories have the men cloaked in black and holding roadside stick ups. No one expects a woman to be terrorizing the town!
Did you determine the story-line first or the era?
I’m most comfortable writing in the Jacobite Era of Scotland, specifically around the 1745 rebellion. For Night Fox I wanted to touch on something a little different and so chose the lesser-known 1715 rebellion. Once I had that, I settled on a fun take of Robin Hood by giving it a different spin with the woman as the thief.
Please tell us what the story is about.
After the failed Jacobite Rebellion of 1715, war-weary Deven McLendon returns home to discover a thief creating chaos on his lands. But this thief isn’t like any other. When Rooney Corsen sets out to steal jewels to repay her family’s debts and keep a roof over her little sisters’ heads, never does she imagine snagging the laird’s heart instead.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Sometimes people do the wrong things for the right reasons. Try not to judge them too harshly.
What are your social media sights?
Believing she was born in the wrong era, J’nell Ciesielski spends her days writing heart-stopping heroes, brave heroines, and adventurous exploits in times gone by. Winner of the Romance Through the Ages contest and Maggie Award, J’nell can often be found dreaming of a second home in Scotland, indulging in chocolate of any kind, or watching old black and white movies. Born a Florida girl, she now calls Virginia home, along with her very understanding husband, young daughter, and one lazy beagle.