J. Arlene Culiner
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  • France

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Cold Coffee Café Spotlight Interview With Author J. Arlene Culiner

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 interest and, much to public dismay, protects all creatures, especially spiders and snakes.

She works as an actress, a photographer, a contemporary artist, a musician, writes mysteries, history books and perfectly believable romances.

Her heroines are funny and gutsy; her heroes, dashingly lovable; and all are (proudly) over the age of forty.



What has been your most rewarding experience with your writing process? Getting down the first draft is a slog. I hate doing it; I give up thousands of times. The second draft can be discouraging: I doubt, am distressed; I see all that’s wrong. Third draft? Well, here’s when the rewarding experience begins, the ecstasy. I play with the phrases, the vocabulary, the characters, the story. As of now — no matter how many drafts I’ll need to do — I know I’m on easy street.

What has been your most rewarding experience in your publishing journey? I was on an island on the Nile with eight French artists. It was very hot, and we sat at a café table under a few thirsty trees waiting out the hours before lunch. Just across the lane was a shop offering an Internet connection, so I sauntered over to check my mail. And there, waiting for me, was a letter from my publisher informing me I had just won the Tanenbaum Award for Canadian Jewish History for my non-fiction book, Finding Home. I went outside, told everyone. They all cheered; then someone flagged down a donkey cart, pushed me into it. And there I was, bumping through the dusty, shabby town, my friends following and laughing.

How many published books do you have? Four romances and three other books.

Please list the titles of all your books:

My romances are:
All About Charming Alice (Crimson Romance)
Felicity’s Power (The Wild Rose Press)
A Swan’s Sweet Song (The Wild Rose Press)
The Turkish Affair (Crimson Romance)

Do you come up with your title(s) before or after you write the manuscript? I always have a working title, even before I start writing. Often enough the titles are changed by publishers — and that hasn’t always been a good thing.

Please introduce your genre and why you prefer to write in that genre? I have several genres, but as J. Arlene Culiner, I write romances. And even though writing a romance is hard work (any writing is hard work) writing a love story with a happy end is a very positive and satisfying exercise. Also, since my other writing tends to be heavy (history and mysteries) my romance writing is a sort of counterweight.

Which book title would you like featured in this interview? My latest release, The Turkish Affair

What was your inspiration, spark or light bulb moment that inspired you to write the book (one book) that you are seeking promotion for? Many years ago, like Anne, the heroine of The Turkish Affair, I was living in central Turkey and working as a translator. When there was no work, I’d head out for other parts of the country. Once, the bus I was traveling on pulled off the main road, down a rutted lane and into an archaeological site — we were to deliver a package of some sort. While we waited, I stared idly out of the bus window and caught sight of a man ambling in the direction of a tumble of pillars and ruins. He was lean, supple, and the bright sun caught the golden blaze of his hair — he was a very romantic figure. Who was he? An archaeologist? I never found out. With a puff of noxious smoke, the bus sprang to life, turned, roared back toward the main road. Where was that site? I did go that way again, but never found it. And the blond man’s image remained with me over all these years; he was slated to become my hero, archaeologist Renaud Townsend.

What one positive piece of advice would you give to other authors? Read, then read more, but not only book in the genre you’re writing in. Read history, serious travel literature, classics. Polish each phrase, each sentence you write. Send your work out to publishers, and each time your submission is rejected, try another publisher. After a while, rejection doesn’t even hurt: it’s just a challenge.

Who is your favorite author and why? I couldn’t possibly list a favorite author. There are so many that I’ve enjoyed, admired, been stimulated by. And each wonderful book has its right time.


The Turkish Affair by J. Arlene Culiner

Danger at the ancient Hittite site of Karakuyu

A top notch Washington journalist before a liaison with the wrong man implicated her in scandal, Anne Pierson has been hiding in backwoods Turkey and working as a translator. She’s determined to keep her past a secret, to avoid personal relationships. But after meeting Renaud Townsend, her discrete little world is turned upside down.

Archaeologist Renaud Townsend is troubled by Anne Pierson’s refusal to talk about her past, but instinct tells him he can rely on her. Or is it only desire speaking? A lusty love affair for the duration of the summer dig is a very appealing idea.

When Anne’s bad reputation links her to stolen artifacts and murder, the budding romance with Renaud comes to a halt. If they learn to trust one another, her name can be cleared. But is there still enough intensity to give love a second chance?

Kindle Purchase Link


A Swan’s Sweet Song by J. Arlene Culiner

The air sizzles when a country music star and renowned playwright meet, but can opposites fall in love?

The instant Sherry Valentine and Carston Hewlett meet, there’s desire and fascination in the air…but they’re complete opposites.

Smart-talking Sherry fought her way up from poverty to stardom as a country music singer. Now, she’s ever in the limelight, ever surrounded by clamoring fans, male admirers and paparazzi, and her spangled cowboy boots carry her all across the country, from one brightly lit stage to the next.

A renowned but reclusive playwright, Carston cherishes his freedom, the silence of his home in the woods and his solitary country walks.

Any long-term commitment is obviously out of the question: how about a quick and passionate fling?

But when their names are linked in the scandal press, Sherry’s plans to become an actress are revealed. And the budding relationship seems doomed.

Can you ignore a passionate attraction? Of course you can't. Carston soon decides he'll do anything in his power to bring Sherry into his orbit again. And that also means letting go of a few well-kept secrets...



Amazon Customer Reviews
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Felicity’s Power by J. Arlene Culiner

The evening Marek Sumner opened his door to the wild-looking Felicity Powers, he knew nothing would ever be the same again. But he needed stability, Felicity craved adventure, and love and passion couldn’t keep them together.

Years later, having lived in the world’s most dangerous places as a foreign aid worker, Felicity is back, still offering her love. Why would Marek risk having his heart broken a second time? Now a well-known author, he loves his calm, solitary life in an isolated farmhouse. He and Felicity are just too different; their relationship could never work.

Yet Felicity is just as fascinating and joyful as ever. Can she convince him that love can be even more delightful the second time around?

Amazon Customer Reviews
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Kindle Purchase Link


All About Charming Alice by J. Arlene Culiner

Alice Treemont has given up hope of meeting the right man and falling in love. Living in depopulated Blake’s Folly, a quirky community of rusting cars, old trailers, clapboard shacks, and thirsty weeds, she spends her time cooking vegetarian meals, rescuing unwanted dogs, and protecting the most unloved creatures on earth: snakes. What man would share those interests? Certainly not Jace Constant whose life in Chicago includes elegant women, fine dining, and contemporary art.

Jace has come to Nevada to research the new book he’s writing, but he won’t be staying; as far as he’s concerned, Blake’s Folly is hell on earth. He’s disgusted by desert dust on his fine Italian shoes, dog hair on his cashmere sweaters, and by desert bleakness. As for snakes, he doesn’t only despise them: they terrify him.

So how is it possible that each time Alice and Jace meet, the air sizzles? That she’s as fascinated by him as he is by her? That they know their feelings go deeper than raw desire? Still, it looks like this relationship is doomed before it starts: Jace won’t be around for long, and Alice wants to avoid the heartbreak of a short fling.

Award: 2014 Romance Review Magazine’s Great Reads Award




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J. Arlene Culiner's Blog

Podcast: Life in a Small French Village

Posted on January 24, 2017 at 3:49am 0 Comments

In the 1970s and 1980s, French villages were still unique places; and villagers, not yet ironed-out by television's conforming pressure, were originals. These podcasts peek backward, into those days.

Life in a Small French Village


The Problem with Books

Posted on January 24, 2017 at 3:30am 0 Comments

I’m lucky: five or six absolutely wonderful books with humor, exciting language, an original way of telling a story, have recently made their way onto my reader. But there have been others too, well-written, almost interesting. Almost interesting? Yes, a certain amount of research has gone into them, and I can’t complain about the writing. It’s just that, for me, there’s something missing. It took me a while to work out what — but now I know:…


My rules for writing romance

Posted on October 23, 2016 at 12:30pm 0 Comments

With: J. Arlene Culiner

I have very definite rules when writing romance. My books have to contain the following elements:

·      Realistic heroes and heroines — people who are just like us, and who find themselves on the magic journey of falling in love
·      No business moguls, no billionaires — just intelligent men and women who feel passionately about what they do
·     …

Thirty-three years to write a romance?

Posted on September 7, 2016 at 11:30am 0 Comments

Thirty-three years to write a romance?
Come visit and leave a comment!…

Avoid Those Name Brands!

Posted on September 2, 2016 at 12:50pm 0 Comments

Avoid Those Name Brands!

While the radio played the latest song by (name of famous pop star), she saw his (name of a luxury car) pull up in front of the house. Slipping into her (designer name) shoes that looked stunning with her (designer name) dress, she dabbed some (perfume name brand) behind her ears and popped open two cans of (name brand).

How do you feel about finding brand names in books? It irritates me no end. Each time I find a brand name in a story, I…


Comment Wall (2 comments)

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At 3:52pm on September 2, 2016, Dutch Rhudy said…

Hi J.

Welcome to Cold Coffee Café.


At 12:36pm on September 2, 2016, Cold Coffee Cafe said…

Welcome to Cold Coffee Café Where Authors Showcase Books and Avid Readers Shop! Follow this link to learn more about how to become a featured author on our 6 promotional websites (including this Café). http://www.coldcoffeepress.com

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Are You A Published Author?
How Many Published Books Do You Have?
4 Romances and 3 other books
Please Provide One Published Book Title
The Turkish Affair by J. Arlene Culiner
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