The month of August at my blog is all about where writers write. During these next thirty-one days, I’ll be featuring those wonderful places where your favourite authors create their works of fiction (besides the usual blog posts). Today, I have J. Arlene Culiner in the interview chair. We’re discussing her special writing spot.
1. Why did you choose this particular writing spot to draft your novel?
J. Arlene: Because it’s beautiful.
2. Share a story (funny or serious) that occurred at your favourite writing spot.
J. Arlene: This room looks beautiful now, but when I bought the house, it was a disaster. The previous owner had tried to modernize an eighteenth-century house using modern, cheap and ugly materials. Believe me, this was the sort of place only a madwoman would buy. It took four years of ripping out plastic ceilings, cement floors, plasterboard walls, and endless bad wiring to find the original house. After that, with my sweetie, we pointed the walls with sand and lime, put down old quarry tiles, and presto, the place was healthy and lovely.
3. Can you only write at this certain spot? Or is there another place that you like to write?
J. Arlene: I can write anywhere. It doesn’t matter. In the winter, we are often in the Paris area, not out here in the country, and I write in a closet without windows.
4. How about the atmosphere. Do you need certain lighting, perhaps music, or silence? Do you lock the door to keep out the kids? Share what goes on while you’re writing.
J. Arlene: I need calm. Since my partner, Bernard, is an artist and needs calm too, we work in separate spaces and meet for meals.
5. Do you have any other comments?
J. Arlene: Thank you so much, Maggie Blackbird, for having me here.
Love and Danger at the ancient Hittite site of Karakuyu.
Blurb: Priceless artifacts are disappearing from the ancient Hittite site of Karakuyu in Turkey, and the site director has vanished. Called in to solve the mystery, archaeologist Renaud Townsend is hindered by both his inability to speak the language and the knowledge that the local police are corrupt. His attraction to translator Anne Pierson is immediate, although he is troubled by her refusal to talk about the past and her fear of public scandal. But when murder enters the picture, both Anne and Renaud realize that the risk of falling in love is not the only danger.
A delicious breeze tickled the air, and the little boat rocked gently. A fine line appeared between Renaud’s brows, and his blue eyes were, once again, serious. “I need your help.”
Anne stared. “My help? With what? Translating?”
“No. With something else. I have to find out who is behind the thefts at Karakuyu.”
The feeling of dread returned, but she forced herself to sound casual. “How could I possibly help you with that?”
“I don’t know.” He sighed. “I just don’t want to feel that I’m alone in this.”
What could she say to that? Tell him she was the last person he should team up with? That long ago, she’d escaped arrest by the skin of her teeth? If she did so, this splendid moment would be over. The silver-foil glimmer of romance would be tarnished forever. He’d row back to shore, drive back to Gülkale, get rid of her as quickly as possible.
“Anne?” He reached out to caress her bare arm. “Come back from wherever you are.”
“You know nothing about me,” she said jaggedly.
“Nothing,” he agreed.
She swallowed. “I could be involved in the thefts for all you know. Why ask for my help? Why choose me?”
He smiled faintly. “A good question. I suppose, quite simply, I need—or want—to trust you.”
She felt utterly miserable. Why was life always like this? Wanting someone and not being able to have them? Wanting trust, but seeing it snatched away before it came close?
Writer, photographer, social critical artist, musician, and occasional actress, J. Arlene Culiner, was born in New York and raised in Toronto. She has crossed much of Europe on foot, has lived in a Hungarian mud house, a Bavarian castle, a Turkish cave-dwelling, on a Dutch canal, and in a haunted house on the English moors. She now resides in a 400-year-old former inn in a French village of no interest and, much to local dismay, protects all creatures, especially spiders and snakes. She particularly enjoys incorporating into short stories, mysteries, narrative non-fiction, and romances, her experiences in out-of-the-way communities, and her conversations with strange characters.