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 Janina Grey in the interview chair. We’re discussing her special writing spot.
1. Why did you choose this particular writing spot to draft your novel?
Janina: This spot is filled with all the things I love and things that inspire me. The bookshelf and desk are from my youth, exemplifying how writing and reading has always been an important part of my life. The books behind the desk are signed copies from many of my friends. The images on the wall are my two book covers.
2. Share a story (funny or serious) that occurred at your favourite writing spot.
Janina: While writing what I thought was the last scene of Love in the Forest, the story suddenly took a dark turn, deviating from my outline. As I wrote, Brooke died, drowning in the lake where Earth and Sky offered a haven from the world. As I typed away feverishly, I received a text from my sister, bringing news that a childhood predator had been indicated in similar crimes against another woman when she was a child. It rocked my world and altered my reality because we had always dismissed what had happened to us as not being that serious, or even real. That maybe we’d all imagined these things. I left my desk and could not write another word for over a week as I dealt with the death of my childhood now that my nightmares had been made real. Then one night I woke up from a dead sleep and yelled, “Brooke’s dead! I can’t let her die!” and I got up and ran to my desk and wrote the rest of the scene, bringing her back to life. But I couldn’t go back to the book for months as I coped with my trauma. I thought when I did get back to the book, I would delete that scene and get back to the outline. Finally, when I did get back to Brooke and Josh’s story, I realized she’d needed to die. But she was alive now and that made her life more precious than ever.
With that revelation, I found healing. And every day it took to finish the book brought another level of healing for me.
3. Can you only write at this certain spot? Or is there another place that you like to write?
Janina: I love writing in this spot, but I am also comfortable writing at my kitchen table, in the living room, in my office recliner, and while camping. The only place I can’t write is in bed.
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.
Janina: When I’m writing on deadline I have to have the door closed, even though the kids are grown and my husband is usually at work. I also need to have music playing, but I can only write while music is playing if I’m wearing headphones. If I’m not wearing headphones the music is too distracting and I get nothing accomplished. Add to this a cuppa Lady Grey tea in my favorite CNYRW “My hero can kick your hero’s butt” mug and I’m all set!
Love is on the horizon where Earth and Sky meet.
Blurb: Step into the mystical and magical forests of Upstate New York, where Earth and Sky camp photographer Brooke Meadows has taken refuge from the demons of her past as she uses her ability to communicate with the dead to heal loved ones left behind.
Unable to cope with the loss of his wife and daughters three years prior, Josh Quinn, CEO of the number one dating site Quirkyflirt.com, is ordered by his board president to take a break from his Big Apple Headquarters. He finds himself at Earth and Sky Retreats, where confronting his grief has led him to experience a life-altering transformation and re-evaluation of reality.
Will Josh leave behind his fast-paced, high society life in the concrete mountains of New York City, for the magical, bewitching world Brooke reveals to him in the foothills of the Adirondacks?
Will Brooke acknowledge and accept her own journey of transformation and healing as she and Josh explore the winding paths and summits that lead them to find love in the forest?
“Thank you,” he said, remaining on the rock as his demeanor changed from sunny to cloudy. “For not staying angry with me about last night, about the kiss.”
“No worries, thank you for believing me about Rosalie,” she replied, capturing his gaze as she took off her sunnies. “Besides, I may have overreacted a little bit.”
“No. You didn’t. I don’t force myself on anyone. I don’t know what got into me. And I just needed to tell you I was sorry in the light of day, so you could see I meant it.”
His sincerity seemed genuine enough for Brooke. And although his eyes were warm, she detected a hint of sadness. Or was it regret? Her butterflies flitted and she steeled herself against the impulse to pull him close and kiss him. Talk about mixed messages.
“Shh,” Brooke said. “I accept your apology. But in the future, remember I’m super big on consent, FYI.” She leaned against the rock and studied the toes of her hiking boots as he jumped down and stood beside her.
“So am I. And I respect you and admire you, and I trust you. And last night I totally blew it.”
“Almost. Almost blew it. You weren’t entirely wrong to go there. It was just bad timing.” She wrapped an arm around his waist and gave a quick squeeze of a hug. “We’d just experienced something really emotional, and traumatizing, and in a way, it forged us together and—”
“Bad timing?” He cupped her chin, his eyes questioning.
She held her breath, her lips parted as she dropped her gaze to his mouth, wanting so desperately to ease away and replace the bad memory of their first kiss.
“Well. Yeah.” She tried to speak but lost her ability to form a coherent sentence. All she could think about at the moment was how the world was right when he stood by her, how he wore fresh air like an expensive cologne, and how her body felt as brilliant as the first rays of the morning sun when he touched her.
“Is this what consent looks like, Brooke?” he whispered and dipped his head.
“I don’t know anymore. I can’t think when I’m around you,” she said, lifting her arms to rest on his shoulders as he turned into her, drawing her close.
“This sure feels like consent,” he murmured, closing his eyes, nudging her nose with his.
She molded into him, her hands cradling his head. His hair was soft against her fingers, his body hard against hers, his breath minty as he paused, waiting for her, she knew. Tipping her head up ever so slightly, she brushed her lips against his.
He leaned back, searching her face. “You sure?” His voice was wavering, hesitant.
You want this, she reminded herself, as her heart beat a steady rhythm against her ribcage. “Yes.” Her answer caressed his lips just a hairsbreadth away.
He growled low and deep as he buried his face in her hair, nuzzling the vulnerable, tender spot just below her ear. He left a trail of kisses along the soft curve of her neck, her jawline, before he claimed her mouth with a gentle fierceness not unlike that of a late afternoon thunderstorm.
Desire like heat lightning rolled through her body as she responded, tracing her hands down his spine, over the hardened muscles sculpting his back, pulling him into her.
His kiss deepened, and she welcomed him, forgetting about everything she had run from, everything she hid behind, knowing this was where she was supposed to be. At least for right now.
Janina Grey has been writing since she could hold a crayon, and there has been no stopping her since. Journaling, short stories, poetry, newsletters, news, feature, columns, Op/Eds, and press releases have kept her busy her whole life. But it was the sweet romances she read in her downtime that stayed forever in her heart and gave her the inspiration to write her own. Growing up on Long Island and living periodically in Tennessee as a youth has given her the opportunity to meet many different types of people and experience many different lifestyles. After moving from Long Island to settle in upstate New York with her family, she found the support needed to pursue her writing endeavors. When Janina is not writing, she may be marching for women’s rights, kayaking, camping, drumming, or dancing around the fire. With her two children grown, she and her husband, David, share their 110-year-old Mohawk Valley farm house homestead with a few resident spirits and a very squawky murder of crows.