Thursday, September 13, 2012

Interview: Janelle's Time by Dayna Leigh Cheser

Today, I have here with me author Dayna Cheser.
Let's get to know the person behind the pen name.

Dayna, tell us about yourself.
I’m a retiree pursuing a ‘retirement career’ after a lifetime of ‘wanting to be an author.’  I’m a hearing-impaired introvert, which is perfect if you’re a writer!  When I’m not writing or otherwise occupied on the computer, I like walking for exercise, eating and living a healthy life, camping, sewing, other crafts, and more.
Born and raised in western Connecticut, I moved to eastern Massachusetts when I got married in 1968.  Next, we moved to New Hampshire, and then, in 1992, we came to southwest Florida. By ‘we,’ I mean my husband, Pete, and I. 

Do you prefer:

Milk chocolate or Dark?

Coffee or tea?
Don’t do either one.  Prefer cold drinks, usually water with a little lemon juice
Romance or a Thriller?

Mystery or Horror?
I get nightmares – The Wizard of Oz scared the 8-year old me out of my wits!

Did you always want to be an author?
Yes,  I started reading at an early age; writing was a natural progression

What authors had an impact on you growing up and as an adult?
Bertrice Small, Lynn Kurland, Karen Marie Moning, Jean Auel, Diana Gabaldon, and others.  Ms. Small has probably had the most influence over my writing of all of these authors.
Special mention goes to Stephen King (who I don’t normally read) for his book, On Writing, A Memoir of the Craft.  Every writer should read this book.

Did anyone in your life influence you or encouraged you to be a writer? 
No, quite the opposite.  A college professor told me I ‘couldn’t write my way out of a paper bag.’  That was pretty devastating to the 18-year old me, and I didn’t write for quite a few years, but I got over it.  If I had it to do over, I wouldn’t let him get to me the way he did.

What is your writing atmosphere like?
I write in the living room, in an overstuffed rocker/recliner/swivel chair that has seen its better days.  With a bookcase to my left, a small computer table (for the monitor) to my right, a quart jug of a cold drink, and the TV (for the background noise) across the room, I put the keyboard in my lap and off I go!

What is your favorite aspect or writing? Your Least Favorite?
The part of writing I like the most is the writing, AND the editing.  I just love taking a blank screen and turning it into a unique story. 
I didn’t even know about the editing early on, but as I learned, I realized that if you write well from the get go, and you do a good job of editing before you send it to your editor, it’s easier all the way around and takes a lot less time in the long run.
The part I like the least isn’t really writing – it’s all the marketing stuff we have to do

Your current book your promoting is:
My debut novel, Janelle’s Time, an adult historical romance.

How did you come up with your story line?
I’m a ‘pantser’ writer, so I sit down to a blank screen and watch the story unfold.  I never know where the story will go.  Sometimes, I end up backing out of a story line that died, but mostly, I just keep on cranking, sometimes surprising myself with what comes off the end of my fingers.  Normally a very organized person, I’ve tried to do the plotting and character work ahead of time, but it just doesn’t work for me.  Within a few pages, I’ve gone off on a tangent, never to return, so all the plotting is wasted.  Plotting just seems so rigid, it doesn’t allow for exploring something that just showed up on the page, unbidden.  As a pantser, I’m free to explore.  There’s no right or wrong way, it’s just what works for a given writer.                                                                                    

How do you choose your characters names?
I depend a great deal on lists I’ve found online.  Writing in different time periods, different countries, different cultures, and in different languages requires an extensive collection of names lists – and I’m not talking about current baby-names lists.  Unless you’re writing a contemporary story and the characters are having babies all over the place, baby-names lists pretty much don’t do the job. I search out ships manifestos listing the passengers.  I find male and female names that are language based, or country based, and a bunch of other criteria, including finding last names for the country or language.  Then, I say the names out loud (to the best of my ability).  Some names just sound awkward so I strive for names that roll off the tongue – but don’t sound dorky or phony in the process.

Janelle’s Time is the story of the great love between a New Hampshire farmer’s daughter and the younger son of an English Duke.

From her father’s death to the birth of twin daughters, Janelle makes it difficult for Richard to keep her safe.

Unaware of Janelle’s maternal-line powers, the couple time-travel to 14th century England, where they meet Richard’s ancestors - and discover some startling truths about his aristocratic family.

Logan Conor, the Scots Duke of Muileach, crashes Richard and Janelle’s wedding, bent on revenge, but finds his own true love instead.

On their wedding trip, a madman attempts to kidnap Janelle - twice.

Later, Richard unknowingly betrays Janelle who strands him in England. Richard finally arrives home, but fate separates them again – and he misses the birth of his son. Will they ever make a life together?

Filled with unexpected twists and turns, their love story spans two continents, and hundreds of years. But, can their love survive their very different backgrounds and the endless obstacles life throws at them?

Buy Links:  Amazon    Barnes & Noble

What Readers Are Saying About Janelle’s Time
This is a book for those who love the magic of romance and the romance of
magic. Filled with wonderful description, written with historical
accuracy, and charged with sexual energy, ‘Janelle’s Time’ truly glows.
-Kenneth Weene, author of Tales From the Dew Drop Inne,
Memoirs From the Asylum, & Widow’s Walk
I guarantee you will not be able to put this down until it’s
finished, then you’ll go back and start reading all over again!
-Donna Lawrence, Book Lovers Paradise
A story to escape reality with. A chance at true love that
will sweep you off your feet. You don’t want to miss this one.
-Miranda Lynn, My Eclectic Bookshelf
Author Dayna Leigh Cheser takes the reader on a magical journey back in
time to the 1830’s with a story filled with intrigue, deceit, and vividly
described characters in a well-crafted historical novel that will keep
the reader riveted to the printed page from start to finish.
-Fran Lewis, author of Because We Care, & Faces Behind the Stones
       Janelle’s Time is a beautifully written talk of mystical adventures set in the 1800s in New Hampshire and England – a love story of great proportions. The author has created a winning, fictional historical piece of literature using well-defined characters. The plot is unique and fast moving as well. I rather enjoyed the dialogue between the characters, as it flowed with ease and believability …

       Upon her father’s death, the young maiden inherits a world of wealth in which she is clearly not prepared for. Fate steps in, and she meets the love of her life, Richard Grayson, youngest son of an English Duke – the beginning of a suspenseful and romantic tale …

       This tale is more than a love story; it is a story of determination and the willingness to endure whatever obstacles ‘one’ must in order for love to prevail.
       Janelle’s Time is written to include many colorful characters – all of which undertake a dramatic role. I sincerely look forward to reading more adventures created in this series by this author. I give the author and her work five historical stars for this entertaining read!
       -Barbara Watkins, author of Hollowing Screams

Writing ‘runs in the family.’ My mother is a multi-published non-fiction author, and my two brothers make a living writing, one as a newspaperman, the other as a copywriter. My sister edits her church newsletter.

My father was a school teacher/reading specialist (later an elementary school principal) when I was little. During story-time one night when I was about four years old, I stopped him and asked how he said the same thing every time he read that story to me. That night, he started teaching me to read. It began a life-long love affair between books and me – for that, I am grateful.

In junior high, I wrote short stories to entertain classmates. In high school, one English assignment was to write my autobiography. In the teacher-specified chapter entitled ‘Future Plans,’ being a published writer topped the list.

After a college professor told me I ‘couldn’t write my way out of a paper bag,’ I stopped writing for many years. Then, in the late 1970s, I wrote an article for “World Radio News” (San Diego, CA) about our amateur radio club providing communications for a March of Dimes Walkathon. The ‘WRN’ editor used my article word-for-word.

In early 2002, between jobs and wanting to write, I sought a third-shift position and used the ‘free time’ to write what became ‘Janelle’s Time.’ When it was complete, I shelved it. In 2009, the WIP came off the shelf. By August 2011, it was ready – at last - for submission.

In 2009, I started a Twitter account, @Writers_Cafe. I feel as if I’ve earned a degree in ‘book publishing’ since then! You can learn so much from over 14,000 followers. 

I penned an article about @RileyCarney, a Colorado teen, and very prolific YA fantasy author, who heads her own non-profit literacy project. Never officially published, countless people have seen it, thanks to Twitter retweets and some carefully chosen email inboxes.

On New Year’s Day, 2010, I went ‘live’ with my blog. It has evolved into a combination of chronicling my writing journey and hopefully helpful posts on publishing industry topics.

In the fall of 2011, I added ‘DIY Interviews’ to my blog (see the left column of my blog for details on doing your own interview). Several authors have submitted ‘interviews’ to date.

Janelle’s Time is Book 1 of my TIME Series. Book 2, ‘Moria’s Time’ was my NaNoWriMo project for 2011. I reached 51,000 words on November 26! Now, I have to finish that book, and three more in the series: ‘Adelle’s Time,’ ‘Logan’s Time,’ and ‘Clarissa’s Time.’

Moving into 2012, I’m very excited about the release of ‘Janelle’s Time.’ It’s the culmination of a life-long dream – and is only the beginning of my retirement career. I’m working on “Moria’s Time,” book 2 of the Time Series.
My husband, Pete, and I have been married over forty-three years – no children. We lived in Massachusetts for thirteen years, and then moved to New Hampshire for eleven years. In 1992, we moved to Florida.

Find me on Twitter and Facebook:
Author Dayna Leigh Cheser

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