Thursday, June 14, 2018

Takeover Thursday with J'nell Ciesielski ... and a GIVEAWAY!

J'nell is here to share a bit about herself and her debut release. She's offered to give away a copy of the book (hard copy - US ONLY or electronic copy - anywhere) of her book. You can enter by using the Rafflecopter link at the end of the post. (Giveaway ends June 21, 2018. If you are the randomly chosen winner, I'll contact you.) 

Q&A with J'nell...

Q:  We'll start with a few serious questions. What message do you hope readers take away from your story?
A:  When I first sat down to write, it was a love story between a girl and a soldier. As I dug further into research, I realized it wasn't so simple. Gwyn and William came to symbolize what was happening to millions of people caught up in the Great War. Their generation became known as the Lost Generation, and for too long their story has gone untold or forgotten with the passing of time. This year is the centennial of the end of WWI, and light is being shed on this incredible time and the amazing people who lived through it. I hope in some small way Among the Poppies honors those who lived and died, who sacrificed all to defend their country and brothers in arms, gives voice to the women who worked behind the frontlines, and the freedom they preserved for us today. Lest we forget.

Q:  What advice do you have for new authors?
A:  Never give up! If this is truly a passion and you can't imagine doing anything else, read, read, read. Reading expands your use of language and imagination. Learn everything you can about the craft and industry, enter contests, join writer's groups, but most importantly, write. Write every day because that is how you become a writer instead of someone wishing they could write.

Q:  Great advice! What can you tell us about your next project?
A:   My next novel is coming out in January 2019. Set during WWII, an American student must fight to keep her identity a secret in Nazi-occupied France, but a German officer may hold the key to her freedom and heart. I'm super excited about this one because I got to explore my fascination with WWII and spies and the mindset it took to survive. Plus, who doesn't love a good romance that seems doomed from the start? Don't worry. All my stories end happily :)

Q:   Ooh, that sounds good! I love books set during WWII. I can't wait to read it. What writers have inspired you?
A:   Gilbert Morris was my first "adult" writer, so I'll always be grateful for his amazing stories and the depth of character he introduced me to. Kathleen Morgan started my writing and obsession with Scotland. Diana Gabaldon's characters have brought me to tears with such description that feeds my soul. All of these authors have shaped me into the writer I am today. They push me to what is possible with the written word, seeking to discover those hidden depths within each of us and lay them there on the page.

Q:  What book do you wish you'd written?
A:   If I have to choose one that made a big impact on me it would be Tolkien's masterpieces. His gift of storytelling blows my mind. The man created 20 languages of mythical beings and wove in a history so complex it is easy to believe it could be our own. His themes of friendship, sacrifice, loyalty, and love echo through the ages and encourage us all to strive for greatness. Talent does not begin to describe this man and the extraordinary works he gave the world.

Q:  So true! Now, a few questions, just for fun. what famous person would you like to me and why?
A:   The Duchess of Cambridge, or as I like to think of her, Kate. I adore everything about her. She is the perfect role model of what a lady should be. Beauty, brains, perfect manners, kind, fabulous wardrobe. I hope she let me try on a few tiaras.

Q:  Wonderful choice! I adore her (and the rest of the family!). What's one thing about you that would surprise your readers?
A:   I was in the United States Air Force for four years. I'm such a girly girl that people do a double take when I say I wore combat boots for a while. I'm proud to have served my country, but I'm grateful to be a civilian again.

Q:   Thank you for your service. Do you have any writing rituals (such as a particular pen, outfit, or music) you must have or do when writing?
A:   I like quiet (which is difficult with a four-year-old tearing through the house). If I play soft music, it needs to relate to the time period I'm working on. I get a lot of bagpipes when I'm writing about Scotland :) Sitting at my desk in my very pink office helps me write better than if I were to sit on the couch or at the kitchen table. Don't even suggest leaving the house to write!

Q:   Ha! I don't blame you. I love having music in the background when I'm working at my desk, too. Who are three fictional people you'd like to meet?
A:   Jamie Fraser from Outlander because he is the ultimate dream in a kilt. Hermione Granger from Harry Potter because everyone needs a friend with magical abilities. And, last but certainly not least, the Dowager Countess from Downton Abbey. Coolest woman ever! She could teach me some great one liners!

Q:   Wonderful choices! I love those characters, as well.Who would play you in a movie about your life?
A:   For looks alone, people say I'm a dead ringer for Leann Rimes, but I would love Lily James to play me. I mean, come on, she's Cinderella! She seems like so much fun, but yet a really simple girl.

Q:   I don't think you could go wrong with either choice! One final question. If you were stranded on a deserted island, what three things would you need to have with you?
A:   Lotion! I have bottles of the stuff all over the house in all different scents because you never know when you need to moisturize. I keep the industry in business. I feel like I talked quite a bit about Tolkien, so I'd better bring one of his tomes along to keep myself entertained. And lastly, a toothbrush. I hate dirty teeth.

It sounds like you're all set! Thanks for taking the time to answer some questions. I'm sure my readers will enjoy getting to know you a bit better. Now, about your debut book...

The story behind the story...

Like many people the world over, I got swept up in the whirlwind that was Downton Abbey. The elegance, the estates, the manners, and, of course, the clothes. Oh, to wear fancy hats again! Season two plunged the audience into WWI, and there I saw it, Lady Sybil the nurse and her world-changing chauffeur love of a man, Branson. I had to be a part of this world! Gwyn became a chauffeur's daughter longing for adventure beyond the garage doors, and William is an an army captain who, above all else, desires order. But Gwyn is anything but orderly!

(I rated it 4/5 stars.)

About J'nell...

Believing she was born in the wrong era, J'nell Ciesielski spends her days creating 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,a long with her very understanding husband, young daughter, and one lazy beagle. Find out more at

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. This book sounds amazing. I love historical reads.

    1. Becky,

      If you're a fan of historical novels, you definitely need to add this one to your list.

      Good luck, and thanks for stopping by!

  2. Great blog post. This book sounds wonderful. Would love to read it. Thank you for this chance.

    1. You're welcome, Cheryl. It really is a great book. Thanks for visiting my blog, and good luck!

  3. Thank you for the interview with J'nell Ciesielski. I enjoyed learning more about "Among the Poppies" and the story behind it.

    I'd love the opportunity to read this book. I love stories with from this time frame and those with a strong female character.
    2clowns at arkansas dot net

    1. I'm glad you enjoyed it, Kay. I, too, love learning the "story behind the story." It puts even more meaning behind the tale, in my opinion.

      Good luck, and thanks for stopping by!

  4. I definitely want this book. I’ve read a lot of people like it. Thanks for the giveaway! grandmama_brenda(at)yahoo(dot)com

    1. Brenda,

      I'm glad it's grabbed your interest :)

      You're very welcome. Thanks for visiting my blog. Good luck!

  5. Hi Leslie $ J'nell. This sounds like a novel I would enjoy. Thanks for the giveaway!

    1. You're very welcome, Cynthia. Good luck!

  6. Replies
    1. Great. I'm glad I can introduce you to a new author.

      Good luck!

  7. Love the interview. So fun. And yes, the Dowager would definitely have some pearls of wisdom to impart!

    1. Dianna,

      I'm glad you enjoyed it! Thanks for stopping by, and good luck!

  8. Lovely interview. This book sounds very intriguing! Oh I can't wait for J'nell's next book to come out, that actually sounds like it should be a movie!

    J'nell, you do look like Leann Rimes. :-)

    Thanks Leslie for showcasing J'nell!

    1. Jean,

      You're very welcome. Yes, it's definitely an intriguing book. It would make a good movie!

      Good luck, and thanks for stopping by.