May 3, 2011

Author Interview: Jannine Corti Petska

My guest today is Jannine Corti Petska.

Q: Tell us about your latest book.
CHARLOTTE AND THE GYPSY is book 2 of my medieval psychic sisters trilogy. It’s about 3 sisters separated at birth, and now they are searching for each other. This book takes place in a Gypsy camp in Andalusia. The last several chapters take place during their travel to England where Char finds one of her sisters.
Q: What is the genre, and does it cross over to other genres? If so, what are they?
This historical romance is a medieval, set in the 15th century. I’ve had readers who don’t read romance read my books and enjoyed them. I tend to add history of the era & setting in my romances. They are definitely not history books, but I use the history to flavor the story or create the conflict.
Q: What did you enjoy most about writing your first book?
The first book I wrote was in 1980, or there about. Back then, I was so new to writing that I approached it like a mouse who can’t find his way out of a maze. It was such a learning experience. At the time, I didn’t belong to RWA, which I joined in the mid-90s.
I enjoyed the research. I still do. I used to get so excited to hang around the libraries in my area, spending hours scouring the shelves. Now, I seldom go into a library. Between the internet and the more than 2000 research books in my home office, I don’t have to leave the house to research. I do miss the smell of all those books. I don’t go to used book stores, library sales or swap meets to find books anymore. What I need is usually too specific. However, I do order online from B&N, Amazon or Abe Books if I’m looking for something in particular.
Q: Where do you start when writing? Research, plotting, outline, or...?
A basic idea is what gets me going. For instance, in my 4-book Italian Medieval Series (not released yet), the first book is centered around the Medici and set in Florence. I had seen a documentary on them and became fascinated by the power of that family. Book 2 came as an idea about the beginning of the Mafia, about which I had written an article for a national magazine. This story is set in Palermo. All the books are set in the 15th century, which has become my favorite era to research and write.
REBEL HEART, a historical western romance (released in 2006 & still available), was based on two songs Jon Bon Jovi recorded for the Young Guns cd: Santa Fe and Miracle. So I set this book in Santa Fe in the 1870s.
Once I have the setting down and the idea for the book, the hero and heroine come in next. Sometimes, I will write before the entire plot is thought through. Yes, I’m a pantser!
Q: What genres and authors would we find you reading when taking a break from your own writing?
Unfortunately, I don’t have time to read. But on my bookshelves you’ll find mostly historical romances and romantic suspense. I’d say in present day, Theresa Medeiros is my favorite author of historical romances. I also read Connie Mason. I don’t have a favorite in romantic suspense.
Q: If I was a first time reader of your books, which one would you recommend I start with and why?
REBEL HEART. There is something about this book and the hero, Beau Hamilton, that has been my favorite ever since I wrote it in the 80s. He’s irascible, gruff, but underneath it all, there is a man with a soft heart for the heroine and others who are important to him. But she drags him kicking and screaming all the way to the end before he finally admits he loves her. You’ll see his transformation in small degrees, and you’ll understand why when you learn his backstory.
Q: What do you hope readers take with them after reading your work?
I hope they see that love does conquer all, that it can be quick, it can be with an unlikely person. I think you have to believe in the power of love, and I hope my stories convey that.
Q: A biography has been written about you. What do you think the title would be in six words or less?
I can think of several, but I can’t write them here, lol. I posed this question to my family, and they agreed on: Proud, Passionate…and Italian
Q: If money were not an object, where would you most like to live?
In the U.S., probably Oregon…anywhere there is a lot of dreary, rainy days, although I don’t want to live where it snows or has tornadoes. Outside the U.S., Italy. Italian is my heritage, and I know I’d feel comfortable living there. I’m not sure what city, but more than likely anywhere from Rome to Milan.
Q: What song would best describe your life?
Viva la Mamma, sung by Edoardo Bennato.  He sings praises about mothers, their devotion to their children, their strong will and love. The reason this would best describe my life is because there is no one and nothing more important than my family. I’m an Italian mother; we’re a different breed, and only another Italian mother would understand. The song translates to “Long Live Mamma.”
(Just a note: I am not saying only Italian mothers believe their families are the most important things in their life. It has more to do with how an Italian woman feels toward her family. Most mother would do anything for their children, and that’s how it should be.)
Q: If you were a tool, what would people use you to do?
If a computer is considered a tool, that’s what I’d be, and I’d write the next bestseller.
Q: Picture yourself as a store. Considering your personality and lifestyle, what type of products would be sold there?
Books, music, Italian and soccer related things, anything for dogs…and I’d have a cafĂ© in my store that served Italian drinks and pastries. I suppose it would be called a variety store!
Q: If you came with a warning label, what would it say?
“Open carefully. Contents under pressure.” (I had to ask my husband to help me with this question, lol.) Admittedly, I have a temper, and it doesn’t take much to set me off, especially if I see an injustice being done. But I’m working on it. Beau Hamilton in REBEL HEART counts when he gets to the end of his rope. So I took his advice and tried it. It really works.
Q: What is the one question you wish an interviewer would ask you?
Actually, I doubt there is a question an interviewer hasn’t already asked me. I’ve covered one end of my life to the other, my family, my writing, my Italian heritage. However, if it didn’t pertain to writing, I would like to be asked what I would do to keep dogs (and other animals) from being abandoned, abused, or destroyed because of overpopulation in shelters. You’ve probably guessed it, I’m a dog lover. I’m passionate about the subject, although I don’t know if what I want and hope for can ever be accomplished in my lifetime.
REBEL HEART (historical western) Petska/e/9780974624983
KNIGHT’S DESIRE (medieval short story)'s-desire.htm
CARINA AND THE NOBLEMAN (book 1, Medieval psychic sisters trilogy)
CHARLOTTE AND THE GYPSY (book 2, Medieval psychic sisters trilogy)

Coming Soon
LOVE’S SWEET WAGER, The Wild Rose Press, July 2011
THE LILY AND THE FALCON (book 1, Italian Medieval Series)
The Wild Rose Press, September 2011
SURRENDER TO HONOR (book 2, Italian Medieval Series)
The Wild Rose Press, TBA
I will give away an e-book copy of CHARLOTTE AND THE GYPSY to one commenter, whose name I will draw from a basket.

Charlotte Nikolos was raised in a Gypsy camp, her pale hair and light skin in stark contrast from the darkness of her family. After she learns she has two sisters somewhere who share her looks and psychic powers, she's determined to search for them and learn why her birth mother sent her away. But where does she begin?
After three years of roaming, Rafael Cazares returns to his Andalusian Gypsy camp to pursue the woman he left behind in disgrace. He must win back Char's trust and recapture her heart. He insists on helping her find her true family but soon realizes someone is determined to keep them apart.  When Rafael's deep, dark secret is revealed, he will do everything in his power to protect the only woman he has ever loved. Even if it costs him his life.

“Unless you have an apology, I’ve naught to say to you,” she said.
     Her stiff posture and taut features made clear her lingering unhappiness over his impulsive kiss. “I’ll not apologize for our mutual transgression.”
     “Mutual? I think not.” Venom coated her tongue.
     “Why did you run off?”
     “Because you—” she broke off and retuned her gaze to the deserted road ahead.
     “Could it be that you feared your desire for me?”
     She glared at him. “I desired not the kiss but to be left alone to finish my bath.”
     He longed to kiss away that temperamental pucker on her lips.
     “And do not speak of your rights,” she added scathingly. “My lips belong to me, and I’ll share them with the man I truly desire.”
     “Then I shall make you desire me once we are wed.”
     “How dare you continue to taunt me with a wedding I refuse? You would deal better with a woman who will shower her affection upon you.”
      Rafael smiled slyly. What she had conveyed in that exquisite kiss was a desire most women wouldn’t deny.


  1. Great interview! I can definitely relate to the description, " open carefully, contents under pressure"! I'm going to have to check out Beau too ;)

  2. Karen Ritter5/03/2011 2:03 PM

    Great interview, Jannine! Your books sound intriguing.

  3. Hi Jannine,

    I loved REBEL HEART! I was delighted to read the book is your suggestion for a first book to read of all of your novels.


  4. I agree with zmb - contents under pressure would fit me too! LOL

  5. LOL, ZMB, I think a lot of people fit that description.

    Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment.

  6. Leave it to Kayelle to come up with fun questions. Great interview, Jannine. Since my recent trip to Florence, I've been looking forward to reading this book. All my best to you.

    Hugs, Susan

  7. Ann, thank you so much for stopping by. I'm really glad you liked Rebel Heart.

  8. I always enjoy the history you weave into your books. It's a great way to learn something new while enjoying recreational reading.

    Toni Noel

  9. Beau Hamilton sounds V sexy! I'm adding REBEL HEART to my to-read list.

  10. Hi Susan. I'm still bummed that I couldn't slip into your suitcase for your trip to Florence. LOL

    Thanks for coming by.

  11. Toni! Roommate, lol. Toni and I and another author roomed together at the RT Convention last month. Every time I saw Toni, she was reading!

    Thanks for commenting. I hope you'll enjoy the somewhat mini-history lesson in my new book.

  12. Megan, I totally agree. Beau is very sexy. But I'll share him with you, lol. Maybe!

    Thanks for stopping by.

  13. Kayelle, I want to thank you for hosting me today. Your questions really threw me. I honestly didn't know how to answer several of them, lol.

    It was a fun interview.

    molto grazie

  14. Great interview Jannine!!! :)

    I think OR would be nice too, but I'm pretty sure I'd miss the sun! LOL

    Good luck with your series...

    Lisa :)

  15. Lisa, I wouldn't miss all the hot, sunny days here in So. Cal. I've lived here way too long.


  16. Drawing for e-book of CHARLOTTE AND THE GYPSY.....

    The winner is....Lisa Kessler!!!!!

    Congratulations, Lisa. Please email me at

    Thanks everyone, and especially Keyelle.

  17. oh, i envy you your home library. i don't know where i'd even put that many books.

  18. I hear you, Larion. I am almost wall-to-wall, and floor-to-ceiling bookcases, along with a roll-top desk, a computer desk, two filing cabinets, another cabinet with my copier, and a shelf half-way along one wall with my laser printer and my All-in-One. The room is only 10 by 11, I think. Or it could be 11 by 12. If someone else is in my office with me, there's no room to Rhumba!!!

    Thank you for your comment.

  19. I'm so glad you were able to be here Jannine. It was fun and I enjoyed your answers. It's fun to see the different "tools" people turn out to be.

  20. I enjoyed the interview! The book sounds great.


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