Interview: Dayna Leigh Cheser (pen name of Julie Jordan)
With the huge give-away going on, what are you offering to our wonderful readers?
I have 2 Starbucks gift cards (1 - $5, and 1 - $10), and 2 Barnes & Noble gift cards ($25 each).
Can you tell us a little about yourself?
a retiree living in Florida, I’m a long way from my Connecticut
birthplace. My husband of forty-five years and I met via ham radio in
1967, and married in 1968. After thirteen years of living south of
Boston, we moved to south-central New Hampshire. Eleven years later, we
left New England for sunny Florida where we’ve lived for over twenty
My father, then a teacher/reading specialist, started
teaching me to read at four years of age after story time one night. I
asked him how he was able to say the same words every time he read that
In school, my favorite subjects were English and
pre-Civil War American History. Music also figured large in my life – I
played several band instruments, plus piano and guitar. I also sang in
the church choir and the school glee club.
combination of being hearing impaired and a major introvert keeps me
home and on the computer. I’m doing what I’ve wanted to do from the
time I was in junior high school and wrote short stories to entertain my
peers …and the teachers who often intercepted them.
Which genres do you like to write?
visions and horizons are expanding – I see myself, in time, writing
different genres. For now, however, I write historical romance. With
two books complete, and three more coming after to complete the series,
I’m already thinking ahead to what comes next.
What is your newest release?
‘Moria’s Time,’ book 2 of my TIME Series, and my winning 2011 NaNoWriMo project, is scheduled for release in mid-August.
What are you working on right now?
sort of in between. After Moria’s Time, I’ll have to divide my time
between marketing, and finishing ‘Adelle’s Time,’ book 3 of the series,
which was my winning 2012 NaNoWriMo project.
Are there any future projects you can hint about?
a ‘pantser’ writer, I seldom know what will happen next. I sit down to
a blank screen and start writing. I may have a few false starts, but
then, the story comes and develops, almost by itself. The characters
appear and start telling me their stories.
My published book,
‘Janelle’s Time’ (which takes place mostly in New Hampshire) contains an
unusual courtship, a surprise uninvited ‘guest’ at the wedding, a
rather strange wedding night. Next comes a wedding trip to England that
goes very wrong, including an attempted kidnapping/ murder, a mugging,
and a heartbreaking betrayal. But if that’s not enough for you,
Richard, for his misdeeds, finds himself exiled from his home … and from
his father’s home – and misses the birth of his first-born child. His
eventual return is to a less-than-joyous reconciliation. But, it wasn’t
all bad – the strength of the love between Richard and Janelle beat
back everything life threw at them – their son and then the twins within
two years proved that, at least occasionally, SOMETHING went right …
Book 2 of the series, ‘Moria’s Time,’ which will be released in
mid-August, has surprises of its own. Moria’s future is that she’ll be a
woman ahead of her time, participating in what had for centuries been a
male-dominated profession. Few women before her were able to break
into this field, one of those few being her mentor, the real-life
Elizabeth Blackwell. Along the way, she meets several real-life
historical figures that influence her life. During her journey, she
meets the love of her life but keeps him at arm’s length, fearful of
getting too close to any man. But, people close to her show her a
‘Adelle’s Time, book 3, chronicles the life
of Moria’s twin sister from the time when their lives diverge. In her
early 20s, she struggles with her ‘American farmer’s daughter’ heritage
to gain acceptance into London’s high society while she searches for
‘her Duke.’ She devises a way to get the aristocracy’s attention, but
it ultimately wasn’t the smartest way to do it. Very nearly caught in
what surely would have ended forever any chance of acceptance, she
abandons ‘Lady Mysterious.’ Along the way, she grows up. Then, oddly,
her longed-for acceptance by the aristocracy, and the attention it
brings her, seems far less important. She meets her soul mate and finds
peace and happiness as she blossoms into a special woman in her own
In a departure from a ‘normal’ sequel-type series, book
4, ‘Logan’s Time’ is about a different family on a different timeline,
which actually begins thirty years before the beginning of ‘Janelle’s
Time.’ Logan Conor, the then-future Duke of Muileach, is seven years
old when he hides in his mother’s room and witnesses the birth of his
brother, Daniel. He’s also witness to his mother’s rejection of the
newborn, and her swift and secretive departure from their lives. Lady
Annella is a piece of work – she blackmailed her own father – her
submission to an arranged marriage in exchange for money …
and Richard meet when they both attended the same college in England.
After graduation, they treated themselves to some time in Paris before
heading for home, but the friendship ends abruptly after a brawl between
the two men results in the death of a woman. The next time they meet is
at Richard and Janelle’s wedding. There are some very tense moments …
‘Clarissa’s Time,’ book 5, unites the two families, and the two
timelines. Clarissa is Logan’s oldest daughter who will marry Damian
Gerard, Janelle’s oldest son; a dream come true for the two mothers.
Beyond that, I have no idea what will happen, but I do know sparks will
fly. Clarissa, a Scots Highlands ‘wild child’ and every inch her
father’s daughter, married to Damian Gerard, the almost reclusive, dark
and mysterious U.S. Army Captain can mean only one thing – a tempestuous
and mercurial relationship. Fasten your seatbelts! This book will be
my 2013 NaNoWriMo project.
Do you have a favorite book or character? Why?
Logan Conor, the Scots Duke of Muileach, is my favorite character.
‘Janelle’s Time,’ I needed a character to mess up Richard and Janelle’s
wedding. Enter Logan Conor, the Scots Duke of Muileach. He did his
job well, bringing the wedding to a screeching halt in a standoff. This
giant of a man, Richard’s friend from college, stood against Richard,
his father and three brothers, and Janelle’s two brothers in the middle
of the ceremony. The unconventional end of the standoff has surprised
After I’d finished ‘Janelle’s Time,’ Logan got in my
face, demanding his own book. The day I submitted ‘Janelle’s Time’ to
the publisher, I started ‘Logan’s Time,’ now book 4 of my series. Logan
represents the kind of person we all, deep down inside, would like to
be – his own person, living life on his own terms, not caring one twit
what other people think.
I suspect ‘Logan’s Time’ will be the best book of the series.
Can you tell us anything on your newest release?
Time,’ the sequel to ‘Janelle’s Time,’ follows the life of the younger
of the twin daughters of Richard and Janelle who knew Moria was special
from the moment of her birth. A vision (in ’Janelle’s Time’)by a
distant cousin confirmed that conclusion. However, that vision was of
Moria as a young woman, years in the future, traveling far from home to a
dangerous place, dangerous not only to Moria but to those around her.
Her parents spend years agonizing over this vision, assuming the danger
to be a serious threat to Moria’s life. Where would Moria be going and
what was the danger to her there?
‘Moria’s Time’ is the story
of a truly remarkable woman. Along the way, she meets several
well-known real-life historical characters who influence her life to
varying degrees and make her the woman she is –ahead of her time in many
Moria shares her journey through life with her twin
sister until both are adults and their paths diverge. Adelle makes her
own journey into book 3 of my series, ‘Adelle’s Time.’ The girls may be
twins but they couldn’t be less alike. Moria is a giving, caring, and
loving gentlewoman, while Adelle, as a child, is self-centered,
sometimes even mean, and is oblivious to the needs of others, needing to
be the center of attention no matter what. She satisfies her own needs
above those of all others.
Moria’s goals for her life center
on helping other people, while Adelle thinks only herself. She’s my
J.R. Ewing, but she redeems herself by growing up … and she doesn’t get
As a writer, can you give aspiring authors any advice or some of your wisdom?
write, and write some more. Write something every day, even if no one
ever sees it – or even if you toss it in the recycling bin when you’re
done. Decide on a number – so many words, or so many pages – and stick
to it; do at least that much every day. It’s not easy to discipline
yourself to do that, believe me!
Find a top-notch professional
editor. Yes, editors cost money, but a good one is worth his/her weight
in gold when it comes to your writing career. This is almost as
important as writing every day … or maybe it’s more important. No
matter what way you plan to publish, a good, professional editor is your
best friend. You can only do so much editing on your own. You’re too
close to the work – you need a fresh pair of eyes. Family and friends
mean well, but unless they are professional editors, they can’t do the
Are there any other people or authors who have inspired you or helped you along the way?
Did I have a mentor? No.
Did I know a teacher, a friend, or even an acquaintance, who was a writer/author? No.
I take any writing courses? Yes, I took one adult ed. creative writing
course, years ago. In adult education, the pace of the class is
determined by the least talented student, so the class was almost not
worth the trip.
Have other authors inspired me? Dozens of
authors over the many years have influenced my writing since I first put
pencil, or was it a crayon, to paper as a child. As a romance writer,
the author who most influenced me is Bertrice Small. Her ‘Skye
O’Malley’ series reignited a then-dormant need to write. Other writers
influenced my writing, as well – and to every one of them, I offer my
How about some FUN stuff!! What is your favorite activity besides writing?
was my first ‘favorite’ and remains high on the list, although time
spent writing and doing writing-related tasks has significantly eaten
into my reading time. Otherwise, I enjoy fitness-walking, sewing,
cooking, camping, and, most important of all, spending time with my
What is your favorite travel destination?
homebodies and haven’t done a lot of traveling – but once my husband
retires, we’re hoping to buy a motor home and see more of the good ol’
U.S. of A. than we have to date.
My personal dream is to one day
be able to spend time in England/Scotland. First, I’m half-English by
heritage, albeit long ago. Second, I dream of being able to stand on
Eilean Mor, in Loch Buie on the Isle of Mull. That’s where, in my mind,
Logan’s Muileach Castle stands. An architect-friend has agreed to
translate my verbal description of the castle-in-my-mind into a
rendering for a cover for ‘Logan’s Time.’
Who is an author or authors you’d like to recommend to our readers?
King tops the list, but not because of his novels, which I’ve never
read (I’m really not into horror). Because he built himself such a
great brand, I’m one of many who spent years being a little afraid of
HIM, not just his books, but of the man himself! However, I’ve seen a
different side of Stephen King in the past year. His book - one that
every writer should read – ‘On Writing, A Memoir of the Craft,’ is
amazing. He no longer scares me - he’s actually funny!
hundreds, if not thousands, of books over the years, with historical
romance being my usual (but not always) choice. Bertrice Small,
Victoria Holt and others top my list. Somewhere along the way, I
discovered paranormal (time travel) romance, such as early Karen Marie
Moning, Lynn Kurland and Diana Gabaldon. I also discovered the author
who gave new meaning to the terms ‘historical’ and ‘research’ – Jean
What is your favorite book or books?
I don’t have a
single favorite, or even several favorites. When I find an author I
like, nearly anything written by that author is a ‘favorite,’ at least
until another ‘favorite’ comes along. I like a good multi-book series
over single books, a by-product of being a fast reader and not wanting
to leave the writer’s world too quickly, so an entire series might be my
favorite at any given moment.
Where can we find you and your
E-mail: Dayna@DaynaLCheser.com Website:
http://DaynaLCheser.com/posts-by-dayna-blog/ TIME Series info:
FB Fan Page: Author Dayna Leigh Cheser
Dayna Leigh Cheser (Julie Jordan) Amazon Author Page:
http://Amazon.com/author/Dayna.Leigh.Cheser Amazon Sell Page:
Barnes & Noble Sell Page:
EXCERPT from ‘Janelle’s Time:’ The Wedding Chapter: http://DaynaLCheser.com/?attachment_id=269
EXCERPT From ‘Moria’s Time:’ Moria’s Time Excerpt: http://DaynaLCheser.com/?attachment_id=2637
Thanks for visiting with us here on JBR! I wish you great success.
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Along with many reviewers (which we could not do this without)