Interview with Dayna Leigh Cheser (Julie Jordan)

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?

As 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 years.
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 book.
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.
Today, the 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?

My 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?

I’m 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?

As 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 different reality.
— ‘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 right.
— 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 …
Logan 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.
In ‘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 everyone.
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?

‘Moria’s 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 ways.
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 shot!

As a writer, can you give aspiring authors any advice or some of your wisdom?

Write, 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 job.

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.
Did 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 heartfelt thanks.

How about some FUN stuff!! What is your favorite activity besides writing?

Reading 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 husband.

What is your favorite travel destination?

We’re 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?

Stephen 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!
I’ve read 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 Auel.

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 books? 

E-mail: Dayna@DaynaLCheser.com Website: http://DaynaLCheser.com Blog: http://DaynaLCheser.com/posts-by-dayna-blog/ TIME Series info: http://DaynaLCheser.com/the-time-series-2/
FB Fan Page: Author Dayna Leigh Cheser
Twitter: @Writers_Cafe
LinkedIn: Dayna Leigh Cheser (Julie Jordan) Amazon Author Page: http://Amazon.com/author/Dayna.Leigh.Cheser Amazon Sell Page: http://www.Amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=Dayna+Leigh+Cheser Barnes & Noble Sell Page: http://www.BarnesandNoble.com/w/janelles-time-dayna-cheser/1112351981?ean=2940014934312
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.

Julie Ramsey

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