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Monday, October 3, 2011

Interview of Author Jannine Corti Petska

Latest Book: The Lily and the Falcon, book 1, Italian Medieval series
Buy Link:
Jannine Corti Petska was born in New York but raised in Southern California. Her parents' first language was Italian, and Jannine was raised in an Old World environment. She began writing romance novels when her three daughters were young and she was a stay-at-home mom. In-between writing and caring for her family, she tutored Italian, Spanish, German, and English as a Second Language at a local college. Although she loves placing her stories in medieval Italy, she has also written romantic tales of the cowboy in the American West. To find out more about Jannine, please go to her website at

Q: What’s the first thing you did when you received word you’d sold a book?
A: When my-soon-to-be editor at Kensington called with the news, I started shaking and prayed I sounded intelligent in our conversation, none of which I could recall. Then the tears came, especially when I called my husband at work. (He brought home a bouquet of flowers for me.) After that, I walked around in a state of shock, even long after the book was released.

Q: If one of your books became a movie, which celebrity would you like to star as one of your heroes? Tell us about your hero.
A: In keeping with my latest release, I’ve never thought about who would play Cristiano de’ Medici (fictitious cousin to Cosimo de’ Medici). He’s 6’4” tall, black hair and royal blue eyes. In reality, the Medici men were conceited and arrogant. Cristiano is neither, although he comes off as if he is because he’s a shrewd businessman. No one runs his life, but he is kind-hearted, once you get past the demons riding his back.

Q: Do all your heroes and all heroines look the same in your mind as you “head write”?
A: Not at all. Each has been given a distinctive look, personality, temperament. I have never written a hero or heroine who, in my mind, looked similar. The same holds true for my secondary and minor characters. I usually vary hair and eye color and don’t box characters in as being generically “blond” or “blue-eyed.” They’re just too different in so many aspects of their physical character and how they handle their situation.

Q: Do you eat comfort food when writing? If so, what food inspires your imagination?
A: Comfort food—used to. Food that inspired my imagination—no. I’d have Italian music playing and munch on junk food.(Homemade chocolate chip cookies were always my weakness.). I drank/still drink coffee or a diet Coke. However, the foods I munched on were bad for me and a terrible habit. No food has had influence on my writing whatsoever.

My poor eating habits while writing changed earlier this year when I began to lose weight and finally got the upper hand on my diabetes. I still have my coffee diet soda, but I’ll eat a biscotti, fruit, or something sugar-free, fat-free, or low calorie…but not all at the same time. I doubt there is sinfully good food that also caters to all three. If there is, I haven’t found it yet.

Listening to Italian music while I write has had the most impact on my imagination. When I write historical western romances, I listen to country-western music.

Q: You’re on a remote island with a handsome man, a computer, and a “mysterious” source of electricity to power your computer. What do you do?
A: Email everyone to tell them I’m okay and not to rush out to find me. LOL

Q: What genre would you like to try writing in but haven’t yet done so? Why?
A: Ancient, WWII, erotica and Steampunk. I’ve written mostly historical westerns and medievals. I’m more comfortable with those time periods. I do have notes for a story set in Ancient Rome. I also have a WWII book that had been researched extensively but never written. Also a historical romance I researched 16 years ago but had a difficult time writing. When erotica became popular, I realized that particular book needed to be in that category and, frankly, it scared me. By no means am I a prude, but I’m used to writing sex in a less clinical way, using euphemisms instead. Steampunk…well, let’s just say I’m not sure about that one yet.

What it comes down to is, I have to build up a comfort level to write in an unfamiliar genre. Prior to getting into medievals, I wrote only historical westerns. I read a lot of medieval romances, but I was intimidated by the tremendous amount of European history I needed to wade through (History wasn’t my best subject.). When I finally jumped in with both feet and wrote my first one, I discovered it came natural to me. As soon as I’ve finished writing my next two books that will tie up a series and a trilogy, I plan to go back to one of those stories. I’ll have to pick up my comfort off the shelf, dust off the cobwebs and hand it over to a new genre.

Bianca degli Albizzi is outraged when sworn enemy Cristiano de' Medici asks for her hand in marriage. With her father's blessing, she weds the handsome warrior to end the war between Florence's two powerful families. But headstrong Bianca vows to teach her husband that loyalty cannot be bought...not even by seduction.

Cristiano, a well-known warrior with the wealth of a king, could have any woman he desires. But for the sake of peace he ends up with a defiant bride who awakens his deepest passion. Her vengeful scheming puts them both in peril, but is he prepared to sacrifice his life to safeguard the woman who has stolen his heart?


In this scene, Cristiano and Bianca are betrothed and are out for a stroll with Cristiano's cousin and Bianca's sister as chaperones. The reference to the harlot's hose goes back to when he rode out of Florence to accompany Cosimo de' Medici to Padua, where he will be exiled. Cristiano had been stabbed in arm.

“Have you thought of me during my absence?”

“Surely you jest!”

“Then you have forgotten that I wore the harlot’s hose about my arm as I rode
out of Florence?”

Bianca stopped abruptly, sputtering in exasperation. She paced two steps forward,
two steps back, then whirled on Cristiano with eyes flashing. “You are undyingly

He simply shrugged, as if she had given him a compliment instead of an accusation on
his character.

“Know you I would have preferred wearing your hose?”

Bianca blanched. She glanced about hastily as she prayed no one else had heard his
ungentlemanly wish. It didn’t help that both Niccolo and Francesca seemed to find the comment amusing. Bianca raised her chin and directed her hostile gaze at the shine in Cristiano’s eyes.

"Is it your practice to wear women’s hose?” she asked pointedly.

Cristiano threw his head back and roared. When at last he contained his mirth, he
replied, “Maiden, you humor me. I thank you.”

“Thank me not, my lord,” Bianca said, her mouth tight. As she flounced off, his iron
grip yanked her back, forcing her to his side. They began walking again. Now and then he’d chuckle, deepening the color in her cheeks. She was surprised when he stopped and turned to look at her. Niccolo and Francesca went on ahead.

“Bianca, would you willingly marry me if I were not a Medici?”

She let her gaze sweep up the length of him and realized he was anxious to hear her
response. Sighing, she replied, “Mayhap one day I would.”

“Your meaning?”

“I am only in my eighteenth year, my lord, and have years left to be free from one
man’s rule.”

A new dawning came to light from her honesty. “Are you afraid you will lose your

Bianca nodded.

At the entrance to an alley behind the bank Cristiano owned, he took Bianca’s hand
and pulled her around the building. Backing up to the wall, he brought her into him,
cradling her cozily between his hips.

“This is improper,” she protested.

“I care not, so do not burden me with propriety. I mean only to set your mind at ease, Bianca. The freedom you desire need not be lost to you Understand the importance our marriage will have on the Medici and the Albizzi.” He broached the subject, ever aware of her mistrust of his lineage. “We must proceed for the sake of Florence.”

“Mayhap you feel indebted to Florence, and I should as well. But marriage should be
for lovers.” A devil’s gleam came into his eyes. Bianca leaned back, but he pressed her into him, imprisoning her to his length.

“Then lovers we shall be,” he whispered. His mouth descended like a swooping hawk,
closing over her lips in bridled passion. Carefully, he controlled his desire for her, restraining himself commendably, though he doubted she’d agree. Her inexperience enthralled him, and he wished he could understand how his intimate caresses affected her. Cristiano embraced her, glorying in the feel of her soft body stretching up his, thrilling to the knowledge that soon she would be his woman, no matter that Albizzi blood flowed through her veins.

Anything else you’d like to add?
Just a heartfelt thank you to RBRU for having me as a guest today. And to Marianne, whom, I believe, I emailed a few times to ask if I’d sent in my interview yet. Don’t know why I couldn’t keep track of it.


Renee Vincent said...

Great interview, Jannine! It was wonderful getting to know you and your work. Wishing you all the best in your career!

Paisley Kirkpatrick said...

Hi Jannine. It was fun getting to know you better today. How wonderful you have command of so many foreign languages.

Loved the excerpt. Best of luck with lots of sales. :)

Becky said...

Great interview! It was fun getting to know you better today, Jannine. The Lily and the Falcon sounds like a very interesting story. I will have to give this one a try. I haven't read any medieval stories in a while. I loved the excerpt and I hope you do well in the sales of this book.

Heide Katros said...

Lovely interview, Jannine. Ich wusste nicht, dass Sie auch Deutsch sprechen:-) Good luck with the new book and I mean that in sales.

Heide Katros said...

Lovely interview, Jannine. Ich wusste nicht, dass Sie Deutsch sprechen. Best of luck

Jannine said...

Renee, Paisley and Becky, thank you ladies for reading the interview and commenting. I'm glad you enjoyed getting to know me a little more.

Jannine said...

Heide, lol. I haven't spoken German in 25 years! I'm surprised I understood what you wrote.

Unfortunately, family and health issues kept me away from the languages I had spoken. It's one of the biggest regrets I have in my life. After 25 years, my old brain doesn't remember much. The only one I've kept up with is Italian, but I'm not fluent anymore. I've been away from family too long.

Thanks fo commenting...and testing my German, lol!!!

Katalina Leon said...

Wonderful interview Jannine, the Lily and the Falcon sounds like a beautiful book.

Lisa Kessler said...

Great interview Jannine!!! :)

Good luck witht he new release!!! I hope it's a big success for you...

Lisa :)

Jannine said...

Thanks you, Catalina and Lisa. So glad you made it here.

Jannine said...

Thank you everyone. I enjoyed your comments. And thanks to Romance Books "R" Us for having me here today.

Susan Blexrud said...

I love Jannine's posts because I always learn something new about this remarkable lady.

Bon chance, Jannine!


Susan Blexrud said...

I love Jannine's posts because I always learn something new about this remarkable lady.

Bon chance, Jannine!


Jannine said...

Thank you, Susan. You're too sweet.

Anonymous said...

This surely makes perfect sense to me!

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