July 14, 2008

Meet Jannine Corti-Petska

Today's guest blogger is Jannine Corti-Petska, a multi-published author. Welcome, Jannine.

1. So, tell us a little about yourself? What is your typical day like?

I’m a typical Italian grandma who spoils her six grandchildren. When I’m not doing the grandma thing, I’m either working in my garden, watching soccer, or playing with my three Rat Terriers.

Most days begin the same. First I get a cup of coffee. (Can’t function without it.) I feed my four dogs, read part of the newspaper, get dressed, then write for an hour or two. I’m usually a creature of habit. After my morning session of writing, I try to fit in at least two more throughout the day. Unfortunately, this schedule doesn’t always work. I will go some days without writing at all. It depends on what’s going on around my house and with family, as well as obligations to my Sons of Italy lodge.

2. When did you start to write and how long did it take you get published? How many stories did you finish before you were published?

I started writing historical romances when my three daughters were young, somewhere around 1980. I didn’t get serious about being published until the mid-nineties. I sold my first book in 1999 to Kensington.

As for how many stories I finished before getting published, I’d say close to 15, but offhand that may not be accurate.

3. What inspired you to write romance?

After reading Kathleen Woodiwiss and Johanna Lindsey, I wanted to create characters and stories of my own. So I did. And to this day, I haven’t looked back at the first or second book I wrote. They’re tucked away where no one but me can find them.

4. What genre or sub-genre do you write? Why did you choose this genre?

My first love is historical romance. I wrote historical western romances when I started out. Growing up near Hollywood, I was surrounded by make-believe. Western movies had been so popular back then, and I also grew up watching western series on tv. Then my writing evolved into Italian medieval romances. I write them because of my Italian heritage. Also, I find the 15th century fascinating.

5. What difficulties does writing this genre present?

For the historicals, the only difficulties I come across are editors and agents who believe readers don’t want to read Italian medievals. Otherwise, writing historicals, particularly with Italian settings, is not difficult at all. I love the research. It’s a labor of love.

6. What motivated you to write your current book?

Knight’s Desire came about when I went online searching what certain publishers were looking for. I found one who planned to do an anthology about knights, although it isn’t my current publisher.

7. Tell us about your other works, books, stories, etc.

I have a four-book Italian medieval series and a psychic sisters trilogy looking for a publisher. Both series are set in the 15th century.

8. What are you working on now?

I’m polishing up two romantic suspense books after which I’ll have to choose what to write next. There are four different historical romance projects I’d like to work on, but I haven’t decided which one to do first.

9. How do you write? Are you a pantser or a plotter? Is it your characters or your plot that influences you the most?

I’m definitely a pantser. I find plotting and writing an outline binding, and it forces my creativity into hiding. I always do my character workup first. Then I see where I’d like their story to take place. The plot evolves from that point with my characters leading the way.

10. What was the most unusual way you came up with a story idea? I mean, I’ve gotten a plot idea from a song I heard, from brainstorming with a classmate. What unusual thing caused you to think, ‘hey, I could make that into a story?’

One line in a conversation or an article will trigger the storyteller in me. That’s probably not so unusual.

11. If you could spend an hour talking to anyone from any time in history, who would it be? And Why?

I would love to sit down with Leonardo di Vinci. The man was a genius. The intricate way his mind worked was phenomenal and fascinating. I wouldn’t have one particular question to ask him. I’d just listen to him talk about his ideas and inventions.

12. Tell us some of the things reviewers are saying about your story or stories.

Here are a few comments:

Wonderful story full of characters you'll really care about!

Keep your eye on this author. I certainly will be. Jannine Corti Petska's future looks bright.

"Jannine Corti Petska is a magnificent storyteller who brings alive the golden glory of Renaissance Italy with a talent I genuinely envy. Read her!"

13. What is your all time favorite book?

To read? The Wolf and the Dove by Kathleen Woodiwiss.

To write? That would be a tie between Rebel Heart (western) and the books from my Italian medieval series.

14. How do you do research for your books? What’s the most interesting bit of research you’ve come across?

I start my research online. Then I choose from the 2000+ research books in my home library. I used to live at the library when researching a book. Now I hardly go because of all the resources available online. I can also connect with experts in various fields through the internet.

I couldn’t choose just one interesting bit of research I’ve come across. There is so much that’s interesting! If I had to choose, it would be a tidbit from Italian medieval history. I can’t give it away as I’m starting the research on it. But it was an extraordinary find that led to the story I’ll eventually weave around it.

15. What advice would you give aspiring writers today?

My advice it to never give up and grow a thick skin.

16. How do you like your fans to contact you?

Email: info@jcortipetska.com

USPS: Jannine Corti Petska
P.O. Box 284
San Luis Rey, CA 92068


Zulmara said...

Great inteview...love the Italian grandmother...how cool is that...and I love her writing process...



DawnM said...

Wolf and the Dove is one of my favorite books too. Great interview. Thanks Jannine

Eva S said...

I'd love to read Italian medieval, and I'm sure I'm not the only one! And the psychic sisters sound interesting...

CrystalGB said...

Great interview. I love The Wolf and The Dove too.

Margaret Tanner said...

Hi Jannine,
Great interview. Nice to have someone wrting about a different historical era for a change, and your Italian medieval sounds wonderful
Kind regards
Margaret Tanner

rebekah said...

Great interview. I have never read an Italian medival book, sounds great to read a medival set book with setting change. Sounds like a great book.

Drea said...

Great interview. Italian medieval...sounds very interesting. Thanks for the look into your life and process. =)

Anonymous said...

Hi Jannine! Very nice to read about you and your books. I've never read an Italian Medieval, but since all Italian things are great I'm sure I love it also. Are you active with Italian culture also otherwise than writing Italian Medievals and historicals? I mean, for Italy and Italian culture as it is today.

LuAnn said...

di Vinci!! What a unique person to want to visit with, but it makes perfect sense.

Debby said...

Wow great interview. I am learning a lot.

Jannine said...

Hi Zulmara:
Thanks for stopping by. It is cool being an Italian grandmother. Although I am a typical one, I also have a more modern approach than the Old World grandmas like my mom was. But I spoil the grandkids just the same. ;)

Jannine said...

Hi Dawn:
Shanna was the first real historical romance I read. But over time, The Wolf and the Dove became my favorite.

Glad you liked the interview.

Jannine said...

Hi Eva:
You're not the only one who would like to read italian medievals. I get that a lot. However, editors still believe that setting and time period won't sell. But I will not give up!

Jannine said...

Hi Crystal:
Glad you stopped by.

I think so many of the romance authors of my generation learned from Woodiwiss. Her characters were larger than life, and the heroes were definitely manly and knew their mind. Of course, her heroines had that underlying strength, which gave the heroes a run for their money. ;-)

Jannine said...

Hi Margaret:
So nice to see you here.

Many editors don't like to stray from the tried and true. I think that's the reason they're afraid to publish the many different settings authors are writing in today. It's a shame, because I've ready the stories of many fellow authors who don't follow the norm. The reading public is missing out on some great stories and locations.

Drea said...

A Rose in Winter is one of my all time favs. I think because it was one of the first romance novels I ever read. I still have my copy after all this time...poor beat up soul that it is. I am going to have to read it again! It has been too many years.

Jannine said...

Hi Rebekah:
You might get a chance to read an Italian medieval. I'll be giving away a copy of my ebook short story, Knight's Desire. I'll get details to everyone later.

Jannine said...

Hi Drea:
You're quite welcome. LOL, I never thought looking into my life was that interesting. But when I sit down and really think about it, I did have an interesting life, including the situation that was the general idea for FOREIGN EXCHANGE, a book I co-wrote with a friend. If you go to my website (www.jcortipetska.com) you can read about it, and also read the first chapter. It's out of print, but I will eventually try to resell it.

Jannine said...

Hi Tessa:
Yes, I am active in the Italian culture. I'm a member of the Order Sons of Italy in America. I'm historian and do the publicity for my lodge, La Costa dei Fiori (It means 'coast of the flowers'). I'm also vendor coordinator for our annual Festa Italiana, which was this past weekend. I write for several Italian-American newspapers.

Jannine said...

Hi Luann:
Can you imagine picking da Vinci's mind? He was centuries ahead of his time!

Jannine said...

Hi Debby:
Thanks for stopping by and reading my interview. Glad you liked it.

Jannine said...

My copy of The Wolf and the Dove is beat up, too. But I picked it up in a used bookstore because I didn't want my original copy to get destroyed. So I have one for reading and one sitting in my collection.

Jannine said...


Later on today I will pick a name from everyone who commented. That lucky winner will win my ebook short story set in 1336 Piemonte, Italia.

I'm on the west coast, so I will announce the winner about 3:00 Pacific time.

Buona Fortuna!

Drea said...

I should get a second copy of mine too, but they are so hard to find anymore!

Ginger Simpson said...

Couldn't let the day go by without stopping by to see how my good friend is doing on her blog day with Anna K. Looks like you've found some people who need to venture into Medieval History.

I have to tell everyone, you can't find a nicer person than this woman...someone who reaches out and shows her heart even when she barely knows you. Gotta love her!


Jane said...

Hi Jannine,
When was the last time you visited Italy?

Jannine said...

Ginger, you're making me blush. ;) Thank you for the compliment.

I'd love to take readers into Italian Medieval history. It's quite fascinating and eye-opening. So much is attributed to historical italy: fashion, banking, Italian soccer players. Oops, my bad! But really, Italy has given so much to the world as well as the U.S.

Jannine said...

Hi Jane:
The last time, and the one and only time, I visited Italy was in 1970. It was a graduation present from my parents. I lived with my uncle--an Italian air force general--for about 6 weeks. Unfortunately, it was the last time I flew and now I'm terrified of flying. My husband said he's going to knock me out to get me there!

My uncle lived in a government issued home with high fences and guards. He had a room filled with computers so, if anything happened to the air base, he could control the military from his home. This room was off limits to everyone expect high level personnel. I peeked into the room one day. For an 18-year-old who had never been anywhere alone (parents were Old Country), it was amazing and frightening at the same time. BTW, I use this in FOREIGN EXCHANGE, my book that's out of print.

I almost married a drummer named Mario.;)

Cherie J said...

Great interview! I like the sound of Italian medieval being used. Such a fascinating time period.

Kimberly B. said...

I agree with cherie j---Italian medieval historical romances sound great to me. And I also think it would be fun to meet Leonardo da Vinci---one of those remarkable individuals with both an artistic and scientific brain.

Estella said...

Great interview!
The Wolf anf The Dove is one of my favorite Woodiweiss books.

Jannine said...

I want to say a big thank you to everyone who commented today. And I love the fact that you're all interested in Italian medieval romances. If--make that when ;)--I sell them I will announce it on the many writing loops I belong to, also on my website, and here on Melinda's blog for those here who are not on any of my loops with me. (With Melinda's permission, of course!)

Coming up next, the drawing for a free copy of KNIGHT'S DESIRE.

I will still be hanging around until tonight to chat or answer anymore questions.

Jannine said...

And the winner is..........

LUANN, come on down! You have won my short story ebook KNIGHT'S DESIRE.

Please email me privately. I will need your email addy:


Jannine said...

I've also decided to give away a copy of REBEL HEART, my historical western romance.


Ginger! Congratulations!

Email me privately. I need your surface address.

Michelle said...


Does your family read your work? Are they supportive?

Jannine said...

Hi Michelle:
Yes, my family does support my work. My husband and three daughters are very proud of my accomplishments. They are always boasting to their friends and co-workers about me.

My husband read one of my books years ago when I started out. I had needed another opinion. He was an avid reader, though not of romance, but I trusted his judgement.

My three daughters read all my books. None read the love scenes. Apparently, their mother isn't supposed to know those things, lol.

Phyllis Campbell said...

Jannine! It's great to get to know you this way. Funny, but we are a lot alike. But I don't have six grandkids... Yet. LOL


blessedheart said...

Very interesting interview, Jannine! Kathleen Woodiwiss and Johanna Lindsey are also 2 of my favorite authors. With such positive influences, I'm sure your stories are fabulous!

Rhonda :-)

Dena said...

I really enjoyed the interview Jannine. I've never read an Italian Medieval before, so I'm very interested in reading your stories. I would love to meet Leonardo too, it would be so fascinating and interesting.

kimmyl said...

Great interview. It's intertesting to see what authors like.
I love reading Kathleen Woodiwiss.
She has some really great reads.

Jannine said...

I appreciate all of you stopping by and leaving a comment. I hope you will all drive by and visit my website: www.jcortipetska.com. My ebook short story KNIGHT'S DESIRE and my historical western REBEL HEART (a 2007 Aspen Gold finalist) are still available.

A big Thank You to Anna Kathryn for giving me the opportunity to share myself will all of you.

Feel free to email me any time if you'd like to ask me more questions or leave more comments: info@jcortipetska.com

Sempre avanti, tutti.

Anna Kathryn Lanier said...

Congrats to Luann and Ginger on winning the daily prizes!

And thanks Jannine for guest blogging for me.

Anna Kathryn