With the holiday season in full swing, wouldn't it be nice to take a break from all our chores with a new book? That's how I always feel every year as the heart of the season grows closer and there are always new things to do, new places to go, and responsibilities that need to be finished. Sometimes we all need to take a deep breath and just curl up with a new story.
Jill Piscitello is a teacher and author, and she tells us she is also an avid fan of multiple literary genres. Although she divides her reading hours among several books at a time, she says that a lighthearted story offering an escape from the real world can always be found on her nightstand.
Jill is a native of New England, where she lives with her family and three well-loved cats. (Yikes! That's brave! We have two and they keep us plenty busy at times!) She says when she is not planning lessons or reading and writing, she can be found spending time with her family, trying out new restaurants, traveling, and going on light hikes.
Welcome, Jill, please tell us about your road to publication.
When I finally dredged up the nerve to query publishing houses for my novel, Homemakers’ Christmas, rejections followed. Some were standard form letters. But other editors were kind enough to make suggestions for how to improve my writing. The most useful replies were quite specific and included various free writing resources. The message was clear and well-received: the story idea was worth pursuing, but I had much to learn. Although the editors weren’t ready to offer a contract, I was grateful for the time they spent sharing advice. I took the advice, ran with it, and continue to read everything I can get my hands on that relates to improving writing.
After significant revisions, Homemakers’ Christmas found a home with Satin Romance. Last spring, I was thrilled to sign a new contract with The Wild Rose Press for Tinsel and Tea Cakes.
What do you enjoy about being an author?
I love playing with words. I can rewrite a line twenty times and never tire of the process.
What do you find is the most challenging part of being an author?
Marketing is probably at the top of the challenge list for most authors. This is especially true for people like me who are more introverted. Writing is a solitary activity. But once you have a finished product, you’re supposed to share it and let people get to know you. Marketing may not be a walk in the park, but it’s also one of the most important pieces of the puzzle.
What is your latest book and how did you come up with the idea to write it?
Tinsel and Tea Cakes is my latest release. Though I love a good Christmas romance any time of year, the busy schedules of the holiday season inspired me to write a novella. My goal was to create something fun and heartwarming.Let's get a blurb:
Hair stylist Scarlett Kerrigan lost her job and her apartment. To alleviate a touch of self-pity, she succumbs to her stepmom’s pressure to attend a wedding in the New Hampshire White Mountains. Unfortunately, she runs into the vacation fling who promised the moon but disappeared without an explanation. Months have passed, but she is not ready to forgive and forget.
After a chaotic year, executive Wes Harley settles into his family's event venue, The Timeless Manor. His carefully structured world is shaken to its core when Scarlett arrives for the Victorian Christmas wedding weekend. The feelings he never quite erased flood to the surface.
When secrets are revealed, will a magical chateau and a sprinkle of tinsel be enough to charm Scarlett?
How about a quick excerpt?
Lights flashed in the side view mirror. Another car parked behind them, but snow blocked all visibility through the back window. Boots crunching through snow announced the hulking figure before he appeared at the door. A scarf and hat covered most of the stranger’s face, and only a pair of emerald-green eyes peered in.
Scarlett inched down the window a crack. The possibility of this person being a deranged lunatic couldn’t be overlooked.
“Scarlett?” The man stepped back and tugged down the scarf.
She knew that face and opened her mouth to speak but couldn’t find a word. This day just kept getting better. Those eyes should have been the first clue, but never in her wildest dreams did she expect to see him again. The blur of memories racing through her mind dropped a throat-constricting concoction of confusion, hurt, and vile hope on her chest. “Wes.”
“What are you doing here? Aren’t you a little far from home?” A line formed between his eyebrows.
Clarice leaned forward to get a better glimpse of their potential knight in shining armor.
“More than a little.” Coherent thoughts took shape in the form of questions and accusations. Every fiber in her being burned at the thought of asking him for help, but alternative options were few and far between. Who knew how long before roadside assistance arrived? Fine, maybe he’d get her out of this mess, but making small talk didn’t need to factor into the exchange.
What’s your next project?
I recently finished a manuscript for my first cozy mystery. But every time I think it’s complete, I dive in for more changes. I am also in the early stages of writing a stand-alone sequel to Tinsel and Tea Cakes.
What advice do you have for beginning writers?
Make time to write. Easier said than done when life wants to get in the way. My first novel took ten years to finish. As a full-time working mom who often didn’t settle in at home until after 9pm, I know firsthand that those snippets of time are hard to find. I spent more than a few nights scribbling chapters in notebooks or sticky noting away in Writing Fiction for Dummies and other similar books while waiting in parking lots for my children. As a newly crowned empty nester, I’m finally polishing up those loose leafed stories.
To learn more about Jill and her books, here are her social contacts and buy links.
Social media links:
Thank you, Jill, for being my guest today on My Writing Corner. Are there any questions or comments for Jill?