W: My name is J. Arlene Culiner and I write what I want to read. I want to be transported to unusual settings. I want unconventional, passionate heroes and heroines, people who refuse the roles society sets out for them. I want to learn about things I don’t know — history, music, foreign countries, snakes, and spiders. And I need a good plot.
Can discovery, adventure, and history be mixed with Contemporary Romance? Absolutely. That definitely happens in my latest romance, The Turkish Affair.
My heroes and heroines are always over the age of 40 because I think falling in love later in life is more interesting. I also write unromantic mysteries, short stories, and narrative non-fiction, but that’s another world altogether. And, if anyone wants to listen in, I tell true stories right here on my podcast: https://soundcloud.com/j-arlene-culiner
I: I am also an amateur musician and play in several orchestras — one for 19th century classical music, and one in which we all play period instruments and music from the 17th century. I also play in two bands, and often get together with several friends to play duets, trios, as well as to gossip. What instruments do I play? Oboe, baroque oboe, baroque taille, English horn, tuba, flute, piccolo, recorder, and Breton bombarde (a very noisy bagpipe without the bag.)
N: Never will anyone encounter super-heroes or super-heroines in my stories. There will be no impossible rescues, no ideal families. For me, what’s important in a romance is reading about that first, very tentative gentleness, and those early stirrings of love.
D: My desk? Oh dear. It’s a disaster. So what? You should see what’s going on inside my closets, or garden, or pockets. Inside my head, nothing is very tidy either. Does it matter? Not to me.
O: I continue doing what I’ve always done, crossing Europe alone on foot, sleeping in fields, getting lost in snowstorms in countries where I can’t speak a word of the language. I’ve worked as a belly dancer in Turkey, as a storyteller on the radio in France. I’ve delivered newspapers in Germany, painted walls in Algeria. Most of my adult life, I’ve been a contemporary artist creating social critical work, and living in a former inn and café, in France. The inn closed a long, long time ago, but there are still strange things going on in all those rooms. Just click on a window: http://www.jill-culiner.com
W: What do I see outside my window at the moment? Nothing. Why? Because, I write in a closet, and there is no window. In here, it’s quiet enough for me to record my audiobooks. Is it raining outside? Snowing? Is there a flood, or a tornado? I have no idea. In this closet, a place of dark corners and shadow, I’m free to invent a whole world. And, I certainly have a whale of a time, too.
The Turkish Affair
Priceless artifacts are disappearing from the ancient Hittite site of Karakuyu in Turkey, and the site director has vanished. Called in to solve the mystery, archaeologist Renaud Townsend is hindered by both his inability to speak the language and the knowledge that the local police are corrupt. His attraction to translator Anne Pierson is immediate, although he is troubled by her refusal to talk about the past and her fear of public scandal. But when murder enters the picture, both Anne and Renaud realize that the risk of falling in love is not the only danger.
A delicious breeze tickled the air, and the little boat rocked gently. A fine line appeared between his brows, and his blue eyes were, once again, serious. “I need your help.”
She stared. “My help? With what? Translating?”
“No. With something else. I have to find out who is behind the thefts at Karakuyu.”
The feeling of dread returned, but she forced herself to sound casual. “How could I possibly help you with that?”
“I don’t know.” He sighed. “I suppose I just don’t want to feel that I’m alone in this.”
What could she say to that? Tell him she was the last person he should team up with? That long ago, she’d escaped arrest by the skin of her teeth? If she did so, this splendid moment would be over. The silver-foil glimmer of romance would be tarnished forever. He’d row back to shore, drive back to Gülkale, get rid of her as quickly as possible.
“Anne?” He reached out to caress her bare arm. “Come back from wherever you are.”
“You know nothing about me,” she said jaggedly.
“Nothing,” he agreed.
She swallowed. “I could be involved in the thefts for all you know. Why ask for my help? Why choose me?”
He smiled faintly. “A good question. I suppose, quite simply, I need—or want—to trust you.”
She felt utterly miserable. Why was life always like this? Wanting someone and not being able to have them? Wanting trust, but seeing it snatched away before it came close?
“Okay, then.” His voice was surprisingly tender. “If I promise not to probe into secrets, do I have the right to ask one question?”
She nodded with resignation.
“Can I trust you?”
The answer to that was simple enough. “Yes. Of course you can.”
His returning smile was radiant. “Good.”
She stared helplessly at the strong, angular features highlighted by the merciless sun. “That’s crazy. You’re willing to take my word for it? I could be lying.”
He leaned forward, cupped her chin in his hand, and met her gaze evenly. “No way. Not with a face as expressive as yours.”
Writer, photographer, social critical artist, musician, and occasional actress, J. Arlene Culiner, was born in New York and raised in Toronto. She has crossed much of Europe on foot, has lived in a Hungarian mud house, a Bavarian castle, a Turkish cave-dwelling, on a Dutch canal, and in a haunted house on the English moors. She now resides in a 400-year-old former inn in a French village of no interest and, much to local dismay, protects all creatures, especially spiders and snakes. She particularly enjoys incorporating into short stories, mysteries, narrative non-fiction, and romances, her experiences in out-of-the-way communities, and her conversations with strange characters.
Web site: http://www.j-arleneculiner.com
Storytelling Podcast: https://soundcloud.com/j-arlene-culiner
Amazon Author page https://www.amazon.com/author/jarleneculiner-quirky-romances
The Wild Rose Press https://www.thewildrosepress.com/authors/j-arlene-culiner
Barnes & Noble : https://tinyurl.com/yx2lyg6v
Hi, my name is D. V. Stone. I am a multi-genre author of two independently published books. Felice, Shield-Mates of Dar is a fantasy romance. Agent Sam Carter and the Mystery at Branch Lake is a mid-grade paranormal. Rock House Grill, a contemporary romance released April 6th, 2020. Rainbow Sprinkles a second chance romance is now available.