1. I hear you have animals in most of your novels. Tell us about your favorite book featuring animals.
In my contemporary romance, All About Charming Alice, my heroine rescues stray dogs—she has a whole house full of them. One stray, nicknamed Killer, brings the gorgeous and sexy writer Jace Constant into Alice’s life. But Alice doesn’t just like dogs. She also studies and protects snakes and actively protests against such cruel practices as snake shows where those creatures are tortured to death for the amusement of tourists. Jace, however, is terrified by snakes, and it does take a bit of coaxing to get him to change his mind.
Blurb for All About Charming Alice:
Trust in love and solutions will appear
Alice Treemont has no intention of falling in love. Living in Blake’s Folly, a semi-ghost town, she cooks vegetarian meals, rescues unwanted dogs, and protects the most unloved creatures on earth: snakes. What man would share those interests?
Jace Constant is in Nevada doing research for his new book, but he won’t be staying. He’s disgusted by desert dust on his fine Italian shoes and dog hair on his cashmere sweaters. As for snakes, he doesn’t just despise them; they terrify him.
So why does the air sizzle each time Alice and Jace meet? A romance would entail far too many compromises.
Excerpt from All About Charming Alice:
“Jace, whenever you do see a snake, try and appreciate the creature. See the beauty of its movements, its markings. Find aesthetic appreciation.”
“Sure.” He tried not to shiver. Could he really get over his repulsion? He doubted it.
“Think also that the snake is a victim, not an aggressor.”
“Right. That should be easy: a five-foot-long slithering victim with deadly poison.” But he told himself to relax, to think about how good it felt out here. Because that, at least, was true. Straggling tufts of vegetation, tickled by a chilly breeze, shimmered along the broad horizon. And the silence? Well, he’d already gotten used to that, too. Life without the noise of traffic and big city clatter did have appeal. “Okay. Reassure me. Tell me more about snakes being victims.”
“Well, for one, so many are killed by cars because they love to go bask in the heat on the road. And if most people are instinctively afraid of snakes, snakes aren’t instinctively afraid of people, so they sometimes slide into backyards, innocently passing through on their way to somewhere else. They should be left alone, of course, but people kill them as soon as they notice them. Then, there’s the danger of habitat destruction.”
“And rattlesnake roundups,” he added, to his own surprise.
Her eyes flickered. “That’s right. Very few snakes manage to survive their first encounter with man. But snakes have other enemies, too. Hawks, owls, coyotes, roadrunners, bobcats, skunks, badgers, and other snakes all prey on newborn rattlers. Everyone should remember how important snakes are. They eat animals most people want to get rid of—mice, shrews, rats, moles, gophers, lizards, rabbits, and other snakes. Carrion, too.”
All About Charming Alice Buy Link: https://books2read.com/Charming-Alice
All About Charming Alice Book Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6l2VyHtsY7A
2. Why do you include animals in your books?
I include animals in my books because I have them in my life. All my animals are either stray dogs that I’ve rescued, or that I’ve adopted from animal shelters. Ditto for my cats. I think having the love of an animal is good for the soul. Just reaching out and touching a cat, horse, cow, dog, guinea pig, or even a pet rat, or a snake, is an important experience, and a very comforting one. Animals keep us in touch with our environment and with the world.
3. What other books have you written?
All About Charming Alice is part of my “Blake’s Folly” romance series.
Another book in the series is Desert Rose. Rose, the heroine, is Alice’s closest friend, and she very unwillingly adopts Noodle, one of Alice’s strays.
Blurb for Desert Rose:
Secrets are the best protection against love
Rose Badger is the local flirt, and if the other inhabitants of backwoods Blake’s Folly, Nevada, don’t approve, she couldn’t care less. With a disastrous marriage and a dead-end career far behind her, settling down is the last thing she intends to do. Newcomer Jonah Livingstone is intriguing, but with his complicated life, he’s off limits for anything other than friendship. Besides, Rose has a secret world of her own—one she won’t give up for any man.
The last person geologist Jonah Livingstone expected to meet in a semi-ghost town is the sparkling and lovely Rose Badger. But Rose, always surrounded by many admirers, doesn’t seem inclined to choose a favorite. So why fret? Jonah keeps his personal life well hidden…and that’s the best way to avoid disappointment.
Excerpt from Desert Rose:
“This lovely guy is called Noodle,” said Alice, pointing to the beast.
Rose grimaced. Lovely? Come on. “Pleased to meet you, Noodle, but if Alice thinks you’re coming to stay, this will be a short friendship. There’s no place for a hairy shedding animal in my store, my house, or in my life.”
“Well, you’ll have to change your mind. Noodle needs a good home, and you need a dog. This is an isolated building in a place that’s almost a ghost town. You need fang support.”
“Fang support? What the hell is fang support? You’re inventing this. I told you, I don’t want a…a…” Rose looked sourly at the animal waiting calmly by Alice’s feet. Okay, it had to be a dog, but she wasn’t sure. “I don’t want one of those. I don’t want a pet of any sort.”
The pet in question was the size of a large shepherd, and it had rough, unappealing fur of a splotchy beige-ish color. It also had the whiskers of a terrier, pointed ears, a corkscrew tail, and huge hairy paws. It was horribly ugly.
The dog gazed back at her with beautiful golden eyes. Calm eyes. Patient eyes. As if it—or he, because Alice claimed it was a male—were simply waiting for her to stop criticizing and accept him for what he was.
Desert Rose Buy links: https://books2read.com/RosesDesert
Desert Rose Book Trailer: https://youtu.be/tHPrIciT0XU
4. How do you promote your books?
Mostly on social media. I love blogging, meeting other authors on their sites, and I also have a storytelling podcast: https://soundcloud.com/j-arlene-culiner
5. Where can readers learn more about your books and connect with you online?
Here are the links to all the places people can find me: https://linktr.ee/j.arleneculiner.
All my romances can also be found on my site: https://www.j-arleneculiner.com/
And to receive my newsletter with a few stories and cartoons, just sign up here:
Don’t Miss J. Arlene Culiner’s Novella Giveaway!
My giveaway to one person who comments on this interview is my novella, The Boomtown, the first complete story from my romance, A Room in Blake’s Folly!
MARCIA: Thank you, J. Arlene, for being my February interviewee and for offering your novella to one lucky commenter on your blog interview! I really enjoy romances that feature pets and look forward to reading yours!
MONTHLY BLOG EBOOK CONTEST! Would you like to win a Marcia James’ ebook? Visitors to this pro-pet blog can join in the fun, comment, and/or share photos of their pets for a chance to win one of my ebooks!
Each month, I’ll randomly pick one commenter to win. To leave a comment and/or a photo, click on the word “Reply,” which is just below the social media icons for THIS interview. (Don’t scroll past this interview to the next interview.) Go Pets!