Monday, April 12, 2010

Interview: Jannine Corti Petska and The Sisters of Destiny Trilogy

I had the pleasure of interviewing Jannine as I have two of her books in The Sisters of Destiny Trilogy. What great books they are so if you love romance with a dash of adventure then you have to pick her books up!

If you would like to read the past reviews, please go here and here.

Where are you from? Tell us a little about yourself!

I was born in New York but moved to Southern California when I was three. I grew up in an Old World Italian environment with parents whose first language was Italian. This was a big disadvantage for me when I began to write. My vocabulary was very simple. Strangely, I had a very high reading level from the time I was five. But not until I read romances did I strengthen my vocabulary.

I had hopes of being a linguist and tutored Italian, Spanish, German, and English as a Second Language at a local college. Unfortunately, marriage and kids didn't allow me to continue on with my language studies.

I have a wonderful husband, three great daughters and sons-in-law, and six grandchildren. I'm extremely family oriented, and that includes my dogs. On that account, I support the Humane Society.

What inspires you to write?

I think my biggest inspiration was my mother. She learned English when she began school at five. Although she was housebound, she read constantly. Her English became quite good, and she loved to read everything I wrote in school. She must have seen something in my stories. Her encouragement and belief that I could do anything I set my mind to are what inspired me to write.

Do you find that your muse takes over when writing?

It used to, lol. When I was younger, a stay-at-home mom with three daughters, the muse was absolutely untamed. When I wrote, the words and scenes just flowed. Fast forward to my entering my senior years, and my muse has gotten quite lazy. It's become a struggle lately, but at least the muse isn't dead!

Tell us a bit about your books? What inspired them?

I'm not sure why ideas pop into my head, but I have been inspired by many things, including songs, something I see, a word or phrase someone says.

I started out writing western romances before I turned to medievals. The first book I sold was THE LILY AND THE FALCON, to Kensington. It's the first book in a four-book series and was set in 15th century Florence where my father's family originates from. Because of my heritage, I love setting books in medieval Italy. (This book is no longer available.)

FOREIGN EXCHANGE, no longer available, was set in 1970 U.S. and Italy. It had the CIA, the FBI, the Weatherman Underground, the Mafia, the Italian government, Red Brigade, and a soccer stud hero. It was based on my trip to Italy in 1970. The day before my return trip home, my plane was blown up on the tarmac, claimed by the Red Brigade. I had to leave a day later, in a very cramped plane.

REBEL HEART was set in 1872 Santa Fe. This story began in my head when I heard Bon Jovi's album from Young Guns. Two songs, Miracle and Santa Fe, inspired this book. The hero, Beau Hamilton, is my favorite hero.

KNIGHT'S DESIRE is a short story set in 14th century Italy. I thought it was interesting how the knighthood in Italy varied dramatically from the rest of Europe, especially from all of Britain. This story was originally for a Knights anthology, but it ended up as a stand alone short story.

CARINA AND THE NOBLEMAN and CHARLOTTE AND THE GYPSY, are books one and two of the Sisters of Destiny trilogy. The heroines are three psychic sisters in 15th century Europe, separated at birth. The only inspriation for this trilogy came from the desire to write a series of books about psychic sisters. To make it interesting, I chose the medieval period and three different areas of Europe. The first book is set in Northern Italy; book two is in a Gypsy camp in Andalusia; and book three--not yet written--will be in England.

How do you create your characters, are they from people you know or completely made from your ideas?

For the most part, my characters are created in my mind. Depending on the time period and type of story, I will throw in traits from people I know. I'm a people watcher. I love to sit and study people's reactions, mannerisms, and interaction. Inspiration for characters can be found right out your front door.

Do you have any have any other works in progress that you want to share?

I am editing a historical western romance for submission. Next I'll work on book three of my psychic sisters trilogy, CALLIE AND THE KNIGHT. After that, I have a list of novels and short stories to write or edit. It will depend on my mood. They range from historical (set anywhere from the 14th to the 19th century) to romantic suspense.

What would be your advice to aspiring writers out there?

Study your craft. Read in your genre and read books from publishers you'll be targeting. And never give up. This can be a harsh business, and perserverance is key. Not everyone is going to fall in love with your stories.

What are your favorite books at the moment?

Unfortunately, I don't have time to read. When I do, I pick up a book that's in the genre and time period I'm writing to keep me focused. Usually, I read a page or two then get busy with something else. Needless to say, it can take me six months to read one book! I really need 48 hours in a day.

What is your favorite word? Least favorite?

Can't print my favorite word. My male characters use it though, lol.
My least favorite word is not printable either. I cringe every time I hear it.

Jannine Corti Petska

Assapora la passione (Feel the Passion)
The Sisters of Destiny Trilogy, available now


  1. Strangly enough, I think I can guess what your fav and least fav words are.

  2. LOL, I'm sure everyone can!

    Thanks for stopping by, Kelly.

  3. Jannine,
    We share a love of writing about Italy and our Italian heritage...and a very rich heritage it is. I have a couple of your books that you mentioned are now out of print. Great work.
    Ann Siracusa

  4. It was great getting to know you better today. I am lucky that I live where my historicals come from - the place where gold was discovered in 1849. There is so much history here that my mind is always spinning with stories. Now if I could just put the right words down. I'll never give up because it is who I am - a story teller. :)

  5. Jannine, it was a pleasure having you here for your book reviews and interview. LOL You sound like me! 48 hours in a day would solve so many of my problems!

  6. Great interview, ladies! Thanks for sharing.

  7. Hmmm wonder what those 2 words are?? Yes the muse can at times be a little elusive.

  8. Great interview. Love the title The Sisters of Destiny. Best of luck with it.