"Impressive" - Beauty Among Ruins by J'nell Ciesielski - Interview
‘A Scottish lord and an American socialite discover love during WWI in this gorgeous historical romance from Ciesielski …The undercurrent of mystery and Ciesielski’s unflinching approach to the harsh realities of wartime only enhance the love story. Readers are sure to be impressed.’ –Publishers Weekly
Beauty Among Ruins
In Ciesielski’s latest sweeping romance, an American heiress finds herself in Scotland amid the fallout of the Great War, and a wounded Scottish laird comes face-to-face with his past and a woman he never could have expected.
American socialite Lily Durham is known for enjoying one moment to the next, with little regard for the consequences of her actions. But just as she is banished overseas to England as a “cure” for her frivolous ways, the Great War breaks out and wreaks havoc. She joins her cousin in nursing the wounded at a convalescent home deep in the wilds of Scotland at a crumbling castle where its laird is less than welcoming.
Alec MacGregor has given his entire life to preserving his home of Kinclavoch Castle, but mounting debts force him to sell off his family history bit by bit. Labeled a coward for not joining his countrymen in the trenches due to an old injury, he opens his home to the Tommies to make recompense while he keeps to the shadows. But his preference for the shadows is shattered when a new American nurse comes streaming into the castle on a burst of light.
Lily and Alec are thrown together when a series of mysterious events threatens to ruin the future of Kinclavoch. Can they put aside their differences to find the culprit before it’s too late, or will their greatest distraction be falling in love?
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In the author's words
Q&A with J'nell Ciesielski
Books & Benches: A Scotland setting, stunning cover, and interesting description will surely appeal to readers (it has this one). We're delighted to welcome J'nell Ciesielski and share her new book with our readers.
Let's start with a little something about your newest release, Beauty Among Ruins.
Life should always be enjoyed from one exciting moment to the next. At least it was until American socialite Lily Durham is banished overseas to England in hopes of curbing her frivolous ways. When the Great War breaks out, she joins her cousin in nursing the wounded at a convalescent home deep in the wilds of Scotland at a crumbling castle where its laird is less than welcoming.
Alec MacGregor has given his entire life to preserving his home of Kinclavoch Castle, but mounting debts force him to sell off bit by bit of his family history. Labeled a coward for not joining his countrymen in the trenches due to a horse accident that left him with a limp, he opens his home to the Tommies to make recompense while he keeps to the shadows. But his preference for shadows is shattered when a new American nurse comes streaming into the castle on a burst of light.
Clashing like the sun in a thundercloud, Lily and Alec are thrown together when a series of mysterious events threatens to strip Kinclavoch away. Can they put aside their differences to find the culprit before it’s too late or will their greatest distraction be falling in love?
What is your favorite scene in Beauty Among Ruins?
I love nothing more than a scene filled with romantic tension and Lily and Alec have tension exploding moments in abundance. None more so than a when they are standing hilltop in the Scottish outdoors. Up until this point Alec has been too afraid to allow anyone inside his high walls of defense. Until Lily barreled through them without hesitation. Finally ready to confide in her, he takes her to his favorite spot overlooking a majestic valley full of Scottish drama and offers her his journal where his heart’s most private thoughts and pains are contained. It’s a turning point in their relationship. I won’t give it away but I will say that Lily catches Alec a bit off guard with her delighted and most unreserved response.
What’s the most difficult thing about writing characters from the opposite sex?
It’s so difficult to know what they’re thinking! As a woman, I think a certain way. Everything is connected, many things are tied together by emotions, I can have a million thoughts all at the same time, and I perceive situations more by personal connections rather than fact. When I write the male POV I have to make sure that the sentences are more direct and to the point. No flowery speech, no asking a bunch of questions, and keeping a tight rein on those emotions. At least until he’s ready to finally open up to the heroine. Most of the men I write are doers and fixers. They don’t sit around idly for the problem to be solved so it is my duty to have them up and about all the time.
What appeals to you most about your chosen genre?
I love history, and for it to be a good story to me it needs a healthy dash of romance. Sweeping away to another time and place is bewitching because it allows one to forget their cares of present day and step back to eras where conversation was key, manners were a must, and fashion was gorgeous. Now of course this is all experienced through rose colored glasses, but that’s what fiction is for! And above all else stories should have happily ever afters.
If you were to genre-hop, which genres would you most like to try writing?
Fantasy. I love alternate worlds populated by mystical, magical, and mythical creatures. I am so in awe of writers who can come up with stories like that quite simply blow the imagination.
With a passion for heart-stopping adventure and sweeping love stories, J’nell Ciesielski weaves fresh takes into romances of times gone by. When not creating dashing heroes and daring heroines, she can be found dreaming of Scotland, indulging in chocolate of any kind, or watching old black and white movies. Winner of the Romance Through the Ages Award and the Maggie Award, she is a Florida native who now lives in Virginia with her husband, daughter, and lazy beagle.
Genre: Historical Fiction/Scottish/Romance
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Release Date: January 12, 2021
Content Rating: 1 Heart
5 lucky readers will win a paperback edition of Beauty Among Ruins!
The giveaway is open to US only and ends on January 22, 2021. You must be 18 or older to enter. Void where prohibited by law. This giveaway is sponsored by the author and hosted by Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours.
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