Janina Grey has been writing since she could hold a crayon, and there has been no stopping her since. Journaling, short stories, poetry, newsletters, news, feature, columns, Op/Eds, and press releases have kept her busy her whole life. But it was the sweet romances she read in her downtime that stayed forever in her heart and gave her the inspiration to write her own.
Growing up on Long Island and living periodically in Tennessee as a youth has given her the opportunity to meet many different types of people and experience many different lifestyles. After moving from Long Island to settle in upstate New York with her family, she found the support needed to pursue her writing endeavors.
When Janina is not writing, she may be marching for women’s rights, kayaking, camping, drumming, or dancing around the fire.
With her two children grown, she and her husband, David, share their 110-year-old Mohawk Valley farm house homestead with a few resident spirits and a very squawky murder of crows.
Beverley: Which genre or genres do you write or prefer to write? And why?
Janina: Contemporary romance is my most recent focus as my publisher says I’m good at it! I have a time travel series I plan to pick back up when the Earth and Sky series is finished. I recently read someone’s tagline as “Joyfully Jumping Genres.” I wish I’d thought of that, as that’s what I’d like to do, but I was told a few years back that writers should stick with one genre when first starting out.
Beverley: Who influenced you the most in deciding to become a writer?
Janina: I would have to say my Uncle Anthony influenced me the most in my writing journey, although he doesn’t write romance. He writes mystery thriller types of stories. My first writing endeavors began with poetry, which he also inspired, and it sort of grew from there.
Beverley: What gets your creative juices flowing?
Janina: A hot cuppa Lady Grey tea, the early morning sun filtering through the trees, and my earbuds piping whatever music is associated with the project I’m working on is how I get my creative juices flowing. For TEN BUCKS AND A WISH it was anything Fleetwood Mac. For LOVE IN THE FOREST it has been Elton John’s Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy (especially the songs Writing and Bitter Fingers). For Book Two of the series, LIFE IS FOR LIVING, it was anything by Coldplay. The third book in the series, currently untitled, it’s Grateful Dead.
Beverley: Do you have a favorite cartoon character? Why?
Janina: At the moment, my favorite animated series character would have to be a toss between She-Ra and Katra, from the She-Ra: Princesses of Power series. Both are very strong young women who come from a childhood filled with trauma. Katra is affected in a negative way, but I’m hoping her character arc will bring her peace. The other, She-Ra, struggles to correct the wrongs of her world, and hasn’t quite grasped her own power, but she’s getting there. It’s an amazing series with tons of great characters, and a message of inclusivity and empowerment for all, but especially the LGBTQ community and women.
Beverley: Who would you love most to meet ‘in person’ and why?
Janina: Stevie Nicks, from Fleetwood Mac, and Elton John would be two people I would most love to meet in person. Growing up is rough, and I had my fair share of teen angst. Their music gave me a place to escape to, and hope that in the end everything would turn out all right. And it has. I would like to thank them for giving me a place to hide and to heal when things got overwhelming.
Beverley: If you had an unexpected free day what would you do with it?
Janina: If I had an unexpected free day handed to me I would write, of course. Guilt free, focused, and unabashedly imagination-driven prose would stream from my fingertips. Or I’d get distracted and clean the house. Those two To-Do’s are always at the top of my list.
Beverley: What are you working on now?
Janina: I’m currently working on marketing LOVE IN THE FOREST, which was released on June 2, by Soul Mate Publishing. When I need a break from that, I’ve been wrapping up my final read-through of LIFE IS FOR LIVING before I send it off to Soul Mate. These are Books One and Two in the Earth and Sky series, set in the Adirondack Mountains, and are very different from my first romance published with SMP, TEN BUCKS AND A WISH, a Long Island based contemporary romance.
Blurb for LOVE IN THE FOREST:
Step into the mystical and magical forests of Upstate New York, where Earth and Sky camp photographer Brooke Meadows has taken refuge from the demons of her past as she uses her ability to communicate with the dead to heal loved ones left behind.
Unable to cope with the loss of his wife and daughters three years prior, Josh Quinn, CEO of the number one dating site Quirkyflirt.com, is ordered by his board president to take a break from his Big Apple Headquarters. He finds himself at Earth and Sky Retreats, where confronting his grief has led him to experience a life-altering transformation and re-evaluation of reality.
Will Josh leave behind his fast-paced, high society life in the concrete mountains of New York City, for the magical, bewitching world Brooke reveals to him in the foothills of the Adirondacks?
Will Brooke acknowledge and accept her own journey of transformation and healing as she and Josh explore the winding paths and summits that lead them to find love in the forest?
Excerpt from LOVE IN THE FOREST
“See? I told you.” Brooke laughed as they ended a very fast-tempoed rhythm beat out on two djembes they had selected from the music closet in the rec room.
“You’re good. I never would have thought I could do this.” Josh stared at his hands resting on the drum head.
“You have to trust me. Trust yourself. Trust the drum. And trust your heart.” She stared at him, suddenly uncomfortable as his gaze turned to her lips while she spoke. Even after she stopped talking, his eyes never moved. “It’s what I tell all the kids I teach when they’re here. Trust your heart. It’s good advice.” Trying to explain herself only made it worse.
As she babbled on, Josh offered a lopsided grin. “Uh-huh. I see.”
“Yeah, well. I don’t think you do.” The flush of her cheeks was spreading to the rest of her body.
“Thank you.” Josh put down his drum and pocketed the sunglasses he had placed on the seat beside him. He leaned forward, his elbows resting on his knees, sharing her personal space as he stared into her eyes.
“For?” Her breath caught as she noted, being this close, that his baby blues might actually be baby teals, something she’d never noticed before now.
She scooted her metal folding chair backwards, then beelined to the storage shelves. Pausing for a second, she shook her head to clear the crazy thought he’d been about to kiss her. Her drum made a solid thud as she set it on the shelf. After finding the nearest window and opening it, she scanned the wall for the overhead light switch by the door and headed in that direction. The room had darkened considerably as another storm blew in from the southeast.
“Teaching me how to drum. Reminding me what it’s like to feel again. I haven’t felt anything in a long time.” He rose from the folding chair and carried his drum to the shelf Brooke had placed her drum on. After setting the djembe next to Brooke’s, he joined her by the door.
She watched his every move; the graceful way he unfolded himself from the chair; the casual yet commanding way he sauntered across the rec room; to the way he studied her face, his eyes settling on her lips as he halted by her side.
Her heart pounded wildly and her breathing lost its normal flow as he reached for the wall switch and shut the lights so they stood in the shadows once more. “Thank you. For teaching me how to drum,” he said, his voice barely audible.
“You’re welcome,” she said in a breathless whisper. She cleared her throat and continued. “It’s getting dark. Storm’s blowin’ in.” Brooke’s voice cracked and she swallowed thickly. “We should go.”
“We should, shouldn’t we?” His words came softly, cloaked in a husky timber.
“Yes.” She answered too quickly as he took another step closer.
He had a regal profile and in the shadows his silhouette appeared as though an artist had traced him, a soliloquy of perfection. Her legs grew wobbly as he filled her personal space with a velvety soft reality she’d not known in an awfully long time. He was so close she picked up his scent, like a heady incense. He smelled of fresh air, and rain . . . and man.
A rumble of thunder rolled around the mountains, and the lunch bell rang out in the distance, far off and faint. His eyes were warm and inviting. He smelled so good.
Reality returned with the sound of her name. She blinked and noticed he was studying her with an intensity that turned her insides to melted butter. His dimples cut deep and his teal blues were bright with amusement.
“Uh. Yeah?” She practically grunted, unable to speak.
“Lunch?” A corner of his mouth turned up on one side ever so slightly. “Unless you prefer to stay here in the darkness.”
At first, she thought he was mocking her, but his energy didn’t seem chiding at all.
“We better get going,” Brooke said, leading the way by putting as much distance between them as possible, without waiting for him to follow.
BUY LINKS for LOVE IN THE FOREST:
Soul Mate Publishing soulmatepublishing.com/love-in-the-forest/
SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS