Today I wanted to introduce you to Jill Stengl, the author of Until That Distant Day. Jill is the author of numerous romance novels including Faithful Traitor, which was the winner of the Inspirational Reader’s Choice Award and Carol Award. She lives with her husband in the beautiful Northwoods of Wisconsin, where she enjoys her three cats, teaching high school literature classes, playing keyboard for her church family, and sipping coffee on the deck as she brainstorms for her next novel.
Here’s a summary of Until That Distant Day:
Colette and her brother Pascoe are two sides of the same coin, dependent upon one another in the tumultuous world of the new Republic. Together they labor with other leaders of the sans-culottes to ensure freedom for all the downtrodden men and women of France.
But then the popular uprisings turn bloody and the rhetoric proves false. Suddenly, Colette finds herself at odds with Pascoe and struggling to unite her fractured family against the lure of violence. Charged with protecting an innocent young woman and desperately afraid of losing one of her beloved brothers, Colette doesn’t know where to turn or whom to trust as the bloodshed creeps ever closer to home.
Until that distant day when peace returns to France, can she find the strength to defend her loved ones . . . even from one another?
How did you first start writing historical romance novels?
I began writing my first historical romance novel in 1991, shortly after my husband returned from the first Gulf War. We were living in England at the time and the Internet was still unknown to me, so communicating with publishers was a slow process. I did have a major CBA publishing house ask to see the complete manuscript of that first effort, which was encouraging. However, I have been thankful ever since that they turned it down. Yes, it was that bad!
What was your first published book?
I then decided to target a short contemporary romance at Heartsong Presents, writing about what I knew: military life in England. My hero was a fighter pilot based at RAF Lakenheath, naturally. I wrote the story by the publisher’s guidelines, printed it, and mailed it out in July 1994. After three months I telephoned Barbour Publishing and talked to Rebecca Germany, who sweetly informed me that yes, they had received my manuscript, and it was being read by their readers. I had no idea what this meant, but at least it was not a “no, thank you.” In July 1995, one year after mailing the manuscript off, I wrote a follow-up letter of inquiry, drove to the base post office, and dropped it into the mailbox. Then I walked over to check our P.O. Box, and—believe it or not—waiting there was my letter of acceptance! Eagle Pilot was published in autumn of 1996.
Then what happened? How many books have you published?
I wrote a total of eight Heartsong Presents books and eight novellas for Barbour Publishing, and they were wonderful to me! Some of my stories are now being reprinted in collections, which is fun. But after many years of writing genre romance, I burned out. The joy of writing was gone. I had no fresh ideas. So I turned my literary love toward helping other authors launch their own careers, which I found to be, in some ways, more gratifying than the success of my own books. And now those authors are returning the love by helping me! I am particularly proud of my daughter, multi-award-winning fantasy author Anne Elisabeth Stengl, who has taught me far more about literature and writing craft than I ever taught her!
So how did Until That Distant Day come to be?
Anne Elisabeth has been encouraging me for years to get back into writing and to push myself to write a longer, deeper novel than anything I had previously attempted. I tried and failed several times over before deciding to rewrite and expand one of my old novellas. This makes me laugh now, for Until That Distant Day resembles that original novella only in that both are set in Paris during the early days of the French Revolution. It required many drafts before reaching its current form—my daughter is easily the toughest manuscript editor I’ve ever had! But the end result is deeply satisfying to me, and I adore the cover!
You can purchase a copy of Until That Distant Day on Amazon or Barnes & Noble.