Hi Judi, Welcome to Anna's Book Blog! I'm glad to have here again. To start off can you tell the readers a little about yourself?
Sure and thanks so much for having me back, Anna!
I started reading at an early age, and writing followed shortly thereafter. I haven't put a book down since. In the early days before cable television, I was in a car accident and partially paralyzed for nine months. Books, and every re-run of I Dream of Jeannie, The Addams Family, Bewitched and Gilligan's Island were my best friends. These days I don't have as much time to read, but at the moment I have 14 books on my nightstand (yes, I did just count them). I love books and I love to read. That's why, after my editor called to tell me they wanted to buy my Mer series, I cried and hugged my family and then I grabbed a romance novel, laid on the sofa, and read. I figured that I should celebrate becoming part of that world by being part of that world.
Catch of a Lifetime is your newest release, can you tell us a little bit about it?
Catch of a Lifetime is as different from Wild Blue Under as Wild Blue Under is from In Over Her Head. It's Angel's story, Rod and Reel's younger sister who loves all things Human. But Rod hasn't accepted that his little sis has grown up and knows her own mind. When she sets out to prove it to him, well, then things don't go according to plan--his or hers.
Logan Hardington is trying to deal with a surprise son who popped up out of nowhere with nothing but a bag of clothes, a few tattered books and a raggedy stuffed toy raccoon, and juggle his high pressure job with single parenthood. All he wants is Normal.
A mermaid is anything but Normal.
What is your writing day like?
Sadly, no day is like another. I have kids who have schedules. Doesn't matter if Mom has a schedule, though. My semi-routine involves getting everyone to their respective schools/buses and hitting the gym a few days a week for an hour and a half workout, then home, shower, catch up on email/blogs, then get to writing until they come home or have to be picked up from activities. That's the ideal.
The reality is that I'm shoving loads of laundry in whenever possible, my living room is a permanent clothes-folding room, the dogs are constantly wanting to go out and chase the feral cats in the field (or the mailman), the kitten is digging up any one of my plants, some delivery person or service/repairman is showing up, or my mom will call to ask my opinion about what color potholders she should get for her kitchen, or my sister will call, or the dishwasher will overflow, or the phones will stop working, or a neighbor will have locked herself out of her car/left her stove on…
Somehow I get the stories written. Usually it's on the days when my husband tells me to go to Borders and HE handles the catastrophes. Have I mentioned he's my hero?
When you're not writing what kind of books do you like to read?
I love to read pretty much anything. I focus on paranormal because my reading time is so limited these days and I want to see what's out there for the readers. But I love Romantic Suspense, or a funny contemporary. Or some of my favorite historical authors… So many books, so little time.
Since becoming published, what has been your favorite part of the process?
Hearing from readers. Hands-down, best part. I sit in my office and conjure up these people (or talking animals) in my head and put them on paper. I have no idea if the stories are any good until someone else reads them. I have no idea if they're worth anyone's time until someone reads them, which means I don't know if I've just wasted my time.
So hearing back from readers that they enjoyed the stories, or that I made them laugh--or cry, as one woman told me--that makes me happy and keeps me going. Shows me I'm not wasting my time.
And it's nice to know I'm not the only one out there with a screwy sense of humor.
What type of research did you do for the Mer/Tritone series?
Google Earth is a godsend. There are very few pictures of specific parts of the ocean, but Google Earth gives me the topography of the floor, so I can "see" the world I'm creating. YouTube, also, is marvelous. Thank God there are people who like to scuba dive and film it. I've been to Bermuda so many times on my laptop, I don't think I even need to go (but let's not tell Hubs that. I'm still angling for a research trip there). There's a NJ dive site that was of immeasurable help when I was figuring out how to get Erica and Reel to hook up in In Over Her Head, and the drawing feature on Google Earth was invaluable for me to plan the chase scene in Catch of a Lifetime.
I don't know how writers wrote before the invention of the personal computer, and, specifically, the Internet. I can order research books online and have them delivered to me; I can search some books' content, enough to find what I need. I can see the street view of downtown Columbus Ohio for Rod and Val's trek… I recently got an iPhone and one of the first apps I loaded on it was Google Earth. That should tell you how much I value that program.
What are 3 things that are "must haves" for you when you sit down to write a book?
My laptop. :) LOL.
I need either quiet or white noise so that I can immerse myself in the story.
I need a clean, orderly desk. I know, that's a sign of a sick mind. What can I say? I can't work in chaos, although I do really well making order out of chaos. But when I open the laptop to start writing, the desk has to be clean.
A bottle of water. Writing makes me thirsty. I have no idea why, but there it is. Even when I go to a bookstore or coffee shop to write, I have to have water.
A few places I have seen the series mentioned as a Trilogy. Is this the end of the series or do you hope to write more stories in the Mer world?
The series never had an official name, though I've seen people calling it the Tritone Trilogy. I didn't want to call it that, because, as I've told my editor, it's a big ocean out there. I've got all sorts of ideas for more stories, and have built a world in each of the five oceans. There are two more Tritone siblings who are clamoring for their stories. Mariana's is started. I'm hoping to get to write more of them, just as I'm hoping I get to continue my genie series beyond the three I've contracted for. Now all I need is the time to do it!
What inspired you to write about an underwater world and mermaids? Are any of the characters based on real people?
What inspired me was the movie, The Little Mermaid. I was working on a series of fairy tales with a twist (my tag line): Cinda Bella, Beauty and The Best, Fairest of Them All, and thought, "What fairy tale can I twist next?" I'd always loved Ariel and thought I'd give that a go. The easiest way to twist that story was to make him the Mer. Once it was written, the idea for the rest of the stories came to me.
As for the characters being based on real people--if you know any Mers please point me to them. LOL. The only one who is close to being a real person is Erica. She has my idiotic, irrational fear of the ocean. Reel has some of Matthew McConnaughey's character from Failure to Launch in him, but other than that, nope. They're all fictitious. Even if I did borrow a few names...
What's up next? Can you tell us about your next project?
Yep, I sure can. I Dream of Genies is with my editor and will be released in January 2011 (10 months from now!!!), to be followed by Genie Knows Best and then Leave It To Genie. These were pitched as "I Dream of Jeannie meets Indiana Jones," so that ought to give you an idea of what they're about. I have to admit, even I didn't see where I Dream of Genies was going to take me. It was a fun ride to write!
She’s on a mission to save the planet…
Mermaid Angel Tritone has been researching humans from afar, hoping to find a way to convince them to stop polluting. When she jumps into a boat to escape a shark attack, it’s her chance to pursue her mission, but she has to keep her identity a total secret…
When he finds out what she really is, they’re both in mortal danger…
For Logan Hardington, finding a beautiful woman on his boat is surely not a problem—until he discovers she’s a mermaid, and suddenly his life is on the line…
The third novel in Judi Fennell's mermaid series, a fresh, exciting, and different entry in romance fiction!
About the Author
Judi Fennell is an award-winning author. Her romance novels have been finalists in Gather.com's First Chapters and First Chapters Romance contests, as well as the third American Title contest. She spends family vacations at the Jersey Shore, the setting for some of her paranormal romance series. She lives in suburban Philadelphia, PA. For More information, and a chance to win a romantic ocean getaway, visit http://www.judifennell.com/.
My review of Catch of a Lifetime can be read here.
Thanks to Sourcebooks I have 2 copies of Catch of a Lifetime to giveaway. Open to U.S. & Canada. To enter leave a comment along with your email address. Winners will be announced on February 14th. Good Luck!!