Hello Readers! Today I have a special guest, Author Judi Fennell, author of the Bottled Magic and The Tritone (Mer) series. Judi is an award-winning author and writes what she calls “fairy tales with a twist.” Her romance novels have been finalists in Gather.com’s First Chapters and First Chapters Romance contests, and have won numerous RWA Chapter Awards, including the FF&P Prism Award, and the New Jersey Golden Leaf Award. Judi resides in suburban Philadelphia, PA, where she lives with her kids, husband, two cocker spaniels named Vixen and Raven, and a kitten named Pagan.
Judi is one of the featured authors attending Author’s After Dark in New Orleans. For more information about AAD2012, click HERE.
Please help me welcome Judi to That’s What I’m Talking About. Take it away, Judi…
Hi Jen and thanks so much for asking me to participate in the blog!
I am so looking forward to AAD NOLA! I’m always thrilled to see the readers and authors I’ve come to know so well from the previous AAD conferences and it’s fun to meet new people, but I’ve also never been to New Orleans. I’ve been to over 35 of the states including Hawaii, lived in Spain, visited Portugal, Canada, the Caribbean, Mexico, but never made it to Louisiana. A few years ago, Hubs and I were planning to go to New Orleans, but then life got in the way, the free airline ticket guidelines changed, and we ended up in Cancun, Mexico. Which, yes, wasn’t a bad place to end up (we did the 3 hour bus tour to Chichen Itza and, yes, got to climb to the top of the pyramid which I understand you can no longer do, so I’m very glad we had that opportunity), but I still want to see NOLA. As a paranormal author, I can’t NOT be intrigued by the city. I’m looking forward to the tours our author guides will be planning and seeing the history. And of course, the food. I can’t wait to have authentic Cajun.
And who knows, I might find inspiration for my next paranormal series. See, Genie Knows Best was released this month and I just turned in the third book in the contract, Magic Gone Wild which comes out next August or early Fall, so I’m heading back to the drawing board—or rather, the laptop—to come up with what I want to write next. Mariana and Pearl from the Mer series are chatting to me, there’s the twin sister of the heroine from Magic Gone Wild who wants her own story, a few other magical beings who are popping in to say hello, and, well, you just never know where that next world will show up.
One of the most frequent questions I get is where do I get my story ideas. If you’ve read my work, you know that pop culture plays a HUGE part in my stories. The Mer series was started because I was working on a fairy tale series (If The Shoe Fits, Beauty and The Best, Fairest of Them All) and wanted to write a twist on The Little Mermaid. The easiest way to twist it was to make him the Mer. Toss in a sidekick fish named Chum and I was off and swimming with the puns and word play, with some pop culture references thrown in. The Bottled Magic series came about before I’d sold the Mer series because you don’t want to put all your eggs in one basket, as it were. If the Mers didn’t sell, I wanted something else ready to go that might have commercial appeal. Everyone was doing vampires and werewolves and shapeshifters, so I wanted to do something no one else was. I’ve always loved the campy 60s TV sitcoms; my favorites were Bewitched and I Dream of Jeannie. Witches abound in paranormal romance, but genies? Not so much. So that’s what I chose. And, really, once I decided to write about a genie who’d been confined to her bottle but accidentally got free, the Indiana Jones theme music popped into my head and the story started writing itself. That’s truly the best time fr an author; when you can’t type as fast as the story is pouring out of you. I should save those rough drafts sometime to show people how badly a typist I can be when the characters start talking.
But back to pop culture in my writing. I remember the first time I was going to put such a reference in one of my books. It was Frau Blucher from Young Frankenstein and I had no idea if A) it was permissible, B) did I have to get Mel Brooks’ permission, C) would anyone even get the reference or was it my own stupid humor, and D) would NY publishers even allow you to do that? I figured, what the hell I wasn’t published yet, so I put it in the story I was writing. The, don’t you now, I pick up a Katie MacAlister book and doesn’t she reference Frau Blucher? So I figured if she could, I could. That opened the door for all those references I put in there. Hubs has always called my brain the “repository for useless bits of trivia.” Not so useless now, are they? 😉
And I’m a sucker for history. Which is kind of funny since I hated that class in school. Looking back now, I see that it was because of the way it was taught. Teachers can make such a difference in a child’s learning. One of my kids has a GREAT history teacher. The guy said at back-to-school night that he’s not a homework kind of guy. That if he can’t teach it in five 45 minute classes, he shouldn’t be teaching. I clapped and told him I loved him. (Said Child would be sooooooooo embarrassed if that came out in class.) But I’m seeing it with this Kid’s grades. History is the highest one and Kid never studies or does homework. Kid says that the info sinks in because of the way the teacher teaches.
But I digress (no surprise if you’ve read my chatty characters…). I hated history. Hated memorizing dates and names and all that. Yet now, I find myself fascinated. I devour books on history, either historical fiction or documentaries, reference books or histories of certain eras. Adding more trivia to that repository, but this time it’s not useless. It’s how I’m able to add in mythology or customs or some historical references to my stories. And, taking us back to AAD NOLA, New Orleans’s history and culture is just fascinating, so I’m excited to see how/if it’ll show up in any of my stories.
Only 9 months until then! See you in NOLA!
Thank you so much to Judi for stopping by! I had the pleasure of meeting Judi at AAD2011 and look forward to seeing her again in 9 months! Meanwhile you can find Judi online at:
And check back later today for my review of her latest release, Genie Knows Best.