Who says you can't judge a book by its cover? One day I was perusing the bookstore, trying to find something interesting to read, and I came across the unique and colorful cover for MaryJanice Davidson's book "Undead and Unwed". All I can say is that it was one of those rare and wonderful finds a reader doesn't come across everyday, and if it wasn't for that cover of Betsy, I might never have discovered the wickedly funny stories of MJD. (Or at least not right away). They are seriously ROTFLMAO books that say the kinds of things that make me think "Damn! I wish I would have thought of that!"
So of course I found her website and then I joined her Yahoo group, and, as those of you who already know me can attest to, I harassed her until she responded to my interview questions. I am an official MaryJanice stalker...or at least I will be when I get the t-shirt, and yes, there really is one!
I'd like to take a quick minute and thank MaryJanice for playing along and answering my questions. So in her own profound words, heeeeere's MJ!
SA: Okay, as a former Minnesotan, I just have to ask - what made you move there? Do you feel like you've found your "home"? Do you feel inspired to write your stories there? Do you ever feel like you are trapped in "The Shining"? Hey, doesn't Neil Gaiman also live in Minnesota? Have you ever been to the Iron Range (this is where the Charlize Theron movie "North Country" was filmed, and where I grew up)? [Sorry. I'm a bit excited to be asking you questions *g*]>
MJ: That is a buttload of questions. Yow! Okay, one at a time: I lived all over the country (world) as an Air Force brat, and Minnesota was by far my favorite. I went to school in MN from 6th grade through 12th, and never wanted to move anywhere else. Then, of course, I fell in love with a guy from Boston. (D’oh!) But when we decided to get married, years later, I made him promise we could raise the kids in MN. And so we are. Definitely feels like home to me, and we will never leave. And, of course, inspired to write my stories here, but mostly because I know Minneapolis and the suburbs quite well, thus eliminating the need for research. Also, way too many romance heroines are from either L.A. or New York, cities I know zilch about. Yep about Neil. Yep about the Iron Range (very bleak and depressing; at least, I thought so).
SA: Do you write one story at a time, or you do work on several, dependent upon which voices are stronger in your head?
MJ: I usually work on two at a time, to avoid being blocked. If I get stuck in the vampire universe, I can switch over to a contemporary. Never fails. Plus, I type really fast (120 wpm) so it’s no problem to pop out a book a month.
SA: Do you have a favorite character, one that "speaks" to you the most?
MJ: Betsy. Definitely.
SA: There are not a lot of explicit love scenes in most of your stories. Do you feel they are unnecessary, or is it just not something you are interested in writing about? How do you feel about erotica and the "anything goes" philosophy?
MJ: Well, I used to write for Ellora’s Cave (erotica publisher) and Secrets (ditto), so I’m hardly in a position now to frown upon that sub-genre (unlike, say, born-again Christians who renounce all their earlier work. Hmm. Did I really just say that? I guess I did.). I guess having to write lots of sex scenes earlier in my career sort of soured me on writing more than 2-3 per book now. And frankly, once you’ve hit a best-sellers list, your editor will pretty much let you do as you please. It’s true!
SA: Okay, you knew this was coming: in your mind, who do you see portraying Betsy and Sinclair in the movie? I've heard you picture Queen Latifah as Jessica. Is that true?
MJ: My Yahoo group plays this game all the time! Yep, Queen Latifah has been suggested, ditto Jada Pinkett Smith. For Betsy, my group likes the idea of Reese Witherspoon (her production company is actually looking over the Betsy books right now), though some are convinced she’s too short. Another favorite is Jenna Elfman (Dharma from Dharma and Greg). For Sinclair the big favorite is (wait for it) Clive Owen. I’d be happy with any of these. (duh)
SA: Which other authors do you hang out with (whether it's on a regular basis or just at the conventions)? Who are the authors whose books you read? Which authors have inspired you to write?
MJ: Well, I’ve been lucky enough to meet Charlaine Harris, Christine Feehan, and Laurell K. Hamilton at conventions. I’ve probably seen Laurell the most. And I read all of those authors, plus John Sandford, Andrew Vacchs, and Carl Hiaasen. They’ve all been inspirations to me.
SA: Other than zombies, any other phobias? (Note: not making fun of you here, just don't want to ever throw you into a panic).
MJ: Nope. Just zombies.
SA: It's been said you talk like you write. Do you resent people who try to tone you down (lose the profanity, etc) ? Personally, you remind me of my mother, so I love the way your mind works.
MJ: I definitely talk the way I write; I’ve been told that over and over again. As for my constant swearing, I was raised by an Air Force Master Sergeant whose day job was teaching small arms instruction (how to shoot pistols) and whose night job was putting out fires. It was like being raised by Rambo, with a bigger vocabulary. The miracle is that I don’t swear more. And really, I consider it a dialect, so I’m amused when people ask me why I “choose” to swear, assuming I have a choice. You know, like New Yorkers, Southerners, and the British all “choose” to drop their R’s.
SA: What are your favorite vices? Do you suck up gallons of expresso while you pound away on your keyboard? Have a full ashtray as the stories crowd your brain? Is your face smeared with gourmet chocolate as you plot a scene? Or do you get so lost in your worlds that food is pointless and drinking only makes you go to the bathroom?
MJ: Oh, I’ve got vices up the ying-yang. A coke with lots of ice, that’s big number one. Chocolate anything is big number two.
SA: Do you watch t.v.? What shows rock your world? Favorite movie(s)? Actors/actresses?
MJ: I watch far too much TV. My favorite shows are Scrubs, anything on FX (Nip/Tuck, Rescue Me, etc.), Big Love (HBO), Deadwood (ditto), Rome, My Name is Earl, and the Simpsons. Natch!
SA: Music. Gotta love tuneage. What's on your I-Pod?
MJ: It’s all 80’s all the time on my Shuffle. “One Night in Bangkok.” “No More Words.” George Michael. Debbie Gibson. It’s a nightmare.
SA: Picture this: you actually decide you are going to commit to taking a vacation. Where would you ideal location of relaxation be and how would you spend your time? (No writing. No thinking about writing. Okay, maybe a little)
MJ: Cape Cod. We love it out there (my in-laws live there and we visit as often as we can) and we hope someday to buy a second home out there.
SA: Controversy. You are not one to avoid it, but rather jump right in and get your share of jabs. Would you ever exclude your international fans from entering one of your contests? Do you think readers feel too much entitlement when it comes to writers? (Don't feel like you have to answer. It's just been a popular theme lately)
MJ: On the int’l fans issue: not at all! I mail ARCs overseas, why not contest prizes? Plus, I’m published overseas (Thailand, England, Australia, and Russia right now, and coming up this year, Japan and Spain.). So if I have overseas fans who care enough to take the time to visit my website and find out about a contest, I’m sure not going to exclude them from entering the darned thing. And yes, some readers do feel entitlement when it comes to my work. I’ve been reminded not to swear, to remember my “responsibility” to readers, to have more respect for reviews no matter how asinine…oh, everything. I just laugh at their nerve and ignore them.
SA: what are your passions? Family? Gerard Butler? Powerball?
MJ: Family, of course. Writing and reading. Cooking. Clive Owen. (Oofta!) And my husband just bought me a new bike. We’ll see if I can overcome my aversion to exercise. I don’t know if it’ll ever turn into a passion.
SA: I'm not a writer but I do have your non-fiction book "Escape The Slushpile" and I found a lot of valuable information in it. It's amazing how many people think they are writers and can disregard the rules and requirements of publishing houses (kinda reminds me of those who think they can sing on "American Idol"). What would be your advice to people like this, and do you plan to write any similar how-to books?
MJ: Someday I plan to update “Escape the Slush Pile” to include my experiences with NY publishers. AS to writers who think they can disregard the rules, I would tell them: “Pull your head out of your butt if you want to get published.” Well, you know. Words to that effect.
SA: Any last words (for this interview, I mean?) It can be anything, whether it's a great recipe or a parting shot.
MJ: I got nothin’.
Again, I'd like to thank MJ for taking precious time away from her writing in order to be so nice to one of her (many, many) fans. Oh, and I did mention werewolves, didn't I? Start with Secrets: Volume 6 for the beginning of the Wyndham Werewolves, followed by Secrets: Volume 8 and you mustn't overlook "Derik's Bane". They are sexy, fun, and hilarious!
****This is the latest release by MJ, and it is another humorous and engaging set of stories****
USA Today bestselling author MaryJanice Davidson has enchanted readers everywhere with her delicious blend of wicked humor, sizzling sex and a totally unique vision of vampires and werewolves. Now, in this collection of four sensual novellas, worlds collide when she brings her beloved Wyndham werewolves together with the vampires ruled by Undead Queen Betsy Taylor. In three of her most popular novellas, a Wyndham werewolf finds their perfect-sometimes reluctant!-mate, whether mortal or immortal. The collection culminates with the highly anticipated original story of feral vampire George the Fiend, as he meets the only female who can tame the beast within-a lovely werewolf. Filled with equal parts of spicy heat and laugh-out-loud moments, this collection will drive you wild with blood-pounding delight.
"JENNIFER SCALES AND THE ANCIENT FURNACE"
Jennifer Scales is entering what may be the single most traumatic time in a person's life - puberty. And if we aren't all insecure enough, Jennifer discovers that her ancestral lineage is derived from dragons! How does a 14-year old cope with this kind of disaster?