Today, I get to welcome back the wonderful Judi Fennell, who is the author of the amazingly funny Mer series – In Over Her Head, Wild Blue Under and Catch of a Lifetime (2010). Judi is currently celebrating the release of the second novel in this series, Wild Blue Under, which is just as fabulous as the first one, and she’s giving us a peak into her favorite trend.
Make sure you stick around towards the end as we’re giving away the first two novels in Judi’s series to one lucky reader.
Thanks so much for having me on Literary Escapism today!
One of the things “they” tell you is not to write to trends. Write what you love. What you’d want to read.
I’m lucky enough to be able to do that, and am forever thankful for the booming (and continuing to boom) paranormal romance trend these days.
I never looked at the market and said, “Hmmm, what do I think is the Next Big Thing?” Mainly because I was new to this writing-for-publication thing. I just knew I wanted to write a romance. So I started writing what I loved to read.
That was five years ago now, and it was a time travel. The month I joined the Romance Writers of America (RWA) with that manuscript (that needed SO much work!!), I was so inspired by all these women like me, people who had characters talking to them, women who wanted to publish, and some who had, that I came home and wrote 30,000 words in a month of a brand new story: a twist on Cinderella, titled Cinda Bella.
I hadn’t planned to write humor. I hadn’t planned to take fairy tales and twist them. It just sort of happened. And once I finished Cinda Bella, I woke up SuperBowl Sunday, 2005 with the first twenty pages of Beauty and The Best in my head. Once that story was finished, I knew the character of Chloe Snow had to have her own story, and Fairest of Them All was born.
I saw the trend at this point. My trend.
So then I needed another fairy tale to twist. I’ve always loved The Little Mermaid, so I thought, “Why not?” The easiest way to twist it was to make the hero the Mer, have the heroine be terrified of the water, toss in a few talking fish, and voila! Instant conflict, instant hook and a new story was born.
I love to read paranormal stories; I always have. I grew up on Frank L. Baum’s Oz series (The Wizard of Oz is only one of his stories). I loved Bewitched and I Dream of Jeannie. I loved stories with talking animals (Hugh Lofting’s Doctor Doolittle series was another set of books I devoured as a kid). With paranormal romance, I get to include all the things I love to read about: magic, love, humor, fairy tale worlds, and talking animals.
Interestingly, though, I wasn’t a big sci-fi or fantasy reader growing up. I did discover Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman after I was married. My husband and I read their Dragonlance series together. Since I’m a faster reader than he is, we would lay on the bed, hold the book above us with me on his right so I could read further without having to wait for him.
But when I first started getting questions about writing fantasy in a paranormal genre, I had to take a step back. To me, Mers aren’t what I’d call fantasy. Fantasy to me is far-off worlds, with all sorts of creatures. My world is normal—well, as normal as it can be with Mer people living in it. But the Humans all exist in our world, the animals that we meet are all real animals—okay there might be a sea monster or two show up, but even they have a basis in mythology.
I don’t mind that people categorize it as fantasy. I just know that it has talking animals, a hero I can fall in love with, a heroine I can relate to and want to root for and that it’s a fun adventure for me, both as the author and as a reader when I pick up the book.
Wild Blue Under which released this month has the Mer hero, but he’s on land. He’s been sent by The Oceanic Council to bring back the half-Mer princess from the middle of the country to fulfill The Prophecy—only she doesn’t want to go with him.
Although… I could say that Rod is every woman’s fantasy, thereby embracing that “fantasy” genre. (And, actually, I wouldn’t mind embracing Rod… Luckily my husband is a very understanding guy!)
So, what do you think? Fantasy? Paranormal? Is there a difference?
And please stop by my website, www.JudiFennell.com to register to win one of two remaining Romantic Beach Getaway Weekends to celebrate the release of the Mer series books. The next drawing is November 30 at the Atlantis Inn in Ocean City, NJ, and the final drawing is February 28, 2010 for the Hibiscus House in West Palm Beach, FL.
Wild Blue Under — book 2 in the Mer Series — in stores now!
The underwater kingdom is his as soon as he claims his queen…
Rod Tritone has the looks and charm to snag any queen he wants for his Mer kingdom, but unfortunately, it’s not up to him. As fate would have it, the one woman destined to rule with him is terrified of water…
She lives in land-locked Kansas and has no idea she’s a princess…
Valerie Dumere thinks Rod is gorgeous and irresistible—but why does he keep insisting she has another side to herself that only he can show her?
Somehow, Rod has to prove to her who she really is. But when she finds out the truth, will she ever forgive him?
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.
Thank you Judi for stopping by and I can’t wait to read In Over Her Head!
Contest Time! We’re giving away a copy of the first two novels in Judi Fennell’s Mer series – In Over Her Head and Wild Blue Under – to a lucky commentator and it’s very easy to enter. All you have to do is answer this one of these simple questions: What do you think? Fantasy? Paranormal? Is there a difference?
As always, if you want more chances to win, you can post about today’s contest on your blog, social network, or anywhere you can. Digg it, stumble it, twit it, share it with the world. Wherever you share it, make sure you add a link to it along with your answer (yes LE is now on Twitter as well!). The more places you share it, the more entries you get.
Join the Literary Escapism Facebook page and you’ll get an additional entry. Make sure you leave a comment so I know that’s why you’re joining. If you’re already a fan, let me know and you’ll get an additional entry for that as well.
For 2 additional entries, subscribe to Literary Escapism’s newsletter in the sidebar.
For 3 additional entries, purchase any novel through LE’s Amazon store sometime during this contest and send a copy of the receipt VIA email for your purchase to: myjaxon AT gmail DOT com. Each purchase is worth three entries and it has to be through the LE Link.