I am thrilled to have Judi Fennell, author of Catch of a Lifetime, back to Peeking Between the Pages. I just reviewed Catch of a Lifetime yesterday (my review) and really enjoyed it! It’s a fun book and for me a great way to escape some of the winter blues! Judi was nice enough to answer some questions for me…so without further delay, let’s see what she has to say…
Hi Judi, welcome to Peeking Between the Pages! It’s always a delight to have you! Thanks so much for having me back!
1. I’ve enjoyed all three books in the Mer trilogy Judi but I have to say Catch of a Lifetime has been my favorite. It was simply delightful. Would you like to share with us what brought you to write the Mer trilogy. Where did you come up with such a creative idea?
I’d love to say it’s because I brilliantly knew it’d be a hit, but honestly, no. I was working on a series of fairy tales (Beauty and The Best was a finalist in the third American Title contest) and the next fairy tale I decided to “twist” was The Little Mermaid. Once In Over Her Head was done, and had finaled in the Gather.com/Pocket Books First Chapters Romance contest, I knew there were more stories in this world, so I came up with the partials for Wild Blue Under and Catch of a Lifetime.
2. What were the challenges in bringing this trilogy to life, for example, what kind of research went into the stories portrayed in them?
I haunted the internet. I needed pictures of the ocean floor. What’s beneath islands. Tons and tons of fish research and are they found at the latitudes where I was setting the stories. I was lucky in that animals have always been a part of my consciousness and even collected animal cards back in the 70s (they’d send them to you once a month for $6.00, complete with a nice little holder). I devoured those. Also, my husband is into fishing and an uncle owned a deep sea fishing boat. Plus, I’ve been to the Mediterranean, the Pacific, the South Pacific, the Caribbean, and we go to the Jersey shore every year on vacation. What I didn’t know about the ocean, I could find easily online. And then there was Google Earth. I LOVE this program. It gave me topography of the areas of the ocean where I was setting the stories – areas that aren’t necessarily around islands and, therefore, don’t have a lot about them online.
I also found a great NJ dive site, complete with pictures of undersea life. I had one reader challenge me on the fact that no coral is found north of North Carolina. I directed her to the website where there is a picture of the one kind that does grow off the coast.
The Eyewitness series of books is also a great help for getting details right. I have a lot more of them for my upcoming Genie series than I do for the Mer series, but you find your research where you can.
3. Your novels definitely bring something different to the reader with this mythical Mer underworld. What do you think makes a good story?
I’ll have to quote my editor here, because really, this is what we all look for when reading a romance, I think: a heroine we can identify with, a hero we can fall in love with, a world gets created and a really good hook. All of those will keep me reading, so I really focus on that when crafting my stories.
4. The covers of the Mer series are just great! Where did the idea for the design of them come from and who designed them?
Anne Cain is the artist and I just bow down to her. I had very little input into the covers—that’s actually the domain of the Marketing department. They have all kinds of research on knowing what should sell best, but they do ask us for key things about the story and characters. How they interact with the actual artist, I have no idea.
I have to say that when I opened the file for the cover for In Over Her Head, I lost my breath. I think it’s just gorgeous; that they all are gorgeous. She really captured the world. What I love about the cover for Catch of a Lifetime is that she used the color of Angel’s tail (lavender) for the background.
Funny story – Anne and I met at a conference this past summer. Prior to that, we had no interaction; it was all done through the Marketing Department. She, very shyly and almost unsure, asked me if the covers did the story justice.
Honestly? I stood there and my eyes filled up. And then I hugged her. They capture the world so well, and are so striking (and she designed that title font for the series!), that I couldn’t HELP but love them. I’ve entered them in a Best Cover contest, so we’ll see how they stack up.
I am anxiously awaiting the covers for the genie books.
5. Do you hear from your readers much? If so, what kinds of things do they say?
I love hearing from my readers, and, yes, I do. That first fan letter—oh my. There are no words.
Everyone who has written has been very complimentary. And I love hearing who loves which story best and why. These are like my kids; I can’t pick a favorite. But readers certainly can and I’m glad they do. What’s great though, is that the ones who’ve contacted me have enjoyed not only their favorite, but the series as a whole.
I especially loved hearing from one reader that she had to skip ahead to the end of In Over Her Head to make sure I hadn’t killed off the hero, and that I’d had her in tears. Yay! I made her care about him! That’s the best kind of praise a reader could give an author.
6. Do you remember how or when your interest in writing began? Do you have any interesting writing quirks when it comes to writing these fantastic stories?
I can’t pinpoint when I became interested in writing because I’ve always written. I’ve always told stories. (Mom called them “fibs” when I was little. LOL). I mean, I used to set a place for Casper the Friendly Ghost at the dinner table, so storytelling has always been a part of who I am.
Writing quirks… Probably the one that gets the most reaction from people is that I can’t write in clutter. And the proverbial “they” say that a clean desk is the sign of a sick mind, so I must be really warped. But I don’t function well if there’s a mess or a To-Do list hanging over my head.
7.. From reading your novels I have to ask this – do you believe in love at first sight? Because it seems your characters in your novels do and I really enjoy that aspect of them.
Big resounding YES. Here’s an example:
My grandparents met at a dance and eloped six weeks later. My parents met on a blind date; Dad asked her to marry him two dates after that. My husband and I met at a party, had our first date 11 days later, and had the big “I love you” moment 8 days after that. He proposed a month and a half later. And we’re all still happily married.
That’s not to say it’s all fairy tales and roses. Marriage is work. My mom always said that you make a conscious decision to stay married. You have personalities and problems to work through; you need to be committed to the commitment. So, you enjoy those butterflies in your stomach when you first fall in love and as those butterflies stop flapping their wings so much, you enjoy the people you’ve become and the vision you’ve created for your future.
8. What are your favorite books or authors?
When I first embarked on this journey, and as listed on my website: Jill Barnett’s Bewitching, Jude Devereaux’s A Knight in Shining Armor, Julia Quinn’s When He Was Wicked, and Barbara Delinsky’s Cardinal Rules.
Now that I’m in the world of romance, going to conferences and workshops and getting tons of books that I, sadly, don’t have enough hours in the day to read, I’ve discovered more. Diana Holquist, Judi McCoy, Virginia Kantra, Robin Kaye, just to name a few.
9. Do you have anything specific you’d like to share with your readers?
I’d like to let everyone know that I have one more romantic beach getaway weekend to award, and the drawing will be February 28. If you haven’t registered, check out my website for all information (www.JudiFennell.com ). It’s for a weekend at the Hibiscus House B&B in West Palm Beach, FL, (www.HibiscusHouse.com ) where Catch of a Lifetime is set.
10. Finally, what are you working on now? Will you delve into another mystical type world? I am certainly looking forward to whatever comes next Judi! I really enjoy your stories and your sense of humor!
Aw, thanks! So nice to hear! Actually, I am working on a new series—but that doesn’t mean there won’t be any more Mers. Mariana and Pearl are both on me to write their stories. (I do have opening lines and heroes, so that’s good). I’m working on a Genie series, which I pitched to my editor as “I Dream of Jeannie meets Indiana Jones.” The first book is with my editor and, yes, definitely has that Indiana Jones feel. I had a blast writing it, even if there aren’t quite as many flying carpet puns as there are ocean ones. I Dream of Genies comes out January 2011, to be followed by Genie Knows Best and Leave It To Genie. Short blurbs are available on my website: www.JudiFennell.com, as well as excerpts and deleted scenes from my Mer stories.
Thanks so much for taking the time to answer my questions Judi and best of luck to you! Thank you for having me!
CATCH OF A LIFETIME BY JUDI FENNELL—IN STORES FEBRUARY 2010
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…
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. Visit her website for more information on her series and enter to win a romantic getaway in West Palm Beach, FL: http://www.judifennell.com.
I have 2 copies of Catch of a Lifetime by Judi Fennell to share with my readers courtesy of Danielle at Sourcebooks (thanks Danielle!). To enter:
- For 1 entry leave me a comment with a way to contact you.
- For 2 entries follow my blog. If you already do let me know in your comment so you get the extra entry as well!
- For 3 entries, blog or tweet this giveaway and spread the word.
This giveaway is open to US & Canadian residents only (no PO boxes) and I’ll be drawing for the winners on Saturday, February 27, 2010. Good luck to all!