TQ: Welcome to The Qwillery!
Judi: Hi and thanks so much for having me.
TQ: Writing quirks! What are some of yours?
Judi: Sadly, I'm kind of boring when it comes to quirks. I need either absolute quiet or a white noise environment. Typically I play classical piano music on my laptop/tablet so that it blocks out the sounds around me and I can't sing along to it. If there's a song that I can sing to, forget it. I'm pulled out of my writing and it takes me a while to get back in. I will say that my family has laughed at me a few times because they'll walk by and see me with my eyes closed and my fingers flying over the keyboard as the story flows out of me. That's got to be the best writing experience.
TQ: Who are some of your favorite writers?
Judi: Gosh, where to start? Auto buys for me are Karen Rose, Cindy Gerard, Kate Brady, Jill Barnett and Julia Quinn.
TQ: Are you a plotter or a panster?
Judi: Pantser. With selling on proposal, you do learn to put a plot together, even if it's just a basic outline (a lot of "and then stuff happens" in it), but keeping to it can be challenging when the characters are the ones driving the story.
TQ: What is the most challenging thing for you about writing?
Judi: Finding enough hours in a day. Of course, that's true about anything in my life, but writing can be really intensive when the story is working and to have to stop and go do something else can be really frustrating.
TQ: The most recent Bottled Magic novel is Magic Gone Wild. What inspired you to write the Bottled Magic series?
Judi: I'd started I Dream of Genies, the first in the series, back before I'd sold my Mer series to my publisher. I'd wanted to do something different in the paranormal genre. Something you didn't see a lot of. So I went back to what I love - and I grew up on I Dream of Jeannie and Bewitched. There were already a bunch of witch stories on the market, so I went with the genies. And it's been a ball ever since.
TQ: Do you base your paranormal/supernatural elements on existing lore, make things up or both?
Judi: I always try to put as much realism into my fantastical worlds. Makes it easier for the reader to suspend disbelief and get into the world quicker. For instance in my Mer series, I decided that Atlantis had to be under Bermuda. The beauty of that is that Bermuda is known for its underwater caves... what better place to put the capital city of Mers? With Bottled Magic, I pulled on a lot of mythology, as djinn (or genies) come from Persian mythology. I worked that mythology with the pop culture references we're familiar with to create a set of rules and world that worked for the reader and the characters.
TQ: What sorts of research have you done for the Bottled Magic novels? What is the oddest bit of information that you’ve come across in your research?
Judi: You know, one of the things that never fails to amaze me is that I've been able to find in the mythology/history exactly what I need for the stories. That's when I know I'm on the right track. For instance, in I Dream of Genies, I needed a beast for the High Master's garden. I wanted something like the Behemoth out of the bible but in a Persian context. I found out that the Hadyosh was exactly what I was looking for. I didn't have to make him up at all, just play with that cultural consciousness to make him work in the story. I've always been a student of mythologies and being able to bring many of them into my stories has been a lot of fun.
TQ: Tell us something about Magic Gone Wild that is not in the book description.
Judi: The town Harrisonville is based on: Williamsport, PA. My husband's family is from there and we go up for family reunions. It was the perfect type of town I wanted to use, but without naming it its true name. There, that's the first time I've put this bit of info in print.
TQ: In the Bottled Magic series who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?
Judi: Easiest characters are always the wise-a** sidekicks. In this case, it's Merlin, the gender-curious, cross-dressing phoenix. Most time they come fully formed in my head and I basically channel them; I don't have to think too much about them. I just let him have free reign with the page.
But those characters are also the hardest, specifically because they want to take over the whole story. They have a lot to say about the main characters, and usually their life philosophy, so it's a challenge to keep them contained.
TQ: Which character in the Bottled Magic series has surprised you the most?
Judi: Harv, the yale from Genie Knows Best. I knew he was a hard a** and hadn't seen any redeeming qualities to him. When he showed up at the final showdown and got involved to the extent that he did, I hadn't seen that one coming.
TQ: What's next?
Judi: I'm excited to have launched my Once-Upon-A-Time Romance series with the first book, Beauty and The Best. It came out in April and it's about a bumbling guardian angel (think It's a Wonderful Life) who will earn his wings by helping the hero and heroine of each story. This story was in the American Title contest (RT Magazine and Dorchester Publishing) and a Top 20 finalist in the gather.com/Simon & Shuster First Chapters contest, where it was the only romance to make the Top 20. Next up in that series is If The Shoe Fits, followed by Fairest of Them All.
I'm also debuting the first in my BeefCake, Inc series at the end of the month: BeefCake & Cupcakes: Magic Mike has nothing on Gage and his guys. Baker shop owner Lara agrees, but what can a hot guy like him see in a woman like her--unless he's only interested in her cupcakes?
TQ: Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.
Judi: Thanks so much for having me!
About Bottled Magic
Magic Gone WildBottled Magic 3
Sourcebooks, August 7, 2012
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 384 pages
Every Time She Uses Magic Something Goes Terribly Wrong...
Vana wishes she hadn't dropped out of genie training. Now she's determined to get a grip on both her genie magic and her life. But the harder she tries to fix things for her intriguing new master, the more she drives him crazy...
Except There's Nothing Ever Wrong About Him...
Pro–football player Zane Harrison finally has control of the family estate and is determined to put to rest his grandfather's eccentric reputation. Until he discovers that behind all the rumors is a real, live genie who stirs feelings in him he's never known before. The more Zane tries to help Vana harness her powers, the more her madcap magic entangles his heart...
Genie Knows BestBottled Magic 2
Sourcebooks, November 1, 2011
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 384 pages
Be careful what you wish for. . .
Samantha Blaine is about to make a fateful discovery. A tall, dark, handsome, ohmygosh kind of fateful discovery...
Kal is very pleased to meet his attractive new master – especially since he intends to seduce her into granting him freedom. But when seriously dark magic spells trouble for both of them, Kal can't help himself from falling for the woman who holds his fate in her hands. . .
Warmly acclaimed by readers and critics alike, Judi Fennell brings to life a fabulous world of magic and mayhem where wishes come true in the most unexpected ways!
I Dream of Genies
Bottled Magic 1
Sourcebooks, January 4, 2011
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 416 pages
He needs to change his luck, and fast!
Matt Ewing would gladly hunt down a fortune in lucky pennies if he thought it would help save his business. But for all his hoping, Matt’s clueless when his long-awaited lucky charm falls in his lap in the form of a beguiling genie. He just can’t believe that this beautiful woman could be the answer to his prayers...
She’s been bottled up for far too long!
Spending 2,000 years in a bottle would make any woman a little stir-crazy. So when Matt releases Eden from her luxurious captivity, she’s thrilled to repay him by giving him the magical boost he needs...
But for all her good intentions, Eden’s magical prowess is a little rusty and her magical mistakes become more than embarrassing. And though Eden knows falling in love will end her magic and immortality, she can’t help but be drawn to the one man who wants her just for herself...
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What: One commenter will win a copy of Magic Gone Wild (Bottled Magic 3) from Sourcebooks! US/Canada ONLY
How: Leave a comment answering the following question:
Which real town/city/village should be the basis for setting
in a Paranormal Romance novel?
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