Dear Maureen, please tell my readers: What type of mystery do you write and why?
My Fever Series books are romances with an underlying mystery, crime, dogs with personality, and always humor. I write fun romance novels because our world needs more love & laughter.
Did anyone influence you / encourage you to become a writer?
Just the opposite. It’s like this. When I was in grade eight, I stood up in front of my long-suffering classmates, heart hammering in my skinny chest, and droned out my first public speaking assignment—a memorized essay I’d written about dinosaurs. I covered the Triassic, Jurassic, and Cretaceous waterfronts. At least ten of my classmates dozed off and one appeared to fall into a full-blown coma.
My performance was so pitiful, my teacher gave me another chance. “You have until Monday morning to redeem yourself, young lady,” Mr. Hughes intoned.
That gave me exactly three days to pull together a brilliant speech.
Being a staunch advocate of pain avoidance and a coward to boot, I turned the problem over to my mother. She rose to the occasion and spent the weekend writing a delightfully funny story entitled, “On Housebreaking a Puppy.” On Monday at 10:00 a.m., I delivered a brilliant essay that knocked the socks off my classmates and a relieved Mr. Hughes. Nobody fell asleep this time. My classmates thought I’d developed a sense of humor over the long weekend, and my mother (and I) received an ‘A’ for our efforts. After that, Mom wrote another couple of polished pieces brimming with adult humor to round out my elementary school writing career in style, and I slunk into high school with high marks, low self-esteem, and a ton of guilt. I made no attempt to write another creative word for several decades.
Fast forward many years. After a century in the consulting world, wearing snappy power suits, squeezing into panty hose, and fighting rush hour traffic had lost its appeal. I made a life-changing decision. I would write books. Not dry, boring, technical treatises, but fresh, funny romantic suspense novels. I now draw a merciful curtain over the agony of writing my first novel.
“Darlin’, that feels real good. Hoo-eee, you surely do have magic fingers.” The masculine voice, Southern with a twist, was clearly audible over the commotion.
That’s the first paragraph of Cold Feet Fever, described as “… the perfect blend of romance, comedy and mystery.”
A commitment-challenged party animal, gambler, and player, Sam Jackson hides his insecurities behind charm, avoidance, and Jack Daniels. I first met Sam as the younger brother of my hero in Fur Ball Fever (Book 1 of The Fever Series), and found him irresistible. The opportunity for character growth and improvement was so obvious, I decided he deserved his own story.
What could be more fun than tormenting a serial womanizer like Sam by pairing him with a heroine who would drive him crazy while breaking down all his barriers? So I threw in a bossy undertaker-turned-event-planner hired by his eccentric Granddaddy Hiram (also business partner) to keep him on the straight and narrow. Since I delight in torturing my protagonists, I added as many roadblocks to a happily-ever-after as I could think of.
Are you like any of the characters (and how so)?
All my heroines contain certain aspects of my outlook on life. They tend to reflect my thoughts, words, and rather off-beat sense of humor, saying and doing all the things I would like to say and do, given the same situation, though I like to think I may have learned more self-control with age. I can’t imagine writing a heroine who doesn’t have a sense of humor, empathy, determination, outside-the-box thinking, and a very strong backbone.
Do you plot the entire novel and know who did it before you start, or can that change?
I would call myself a plotter (as opposed to a ‘pantster’), and always know the ending before I start writing. I’m uncomfortable if I can’t see where I’m going with the book. When I get stuck, I resort to the ‘leapfrog’ approach, plotting out only the next chapter or two. Not to say there are no surprises along the way. The plotline constantly changes as I make new discoveries about my characters.
How violent are your novels?
My first instinct was to say, “Not violent at all,” but on reflection, I realized this isn’t the case. In spite of being predominantly romances, there is a murder and a bit of mayhem in every one of my books. Also, the villain is suitably punished. Here are a some brief excerpts:
- From Cold Feet Fever:
Sam dropped to the ground and lay prone, protecting his head with his hands. His ears rang with the sound of rapid-fire gunshots. All around him, flying lead, screams, and warm liquid filled the air. He grimaced when he realized the liquid was blood, and the weight pinning him to the ground was two hundred pounds of very dead crime lord.
- From Fur Ball Fever:
When Oliver showed no signs of obeying, Nick drew his fist back and smashed it with satisfying force into the gloating face. There was an audible crunch and an agonized squeal. Leaking gore from several orifices, Oliver staggered and fell, curled into a writhing ball. Nick spared him a glance. It was hard to tell, what with the blood, and darkness, and all, but the patrician nose appeared flatter and slightly off-center.
- From The Jaguar Legacy:
She raised one knee and smashed the reinforced heel of her borrowed boot down on his foot with all her weight. Something snapped like a dry twig.
He screeched with pain, but refused to release her. His breath hissed in her ear as he shifted his grip, hands scrabbling to clutch her neck.
She lashed backwards again and felt a rush of satisfaction when her boot connected with his shin.
The Mexican howled again. His heavy breath on the back of her neck sprayed her with saliva. Iron fingers tightened around her throat.
Do you include humour?
It seems my ‘Author’s Voice’ tends toward humor. This often makes my life difficult, especially when writing a love scene. However, I find that if I stay true to my characters’ personalities and quirks as well as the plot, I can weave in humor without turning the scene into a farce. Here is an excerpt from Cold Feet Fever:
“I love that you’re nervous.” Sam’s voice had roughened to a husky growl. “It makes what we’re about to do extra special.”
Katie twisted her neck to assess whether or not he was mocking her, and found herself staring at his mouth. Her breath hitched in her chest. “I’m worried I might disappoint you.”
His fingers stilled against the fasteners clamping the back of her dress closed. “Why on earth would you think that?”
“I may not have the skill you expect in a date.”
After a long pause, he said, “Excuse me?” The two soft words reverberated in the quiet kitchen.
She chewed her lip, then said, “I’ve only done it twice, well, two and a half times to be precise, and it didn’t work out so well.” She clamped her mouth shut. Luckily she’d caught herself before divulging her partner’s jackrabbit ejaculation. Afraid to turn around, she elaborated. “I was too young to realize it wasn’t normal. I thought it was my fault. There’s no need to worry, though. I’m sure I can satisfy your needs. I’m a self-trained expert on sexual gratification.”
Warm breath stirred her hair. “Self-trained?”
Had she said something wrong? “Yes. I’m a voracious reader. I’ve read tons of how-to books on sexual intercourse, everything from The Joy of Sex, to Kama Sutra.” She hoped her sincerity would reassure him.
“I also studied the Fifty Shades Trilogy and other erotic novels. I have a subscription to Cosmo, too. There’s a huge amount of educational help available, so I’m certain I’m competent.” Was it her imagination, or did his fingers fumble?
“That’s commendable and, uh, extremely proactive of you,” he said in a choked voice. “But right now, I’m as far from worried as a man can get.”
What song would you pick to go with your book?
I write Happily-Ever-Afters, so I chose a feel-good song. In my opinion, ‘Everything’s Gonna Be Alright’ by Bob Marley says it all: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zmwue6Jq4KA
Wedding Bell Fever featuring Bella Deluca, the sister of Cold Feet Fever’s heroine.
I have also started The Beth Donnelley Chronicles, novellas about Auntie Beth’s unconventional antics. Auntie Beth is the popular former-hippie, dope-smoking, and outrageous sidekick character from Fur Ball Fever, made famous by the way she exploded out of her stretchy lycra dress (hey, Auntie Beth is a large woman with wishful thinking about her dress size). Some ideas: Beth Takes a Life Drawing Class, Beth Speed Dating, Beth at a Bachelor Auction, Beth at a Dude Ranch, etc.). I have lots more that offer plenty of opportunity for humor, even some romance for the geriatric aunt.
What do you do when you don’t write?
I’m a voracious reader, volunteer for an addiction family counseling program, bridge player, yoga enthusiast, seeker of personal and spiritual growth, pickleball (a slower cousin of tennis) player, and infrequent but avid gourmet cook. My husband and I love to hike, bicycle, and travel. I’ve swum with sharks in the Galapagos, walked with Bushmen in the Serengeti, sampled lamb criadillas (don’t ask!!!) in Iguazu Falls, snorkeled on the Great Barrier Reef, ridden an elephant in Thailand, watched the sun rise over Machu Picchu, and bounced from Johannesburg to Cape Town on a bus called ‘Marula’.
Where to Buy Maureen Fisher’s Books:
I have three sassy romance books (Fur Ball Fever, Cold Feet Fever, and The Jaguar Legacy), all available in print and every ebook format. For descriptions and buy links, check out http://booksbymaureen.com/my-books/
Maureen Fisher’s Contact Information:
Website – http://booksbymaureen.com/
Facebook Author Page – https://www.facebook.com/MaureenFisherAuthor