Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Author Interview: New York Times & USA Today's Best-Selling Author MaryJanice Davidson

As previously mentioned, I have the distinct honor of hosting MaryJanice Davidson on my blog today.  Davidson is the author/creator of the hilarious New York Times & USA Today's best-selling paranormal romance Undead series.  This vampire chic lit author is truly an original and it's a sincere pleasure to welcome her here today.  Woot!  *happy dance*
MaryJanice Davidson
Mina: Welcome, MaryJanice!  As a huge fan of the Queen Betsy series, I try not to read other people’s reviews so they don’t spoil it for me. Can you tell us briefly a little bit about Book 10 in the vampire Queen Betsy /Undead series, Undead & Undermined which was just released in July 2011? Any hints as to where the series is heading? What about those fiends?

MaryJanice Davidson (MJD):  I'm the same way about reviews! If there's one (more) thing I can't stand, it's a reviewer who can't resist mentioning the plot twist in the first paragraph. The first few times I was annoyed but overlooked it. Then it happened over and over again (yeah, New York Times, I'm talking to YOU<g>). So now I don't read reviews for *anything* until I've read/seen/heard the thing in question. That said, Betsy and Sinclair both die at the end of Undead And Unstable.

Gotcha! An aside: years ago my sister-in-law couldn't wait to see the first and (least sucky) Indiana Jones movie. Her brothers had seen it the night before, and as she was leaving for the theater he called out (Spoiler Alert! Except not.), "He dies and she runs off with the Nazi." So she sat, fuming through the entire thing (like I did during the *last* Indiana Jones movie), and was astonished and thrilled that it had a different ending. Yay, the Nazis melted!

Anyhoo, as readers of the series know, the Undead series has gotten a little more grim. I tend to do trilogies-within-series, so I made sure to let readers know that there would be change, but in addition that I didn't spend 10 books winning them over only to screw them in the end. We'll find out whether or not I'm a liar this June, with Undead And Unstable.

Mina:  I won’t ask your favorite character of any of your series. I suspect that’s a difficult question to answer. But, I am interested in knowing which is your favorite book of the Undead series and why? Mine is Undead and Unpopular, because Queen Betsy conquers her enemy and love, again. Any other book favorites – maybe from other series?

MJD:  My fave Undeads are Undead And Unemployed, and Undead And Unstable. The former because it was such hilarious fun to research and write about Betsy's attempts to get a job after she returns from the dead. My husband (and co-author of the Jennifer Scales weredragon series) oversees the department Betsy had to go to in the beginning, so he had lots of great tips for me. (For example, at the time, they really would give you phone numbers to call, and really would not let you actually use the phone to call!) Unstable made the list because the things I've been leading up to (read: torturing readers with) are getting resolved, one way or another, with that book. Hopefully readers will agree that there was a method to my madness, instead of just madness.

Mina B:  I read that you were approached by Disney for the movie or television rights to your Mermaid series. Can you confirm this plus tell what other book or series were picked up? Also, will Queen Betsy make it to the big screen? And if she does, who do you think should play her?

MJD:  Yes, Disney has twice optioned the rights to the Fred the Mermaid series. That means they have a year to get going on production; at the end of the 12 months they can offer to option for an additional 12 months, or to let the film rights come back to me, which frees me to shop it elsewhere. Personally, I'm wondering if Disney is trying to keep the Anti-Ariel movie from getting produced. ;-) Queen Betsy will make it to the small Germany! They've optioned a pilot episode and six more epis. And my agent is looking through various offers here in America. So hopefully there will be a TV show or movie about the Undead books someday soon. And I'm bummed Reese Witherspoon won an Oscar and no longer has to play bubbleheaded cuties...she'd have been a great Betsy! And I wouldn't say no to Rachael McAdams (Mean Girls) playing her.

Mina:  Before Betsy died and became Queen, we read how she had a somewhat crappy job. Can you tell us, what’s the worst job you’ve ever had and why? Mine was tagging jewelry prices for a widely known retailer company in a dingy warehouse in the middle of some Podunk town. It was a sun up to sundown job that I did for 3 weeks during college summer break. To say that it was awful would be an understatement. How about you?

MJD:  Oh, boy. The SDJs that plagued me (Stupid Day Jobs). It didn't help that I never went to college, which limited my options. I've done everything from modeling to being a medical test subject. And being a medical test subject was actually more fun than being a model. Mostly the jobs I took were clerical: administrative assistant, Exec. secretary, office manager, etc. And it's not that they were so terrible, it's that I didn't want to be transcribing clinic notes or arranging meetings or doing inventory or runway modeling or peeing in a cup. I wanted to be writing fiction.

Mina:  In a few of your forward statements in your novels, I’ve read how you make a point of indicating the story is fiction etc... At first, I laughed and then I wondered…what’s the craziest thing an obsessed fan has ever done?

MJD:  Not so much crazy as incredibly thoughtful and nice: for one of my book signings, a reader made the Betsy wedding cake, complete with little coffins for the bride and groom. She was a pro pastry chef so it was gorgeous and all three tiers were delicious! I've also had people dress up as my characters for conferences and parties: readers have dressed as Betsy, Fred, and Dr. Barb (Fred's boss). I was so overwhelmed my eyes leaked! "I'm...I'm not crying, I...I've got something in my eye. Both eyes."

Mina B.:  Every now and then I see authors posting deleted scenes on their website. Do you find through the publishing process, you have to delete scenes every now and then? If so, have you ever posted them on your blog or someplace else where we can read them? Do you have a favorite?

MJD:  I don't, actually...I've been lucky in that I've never had an editor ask to delete a scene. Sometimes they'll ask me to rephrase (I have a vulgarly colorful vocabulary), but that's about it. And if the scene was so bad or irrelevant or wordy that the editor thought it would clog up an otherwise good book, I would never put it out there for the world to see and realize, "MJD's editor was right...this sucks!" It's enough of a challenge getting people to read the *good* parts. ;-)

Mina B.:  What’s the best and the worst part of being a writer?

MJD:  Just about everything about being a writer is wonderful. It's one of those jobs that, no matter how amazingly cool you imagine it could be, in reality it's ten times more awesome! Setting my own hours, getting fan mail, being flown to wonderful cities (a few from this year are Paris, London, New Orleans), getting to meet readers, seeing my books on bookshelves, getting to speak at conferences and meet terrific writers, getting to give radio and TV interviews...and on and on. It's all great.

Probably the worst part of being a writer is how people judge your genre without reading anything IN your genre. Romance is particularly vulnerable to this; I've never known more readers to judge any genre without reading it more than romance. I get a lot of, "Oh, you're a writer? What do you write?" "Romantic fiction, mostly." "Oh, romance, ugh! How do you stand it? Guh-ross." "Well, it's actually pretty great; which books have you read that you didn't like?" "Oh, ew! I'd never read one of those books. Guh-ross."

Readers also make reference to your (alleged) sex life. There's a lot of, "Hey, that was a pretty juicy sex scene...are you married <wink, wink>? Did your husband help you research that <leer, leer>?" Nobody ever asks mystery writers these things. "Hey, I just finished your latest and I can't believe how realistic it was! You must have strangled at least three hookers to be able to describe that kind of detail, right? What...? No? Oh, come on. There is no way you could get inside the killer's head unless you'd choked at least one hooker."

Mina:  What’s your favorite recipe? (Note: I’m a closet foodlum. I may not remember a person’s name when I meet them, but chances are, I’ll remember what I ate and probably what they did too. Don’t say it…I know it’s bizarre.)

MJD: Me, too! I was into the Food Network long before it was trendy (so there, South Park!). I'm with Jim Gaffigan when he says watching that channel when you're hungry is like porn: "Mix it up, baby! Make it for me.......oooh, yeah..." That'd be my mom's fudge recipe. It's simply the best fudge in the world. THE WORLD.

Book 11 out June 2012
Mina:  When writing the Undead series or any of your other series, did you ever consider other endings or paths for your characters and would you share them with us?

MJD:  Well, there are a couple of characters I hadn't originally planned on killing (and then bringing back) who I killed (then brought back). And I've been thinking about doing a spin-off book with Laura, the AntiChrist, as the heroine. That's interesting to me because at the start of the Undead series I didn't even know Betsy had a long-lost half-sister, never mind that she was the Anti-AntiChrist (she rebels against Satan by doing good deeds). As for other endings, ask me that question *after* Undead And Unstable comes out. ;-)

Mina:  I do a section on my blog called Creepy Classics for classic literature like Dracula, Frankenstein, Metamorphosis etc… What is your favorite Creepy Classic and why?

MJD:  What To Expect When You're Expecting. Have you read it? Terrifying.

LOL!  I'm in stitches right now.  This was too much fun!  Special thanks again to MaryJanice and a HUGE thanks to her assistant, Tracy.  You can visit MaryJanice via her website or blog or find her on Facebook.

Mina B.


Abhishek said...

Vampire chics are cool!!

Undead and Unemployed?? what a hilarious yet exciting title in itself!!

Ms. Mina Burrows thanks again for visiting my blog!!
Another Author

Stacy Henrie said...

Fun interview! You always interview the coolest people. :) Love that cover for Book 11.

Golden Eagle said...

Great interview!

That's so cool about the German episodes. I hope it appears in the USA, too. :)

Tonette Joyce said...

Nice interview, and I've read them all.Mary Janice seemed very relaxed here. Thank you.
I would like to see a "Laura" spin-off.

Mina Burrows said...

@Abhishek - Hi there! Vamp chic lit is pretty awesome!

@Stacy - I've so excited to have MJD on my blog. She is uber cool!

@The Golden - Yeah, maybe at some point. I think that would be awesome too.

@Tonette - A Laura spin-off would be pretty sweet.:)