Yay! Book Club!!
This week, I'm super psyched to share a little interview I did with Tawna Fenske, who writes some of the funniest romantic comedies of all time. Of course, by "interview," I mean that I sent her five questions that she replied to via email, but that's really neither here nor there. Haha!
Okay, let's get on with it, shall we?
*puts on interviewer pants*
1. Interactive fiction is pretty much the funnest (yes, funnest—spellcheck and I currently disagree on its status as a word) way to read a book because I, as a reader, get to participate in the story. Is your creative process any different when you know you have to write alternate ways that things can go down?
One of the toughest things for me when it comes to writing fiction is the constant second-guessing of every decision I make as an author. Should she call this guy or that one? Should she go to the bar or stay home? I always use my best judgment, but there have been times over the years I would have KILLED for someone to just tell me what readers would prefer. Fortunately, Coliloquy prevented me from having to murder anyone. With interactive fiction, I don’t have to make the decisions. I can write multiple versions and let readers choose what they prefer. When I see the aggregated data later, I can use that to shape how future episodes unfold. It’s very empowering, and makes the creative process so much more fun for me because I’m not obsessing about every little choice I make.
2. Speaking of going down (ha), where did the idea for The Great Panty Caper come from? My hope is that it wasn’t from a personal panty-thievery-experience, although I’m sure that would be a killer story. ;)
I wondered if anyone would ever ask! About 15 years ago, a colleague and I took a business trip to Scottsbluff, Nebraska. We had separate rooms and work schedules, but met up for breakfast a few days into the trip. “I have to tell you something,” she said with an embarrassed look on her face. “I’ve been stuffing my dirty underwear in a trash bag to take home and launder at the end of the trip, but this morning I realized the bag was missing.” I tried to pretend I was horrified for her benefit, but I couldn’t stop laughing or coming up with far-fetched scenarios involving someone breaking into her room to steal her panties. We both ended up seeing the humor in the situation (and assuming it was an honest mistake by the cleaning staff) but I never stopped thinking that would be a good setup for a story. Turns out it was!
3. I read on your blog that your (recent) fiancé (congrats!) likes to help you research things for your writing (this post is about figuring out boobs-pressed-against-back logistics—awesome). What’s the strangest thing you’ve found yourself researching? (Yes, I’m aware that I could be opening a proverbial can of scantily-clad beans, haha!)
LOL, I suppose it depends on how you define strangest. I often bookmark pages I use while researching books. Since I’m on a crazy publication schedule right now (four books and two novellas releasing with three different publishers in a twelve month span—yikes!) I’ve got a lot of odd-looking links in my bookmark cache. Here’s a random sampling:
· 10 incredibly bizarre sexual practices
· Nicknames and euphemisms for breasts
· How can I make money selling used panties?
· Infidelity testing and semen detection
· The best of British slang
· What do colorblind people see?
· 10 ways to clear a building with a firearm
· Prolapsed hemi-penis in lizards
· Baked salmon with warm mango salsa
Four of those were specifically for The Great Panty Caper, and the rest were for my other romantic comedies. Or for my dinner. I’ll let you guess which.
4. You really have a knack for dialogue and sometimes I read the witty exchanges so quickly that it’s hard for my When you are writing dialogue, does it come easily? Do you practice it out loud?
It’s funny, reviewers often praise my dialogue, and I feel a little guilty about it. Dialogue is the easiest thing for me to write, and sometimes I do it just for fun when I’m stuck in a plot hole or when I have no idea where a story is going. The dialogue between the Shultz sisters is particularly fun, and I love the dynamic between the two sisters. Since I’ve never had a sister, I spent a lot of time researching and watching sisterly relationships before I started writing this series. I’ll admit I sometimes realize I’m thinking of myself as some sort of invisible third sister in their scenes. I never read dialogue out loud, but I do spend a fair amount of time fine-tuning to make sure things sound natural.
5. Do you have a favourite scene in The Great Panty Caper? Something that, when you read, you can’t help but smile to yourself? If so, can you describe it a bit without being spoiler-y?
I think I’m most fond of the scene where JJ questions the event staff manager who can’t bring herself to say underwear, so JJ has to keep finishing the woman’s sentences with creative words for panties. I also enjoyed coming up with potential names for the little kit Lori created for women to tuck in their handbags in case of an unexpected overnight fling.
So if this interview made you laugh even a bit, then be sure to check out The Great Panty Caper! It's a really great novella, and you can read my review here.