Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Wild Blue Under Review and Interview with Judi Fennell

~If you liked, In Over Her Head, you are gonna LOVE Wild Blue Under!~

Wild Blue Under
Tritone Mer Trilogy
Book 2

Judi Fennell

Sourcebook Casablanca

Book Blurb: Rod Tritone, heir to the throne of the undersea world, needs a queen capable of ruling the oldest kingdom on earth. Someone regal, learned and of noble birth. Problem is, the only eligible noble-born Mer princess is half-Human - and she doesn't have a clue about the non-Human part.Valerie Dumere has screwed up her life at every turn, so when her mother dies and leaves her the family business, Val realizes it's up to her to buckle down and get her life on track. No more excuses.So when a guy shows up claiming to be her destiny, she scoffs. No way. She isn't running away from her responsibilities ever again - no matter how good the guy looks without a shirt.But Rod isn't going away. He can't claim his inheritance without her - and Val will lose hers if she goes with him.It's going to take one whale of a tale to get her to chuck it all and follow him off into the wild blue under...

  • "A delightful, quirky blend of humor, adventure, and passion."
Star-Crossed Romance

My Thoughts:

Growing up, some of my favorite TV shows were a blend of comedy and serious.

I loved the touch of paranormal/comedy in I Dream of Jeannie and Bewitched. The comedy was focused on normal humans coming into contact with humans with magical/mythical powers. The fun part was the reaction of everyday people when they did. Magic that got out of hand and the dashing about to save the day. Explaining the unexplainable. Yet, these shows dealt with serious issues and human emotions: love, jealousy, aging, job security, raising kids, nosey neighbors, national security, and interfering in-laws. They all had a ‘twist’ and they made you feel good when the show was over.

This is what I love about Judi Fennell’s books. Romance that’s funny, engaging, definitely hot, and makes you feel good when you’ve finished the book. I loved it!

Wild Blue Under is the second book of Judi’s Tritone Mer Trilogy. It’s even better than the first. Like my favorite shows, it deals with serious issues—life and death but Fennell maintains her theme of Fairy Tales With A Twist. Take the improbable, add superb characters, and then build a marvelous story, filled with laughter, dangerous adventure, romance, and a happy ending.

What would you do if you found out birds could talk, and not only talk but plan out evasive maneuvers when under attack? Or that the talking Sea Gull was the Chief of Aerial Security tasked with the responsibility keeping the Heir to the throne safe? Or that birds could become terrorists and close down airports and create havoc on the highways to stop traffic?

This is just some of the many things that normal, Valerie Dumere, has to not only deal with but also make sense of while dealing with a not normal, hot hunk named Rod Tritone. Valerie is determined to stick to one thing and which is making her mother’s shop a success. She’s done with her restless wandering.

Rod is the sexy, highly responsible heir to the Mer throne. His assignment is to bring half Mer princess to Atlantis. Valerie, on the other hand, doesn’t know she’s half Mer and is deathly allergic to saltwater. Rod fabricates an inheritance to get her to come from the landlocked mid-west to the Atlantic so he can prove to her what she is, and fulfill his assignment.

What follows is a face-paced series of misadventures that will have you not only laughing but also rooting for Val and Rod. Rod’s life is in danger. Valerie thinks she’s lost her mind. Toss in an impossible romance and Livingston, a wisecracking Sea Gull is the Chief of Aerial Security tasked with the responsibility of keeping Rod alive and Valerie to the coast, and you have a highly entertaining read.

If you liked In Over Her Head, you are going to LOVE Wild Blue Under!

Look out world; Judi Fennell’s star is rising high.

I had a chance to ask Judi a few questions about her book and writing:

  • What's special about your hero? What makes him different from his brother, Reel?
    Rod is the older twin and, therefore, he's The Heir who will inherit the throne. His upbringing diverged from Reel's about the time of The Incident, when he had the seriousness and importance of his position hammered into him. As The Heir, Rod had to learn all about the Mer culture, their laws and history, how to behave, etc. He didn't get the carefree life he thought his brother had. In In Over Her Head (Reel's story) we see that this wasn't quite the way Reel saw it.

  • What was the most fun about writing this story?

I loved re-visiting the undersea world and I loved writing the chase scenes with the dive-bombing peregrines and fish bombs from an albatross. Writing a Mer-out-of-water story puts certain restrictions on my imagination that writing a Human-under-the-sea story didn't, in that I had to adhere to what we know and what is reality about living on land. However, when you toss birds into the mix (wait for it...) the sky's the limit. Both literally and figuratively.

  • What was the hardest to write?

Hmmm, good question. I don't know that there was a hard part to write. People always say "the sagging middle" but in my stories they're on a quest or running (swimming) for their lives, so there's no chance to have a sagging middle, and I pretty much know the beginning and ending, so...

  • You mention you like words, puns, alliteration, and obviously humor. Having read all your books, the humor is a bit *fishy*. What made you choose to play with undersea terminology so much?
  • There was no "choice" involved. From the minute Chum opened his mouth in In Over Her Head, the puns just started flowing. And, apparently, they don't stop. :) I've always done things like that, and found them funny when others do them. I like nuances to meanings and giving "nods" to pop culture, and I love twisting cliches. It wasn't a conscious effort, which means it was a subconscious one, and I take no responsibility for my subconscious. It's an entity unto itself.
  • What is your greatest challenge as an author and how do you deal with it?
  • Greatest challenge.... hmmm... pick a day. LOL I'd have to say the challenge would be working real life in when I want to be writing. I have a husband and kids, dogs, a kitten, a house, a social life, a gym membership, extended family nearby, school commitments... Juggling all those balls is tough, but my family knows that writing is my full time job now and I have to treat it as such. But then life tosses in a sick kid or someone forgot a project that has to be driven to school, or my DH (used to be Darling Husband, but is now Domestic Hero) has to travel so I have to single-parent it... Yep, that's the challenge.
  • How did belonging to a writing group, such as RWA, your Writin' Wombats, play into your success as a writer?
  • I wouldn't be where I am today if not for the incredibly helpful people in the RWA organization. From my critique partner, Stephanie Julian, who gave me my first unbiased feedback ("It's good but you need to get rid of the first 20 pages" ouch! but she was right!), to the other writers of my local chapter who shared so much of their industry knowledge, to the RWA organization as a whole for the monthly publication that's an invaluable resource, both for writing information and industry stuff, and the online community of Writing Wombats who encouraged me to enter that second First Chapters Romance contest which helped me along to publication, the intensive critiques/feedback they're willing to do for me - and quickly! - to the support for getting the word out (bookmarks all across the country!)... The Writing Wombats rock! And as more Wombats are selling, I get the chance to give back, well, aside from bloodying up their manuscripts when they send them to me for critique. :)

  • What can we expect from you next? Can you discuss your new series at all?
    Oh, sure! My next series, pitched as I Dream of Jeannie meets Indiana Jones will release in Fall 2010, with the first story (tentatively) titled, I Dream of Genies. Look for more action/adventure, life and death, bad guys, a few talking animals and a magical city of the Djinn (where the word "genie" comes from). And, yeah, maybe a reference to Sydney Sheldon. :)

Many don't realize just how hard authors work. It's not only the writing and editing of the book, but the enormous time involved in promoting the finished product through blog tours, booksignings, and interviews. So, I know your time is valuable.

Judi, I want to thank you for spending today with us here Over Coffee. It's been a pleasure speaking with you.


Judi Fennell has had her nose in a book and her head in some celestial realm all her life, including those early years when her mom would exhort her to "get outside!" instead of watching Bewitched or I Dream of Jeannie on television. So she did—right into Dad's hammock with her Nancy Drew books.

These days she's more likely to have her nose in her laptop and her head (and the rest of her body) at her favorite bookstore, but she's still reading, whether it be her latest manuscript or friends' books.

A three-time finalist in online contests, Judi has enjoyed the reader feedback she's received and would love to hear what you think about her Mer series. Check out her website for excerpts, reviews, contests and pictures from reader and writer conferences, as well as the chance to "dive in" to her stories.
Visit Judi HERE


~Sia McKye~ said...

Welcome Judi! I'm delighted to have you here.

Since you just finished a workout at the gym, I do have some revitalizing juices on the coffee bar, along with the usual coffee, tea, hot cocoa. (later in the afternoon, I'll provide some champagne to toast your success w/WBU)

You're a busy lady. About how much time would you say you spend in promotion of the *finished product*?

Judi Fennell said...

I'll just add some orange juice to my champagne and it'll all be good, okay? ;)

Promotion... If I'm not doing it, I'm thinking about it. I've gotten two blog requests already this morning, in addition to the ones my publicist has set up. I recently added the links to my website (Where to Find Me) so I can keep track of where I am! LOL

Thanks for having me here today, Sia! And if you check my Fan Page on FB, that "lovely" hunk is the avatar that shows up - should bring lots of people over here! :)

~Sia McKye~ said...

Like I said, you're a busy lady!

*fumbling around under the bar...hmmm, ah ha! Orange Juice! That oughta jumpstart your morning, lol!

James said...

Hi Judi. Congrats again on getting your second book on the shelves. I skimmed the post above since I still need to read your first book, but am looking forward to a few hours of Fennell reading soon.

James Rafferty

~Sia McKye~ said...

James, I don't give spoilers when I do a review. Just teasers, lolol!

VA said...

A horrible tease, Sia. I've been trawling the internet to get snippets of WBU since my bookstore didn't have it over the weekend. Like some junkie looking for a fix, I keep trying to piece the tasty tidbits together to get some clues as to where Judi takes us on this trip.

Judi, I can't wait to get my marsupial paws on WBU. I was going to try the bookstore again today. And, I must say that I am in awe of your amazing juggling abilities and fortitude in communicating with your fans about your books. Truly inspirational.

Judi Fennell said...

THanks to the 'bats for stopping by!

Viv - a friend just bought out my local Borders' supply, so some stores have them!

Judi Fennell said...

Ooh, Sia changed her picture. I like!

Gina Robinson said...

Judi--Congrats on the release of your second book!

Sia--Great review and interview!

Kat Sheridan said...

Judi, can't wait to get my hands on this one! I enjoyed the first one so very much! Wishing you all the success in the world with it!

And since I'm stopping by late, I'll skip the coffee. It's after 5 and I'm living in Margaritaville!

Judi Fennell said...

Thanks, Gina! Can't wait for your second one, too!

Kat - have one for me, please! :) Thanks for stopping by!

Other Lisa said...

Howdy! Great interview as usual, Sia.

I'm going to amble on down to my local Barnes & Noble and get my copy of WBU!

Judi, the kitten is there to help. You know that, right? ;)

My Blog 2.0 (Dottie) said...

Hi Sia and Judi!

Great interview, and I must say, I can't wait to peek at your book.

Dottie :)

Stephanie Julian said...

Hey, I knew the talent was there. Go Judi!

Judi Fennell said...

:) Thanks, Steph!

Yes, Lisa, I know. And she's so darn cute!

Thanks, Dottie!