Sunday, March 4, 2012

MaryJanice Davidson Interview-3/4/12

1. Tell me about The Undead series. How did you come up with that story angle or idea?
Answer: I got sooo tired of running into the same vampire in the romance section: impossibly gorgeous and brooding while skulking in alleys bemoaning his bad luck to be eternally rich/hung/gorgeous. And they were usually English lords. I just couldn't relate to someone like that. Where were the plumber vamps, the secretary vamps? Why were they all rich gorgeous aristocrats? Betsy was born of that: I wanted a vampire who wasn't the sharpest knife in the drawer...and knew it. Someone who was more annoyed (and annoying) than tortured.

2. How did you get interested in writing this particular genre?
Answer: I've always written paranormal...when I was a kid I never wrote Boy Meets Girl stories; they were always Boy Meets Vampire And Doesn't Stake Her stories.

3. What kind of research did you do for this series?
Answer: Not much! That's the beauty of paranormal...the author's world, the author's rules. (For example, vampire queen Betsy Taylor can be out in sunlight, touch crosses, swish with holy water, etc.) If I'm researching it's to find out where a place is...the tangible stuff that helps readers connect with characters who often have everyday problems in addition to the paranormal weirdness. In my other series, the ME MYSELF AND WHY FBI series (my heroine has Multiple Personality Disorder and works for a secret FBI fringe group, BOFFO: the Bureau of False Flag Ops), I have to do tons of research, which is fascinating. And scary!

4. What's a typical working day like for you? When and where do you write? Do you set a daily writing goal?
Answer: Well, I've got a wonderful assistant, her name is Tracy, and she's nice enough to work from my house several days a week. So in addition to the stress that goes with any assistant's job, she's gotta endure me making Malt O'Meal for breakfast while we're trying to figure out what needs to get done that week. She and I work on my travel schedule (I love getting invited to speaking engagements! I love to travel!), answer reader/fan mail, edit business stuff. In the afternoon is when I get most of my actual writing done, and if I'm not happy with my page count by suppertime, I'll get back to it after supper. My favorite places to work are in the living room in front of the TV, or in my bedroom. I'm just one bad work habit after another... ;-)

5. What is the hardest part of writing for you?
Answer: Hanging in! I love starting a book almost as much as I love typing The End, but sometimes I find I'm bogged in the middle. The excitement of beginning a new story is gone, and the thrill of finishing is quite a ways off. I tend to write short; many times my editor has said, 'great work, now make it 100 pages longer'. D'oh!

6. What’s the best thing about being an author?
Answer: What, I've got to pick ONE? No chance. As awesome as people think being an author is, never mind a best-selling author, it's actually ten times awesomer! You can work anywhere, you set your own hours. You get to do the thing you love best. (It's possible I'm projecting a little here...) You get sneak peeks at books that won't even be in stores for a year. And if you're lucky enough to get a book tour, you get to travel all over the country and stay in nice hotels, for free, and meet readers! This job: it's insanely, awesomely wonderful.

7. What are you working on now?
Answer: UNDEAD AND Betsy/Fred-the-mermaid team up!

8. What advice would you give aspiring writers?
Answer: Do not quit. Ever. I got rejection slips for ten years! I didn't get a book contract until I was 33. If I'd hung it up in my twenties, I'd still be stuck in SDJs (Stupid Day Jobs).

9. Do you have any favorite authors or favorite books?
Answer: Oh, sure! My books-to-take-to-a-deserted-island list is Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell, IT by Stephen King, and Small Sacrifices by Ann Rule. I read across several genres; I'm pretty eclectic. Anything by Carl Hiaason or Andrew Vachss is absolutely worth reading. John Sandford is another favorite of mine.

10. What question have you always wanted to be asked in an interview? How would you answer that question?
Answer: "Just what is your deal, anyway?" "I don't know. I've never known."11. If you were writing a book about your life, what would the title be?Answer: Confessions of a Vain Jerk.

Flash Questions:
1) If you could trade places with a person for a single day, who would it be and why?
Answer: Queen Elizabeth I. Hopefully I wouldn't stub my toe and die from an infection while I was there...

2) What was the last movie you saw?
Answer: Underworld: Awakening. I've seen all the Underworld movies. Hilariously, in the first one, the woman sitting in front of me turned to her date and snorted, "Werewolves wouldn't be able to run up walls in real life." I thought I was going to wet my pants. I was laughing so hard I almost aspirated my popcorn!

3) What is your biggest TV addiction?
Answer: Again, I can't pick just one. 30 Rock, It's Always Sunny (go, team Charlie!), Sons of Anarchy, Family Guy, South Park...the first problem is admitting you need help, right? Well, I don't need help. ;-)

4) Guilty pleasure?
Answer: Chocolate Malt O'Meal

5) Fruits or veggies?
Answer: Both! I actually love fruit (pit fruits like peaches, just about any kind of berry or melon...yay, fruit! Boo, scurvy!) and veggies (broccoli, any kind of onion, squash, peas...anything but green beans. I loathe and despise green beans. I have no explanation for this).

6) Favorite childhood toy?
Answer: my fishing pole!

7) What did you have for breakfast this morning?
Answer: Chocolate Malt O'Meal


  1. Chocolate Malt-O-Meal! That's Mary Janice Davidson: head-in-the-clouds, feet-on-the-floor, a contradiction walking. A kindred spirit! Love her work!

  2. MJ, I know this sounds weird, but hear me out. Take a pound of green beans, blanch 'em for about five minutes in boiling water, drain, toss with a bit of olive oil and sea salt...and then toss 'em in a grill-safe wok and scorch 'em over an open flame. They taste AMAZING. This from a fellow green bean hater ;-)

  3. Hmm...Nia, I won't deny it: I'm intrigued. I just might have to try that! :-) And Tonette, you're too nice as usual...but I love it! :-)