If you’ve read my review of Tawna Feske‘s Making Waves today, you know I spent a good deal of the time laughing while reading that book. And laughing. And laughing. You’re in for a treat, because Tawna is one of those what-you-see-is-what-you-get women. Humor is part of her make-up and that’s why she’s so darned great at writing it.
Tawna is an avid globetrotter with a fondness for the sea, and she shares her heroine’s violent allergy to seasickness medication. Though, sadly, she has never stowed away on a pirate ship, which is unfortunate, because you can just imagine how much funnier this debut book would have been if she’d actually lived that part of the story. And that’s saying a lot because this book as is, is hilarious.
So get comfy and get ready for some fun as we chat with Tawna today. Be sure to leave a comment or ask a question, because two copies of Making Waves will be given away. And you definitely want to win one, believe me. U.S. and Canada readers only, please.
So let’s chat!
DUCK CHAT: Welcome to The Good, the Bad and the Unread, Tawna. Let’s start with something a little different. Instead of the usual “tell us about yourself question,” what’s the one thing your fans would be surprised to learn about you?
TAWNA FENSKE: Despite what you may have heard, I do occasionally wear clothes when I write.
DC: I’ve heard writers often say their stories take them in surprising directions, or dialogue flows from some unknown place. Is it the same with you? Do your characters surprise you sometimes?
TF: I’m not a writer who plots things out in advance, so every book is one giant series of surprises for me. This is a big part of what keeps me interested. The few times I’ve tried to plan stories ahead of time, I quickly lose interest.
DC: Do you ever argue with your characters while you’re writing? Who usually wins?
TF: I have a heavy pancake turner and killer ninja moves. Plus I can murder any character who pisses me off.
DC: Since you’re celebrating your debut book, let’s ask a same old, tired question, because most readers like to hear the answer to this one – where were you when you got “the call” about Making Waves and what was your first reaction?
TF: I had a rather long road to publication (you can read the details here), so I’ll admit that when my agent called in February 2010 with news of my three-book romantic comedy deal with Sourcebooks, my first reaction was, “It’s about damn time.” The call actually came just a couple hours before the monthly meeting of the book club I’ve belonged to for more than ten years, so it was a good chance to celebrate with lots of champagne and women who’ve supported me through the long process.
DC: What is sure to distract you from sitting down and working/writing?
DC: Which fictional character would you like to hang out with?
TF: Naked or clothed? Either way, I think I’d like to spend a day with Jamie from Diana Gabaldon’s epic Outlander series. Naked would be preferable.
DC: Let’s talk about Making Waves. I have to say, I laughed quite a bit throughout this book. Alex and Juli are terrific together. Would you tell our readers about them and how their story came about?
TF: The story started brewing in my brain on a sailing trip around Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, though at that point it was the equivalent of “Wow, men on boats are kinda hot.” The plot didn’t come together in my mind until the economy tanked and tons of people around me started getting laid off. I began mulling the crazy lengths people might go to if they were unfairly sacked by a shady employer. A high seas diamond heist organized by the four most unlikely pirates on the planet seemed like a good start.
DC: Did the story evolve the way you originally envisioned?
TF: I try not to envision too much beforehand so I can just let the story carry me where it wants to go, so in that sense, yes.
DC: What advice would you give to your younger self?
TF: Don’t be so hard on yourself when it comes to productivity. Then my younger self and older self would both snicker over “hard on” and “comes.”
DC: What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever learned by Googling your name?
TF: I google myself constantly, so – wait, isn’t this kind of a personal question?
DC: Is there a WIP you might be able to give us a sneak peek into? Please?
TF: I have a three-book contract with Sourcebooks for my romantic comedies, so Making Waves is only the first. The second is scheduled for March 2012 and stars a heroine who is the skeptical daughter of a renowned psychic who finds herself forced to fill her mom’s shoes for a bit. Here’s a brief description of that:
Violet McGinn doesn’t believe in psychic powers. That’s one thing she has in common with Drew Watson, the disturbingly attractive owner of the bar/male strip club adjacent to Miss Moonbeam’s Psychic Pservices. There’s just one problem – Miss the psychic studio. Moonbeam is Violet’s mother. And for the next few weeks, Violet has agreed to fill mom’s shoes at the psychic studio.
DC: If you were a book, what would your blurb be?
TF: Made me laugh out loud, while also giving me that warm, tingly feeling my health teacher told me about.
DC: What would your “voice’s” tagline be?
TF: The tagline for my book is actually a pretty apt tagline for my voice, which is “normal may be nice, but weird is wonderful.”
TF: Jennifer Crusie is one of my all-time favorite romantic comedy authors, and I adore her novel, Welcome to Temptation. I love anything by Kristan Higgins, particularly Just One of the Guys. I also adore Lani Diane Rich and am absolutely DYING to get my hands on the new book she’s written as Lucy March titled A Little Night Magic.
DC: If you had never become an author, what do you think you would be doing right now?
TF: I would like to be a pirate. Or an undertaker. Or a Stormtrooper.
DC: What’s on the horizon for Tawna Fenske?
TF: A big glass of Chianti. Probably two.
– Dark or milk chocolate – Dark.
– Smooth or chunky peanut butter – Chunky
– Heels or flats – Barefoot
– Coffee or tea – Tea
– Summer or winter – Summer
– Mountains or beach – Beach
– Mustard or mayonnaise – Mayo
– Flowers or candy – Flowers
– Pockets or purse – Purse
– Pepsi or Coke – Iced tea
– eBook or print – Couldn’t live without either!
And because we still enjoy the answers we get:
1. What is your favorite word? – grope, shudder, gasp…um, I’m seeing a pattern here.
2. What is your least favorite word? – Vein, artery (I have a serious needle phobia)
3. What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally? – Sorry, I’m getting hung up on the “what turns you on” part of this question and all I can think of is men’s hands. Big, strong, skilled…give me a minute here.
4. What turns you off creatively, spiritually or emotionally? – Whiny, negative naysayers or people stuck in perpetual victim mode. Get out of my way so I can commence with doing whatever it is you say can’t be done.
5. What sound or noise do you love? – Popcorn bouncing around in my air-popper, my dog sighing in her sleep, my mom humming while she performs mundane household tasks, friends cracking up over a shared joke, rain pattering on my back deck when my window is open on a warm summer night, a hot guy singing cheerfully in the kitchen while cooking me breakfast, birds chirping in the morning, a favorite song I haven’t heard for years that randomly pops up on my iPod, any combination of moans, sighs, or pleasure-prompted gasps (I should specify that’s only when I intend to elicit that response from someone, though I do enjoy a good prank call as much as the next girl), water in almost any form, from a rushing river to ocean waves to the taps running in my tub.
6. What sound or noise do you hate? – I hate silence. I can’t stand to be in a quiet room, and I can’t stand writing unless there’s music playing.
7. What is your favorite curse word? – Is this a trick question? Am I really allowed to say this here? In my books, there’s always power in the f-word, particularly when spoken by my heroine. In real life, I love the shock-value of the c-word. You’re sorry you asked now, aren’t you?
8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? – I want to be the person who drives the compacter at the landfill – that big thing with the spikes on the wheels to crush garbage.
9. What profession would you not like to do? – I would be a lousy nun.
10. If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates? – “Damn, girl – you’ve been cracking me up for years!”
DC: Tawna, thank you spending the day with us! It was a blast.