We all know that writing contests can change your life – and not just by getting your work seen by editors and agents. Lasting friendships often develop among contest participants, probably because of all that shared pain and suffering we experience. As 2006 Golden Heart finalists, we Banditas were fortunate to develop a special bond that led to the creation of this blog. And a few years ago, through another contest, I was lucky enough to meet a judge who introduced me to Maureen Child, and an amazing and beautiful friendship was born.
I can honestly say that no one has taught me more about the business of publishing and no one has been more valuable in terms of improving my own writing style and process than my friend Maureen.
But enough about me! Let's meet this amazing writer!
With over 100 books and counting, Maureen Child is as prolific as she is versatile and talented, and she’s got five prestigious RITA nominations to prove it. She’s written Western historical paranormals under the name Kathleen Kane, and one of those, A POCKETFUL OF PARADISE, was made into the TV movie, THE SOUL COLLECTOR. Maureen has written warm and witty contemporary romances for St. Martin’s Press and she writes short, sexy romances for Silhouette Desire. Silhouette Senior Editor Melissa Jeglinski says, “Maureen Child is one of Desire’s most prolific and best-selling authors” and suggests that if you want to write for Desire, you should read Maureen Child.
This month, the second book in Maureen’s outrageously funny and very sexy Demon Duster series, A FIEND IN NEED, hits the bookstores and she’s here to talk about it. Welcome to the Lair, Maureen!
Maureen: Hi Kate! Hi, Banditas! Thanks for the warm welcome. It’s great to be here—and Kate, I’m just as glad you entered the OCC contest that year! Don’t know what I’d do without you!
Kate: Thanks, Maureen. Okay, to bring everyone up to date, in your first Demon Duster book, MORE THAN FIENDS, Cassidy Burke learns that she’s a hereditary Demon Duster. Soon she’s in training to kill demons but somehow gets intimately involved with one very hot, incredibly sexy Demon, then ultimately goes head-to-head with an all-powerful evil Demon Judge who’s made the mistake of kidnapping Cassidy’s daughter. Whew! Can you give us a sneak peek into book two, A FIEND IN NEED?
Maureen: Ah, life in La Sombra ... It’s been a month since Cassidy’s world got turned upside down, poor woman. And it’s not getting any easier. Her daughter’s father, Logan buys the house across the street from her—having him popping in and out all the time is not something Cass is looking forward to—her daughter Thea’s decided to give up being a math genius and become of all things ... a dreaded cheerleader. And finally, a gorgeous Faery arrives on her doorstep and tells her she’s the only one who can save him! Busy week.
Kate: Busy is the word for it. And by the way, Brady might just be the sexiest Faery ever. And he can cook! What’s not to love? So how in the world did you dream up these fabulous characters, especially Cassidy? Since you write such wild and funny paranormals, I guess my real question is [don’t groan] where do you get your out-of-this-world ideas?
Maureen: I’m groaning ... Actually, the best ideas are in the housewares department at Target—right behind the plastic tub aisle, bottom shelf. Okay, okay. Truth is, ideas aren’t a problem. I was the kid who was always in trouble for staring out a window during class time. Now, being paid to stare out windows ... oh, and type, is a great revenge.
Coming up with Cassidy was the easiest thing ever. She’s so much like me, it’s scary. She talks like me, eats like me ... she’s tidier than I am though and as far as I know, there aren’t any demons in my family. Although ... there is that one uncle ...
Kate: Snork! One thing I love about Cassidy—and your writing in general—is the humor you instill in your characters, especially your heroines. Cassidy is hilarious. There were too many laugh-out-loud scenes to mention them all, but I’ve got to say that your Cassidy eats more than any heroine I’ve ever read of. I guess demon-dusting burns up the calories, but I’ve got to confess I was starving by the time I finished the first book. And I fell on the floor laughing after reading the scene with her and her out-of-control washing machine. Seriously, do you have any words of wisdom for us writers when it comes to writing humor?
Maureen: Thanks for that, Kate! I try to get a real laugh out of my readers and when it even makes ME laugh, I know I’m on the right track. Sarcasm is my go-to humor. It’s just part of my world and good thing I like it so much, since my whole family are artistes in this area!
As for the eating, Cassidy, much like me, is a nibbler. She grazes all day. Her favorites, and mine, are Hershey’s Caramel Kisses and Brown Sugar and Cinnamon Pop Tarts. I like seeing a heroine chow down in times of stress, relaxation, boredom, happiness ... you get the idea. And the washing machine?? Well, who hasn’t idly wondered if ...
Kate: Hey now, this is a family blog.
Maureen: Sorry! But sometimes a washing machine is just a washing machine. Anyway, to write funny, you’d better enjoy reading funny. Find some really good, funny books in the genre you want to write and read ‘em all straight through. Hey, it’s research! And it’ll put you in the right mood to find your own funny bone.
Kate: I mentioned your versatility earlier. How do you switch gears and move from writing a 90,000-word hilarious paranormal one day to writing a 50,000-word passionate, sexy Desire the next?
Maureen: The true mother of inspiration is eating. This is how I make my living. As great as writing is, it’s still my job. So there are pages that have to be done, deadlines that have to be met ... and hair that has to be yanked out and tossed into the wind!
I do try to take a day or two off between books. I read whoever’s latest is out, relax a little and get my head out of the finished book and ready to jump into the next one.
Kate: Can you tell us what you’re working on now?
Maureen: Just finishing up a single title funny paranormal for NAL. It’s called BEDEVILED, and according to the good buddy who’s reading it ... it’s pretty funny! (thanks, Kate!)
BEDEVILED is about a woman who accidentally gets doused with the essence of Faery powers when she tries to get a demon to stop devouring her ex-boyfriend. No good deed goes unpunished ... because that faery essence is taking over her body, her life, her world. Soon, she’s got a gorgeous, pirate-looking Fae Warrior telling her that she’s the chosen one, meant to deliver Otherworld from evil Queen Mab—and an ugly, crabby pixie sleeping in her tree when he’s not training her how to use the powers she doesn’t even want.
Oh, and her sister’s been kidnapped. By a Demon? A Faery? Who knows?
And, another exciting thing for me this month is the release of BARGAINING FOR KING’S BABY. It’s the first in a trilogy from Silhouette Desire and it’s out this month, with the other two slated for April and May.
Kate: And I happen to know that BARGAINING FOR KING'S BABY has been number one on the Waldenbooks List for two weeks straight now! Fantastic! Thanks so much for visiting today, Maureen!
Maureen: Thanks for having me. I’m here all the time, though I usually lurk. It’s much brighter when you’re not tucked away in the shadows!
Maureen didn’t mention that her heroine Cassidy owns and operates her own house cleaning business, and as part of her Demon Duster arsenal, Cassidy’s got a liquid spray that vaporizes demons—AND leaves glass shiny and streak-free! Is that the greatest product ever invented or what?
If you could invent your own household product, what would it be and how would it work? And if you have a question for Maureen about her books or writing in general, ask away! TWO lucky commenters will win an autographed copy of A FIEND IN NEED for their very own!
And don't think we've forgotten that today is "The Call" day! We've got our fingers crossed that all our Banditas and friends will receive that phone call telling them that they've finalled in the Golden Heart or RITA contest! If you find out you're a finalist, let us know!! We've got champagne on ice and we're ready to start the party right here, right now!!