Saturday, July 9, 2011

MJ Fredrick Talks About Her Summer Book Releases

By Trish Milburn

Today, we welcome author MJ Fredrick back to the Lair to talk about her million...oh, sorry, I got a little carried away...her two new book releases.

You have two new titles out this summer. First, let's talk about Midnight Sun. Tell us about this story.

Oh, Midnight Sun. The book that took me YEARS to figure out. Midnight Sun is the story of a cruise chef who’s running away from her problems who encounters a man who’s been exiled because of his. They have a one-night stand, and she discovers his family owns the cruise line where she works! She tries to stay professional, and almost manages, before the ship is overrun by pirates in the isolated waters of the Southern Ocean. Then she has to depend on this man with his bad-boy reputation to keep her and the other passengers safe.

I loved writing Marcus, my bad boy former Olympic snowboarder with no ambition. He had to grow up fast on this cruise, when he realizes he’s the guy in charge. Brylie was fun, too, because she was kinda uptight. I love when an uptight character falls for one who’s so laid back.

The book is set in Antarctica, which I find fascinating. What drew you to this setting?

I was watching the Travel Channel late one night and saw a show about cruises to Antarctica. I was absolutely fascinated, but I’m also a big chicken and knew I’d never go. I started doing research, thinking about how I could work a romance into this setting. I started it several times, even finished another version of it, but nothing worked for me. One of my critique partners said she envisioned it as “Die Hard on a ship.” And that fired me up.

You write wonderful action adventure romances. Are you a fan of them as a reader as well? If so, who are some of your favorite action adventure romance authors?

Aww, thanks! Yes, they’re my favorite genre to read. I loved Fight or Flight by Natalie Damschroder, and Evelyn Vaughn’s Bombshells, and Cherry Adair, and Cindy Gerard, and I’d say Nora’s last couple were as much action-adventure as suspense.

What action adventure romance movies have you enjoyed?

Romancing the Stone, of course, and Zorro. Old ones like The African Queen really show the characters overcoming their travails together. I was one of the few who liked Knight and Day, which was kind of like Mr. and Mrs. Smith, which I also loved. I loved the romantic element in Speed and Last of the Mohicans. I would have loved to see Fool’s Gold be—better, and Sahara, too. I would have loved more romance in Die Hard and the Tomb Raider movies. I mean, yeah, Gerard Butler, but that ending, come on!

Your other new title this summer is Something to Talk About, a different type of story. Tell us about it.

When I was writing this book, I called it The Book That I Love. It was my first straight romance in ages. I was high on my Jeffrey Dean Morgan crush, and I’d been reading the Virgin River series and watching a lot of Gilmore Girls, so I wanted a small town love story. The story of Ellie, the small-town waitress who falls in love with her best friend’s somber widower, just flowed. I had a few misfires and had to backtrack, then I wrote it too long and had to cut it down, then added more depth, but I loved every minute of writing it. It’s different, though. One of my critique partners wrote that she was waiting for the gun ships to come over the cliff.

You write different kinds of stories. We writers sometimes hear that we should pick a type of story and stick with it, but I personally find that difficult because I have story ideas for lots of different types of stories. Are you the same? Do you think this actually benefits you as a writer?

I don’t know about benefits. For example, if you enjoyed my historical, Sunrise Over Texas, and you go looking for more of my historicals, well, I haven’t written any yet. (I have ideas, though, boy howdy.) I wrote one little paranormal novella, but my mind just doesn’t bend that way. I love writing for different genres, though. It makes the writing feel fun and fresh.

You're one of the busiest and most prolific writers I know. What releases do you have coming up next?


August 8, A Ghostly Charm, my one and only paranormal novella, will come out from The Wild Rose Press.

October 24, 3 Days, 2 Nights, a contemporary novella about an estranged couple stranded on a deserted island, will be out from Carina Press.

December 6 (I think), my next novel, Guarded Hearts, about a Texas Congresswoman whose life is threatened so her father hires her a hot bodyguard, will be out from Lyrical Press. 2011 has been a good year for me!

What are you working on now?

I’m working on book 2 of my first trilogy, about a dying resort town trying to find its way out of the recession, and the romances that spring up as they figure things out. I just got back from Minnesota, where I was inspired to write this last summer. This time I did more research. I’m loving this series, but book 2 has been quite the challenge. I hope it pays off.

Thanks for being with us here in the Lair today, MJ. Okay, everyone, MJ writes lots of different types of books -- action adventure romance, straight contemporary romance, paranormal. She's even done an award-winning historical set in frontier Texas. What is your favorite type of romance? And are you a fan of action adventure romances? If so, what are some of your favorites.


Beth Andrews said...

Welcome back to the lair, MJ! Both of your latest releases sound wonderful! And Jeffrey Dean Morgan? You are a woman after my own heart *g* Loved me some Papa Winchester ;-)

I love most all sub-genres of romance but I have to admit, contemporary, small town romances where the h/h's inner conflicts create the most problems.

Looking forward to Midnight Sun and Something To Talk About and all your future releases :-)

Beth Andrews said...

Yay! The GR is mine! All mine! Must be he's the perk for working on a Saturday morning. First thing I'm going to have him do is make a run to the post office. He can drive, can't he?

Joan said...

Good morning MJ! Welcome back to the Lair!

Wow, I am totally stoked that you found such a unique setting for a book! Go you and Antartica!!

(Just another affirmation that romance can be found any where, any time!)

Can't wait to read Marcus and Brylie's story!

MJFredrick said...

Thanks so much for having me! And yes, I LOVE Jeffrey Dean Morgan. I have him cast in another story idea. He's just so...manly!

I tell you, I had a rough time with the inner conflicts driving the story after writing so much where the outer conflicts do! I admire you for writing such great stories!

Have fun at the post office ;)

Deb said...

Congrats on your latest releases, MJ! Romances set in a cold climate mean more snuggling, right? ;)

It has been quite a long time since I've read a contemp because I've been reading the historical romance genre. I look forward to getting MS because the setting is so unique.

Are you still teaching full-time? I read Percy and the Lightning Thief to my kids after you told me last year you read it to your 4th graders. I liked it, but they were kind of duds about it. Oh, well. Enjoy what's left of your summer. The countdown is beginning....

MJFredrick said...

Thanks, Joan! Yes, I thought it was a fun setting. It took me awhile to find the right story to tell there, though.

Deb, sorry your kids didn't get into Percy. My class this year wanted younger books, like Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing and Gooney Bird. I won't get to read anymore, though, because this year I'm going back to music! I'm excited!

And yes, lots of cuddling in cold climates ;) The layers of clothing make it less sexy, but once the layers are peeled away...body heat!

Donna MacMeans said...

Hi MJ!

Your stories sound so exciting. Love "Die Hard on a cruise ship." Talk about high concept!

I do admire your productivity. What are your secrets? I have a tough time with one book a year much less three.

As for fav genre, I do love historical - obviously - and my TBR pile is overflowing with them. But I'm currently reading a contemporary action adventure and love mysteries and a good well-written small town book. I'm a fan of light paranormal as well (not so much into the dark stuff). Kudos to you for following your muse and trying different genres.

MJFredrick said...

Donna, I get up VERY early and try to get at least 2 pages done before I go to work. My goal during the school year is 1000 words a day. This summer, I've tried to double it. That said, I've only finished one book this year. I maaaayyy have had a bit of burn-out!

I love historicals, too, and right now, I'm reading a steampunk that is just amazing with its world building!

Minna said...

My favorite is paranormal romance.

Enigma - Beyond the Invisible [HQ]

Michael Bublé - Hollywood (OFFICIAL Video)

MJFredrick said...

Hi, Minna! I have to admit, my paranormal TBR shelf is the smallest. I have a few series started that I enjoyed, but I'm more likely to pick up another book first.

Beth Andrews said...

Thanks, MJ! I admire you right back. I have such a hard time with external conflicts and trying to weave it all together.

Forgot to mention that my younger daughter and I saw Knight and Day and we liked it, too! Thought it was very cute. Also liked Killers though that may be because I really find Ashton Kutcher very likable in his films :-)

Beth Andrews said...

I read Percy and the Lightning Thief to my kids after you told me last year you read it to your 4th graders.

Hey, Deb! My sister teaches 4th grade and I told her about The Lightning Thief books *g* She liked them but I'm not sure what the kids thought. I'll ask her at lunch today.

MJFredrick said...

Beth, I thought Knight and Day was fun! Killers, I didn't like as much, though I loved Ashton's movie with Natalie Portman. The name escapes me right now. Not one to watch with your daughter, though!

Deb said...

@Beth---I've been sticking with the older books for my 5th graders like On My Honor, Dork in Disguise, The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, The War With Grandpa, Shadow on the Snow, Blind Flight, etc. I'm curious to know what your sister says. :) With the class coming up this next year, I may be writing a book titled THE TEACHER WHO PULLED OUT HER HAIR...Yeah, tough class coming up.

MJFredrick said...

Deb, I know JUST what you mean. I thought this last class would be easier than the one before it. Nope. Not only was their discipline horrid, they were lowwww. I had real trouble reaching them. Good luck this year!

Caren Crane said...

Beth, what in the world will you do with the GR today? I am nervous for you!

MJ, it's always a huge delight to have you with us. I can empathize with the genre hopping, since I do the same thing. I have some great ideas for books that I don't think I could quite pull off without a boatload of research - and maybe some research trips. *g*

Personally, I love all different sorts of stories: historical, contemporary, romantic suspense, thrillers, straight mysteries, science fiction, paranormal. As long as it's a great story, I don't play favorites! I sort of cycle through different genres at different times. When I tire of one, I move along to the next.

I think one of my favorites, though, is the romantic historical murder mystery with a hint of paranormal, like Elizabeth Peters' Amelia Peabody mysteries or our own Donna MacMeans' The Trouble With Moonlight. Deanna Raybourn's Lady Jane Grey mysteries fit the bill, as does Liz Carlyle's latest series from Avon, which includes One Touch of Scandal and The Bride Wore Scarlet (out this summer). Such fun to read, but I could never write one in a million years!

I think it takes a very organized brain to keep up with all those details!

Caren Crane said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Caren Crane said...

Sorry, MJ! It posted my comment twice for some reason, so I deleted one. It wasn't that interesting. : )

MJFredrick said...

Caren, I cycle through, too. I have my physical bookshelves and my Nook shelves sorted by genre, and I'll hop from one to another (except now, I'm on a contemp romance kick on the Nook. I've read 4 books in a row with the word "summer" in the title!)

Caren Crane said...

MJ, when I first got my Kindle (long ago in May!), my son loaded George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series. I blew through those, which sort of burned me out on fantasy for a while. Of course, the fifth book will auto-load on my Kindle on Tuesday, so I'm sure I'll be back on it in a heartbeat!

I also set up genre folders to organize my Kindle books. There are 4 suspense books waiting to be read. Trish's Living In Color got read right away, along with another contemporary. It's a handy way to feed an addiction. : )

Jane said...

Welcome MJ,
Congrats on the new releases. I do enjoy action adventure romances. I love Zoe Archer's the Blades of the Rose series.

Beth Andrews said...

I didn't like as much, though I loved Ashton's movie with Natalie Portman. The name escapes me right now. Not one to watch with your daughter, though!

LOL! I think that's No Strings Attached? My older daughter watched it and said it had quite a few sex scenes.

Beth Andrews said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Beth Andrews said...

Deb, my sister loved The Lightning Thief but doesn't read it to her class. She was impressed you did since it's so long *g* And she didn't have any kids at a high enough reading level this past year to read it on their own. She had a tough year *g*

She often reads Fever 1793 which I LOVE. Great book.

Beth Andrews said...

Beth, what in the world will you do with the GR today? I am nervous for you!

I've been keeping him very busy in the hopes of him staying out of trouble *g* Right now he's out watching Victorious with my daughter and eating Doritos. It's a tough life here :-)

Helen said...

Beth what are you going to do with the GR today make him work I say


You are one very busy Lady and the book sounds really good my favourite genre will probably always be historical but in saying that I really enjoy all the genres these days and action ones are fantastic I love Cindy Gerard's and Pamela Clare's books.

Congrats on the releases and thanks Trish for inviting MJ along today

Have Fun

MJFredrick said...

Thanks, Jane!

Beth, yes, quite a few love scenes. It would have made a very good Blaze.

Helen, thanks! I have read a lot of Cindy Gerard, and Pamela Clare's latest series has me intrigued. LOVE the covers!

Tami Brothers said...

Okay! You got me. Just bought Midnight Sun! Can't wait to dive in.

Best of luck with that second book in your trilogy. I'll have to go check that one out, too.


MJFredrick said...

Thanks so much, Tami! I hope you enjoy it! I sure loved writing it.

flchen1 said...

Waving a belated hi to MJ! :)

marybelle said...

My favorite has always been, and no doubt will always be, Historical Romances. I read ALL romance genres though & enjoy.