Today, for my final CandyHearts installment, I’m introducing you to author C.J.Fosdick. CJ was nice enough to agree to be interviewed by me and suffer through my long list of questions! Stick around because after the interview she’s got alittle sumthin’ sumthin; for your from her Candy Hearts release, HOT STUFF.
CJ – The Writer
- What drives you to write? Perspiration, Inspiration and Deadlines! When I’m not hit by holidays and other distractions, I “drive” with my laptop. With an empty nest and horse barn now, I hope to become a writing tornado, mobilized by readers who loved my debut novel and can’t wait for the sequel! Deadlines are also a good fire starter. Working with WR editors between assignments from a local magazine always brings the deadline deal home!
- What genre(s) of Romance do your write, and why? Historicals so far. I may have a reincarnated soul; I’ve always been curious about the past and there’s never a shortage of stories to research about any era. All costume dramas—and even living history sites—grab and inspire me. We can learn so much from the resourceful lives and crisis’s our ancestors faced. But stopping at one genre is like eating only potatoes at every meal. I also love writing romantic comedy and suspense. ALL my books will have some history/mystery/romance and a thread of humor in them—multi genres to be sure.
- What genre(s) of Romance do you read, and why? Reading historicals is like armchair time travel. International settings, colorful dramas, rich dialects always make me think about our ancestors, how resourceful and tough they were with a lot less than we have, and how their values relate to us today. As a teen, I read a lot of mysteries and suspense and later became a fan of Robin Cook, Anne Rice and Sue Grafton’s books. I also loved romances by the late Kathleen Woodiwiss. Today I’ll read romantic suspense and contemporary romance if it isn’t too dark and serious.
- What’s your writing schedule? Do you write every day? In small undisciplined ways, yes. Every email, tweet, newsletter or Facebook post is an exercise in writing. When I’m rolling with my new novel, I am in another writing zone entirely. I can write for 8 hours without moving much more than my fingers. I might even skip eating if the hubster didn’t fix me snacks and protein drinks.
- Give us a glimpse of the surroundings where you write. I write on my laptop in a far corner of the living room by large windows with an outside view on two sides. My comfy upholstered wing rocker has been in the family for nearly 50 years. It’s been recovered twice. Once, after I was shocked to learn my children referred to it as “the booger chair.” Let your imagination run!
- Are you the kind of writer who needs total quiet to compose, or are you able to filter out the typical sounds of the day and use your tunnelvision? I concentrate better with few distractions, and hate phone interruptions. We live in a super-insulated house surrounded by acres of woods so we don’t even hear wind or rain.
- Do you listen to music while you write, and if so, what kind? I love a background of instrumental easy listening, Enya, or light classical with the volume low. There are also some great movie soundtracks that curry memories…and envy. I can especially imagine my sweeping historicals with that kind of visualization, someday. Grin.
- How did you come up with the plotline/idea for your current WIP? I fell in love with Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series a few years ago. Her unique time-travel historic theme has to resound with history buffs, and the robust romance of two very strong characters is a multi-genre feast. Her writing is well-researched, intelligent and often lyrical. Time-travel is a great way to compare civilizations and provide instant conflict. I became more of a Gabaldon fan after meeting Diana twice at Historical Writer Conferences, and found her very accessible. She was touched when I put her in my novel’s dedication. She even offered to read for me when I developed laryngitis at the Denver Conference last June.
- Which comes first for you – character or plot? And why? Depends on the romance. With a historical or mystery, plot becomes naturally paramount. With a contemporary, a strong character has to carry the story. Strong characters, however, seem to take over my plots and sometimes even wake me up at night with their conversations. (I keep a notepad and pen at my bedside.)
- What 3 words describe you, the writer? Curious, Creative, Capricious.
CJ – The Person
Tell us one unusual thing about yourself – not related to writing! I am passionate about horses and most animals. We had horses for years that my daughters competed with and over 15 summers, I gave riding lessons to 60 kids. We even took in rescue horses, dogs, cats, and trained two wild Mustangs. I’m currently training dozens of wild deer with a bell and cracked corn. Can’t get enough pictures and videos of them at our feeding stations twenty feet from our kitchen window!
- Who was your first love and what age were you? The neighborhood paper boy. Both of us were 15.
- If you could relive one day, which one would it be? Think GROUNDHOG DAY, the movie for this one – you’ll have to live it over and over and… I usually look forward to the celebration of every new day. It would be fun, however, to take my best day writing and live that over and over—if it didn’t produce the same manuscript.
- Do you like a guy in boxers, briefs, or commando? I’ll take a tall, trim, thoughtful guy any day, in any of the three.
- If you had to give up one necessary-can’t-live-without-it beauty item, what would it be? I can do without the “dewy” look! Mascara makes my eyes water.
- What three words describe you, the person? Fun, Emotional, Creative.
- If you could sing a song with Jimmy Fallon, what would it be? “Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off” (No really, this IS an old song from a classic Fred Astaire movie!)
- If you could hang out with any literary character from any book penned at any time line, who would it be, why, and what would you do together? Scarlett O’Hara and we would sow field oats instead of cotton and redecorate Tara after the Civil War—after convincing Rhett Butler to pay for it all.
Bonus round–I love the Actor’s Studio show on Bravo, so this is my version of it:
- Favorite sound? Babies laughing or birds chirping. Same thing?
- Least favorite sound? Whiny, jabboring people—of all ages.
- Best song every written — A tie: John Lennon’s “Imagine” or Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You.”
- Worst song ever written — Was “Ninety-nine Bottles of Beer on the Wall” even written down?
- Favorite actor and actress—Right now it is Sam Heughan and Caitriona Balfe from the Starz Outlander series. But Aiden Turner gives Sam competition in the wonderful PBS series, Poldark.
- Who would you want to be for 1 day and why? ( It can be anyone living or dead) I’d love to be Diana G. to get tips on how an international best-selling author (26 million books) balances fame, family and…gets anywhere on time.
- What turns you on? Besides a great review, a movie or book with a great love scene.
- What turns you off? Negative, unkind, sarcastic people.
- Give me the worst 5 words ever heard on a first date—Want to meet my mother?
- What’s your version of a perfect day? Riding bareback on my late white Arabian on a sandy beach with turquoise water, followed by a spa massage package and a seafood dinner at a seaside café with either Aidan or Sam! All with the blessing of my dear hubby. Oh wait, that was my laughing-gas-fantasy when I got a root canal!
Anything Else?: I knew when Rhonda announced the premise for the Candy Heart line, I HAD to have the slogan, “Hot Stuff” to play with the double meaning. This was where character and plot coincide. The rookie cop who comes to investigate a simple theft (hot stuff), turns out to be pretty hot himself, in the eyes of a klutzy, single slogan writer with a brother who has Asperger’s and a penchant for “collecting” neighborhood lawn statuary. I have a couple friends with autistic sons who handle the syndrome with amazing grace and a balance of humor. Inspiration for my heroine and her cookie-bribing grandmother.
Hot Stuff takes on double meaning when klutzy Kate is faced with rookie cop Dallas looking for a stolen lawn statue. In her quiet, crime-free Wisconsin village, Kate has her hands full writing slogans for candy hearts and keeping her kleptomaniac brother with Asperger’s Syndrome inside the law. Even her grandmother’s famous snickerdoodle cookies can’t ameliorate the crime when a stolen lawn statue turns out to be a drug dispenser. Will Kate rise above her concern of what Dallas’s uniform represents and admit the charming Texas rookie is the man of her dreams?
“Over the years, we’ve learned some lawn décor Evan brought home belonged to that category you call a 10-99…er…some might call it this.” He finally smiled when I pulled a handful of candy hearts from my pocket and singled out the one that read Hot Stuff.
“Billington knows about all this?”
“Certainly. Our neighbors are aware of this, too. When something goes missing, they usually show up here first to see if it’s planted in his garden. If they can identify it, we simply have a custody exchange, then mollify my brother with a trip to a local garden shop for some kind of a replacement.” I popped a candy heart into my mouth and offered him one after flicking a strand of cat fur off the KissMe heart.
He screwed up his face, clearing his throat. “Valentine candy in July?”
“I won a six-month supply after writing new imprints for the company. The candy has a long shelf life,” I added.
He declined my offer.
“That was one of my slogans. The candy boss wanted something modern. You Know was another one. Kids today can’t get through a sentence without sprinkling it with ‘you know’.”
He studied me with a lopsided grin. “Why didn’t Billington tell me all this?”
“I don’t think he knows I write slogans and ads.”
He pulled on his ear. “I mean about your brother stealing yard ornaments.”
“Oh well, I suspect Evan’s fancy may be an inside joke at the precinct.”
Born and raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, CJ Fosdick has freelanced for over 30 years, writing stories and articles for local and national publications. She has stories published in three anthologies, including Minnesota’s Blossoms & Blizzards. Her debut novel is The Accidental Wife published in 2015. She pursues her novel dreams on a wooded country hilltop in Rochester, MN, with husband, family, and a menagerie of wild and domestic animals. Follow her on…