Friday, January 6, 2017

Interview with romantic suspense author Maren Bradley Anderson

Romantic suspense author Maren Bradley Anderson is here today to chat about her Western romance, Fuzzy Logic.

Maren Bradley Anderson is a writer, teacher and alpaca rancher in Oregon. She teaches English at Western Oregon University and novel writing to new authors. She fills her days caring for alpacas, playing with her kids, and reading books that make her laugh. Her novel, Fuzzy Logic, was released in 2015 by Black Opal Books, and her adaptation of A Midsummer Night’s Dream for children was performed in July 2015. Her poetry has appeared in The Timberline Review.

Welcome, Maren. Please tell us about Fuzzy Logic.
In short, it’s a romance set on an alpaca farm. Here’s a blurb:

After divorcing her unfaithful husband, Meg Taylor buys an alpaca ranch to finally do something on her own. Almost as soon as she arrives, she meets not one, but two, handsome—and baffling—men. She thinks choosing between the shy veterinarian and her charming securities co-worker is her biggest problem, until life and death on the ranch make her re-evaluate more than her love life. At least her new life is nothing like her old one.

What inspired you to write this book?
To tell the story of the origin of this book, you need to know a little of my own back story.
Over a decade ago, my husband and I bought some land and were looking for some livestock. I wanted horses because I’m a girl and have the “I want a horse” gene. But Charles wanted something different. We thought about llamas, but then we went to an alpaca show and fell in love.

Alpacas are smaller than llamas and are bred for their warm fleece. They look like a cross between a giraffe and a Tribble from Star Trek, and they have very cat-like personalities. And they hum like Zen monks.

When I was looking for an idea for another book, I realized at some point that I had read lots of romance books that were centered on horses and horse ranches, but I’d never read one about an alpaca ranch. Voila!

Almost everything that happens to Meg on the alpaca farm (that’s alpaca-related) came from something that happened to us on the farm. But the book was just an epiphany.
Chick Lit on an Alpaca Farm! Thunderbolt!

Most of my ideas don’t come that easily, but I’m glad that one did. 

Excerpt from Fuzzy Logic by Maren Anderson:
He hadn’t said anything since we’d left the barn. I replayed the events leading up to me sitting in the hostile air of the truck.
My heart sank when I remembered the image of Evan in my frilly pink robe holding coffee in my driveway.
“Cody?” I said when I couldn’t stand the silence any longer. “Are you mad?”
He glanced at me, his eyes flashing. “Why would I be mad?” he growled.
“He just kind of showed up last night,” I said.
“Don’t,” he said. “I don’t want to know.”
“I just want to tell you that I’ve been thinking about you, us—”
“And he just showed up and spent the night last night. I hear you.” Cody swung around a corner so forcefully that I gathered the baby alpaca more tightly into my arms to keep it from sliding.
“Please, give me another chance,” I said. “I’m not ready to let you go.”
“But you’re not ready to let him go, either,” Cody said. Pain was sharp in his voice.
“Please,” I said. “Give me whatever time limit you want.” I was afraid to touch him, so I clutched the baby animal to my chest and hoped.
He glared at me again, but his eyes softened before he looked back at the road. He made a turn into a parking lot and turned off the key. He turned to me and looked into my eyes. “A week,” he said. “One torturous week, and I’m done.”
I nodded, afraid breathing would break this reprieve.

What exciting story are you working on next?
The prequel to Fuzzy Logic. 

Bigger projects include a book based on the Lilith myth (she was Adam’s first wife before they were thrown out of Eden), and a medical thriller film or TV show. 

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Always. I’ve been telling myself bedtime stories since I can remember, and I wrote my first “book” when I was 9. However, I didn’t take it seriously until after my first child was born. Nothing like a baby to make you realize that 1) time is not infinite and 2) if you have any dreams, they have to actually be acted upon if you are to realize them. 

Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
I keep thinking I’d like to write full time, but I actually like teaching at the university. 

I find time to write by doing it first. I try to write an hour each weekday BEFORE I grade or do anything else work-related. That way, when I’m exhausted, melted in front of the TV after the kids are in bed, I can watch my mindless shows without any guilt. 

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I like to write fast. I normally write first drafts in a month or so. The drafts are terrible and I usually have to work months to get the next drafts to where I like them. I love writing fast because it frees me to work on story and keeps me from getting bogged down in the little stuff. 

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
This. I wanted to be a writer and a professor. Granted, I’m an adjunct and a baby writer, but here I am. 

For a while, I wanted to be a veterinarian. Then I realized the gross things they actually do. Now I write about the gross things they do. And I only have to take one shower a day. :) 

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
Keep an eye out for the prequel to Fuzzy Logic, and also for my new book Closing the Store. It’s the story of a woman who runs for President, and then accidentally calls a sex strike. 


Thanks for being here today, Maren!

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