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MaryJanice Davidson | Exclusive Interview: BEARS BEHAVING BADLY

April 2, 2020

1–What’s the name of your latest release? 

 You’ll never guess–it’s BEARS BEHAVING BADLY! Can you believe it? I’ll bet you had no idea, despite the title being plastered all over the promo materials. You must be so surprised! I’m surprised, and I wrote the thing. (Yeah, buckle in. I’m ridiculous.) 

2–What is it about? 

It’s about a foster care system for shapeshifting minors, the people who work there, and the vulnerable shifters in their charge. We know t here’s a dark web, a deep web, a super-duper secret web, a fifth column, a shadow government, black market cheese, and underground wrestling, so why not a foster care system set up for vulnerable and/or dangerous minors? And not just any minors: shapeshifters. And not just shapeshifters: traumatized shifters who would be incredibly dangerous to others even without the PTSD.   

Like any underground organization, it runs parallel (but unnoticed) beside the foster care system for Stables (Shifter slang for ordinary bipeds like me and thee). And while weres only make up a small percentage of the population, that’s still a lot of orphans to keep track of. And because life isn’t complicated enough, while my characters are going about the business of saving vulnerable shifter juveniles, hanging over their heads at all times is the constant fear of discovery by the wider world of homo sapiens, the most rapacious predators in the history of the planet. 

3–What word best describes your heroine?  

Hungry. Annette Garsea is hungry for anything and everything: food, justice, love, a properly mixed Bloody Mary that is not desecrated with celery…

4–What makes your hero irresistible? 

He’s gone on the heroine; he’s been completely crushing on her for two years. David Auberon has an appetite to match the heroine’s, with a sweet tooth so intense, just reading what he drinks will give your dentist a headache. And then there’s the fact that the second he realizes Annette is in real danger, he sticks his neck out with no fear for his own safety. Also, he’s got a baritone that’ll make the hair on your arms stand up…in a good way.

5–Who are the people your main characters turn to when they need help? 

David and Annette have few options; they’re after some vile child traffickers and there’s a good chance someone in their agency is working with the bad guys. So they (reluctantly) turn to Annette’s partner, Nadia Faulkner, a raptor with brilliant blue eyes, wit like a razor, and who, in her spare time, works on setting up David with Annette. And there’s Mama Mac, Annette’s foster mother, who lives in a purple house on the edge of the woods, and whose love and pride in Annette are enormous. And then there’s Dev, a 12-year-old werefox whose hobbies include picking locks and sticking his snout into other people’s business. Nobody asked for his help, but he’s gonna jump in anyway. Head first, natch. 

6–What do you love about the setting of your book? 

It’s exciting to write about a secret world only 3% of the population knows about. And I like the idea of merging the practical (vulnerable children need a place of safety), with the fantastic (they’re all werewolves, werebears, werefoxes, wereroos, werebadgers, etc.). I like writing about a typical romance heroine (devoted to her career), who happens to be a werebear (bite force of 1200 psi). I’ve always done that in my work, taken the ordinary and plunged it into madness (see: Queen Betsy of the  Undead series) and I’m thrilled that Sourcebooks is giving me the chance to do it again. Three chances!  Bears Behaving Badly is the first of a trilogy.  

7–Are you a plotter (follow an outline) or a pantster (write by the seat of your pants)?

I’m a pantser. While I stick with the general outline I pitch my editors (children in danger, adults who try to help also end up in danger while fighting their attraction to each other, bad guys get up to shenanigans), the details vary tremendously, and so do the characters. I had no idea I needed Mama Mac until I thought her up. And I didn’t know the awful details of the hero’s childhood until halfway in.   

8–What is an ideal writing day for you?   

I’m so fortunate as most days are ideal for me. I work from home, so I roll out of bed around 9:00 a.m. or so, take care of our dogs, have some tea and a light breakfast, and I’ve got the laptop open and I’m working by 10:00 or so. I take care of the business end first–answering reader mail, talking with my agent or editor, giving interviews, answering invitations to speak at conferences (spoiler: I almost always say yes!), mailing promo items to fans, sending ARCs to reviewers…like that.

The afternoon is spent editing what I wrote the day before and writing new material. Depending on my afternoon productivity, I hang it up around 4:00, but sometimes I’m at it until 9:00 or so. I love my job, so it never seems like work to me. And if I don’t get enough new words on the page, I itch. The only way to get rid of that itch is to write more. Stupid writing itch! 

9–Do you listen to music while you write, need total silence, or do you have the TV on?

When I’m in the office, I don’t need anything else. If I’m working in the living room, I’ll have cooking shows on in the background. Or re-runs of  Bob’s Burgers. All the Belchers are inspiring in their own way. 🙂 

10–How do you approach research? 

With all hands on deck! The internet is a great source, of course, but I’ll track down industry professionals and interview them (for example, I spoke with social workers and cops for  Bears Behaving Badly). I’ve lived in Massachusetts and Minnesota, where most of my books are set, and I always have my characters eat in real restaurants, so I make sure I’ve been to the restaurant in question. I was a foodie before it was trendy (and before “foodie” was a synonym for “annoying pseudo-culinary-intellectual”) so I love writing about food and my character always enjoy good meals.

For my upcoming historical fiction, A Contemporary Asshat at the Court of Henry VIII, I went to England to visit the Tower of London, Hever Castle, Westminster Abby, Windsor, etc. And I researched the food of the era that my heroine would have had to eat. I  love to research! 

11–What is your publishing journey story?  

I’ve been writing since I was 13, and started trying to get published when I was 20. This led to over a decade of rejection slips–I could have decorated my house in Rejection. But I was in the right place at the right time when I wrote UNDEAD AND UNWED–I’d given up on New York publishers and was pitching to e-book publishers two years before Twilight came out–and everything took off from there. The moral? Don’t quit. Yes, talent helps and luck can be a factor (Twilight made publishing houses hungry for all things vampire) , but the world’s full of people who want to be published authors, but aren’t. It takes discipline to keep plugging away in the face of rejection. Or stubbornness. Maybe both! Yeah, both. 

13–What’re the most frustrating things about being an author?  

Getting blamed for things beyond my control. A reviewer once gave my book one star because Amazon delivered it late. She liked the book, but was annoyed it didn’t show up overnight despite the fact that she paid for overnight shipping. I AM NOT IN CHARGE OF AMAZON’S SHIPPING DEPARTMENT.   

14–What’s your favorite scent?

Anything dessert related: vanilla, chocolate, sugar cookies, cinnamon rolls…mmm…cinnamon…  

15–What movie will you watch no matter what if it’s on TV?   

Ugh, this is embarrassing… She-Devil, starring Meryl Streep as a fantastically wealthy, famous, oblivious romance novelist, and Roseanne, as her nemesis. (My friends tease me about Streep’s character’s lifestyle.) And  Scrooged (it doesn’t even have to be December!). And  Up. And  The Evil Dead remake. Warned you it was embarrassing. 

16–Do you like breakfast, lunch, or dinner best? 

Stop it! That’s like asking to choose between my children! Or my dogs! I DIDN’T SIGN ON FOR THIS KIND OF STRESS, FRESH FICTION. 

17–What’s one thing you wish you knew more about?  

The Russian language. I’d love to learn how to speak it! And I have no excuse not to take classes, other than my chronic laziness. 

18–What’s the silliest thing you’ve recently done?

I had a showdown with a possum yesterday. We each declared the other the winner. 

19–What can readers expect from you next?   

Shenanigans of every sort! Also books. I just got the release date for the sequel to BBB… A Wolf After My Own Heart will be released February 2021! And later this spring, my first historical fiction novel, A Contemporary Asshat At The Court Of Henry VIII, will be out in May. And the last two books in my Sweetheart trilogy, The Love Scam, and Truth, Lies, & Second Dates, will be out this fall! (I like to keep busy.) 

20–How can readers reach you?

Reach me? They can’t ever escape me! I’m ubiquitous AF. You can find me on FB at https://www.facebook.com/maryjanicedavidson/, my website at maryjanicedavidson.org, and on Twitter and Instagram (@MaryJaniceD). If you want to book me for conferences or workshops, or you just wanna yell, you can catch me at contactmjd@comcast.net.

BEARS BEHAVING BADLY by MaryJanice Davidson

Bewere My Heart

Bears Behaving Badly

These social worker bear shifters give the term “mama bear” a whole new meaning! Bestselling author MaryJanice Davidson is back with this brand-new paranormal romance series featuring a foster care system for at-risk shifter babies and teens.

Werebear shifter Annette Garsea is a caseworker for the Interspecies Placement Agency. When a selectively mute and freakishly strong teen werewolf is put in her custody, Annette has to uncover the young girl’s secrets if she’s to have any hopes of helping her. And not even the growling of a scruffy private investigator can distract her from her mission…

Bear shifter David Auberon appreciates Annette’s work with at-risk teen shifters, but he’s not sure if her latest charge is so much a vulnerable teen as a predator who should be locked up. All that changes when he, Annette, and her motley band of juveniles find themselves dodging multiple murder attempts and uncovering a trafficking cartel that doesn’t just threaten the kids, but risks discovery of the shifters by the wider world of homo sapiens.

Romance Paranormal | Romance Suspense [Sourcebooks Casablanca, On Sale: March 31, 2020, Mass Market Paperback / e-Book, ISBN: 9781492697015 / eISBN: 9781492697022]

About MaryJanice Davidson

MaryJanice Davidson
MaryJanice Davidson has been credited with starting paranormal chick lit. She is the author of the Undead series and Me, Myself and Why? Her books have been listed on The New York Times and USA Today bestseller lists, and she lists her goals as “Working for world peace, figuring out how to make potstickers, and speaking at writer and reader conferences around the world.” She lives in Minnesota.

Undead | Insighter

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