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Interview with MaryJanice Davidson

by Rhonda Wilson

Photo: MaryJanice Davidson


MaryJanice Davidson is the New York Times Best-Selling author for The Undead (aka Betsy the Vampire) series as well as The Fred the Mermaid series, The Wyndham Werewolf Series, The Gorgeous Series, and The Royal Series.  She also co-writes a young adult series with her husband, Anthony Alongi, called The Jennifer Scales Series.  Additionally you can find her work in many anthologies.

Monster Librarian has reviewed her latest Undead and Unwelcome and Fish out of Water.

RW: Hi MaryJanice.... thank you so much for taking the time out of your hectic writing and travel schedule to do this interview!

MJD:  Technically not a question, but I shall deign to answer:  you're welcome!  ;-)  Also, I am awesome.  In case you wanted to ask about that.

RW: Can you please tell our readers/librarians a little bit about yourself and how you got your start I the writing industry?

MJD:  Well, I'm a narcissist with soccer mom bangs and a penchant for strawberry Pez.  Also, I was an Air Force brat, so rather than make friends I'd have to leave in ten months, I wrote stories.  When I was finally in the same school for four!  Whole!  Years! I started sharing the stories.  I'd roll up to my locker and ten kids would be waiting for me, all asking the same question: what happens next?  What, like *I* knew?  But I got hooked on the "what happens next?" question.

So.  I wrote what happened next, and next, and next, and the next thing I knew, I was on the New York Times best seller list.  Okay.  It wasn't quite that seamless. But you get the jist.

RW: Who have been your writing inspirations throughout the years?

MJD:  Margaret Mitchell, Andrew Vacchs, Carl Hiaasen, Stephen King, Charlaine Harris, Lori Foster.  They've enchanted me with their world-building, characters, and dialogue.  Also their amazing book sales.

RW: Where did you get your idea for the Undead series featuring Betsy the vampire?

MJD:  I was pretty tired of running into the same basic vampire in the romance section:  the brooding, tortured, 500 year old titled European male who was eternally rich, young, and hung, bitching about how awful it was to be eternally rich, young, and hung.  Where were the plumber vampires?  Where was the secretary vampire who lived paycheck to paycheck (often because she was saving up for a pair of Manolos)?  Basically, I took advice from a writing colleague:  write what you can't find in the book store.  It's worked out well so far.  :-)

RW: Can you give us a sneak peek as to what you have in store for Betsy?

MJD:  Oh, sure.  I'm working on UNDEAD AND UNFINISHED right now, and Betsy ends up going through time with her sister, the AntiChrist (it's a complicated and weird family dynamic...don't get me started).  They end up seeing how Tina was turned, and why she turned Sinclair...and never tried to take power for herself.  They also overshoot and end up 5,000 years in the future, where Betsy meets her future self, and irritates the hell out of her future self.  It's been great fun, my favorite Betsy book so far.

RW: I've heard that the Mermaid series featuring Fred the mermaid is only going to be a trilogy. Is this true? And if so, will we ever learn any more about Fred?

MJD:  Yep, Fred was a trilogy, but you'll see more of her.  I'd like to do a Betsy/Fred team-up:  UNDEAD AND UNDERWATER.  And I'll still do mermaid novellas.

RW: Which of your series do you enjoy writing the most and why?

MJD:  The Undead books, and my new series for St. Martins, ME, MYSELF, AND WHY.  It's about an FBI agent with multiple personality disorder.  You know, because I'm incapable of writing about a garden variety FBI agent.

RW: Out of all your series, do you have a favorite character? If so, why do you choose that particular character?

I like Betsy a lot, and Fred.  I just love that Fred is a grumpy mermaid who is allergic to shellfish.  The anti-Ariel.  Which is funny, because Disney's bought the movie rights to the Fred books.  How's that for a laugh?

RW: You've written a lot of contemporary romance as well as paranormal romance. Do you have a preference between the two? And do you find one easier to write?

MJD:  I prefer the paranormal...I enjoy making my own rules.  Paranormal's definitely easier for me, but I did have lots of fun researching the FBI and multiple personality disorder for ME, MYSELF, AND WHY.  Did you know that they get mad when you fire a grenade launcher straight up?  For heaven's sake.  It was just a smoke grenade, anyway.  Nobody got hurt.  A grim bunch, those range officers.

RW: Do you find it more enjoyable to write full-length novels or novellas as I know you've written a lot of both throughout the years?

MJD:  I love the novella length (100 manuscript pages).  I have a terrible time hitting my word count on full length novels (335 pages).  I like to get busy quick, and a novella is perfect for that. 

RW: What upcoming projects can our readers keep a look out for by you?

MJD:  My husband and I are working on the next Jennifer Scales book, RISE OF THE POISON MOON.  UNDEAD AND UNFINISHED will be out in July 2010, and ME, MYSELF, AND WHY will be out in September.  And the paperback version of UNDEAD AND UNWELCOME is out in December 2009.  I like to keep busy, y'know?

RW: Where is the best online source for our readers to keep up-to-date on MaryJanice Davidson news?

MJD:  I'd love to say, "My website, of course!" except it's being completely re-vamped.  So that will be the answer in another 2 weeks.  But any and all "when's the next Betsy book coming out?" and "are you going to RT this year?" questions can go to  My assistant reads and answers *every* e-mail; I read 'em all and answer when I can.

RW: Thanks again for taking the time to do this interview. It's greatly appreciated! And keep those Betsy books comin'! :)

MJD:  No worries.  The series is contracted through book 11...and longer, if I have my way.  :-)

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