BELIEVE IT OR NOT
Sexy & Sassy
Book reviewers often comment that I write characters who are a bit…well, socially awkward.
You know that old adage about art imitating life? Um, yeah. That.
Want examples? Let’s see…there’s the time I attended a fancy luncheon where I spit gristle into my napkin, accidentally dropped it into the purse of the woman seated beside me, and got busted trying to retrieve it. Then there’s the day I waxed off a hunk of my eyebrow and tried to draw it back in with green eyeliner. Or the time I arrived at a formal charity event and jokingly asked to be seated on a famous actor’s lap – only to learn I was talking to his niece.
I could keep going all day, but you get the idea.
Readers sometimes try to sleuth out which tidbits of my real life creep into the scenes I write. It got me thinking the other day, and I decided to pick a scene from Believe it or Not and analyze it with that in mind.
The excerpt I chose comes from the first part of the book, shortly after Violet (a straight laced accountant turned reluctant fake psychic) meets Drew (the divorced owner of a bar that features male strippers). Care to guess which parts were inspired by my real life?
She watched him juggling the toilet paper for a few more minutes, disgusted with herself for being so strangely amused, so fixated on his hands.
Hands reserved for his partner, Sam, she reminded herself. Knock it off, Violet.
“Did you know Oregon is the most active juggling state in the U.S.?” she blurted.
He stopped juggling and stared.
“Yes. Approximately fifty-three percent of the state’s population can juggle. Portland is also home to the only retail all-juggling store in North America.”
“This data fetish you have is fascinating.”
Violet blinked, not sure if he was teasing or genuinely fascinated. He was smiling, but that could mean anything.
“Well, I knew about all that because I’ve been contracted to do some accounting work for the guy who runs the juggling shop,” she said. “But there really are a lot of interesting statistics related to Oregon. Have you heard that Oregon has the highest concentration of strip clubs in the nation?”
“I’ve heard that,” Drew said slowly, studying her with something that was either amusement or the expression of a man trying to remember if he had mental-health services on speed dial.
“It’s not true,” Violet said. “Oregon actually has the second highest concentration of strip clubs in the nation. West Virginia beats us.”
“I didn’t realize we were competing.”
“It has to do with the Oregon Supreme Court ruling that adult bookstores, nude dancers—it’s all considered free speech, so it’s protected. It’s part of why Portland thrives on the whole offbeat counterculture thing. Legalized medical marijuana, physician-assisted suicide, bacon-wrapped doughnuts—”
“I never thought I’d hear doughnuts and suicide in the same sentence,” Drew said. “At least not in a way that made sense. You really are a wealth of wacky data, aren’t you?”
Violet bit her lip. “I can’t help it. Part of being an accountant, maybe.”
Drew’s eyes were locked on her mouth, and Violet stopped biting her lip and stared back.
He shook his head and turned away from her. “Hope to see you tonight, Violet.”
He walked away juggling his toilet paper.
There are a few things in that scene I stole blatantly from my own life:
- I’m obsessed with men’s hands. It’s a fetish I share with nearly every female character I’ve written.
- I love quirky statistics. Unlike Violet though, I have a terrible memory for numbers. The result is that I rarely ever quote statistics accurately.
- Going back to the hand fetish (don’t I always?) I made Drew an avid juggler from the very beginning of the story. Violet, on the other hand, didn’t develop her data fixation until later drafts of the story. Oddly enough, it wasn’t until I began researching weird data that I discovered Portland’s status as a juggling mecca (and yes, that shop is a real place – I even interviewed the owner).
- Violet’s tendency to blurt things that make people stare in confusion? Yeah, that’s all me.
So there you have it – an excerpt from my new romantic comedy, and way more than you probably ever wanted to know about me!
Thanks for reading, and feel free to share some your own random tidbits of trivia about yourself!
BELIEVE IT OR NOT BY TAWNA FENSKE – IN STORES MARCH 2012
Do you believe in...accounting?
Numbers never lie, so Violet McGinn found safe haven in the most boring profession she could find. Until her renowned psychic mother lands in the hospital and Violet has to run her business. Now you can have your taxes filed and your aura read, in one convenient location.
Do you believe in...music?
Drew Watson is the jaded owner of the local hot spot next door, and doesn't need a single thing except a good crowd to dance to what he's spinning on Saturday night.
Do you believe in...love?
The only thing Violet and Drew seem to have in common is that neither believes in that psychic hoo—hah. Except Drew seems to play exactly the right song at exactly the right time. And truth be told, it makes Violet's heart dance just a little ...
Buy: Believe It or Not
Praise for Believe it or Not:
“Fenske hits all the right humor notes without teetering into the pit of slapstick in her lighthearted book of strippers, psychics, free spirits and an accountant.” —RT Book Reviews
"Snappy, endearing dialogue and often hilarious situations unite the couple, and Fenske proves to be a romance author worthy of a loyal following." —Booklist starred review
“Fenske’s sophomore effort (after Making Waves) is another riotous trip down funny bone lane, with a detour to slightly askew goings on and a quick u-ey to out-of-this-world romance. Readers will be enchanted by this bewitching fable from a wickedly wise author.” —Library Journal
"Sexually charged dialogue and steamy make-out scenes will keep readers turning the pages.” —Publishers Weekly
ABOUT THE AUTHORTawna Fenske traveled a career path that took her from newspaper reporter to English teacher in Venezuela to marketing geek. Named a Writer’s Digest 2011 Notable debut, Tawna blogs daily on “Don’t Pet Me, I’m Writing,” and lives in Central Oregon where she is working on her next romantic comedy. For more information, please visit www.tawnafenske.com or follow her on Twitter, @TawnaFenske.
RCJR is proud to present a sassy new contemporary by Sourcebooks Casablanca. Author Tawna Fenske's laugh-out-loud, comic relief romance, BELIEVE IT OR NOT, was released earlier this month to rave reviews from critics.
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