It’s so good to have you as a guest on my blog, C. J. I understand you are giving away two ebook copies of Accidental Wife to names drawn from the comments. Make sure to leave your email address when you comment, readers.
- Please tell us something about yourself and how you came to be a writer.
A: I was born and raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and learned very early that it was a beer capital of Wisconsin–if not the world. My grandfather would carry me in a cardboard box to the corner tavern and while he drank beer, I munched on the chocolate bars his buddies threw in the box to keep me happy. To this day even the scent of chocolate keeps me calm and happy! When I was ten, I won $5 in a writing contest and though I blew the winnings on candy dots, the greater prize was acknowledging the bud of talent. As an editor of my high school paper and a teen columnist for a local paper, I honed that talent and planned to study journalism in college. That dream ended prematurely after I found my soulmate on a New Year’s eve blind date and married after my freshman year. When my husband took a job with IBM, we moved to Rochester, MN. and raised a family…and a menagerie on a hilltop hobby farm we call Mt. Pegasus. Writing was never abandoned, but the “great American novel” dream gave way to shorter freelance stories and articles in local and national publications for years. I also gave summer riding lessons for 15 years. Now, with an empty nest…and an empty barn, I am blazing trails to catch up with more novel projects after The Accidental Wife.
Q: What do you see as the central message of your book?
A: Without a doubt, it’s the transforming nature of love—in any era. I think many of us have a life tape that we follow, sometimes from the cradle to the grave. Maybe a few “life glitches” give pause along the way, but ultimately we own who we are and what we want to do with our lives. My heroine has survived her glitches, but is determined to have a career without any emotional encumbrances. But everything changes after the grandmother who raised her dies and the mysterious legacy she inherits causes her to slip back in time—literally into the shoes of her look-alike great great-grandmother. As an instant wife/ mother/ sister /friend, all shades of love in a simpler era tangle with her beliefs…and also threaten her life.
Q: Why choose Wyoming for that particular setting?
A: I grew up in the television era of westerns and always longed for a horse. I also have a passion for history and survival stories, especially from the colorful 19th Century. On a family vacation to Old Fort Laramie and Yellowstone, I fell in love with the stark beauty of Wyoming. It has a rugged, honest history that was also very progressive toward women. Ft. Laramie played a huge role as an oasis to caravans of settlers for nearly two thirds of the 19th Century. Part of that long first novel I’ve tucked away is also set in Wyoming and at the famous outpost.
Q: Do you intend to continue to write time travel romances, or do you have your heart set on another genre?
A: I love what we can learn from history, and how a creative portrait-in-print can make us think, compare, even transform us into “armchair time-travelers.” Time travel is just the vehicle driving characters into a historic setting with a sprinkle of fantasy. Like my inspiration, Diana Gabaldon, I want to explore multiple genres in one book, and like Velda Brotherton, I’m game for tackling straight contemporaries or mysteries. My characters seem to have great input on where they end up, and I love to surprise the reader with O’Henry-type twists.
Q: How much marketing do you do for your published works or for yourself as a ‘brand’?
A: I grew up left brain creative—in the typewriter age. I hate electronics and all the marketing stuff you must do to get noticed and followed. Fortunately, I married a right-brain IBMer who can help me, but even he is baffled by all the possibilities and curves social media throws out. Becoming market-saavy is like getting a PHD in hieroglyphics—a necessary evil. I’m learning slowly, but it sure cuts into the writing time. I try to tweet something every day and I’m studying Pinterest now. I DO have a guilt trip over blogging far too infrequently on my website.
Q: What are you working on at the moment / next?
A: Right now marketing keeps me from finishing the sequel to The Accidental Wife. Hopefully, it will be available early next year. I’ve also committed to write a contemporary short story for a Valentine anthology for Wild Rose Press—based on candy heart messages. Last on the agenda is an article for a writer magazine on what I’ve learned from attending eight writer conferences in the last few years—including one in London, (my least favorite.)
Q: What commonality can readers expect to see in your books?
A: Animals and redheads, a mystery or legend, memorable characters and facts, and surprise twists.
Q: What is your creative process like? What happens before sitting down to write?
A: I put in a lot of “mind time” in the shower…on walks…while exercising. Sometimes, there’s a circus going on in my head, over-thinking and editing what will work and what won’t—even before I get to my lap top. When everything clicks, I’m in a zone—time traveling in a stuffed armchair. I also re-read what I wrote the day before to start the flow again. With my coffee mug and stash of snacks, I can write for eight hours straight without moving more than my fingers. However, I did pay dearly for that eight hour scenario while writing The Accidental Wife last year. Cramps in one leg turned out to be blood clots from the inactivity. In a test study at Mayo, I learned I had a blood mutation that puts me at risk for clots, thanks to an ancestor who lived 35,000 years ago. I now exercise regularly, take a low dose aspirin daily, and set a timer to remind me to get up and move. The “Factor Five” mutation affects 5% of the population, so you might say—by way of discovering it—the book saved my life.
Q: What sort of music do you listen to when you write?
A: Easy listening instrumental and light classical. On a trip last fall to Britain and Scotland, I picked up some Scottish and Irish CD’s that I’ve almost worn out already.
Q: What advice would you give aspiring writers?
A: Read-read-read the best in your genre and work toward emulating, equaling, then surpassing. Join some writer groups, network and absorb at writer conferences, try out some online writing webinars, figure out wise use of twitter, email, Instagram, facebook, and definitely create a website. Test the waters with something short—poems, stories or articles for local publications or contests that will give you unbiased feedback. When you get something published or win a writing award, you have more credibility to build a bio that stands out. And, of course, write and re-write. If you think you’ve nailed something, give it time to percolate. Look at it again in a few days or weeks and you’ll be surprised at how much you can edit in or out of your script.
Bio: Cj Fosdick has fiction and non-fiction published in local and national publications such as Rochester Women, The Post Bulletin, Woman’s World, Writer’s Digest, Seventeen, and three short story anthologies for High School Literature textbooks. She received a grant to publish the successful Minnesota anthology, Blossoms & Blizzards in 1986 and compiled a catalog of 150 local writers from 1854 to 2004 for Rochester’s Sesquicentennial. This devoted Outlander fan is also an award-winning member of RWA, Women Writing the West, and The Historical Novel Society. Follow her on facebook, twitter and her website at cjfosdick.com
Her debut novel, The Accidental Wife, was published last month by Wild Rose Press as a mainstream historical. It is available in Print and eBook at Amazon and Wild Rose Publishing and in eBook at B&N, Nook, Itunes, Bookstrand, Kobo, and All Romance.
Excerpt from Accidental Wife
In the moonlight, he rose from the Adirondack like an old man and moved toward me, his green eyes fanning me from head to bare feet. He touched my face with both hands, feathering his fingers across my forehead, into the wells of my eyes, over my nose and cheekbones, like a blind man needing to know who stood before him. I tried not to stiffen at his touch, willing myself not to blink, not to release the fresh tears that had begun to pool. He collared my throat with his long fingers and ran a thumb over my lips.
“I want my wife back. Come back to me, Mitawin,” he whispered.
The word on the teacup; the hallmark of my deceit. Our eyes locked, and I felt my throat closing and my knees begin to quiver. For a few seconds his grip tightened around my throat, and I clamped my eyes shut with a fleeting thought. Yes, take my breath…end this tormenting deception. When he suddenly released me, I could see the pain twisting his face. He turned away and rubbed his chin against his shoulder, bracing both arms on a porch railing.
“My shirt looks good on you, Jess,” he said hoarsely. You always did have a thing for my shirts.” I cleared my throat. “You, can’t sleep out here,” I said after a long silence. “Come to bed.” His shoulders flinched. “Is that an invitation?” “I only mean…you can’t be comfortable sleeping in that chair.” We both started by the sudden hoot of a nearby owl, and like the volume turned up on ear phones, I was suddenly aware of other night sounds, crickets, wind rustling through the sage, my heart bumping in my chest.
He was sleeping commando. I, who never expected to spend a night in bed with any man, woke up on my thirtieth birthday in a wilderness Wyoming cabin with a rooster crowing at the window and a naked man beside me. Not just any man. Oh Lord, this wasn’t a dream channeled by a humming teacup. I was in bed with my great-great grandmother’s legendary first husband.
Thank you so much, C.J. I’m sure my readers can’t wait to read your book. Don’t forget, when you comment to leave your email address to get in the drawing.