Literaturschock: Could you tell your German fans something about yourself? (family, hobbies and so on)

Jennifer Crusie: I live in an old house that's falling down around my ears in an historic district in Columbus, Ohio--farm country except this is the state capitol, but I'm building a cottage on the Ohio River that's going to be my dream house (fortunately, I have small dreams). I pretty much live whatever book I'm writing, so during Fast Women I collected china and ate almond cookies, and now I'm painting and listening to girl group music for Faking It, and I've already started to collect snow globes for Bet Me and to quilt for The Bodies in the Library or whatever title that ends up to be. I also sew and crochet; my first degree was in fiber and fabrics. And I'm a HUGE fan of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Literaturschock: What was the one event in your life that told you "I'm going to be a writer?"

Jennifer Crusie: There really wasn't one. I didn't think I could do it until I printed out my first novel and saw the pages stacked on the desk and thought, "I wrote a book. Me. I wrote a book." I'm still amazed.

Literaturschock: What is a question you are never asked that you wish people would ask you?

Jennifer Crusie: Honey, people ask me EVERYTHING.

Literaturschock: What did you feel when your first book was published?

Jennifer Crusie: It was strange, mostly, to see words I'd written in a printed book. Sort of a cognitive dissonance, what's-wrong-with-this-picture kind of thing.

Literaturschock: Which of your novels do you like most?

Jennifer Crusie: Whichever one I wrote two years ago at the time you ask. After two years, I think they're good. Before that, I'm in agony because they're awful. Writers are not generally mentally sound people. So right now, it's Welcome to Temptation. Next year, it'll be Fast Women.

Literaturschock: Do you have a favourite character?

Jennifer Crusie: Not really. They seem absolutely real while I'm writing about them, and then they go away.

Literaturschock: What was your original title for "Welcome to Temptation"? In the German edition we could read something about "Hot Fleshy Thighs"?

Jennifer Crusie: Yep, that was it. Marketing said no, too hard to sell. And I like Welcome to Temptation, too, so it's okay.

Literaturschock: Do you want to continue writing romantic novels? Or do you plan to write about something else?

Jennifer Crusie: I love writing women's fiction and relationship fiction. I love mysteries and fantasy, too, and I may incorporate those more strongly in future books, but the core of my novels will always be women's journeys and relationships.

Literaturschock: What are your current projects? Can you give us a little sneak preview of the next books?

Jennifer Crusie: Right now I'm finishing Faking It, the story of an art forger who meets a con man when they run into each other burgling the bedroom of a woman who has stolen from both of them. The con man is Davy Dempsey from WTT and the woman they're stealing from is Clea, also from WTT. Then I'm revising a book called Bet Me, about a woman who overhears a man making a bet that he'll sleep with her within a month and who decides to take revenge.

And the book after that is going to be my version of a Golden Age mystery, in the tradition of Christie and Allingham and Sayers, except it's a romance and it's set in the 21st century. My working title is The Bodies in the Library, but they'll probably change that. And someday, I'm going to do my vampire book.

Literaturschock: Have you considered a sequel to any of your books? If not, why?

Jennifer Crusie: No. The books are all about the most important event in the protagonist's life, so once that's over, they're going to live happily ever after. I am doing a spin-off in Faking It since I'm using Davy and Clea again, but it's not set in Temptation and Sophie and Phin are very minor characters in it, so it's not a sequel.

Literaturschock: Do you have the story or characters in mind when you start?

Jennifer Crusie: I have bits and pieces in mind, different things I want to write about, plus the characters I think the book will be about. In Faking It, I thought the heroine was going to be Eve, but it turned out to be her sister Matilda. You never know what you're going to find out once you start writing.

Literaturschock: I always enjoy the sex scenes. What (or who ;-) ) inspires you to write these scenes?

Jennifer Crusie: The characters. I'm always more interested in what the characters are thinking during sex scenes than in what they're doing. If it's just about sex, you don't need to write it since everybody who reads novels has either had sex or seen it on cable. But if the characters go in with very clear ideas of what's going to happen and then trouble ensues, it's an interesting kind of scene to write because they're so vulnerable and so emotional.

Literaturschock: What is the most difficult thing about writing?

Jennifer Crusie: Everything. It's the hardest thing I've ever done.

Literaturschock: How much of your own experiences do you share with your characters?

Jennifer Crusie: Not much. I try to give each character something of mine, even if it's just a piece of clothing, so I have some connection to each one, but I don't write about my life.

Literaturschock: Do you have something in common with your characters?

Jennifer Crusie: I think I share a world view and value system with all of my protagonists.

Literaturschock: Were you allowed to design the covers and titles by yourself?

Jennifer Crusie: Titles we talk about. I suggest something to start with and then marketing looks at it and my editor looks at it and sometimes we change it to make it easier to sell. Covers we also discuss, but Ann Twomey, the art director at St. Martin's Press designs them first. Then I get to give feedback but in general, Ann designs a great cover so I stay out of her way. I'm not sure if those are the same covers used in Germany or not. If not, then nope, I don't even know what the German covers look like.

Literaturschock: Are you in close contact with other authors or your fans?

Jennifer Crusie: Oh, absolutely. I'm on three internet bulletin boards with other authors, plus we meet several times a year for conferences and retreats. And I have a fan bulletin board at YahooGroups, JenniferCrusieFans, that a friend started for me, and I check in there most days.

Literaturschock: What do you think it's your secrect? Do you have any advice for wannabe authors?

Jennifer Crusie: I don't have a secret. I have no discretion whatsoever, so secrets have never been within my scope. As for advice, I'd say write the book you want to read but can't find. Never try to be somebody else. Everybody has stories of her own to tell

Literaturschock: How long did it take you to write your first book?

Jennifer Crusie: The first draft? About six weeks. Which is why it was so very bad.

Literaturschock: I imagine that you love animals? Do you have your own pets? (Which kind and what are their names?)

Jennifer Crusie: Yep, four dogs and three cats, all rescues. Bernie, Lucy, Rosie, and Wolfgang are the four dogs (three different beagle mixes and a long-haired dachshund) and Liz, Annie, and Chuck are the three cats (all strays, black, yellow, and calico).

Literaturschock: Do you have a special funny story about one of your pets that you could tell us?

Jennifer Crusie: I had so much fun making up the dachshund in Fast Women that I became a courier for Dachshund Rescue here in Ohio. And the first dachshund I picked up to deliver to the shelter I fell in love with: Wolfgang. So I refused to turn him over, and he turned out to be a little strange (well, I was his fourth home) and he ended up in the new book, Faking It. Only his name in there is Steve. Pretty much everything Steve does in the book, Wolfie does in real life.

Literaturschock: What were your experiences in finding a publisher?

Jennifer Crusie: I was turned down a lot in the first year, but once I published my first book, everything pretty much fell into place. Of course I have a fabulous agent who makes sure that happens (g).

Literaturschock: Do you have a favorite writer or book?

Jennifer Crusie: Lots. Georgette Heyer, Margery Allingham, Jane Austen, Emily Bronte, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Patricia Gaffney, Judith Ivory, Charles Dickens, Elmore Leonard, P. G. Wodehouse, Carl Hiassen . . . really, the list is endless.

Literaturschock: Thank you so much, Jenny! I really appreciate your taking the time to let me interview you.

Jennifer Crusie: Thanks, Susanne!

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