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Whoooo-Hoooo for Judi Fennell's Debut Novel!!!

A couple of years ago my then-manuscript, Sleeping with Ward Cleaver, finaled in the Dorchester Publishing/Romantic Times American Title III contest. Amongst the group of finalists was my guest today, Judi Fennell, whose friendship just happens to be yet another wonderful thing that came about from being in that contest (yeah, winning it was pretty sweet, too, but Judi, you’re a close second!). It was a pleasant bonus to learn that she, too, is a graduate of Penn State, which is, of course, one kick-ass institution of higher learning ;-) . 

After the American Title contest, Judi went on to final in I think one or two of the writing contests and networked her butt off and landed a publishing contract with the lovely Deb Werksman at SourceBooks for her novel In Over Her Head and the rest, as they say, is history. 

Judi and I have been compared at times. Must be because we’re from Penn State. Or because we’re blonde…Ish. And because we have a snarky sense of humor at times. Whatever it is, I really love to read what she writes because it is funny and clever and because she works so damned hard at it too. I know you’ll love her debut novel In Over Her Head.

Here’s the buzz on the book:

Nora Roberts? Danielle Steel? Much acclaimed romance writers should step aside. There is a new romance writer in town and she is certainly causing a great splash with her debut novel, In Over Her Head.”

I truly found a pearl in my oyster when I read this delightful tale. I was surprised how good of a book In Over Her Head is. It is extremely well-written, the storyline flows and I was hooked from the first page.

IN OVER HER HEAD is a delightful, quirky blend of humor, adventure and passion. All in all, this is a fast, fun read and a great way to spend a snowy afternoon or a sunny day at the beach.

-Lynda K. Scott, Star-Crossed Romance

In Over Her Head is a heartwarming, but action-packed story of two people-one human and the other of the seaworthy body-joined together in an adventure. I enjoyed this story immensely.

-Dawn M. Ekinia, Armchair Interviews

A delightful underwater adventure… full of good-natured humor and fun. A strong first effort by a promising new talent.

-Romantic Times

A playful debut… sincere wit.

-Publisher’s Weekly 

And here’s what it’s about: 

When Erica Peck, one terrified-of-the-ocean marina owner, finds herself at the bottom of the sea conversing with a Mer man named Reel, she thinks she’s died and gone to her own version of Hell. When the Oceanic Council demands she and Reel retrieve a lost cache of diamonds from the resident sea monster in return for their lives, she knows she’s died and gone to Hell.

When they escape the monster and end up on a deserted island, she amends her opinion – she’s died and gone to Heaven.

But when Reel sacrifices himself to allow her to return to her world, she realizes that, Heaven or Hell, with Reel, she’s In Over Her Head.

JG: Tell me a little about your book. 

JF: Erica has been scared of the ocean ever since The Incident when she was a little girl and won’t go in unless under duress. Being at the wrong end of her ex-boyfriend’s gun is that duress. Reel Tritone, second in line for the Mer throne, has been fascinated with Erica ever since The Incident, but interacting with Humans is against Mer law, so he can only watch from afar. Until she ends up in the water with a shark on her tail and Reel has to make the biggest decision of his life… because Erica is really In Over Her Head.

JG: What got you writing in the genre in which you write. 

JF: When your favorite shows are about genies and witches – I Dream of Jeannie and Bewitched – it’s kind of pointless to assume you’re going to write straight romance. In my stories, I get to relive the wonder and fun of those shows. Toss in my love for all things Disney and fairy tales, and paranormal romance novels are right up my alley.

JG: Favorite thing about being a writer? 

JF: Writing in my fluffy robe, fur-lined mules, feather boa and tiara. :) Seriously, my favorite thing is to hear from people that they liked my story.

JG: Least favorite thing about being a writer? 

JF: The perception of Romance in the media. I recently saw a story on a major network show about how Romance is recession-proof, that the sales of Romance are up in this rotten economy, yet the reporter went for all the “bodice-ripper” and “tales of lusty love.” Mystery writers don’t have to defend their genre, Science Fiction, thriller, etc. but Romance always has to justify itself.

JG: What is the most interesting thing that’s happened to you since becoming a published author? 

JF: Having people I don’t know email me that they love my stories. This was my “little talking fish” story that everyone else is getting the humor and enjoying, and that just tickles me pink.

JG: What’s your favorite type of pie? 

JF: Apple. And I make a good one. Thanks to my 9th grade Home Ec teacher, that’s my contribution to family gatherings. The funny thing is, I entered a pie baking contest against that teacher (it was a blind judging) and won. Yes, I got an A in that class. :)

Here’s how on top of it Judi is: she’s already got her two sequels put to bed and ready for publication. Well, almost. But they’ll be out soon, so look for these titles: Wild Blue Under and Catch of a Lifetime.

And lastly, to celebrate the release of each of her books, Judi Fennell and the Atlantis Inn and the Hibiscus House bed and breakfasts are raffling off three romantic beach getaway weekends. All information is on Judi’s website,

Categories: News, Sleeping with Ward Cleaver


One comment

  1. Judi Fennell says:

    yep, we get mistaken for each other. I’ll go with your explanation rather than the Twiddle-Dee/Dum one. LOL. Thanks for posting this – Go LIONS!

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