Get into Bed with Tawna Fenske (Author Interview)

Keira: On your website, Believe It or Not is described as “It’s your typical “reluctant fake psychic” meets “jaded owner of a male strip club” love story. With a twist.” Humor is definitely a role in your writing! How do you get your material?

Tawna Fenske: Everything around me is a source of inspiration for writing humor, but I sometimes have to look for it. I’m a natural introvert, so I’ve learned to be vigilant about dragging my lazy self out of the house to experience something besides the squish of the chair under my butt. There was a period where I tried to do the full-time writer thing, but I realized pretty quickly that my brain shrivels up like castrated sheep testicle when I don’t have regular human interaction. I now work part-time in marketing/PR where there’s plenty of day-to-day silliness to inspire me.

Keira: What’s the funniest thing you’ve ever said or had happen to you?

TF: You mean like 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? Or the time I waxed off a hunk of my eyebrow and tried to draw it back in with green eyeliner? Or the time I shoved a massive spoonful of butter in my mouth at a formal dinner because I thought it was whipped cream? Or the time I threw up in my underwear at school? I’m pretty much a magnet for ridiculousness, but it gives me good fodder for writing comedy.

Keira: In relationships, what’s better? Normal or weird? And Why!

TF: Very few things in my life would fall under the heading “normal,” particularly relationships. For that, I am eternally grateful. Normal would bore me to tears!

Keira: How do you define love?

TF: I have to define it? How about if I just spell it, use it in a sentence, and then roll around naked with a guy who has killer shoulders and a great laugh?

Keira: As an avid globe-trotter, what has been your favorite place to travel? Your most memorable experience?

TF: I’ve been lucky enough to travel to some truly amazing places in time on this planet. I’ve visited Venezuela, Colombia, Mexico, Hawaii, Jamaica, Barbados, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Germany, Switzerland, France, Italy, Slovenia, Greece, Spain, Morocco, Gibraltar, and probably a bunch of places I’m forgetting but surely loved anyway. I hesitate to pick a favorite among them because I’ve adored different things about each of them. One of my top memories is the time I rode a camel into the Sahara desert at sunset and camped there overnight. I love new experiences and cultures, and I’m always itching to shoulder my pack and visit someplace new.

Keira: What’s a question you always wanted to answer but haven’t been asked yet?

TF: I’m always amused by awkward personal questions like my age (37) or weight (119 pounds) or whether my boobs are real (yep). When I do public speaking engagements, there’s always someone in the audience who asks a variation of the question, “do you test out all your love scenes?” I love this! Do people ask crime writers whether they’ve killed someone with a switchblade to ensure they got the details right? I guess I can’t speak for crime writers, but I sure do enjoy making sure all my scenes are as accurate as possible.



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

Buy: Believe It or Not


Tawna 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 or follow her on Twitter, @TawnaFenske.

GIVEAWAY: I have 2 copies of Believe It or Not. Open to US and Canada only. Enter by leaving a comment on why you want the book or by asking Tawna a question. Last day to enter: March 16, 2012.

31 thoughts on “Get into Bed with Tawna Fenske (Author Interview)”

  1. Great interview! I almost choked on my morning coffee reading about your misadventures with gristle. I’ll certainly be checking out Believe It Or Not now!

  2. This sounds cool!. One question – you said on your own blog that when you intially wrote these manuscripts you had your own fun names for them, but did you have a hand in picking the final titles?

  3. I like any book that has a shirtless man on the cover. Yes, it’s true. I am that shallow. I would like to know how Tawna creates her romantic heroes. What qualities does she consider when she decides what type of man they will be?

  4. Your real life experiences (beware of whipped butter!) are so funny do you use them as writing fofdder? You sound like a very humorous person and I’ll bet your book is too. Please enter me in the giveaway. Thank you.

  5. Thanks for all the kind words, guys!

    Jordan, I’m always happy to have people laughing at me. Er, WITH me. Whatever.

    Amy, know what’s funny? I wasn’t initially a fan of the shirtless cover, since that guy looks nothing like my hero in the book. But the greased abs thing does seem to be resonating with readers, so hats off to my publisher for picking it. As for qualities I like to have in heroes I’m either creating myself or reading in other books, a sense of humor is #1 for me. I also adore clever, super-smart men. As for physical traits, I’m a sucker for big, beautiful hands.

    Anne, I do occasionally use my real-life mishaps as book fodder, but not as often as you’d think. It’s not so much a deliberate choice as that I kinda forget.

    Thanks for reading, guys!

  6. Alana, so glad you enjoyed the gristle story. I’ve got plenty of stories just like it. What can I say, I’m a magnet for disaster 🙂

    Pamela, I learned very early not to get attached to any particular book title, since authors have very little control over it in the end. My debut, MAKING WAVES, has always been “Piratebitch” to me. However, the title my agent and I originally pitched was WALKING THE PLANK. There was a brief period where the publisher considered calling it MAI TAI MUTINY and then ROCKING THE BOAT, but in the end, MAKING WAVES is the title that stuck. We had a slightly smoother path with BELIEVE IT OR NOT, since that was the title I used from day one. Bottom line, you just never know what the publisher is going to want to call your book, so it’s easiest not to get attached!

    Thanks for reading, guys!

  7. I am always looking for new authors to read. Your book sounds really good and I have added it to my TBR list.

  8. I like things in life to be well-balanced and so, a bit of the abnormal can make for some fun moments. Normal is safe which is a great things but sometimes taking a step out of my comfort zone make make for learning experiences. It’s good to hear few things in your life is normal. Congratulations on your book release.

  9. What a great fun interview! Your first book Making Waves was a fun, laugh out lound read and Believe It or Not sounds just as fun! Thanks for the giveaway!

    myra0502 at yahoo dot com

  10. I love the cover, it’s great! I’d love to be entered to win this one. I can’t believe people will ask if your boobs are real!!

  11. This was a great interview. Do you have a set writing schedule such as write in the morning or late at night? Do you find time to read and who are you reading right now?

  12. Great interview!! This book looks like so much fun to read. I’m a sucker for quirky romances, especially if I can laugh as much as this author promises.

    For the author: What’s the most outrageous scene you had to try for yourself before you could write it properly? 🙂

  13. Very nice interview… I have to tell you straight out. I do believe that some people have gifts the rest of us don’t. I just wish I could meet one of them for a little sit down.

    I would love to win one of those copies of Believe it or Not. There’s an empty space on my paranormal romance shelf begging for it.

  14. I would like to read the book because it sounds very interesting. Is there a question that you wish readers would never ask you?

  15. I love writing with humor. You sound like you mix in a good amount of snark and funny! Thanks for the giveaway. jepebATverizonDOTnet

  16. I will always be grateful to whatever or whoever posted a reduced price for Making Waves on Amazon and introduced me to Tawna! I laughed through her first book and can’t wait to get to read this one. (If I didn’t have 3 books I must finish first for my book clubs and Beta Read for an author friend, I’d be right on it!) However, I still don’t have the book and I’ve entered every give-away she has had, so this one better be the one. I was really looking forward to getting one of her “cat approved” copies, but will be delighted with your nice clean and fresh one! Tawna gives me my morning and evening laughs on Facebook daily.

  17. Thanks for all the kind words about MAKING WAVES and the excitement about BELIEVE IT OR NOT, guys! I really appreciate it!

    Martha, you’d be amazed how often I get that question. It’s creepy. I blogged about one memorable “incident” at a garage sale here:

    JenniferK, I work part time Monday through Thursday, plus every other Friday at my day job doing marketing/PR for my city’s tourism bureau. The rest of the time (evenings, weekends, Mondays, every other Friday) are generally reserved for writing related activities. I wish I could say more of it revolved around actual writing at the moment, but much of my time these days is spent on miscellaneous promotional tasks. As for reading, I’m CONSTANTLY reading, and always have at least two or three books going at once. Glancing at my nightstand, I see an advance reading copy of Kimberly Sabatini’s amazing YA novel, “Touching the Surface.” She and I are represented by the same literary agent, which gives us all the added benefit of getting sneak peeks at each other’s books.

    Maya, good question! I can’t think of anything outrageous at the moment, but I will confess there’s a leg massage scene in BELIEVE IT OR NOT with a bit of a story behind it. The scene was originally a fairly tame one with the hero, Drew, fixing a stereo for the heroine, Violet. I was more than happy to comply when my editor asked me to ratchet up the sexual tension. This wasn’t too long after I started dating my gentleman friend, who reduced me to a puddle of lust-fueled goo by innocently massaging my calves. I stole liberally from that real life encounter to heat things up between Drew and Violet, and the rest is history (on both fronts!)

    bn100, I honestly can’t think of any questions that are off limits for me. I’m a pretty open book. I’m not too keen on readers who ask me to read their manuscripts or introduce them to my agent, simply because I don’t have time for the former (I wish I did!) and because my agent has an established query process in place for writers to follow.

    Thanks so much for the great comments and questions, guys!

    1. Literally just read that scene this morning when I purchased the book. LOVE it! Especially since one of my buddies is a masseuse. 😀 I’m totally going to bug him for that now.

  18. I swear I stalk your blog just to get a good laugh for the day. Loved Making Waves, can’t wait to read Believe it or Not!

  19. Fun interview! A question I have for Tawna is, which scene in Believe It or Not are you most excited for readers to read?


    1. Winnie, great question! I’m not sure I can narrow it down to just one. Two scenes readers have been commenting about most often are one in which Drew & Violet try to have a conversation while watching a documentary on weird animal mating habits, and another everyone refers to as “the Dreadlock Dude” scene. The former is near and dear to my heart because I wrote it in the final editing stage a couple years after I originally wrote most of the story. I laughed the whole way through. The other is a scene I was actually asked to cut from the book, but I dug my heels in and pleaded to keep it. It’s turned out to be one readers compliment most often, so I’m pleased about that.


  20. You live in Central Oregon? No way! I used to live in Bend, then Redmond, then Crooked River Ranch. I just moved to Hawaii 5 months ago – to get away from the snow, the cold, and the dust. It is a beautiful place but for me, it was time for a change. I hope to return this fall to see family and maybe go a few places I didn’t get around to (’cause there’s always time!).
    Your book sounds great and I have it on my TBR list now!

    1. Marissa, yup, I’ve been in Bend for over 14 years. I actually grew up in Salem, and am a proud third-generation Oregonian! The Oregon setting factors into most of what I write, especially BELIEVE IT OR NOT (which is all set in Portland).

      Thanks for adding the book to your TBR pile!


      1. I love reading books that take place somewhere I know! It’s so fun to picture the streets, stores and landscapes where I’ve been. I look forward to reading it!

Leave a Reply