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MJ Fredrick: Two Hearts a Leaping
Wednesday, November 20th, 2013

The other day my husband and I went on a road trip to Shiner, Texas, to tour the brewery. We had to drive through another small town and I turned to my husband.

“One of my heroes has land around here.”

He gives me the look only a man who’s been married to a writer for a long time would give. “Do you want to go visit him?”

Too often, my characters become so real that I feel like I can go visit them. My first book (still under the bed) was set in the small town near my grandmother’s house. I spent almost 2 years writing that book, and finished it about 17 years ago. To this day, I expect to see Kelly’s flower nursery when I drive through town, or encounter Sara at the local VFD barbecue.

When I see the hot shot firefighters on the news, fighting wildfires, I half-expect to see an interview with Gabe, the hero in Hot Shot.

In my latest release, “Two Hearts a Leaping,” in Swept Away for Christmas, my hero played college football for Alabama. This past summer was my first trip to Alabama, as research for this story. Until that trip, I never understood the depth of Alabamans’ passion for football. Crimson Tide stuff EVERYWHERE. So I decided to make the hero a former Tide player.

Now I, who never watched college football before, am a mad fan. I watch Alabama, UT (my son attends) and A&M (good friends are big fans). My husband shakes his head and watches with me.

It happens with books I’ve read, too, though not to such an extent, because I don’t usually spend months with characters in books I read. One exception is the characters in the Virgin River books by Robyn Carr. A couple of years ago my husband and I drove up the coast from San Francisco, through Humboldt County, where the series takes place, and I wanted nothing more than to explore to see if I could find the town.

Does that ever happen to you? That you get so invested in characters that they become real, and real-life events make you think of them?

And if you want to check out “Two Hearts A Leaping,” look at Swept Away for Christmas, available at AmazonBarnes and Noble, and Kobo

MJ Fredrick knows about chasing dreams. Twelve years after she completed her first novel, she signed her first publishing contract. Now she divides her days between teaching elementary music, and diving into her own writing—traveling everywhere in her mind, from Belize to Honduras to Africa to the past.

She’s a four-time Golden Heart Award finalist, and she won the 2009 Eppie Award with Hot Shot and the 2010 Eppie with Breaking Daylight.

11 comments to “MJ Fredrick: Two Hearts a Leaping”

  1. Michelle - Snarky Mom
    · November 20th, 2013 at 10:36 am · Link

    Gotta admit – LOVE that your hubby asked if you wanted to go visit your character! What a keeper LOL! Sometimes when I read series in order without a break – something big like the Breeds by Lora Leigh (I mean, there’s like 20 of them LOL!) that world becomes just a bit too “real”. So yes, I guess I do get sucked in way too much at times!

  2. MJ Fredrick
    · November 20th, 2013 at 10:43 am · Link

    Thanks, Delilah, for having me! Michelle, he is a keeper! I know just what you mean about series! I can only read a couple of Virgin River books in a row because of that!

  3. Anne
    · November 20th, 2013 at 10:44 am · Link

    Not a character, but world building. My sister’s been giving me weird looks when I occasionally come out with a comment like What do you expect from humans? I think I’m reading too much UF and PNR.

  4. MJ Fredrick
    · November 20th, 2013 at 12:45 pm · Link

    Anne, that’s hilarious!

  5. Judy Stone
    · November 20th, 2013 at 1:38 pm · Link

    I’m a word nerd and a bibliophile. I’m passionate about literacy and the written word. It’s almost embarrassing to share this, but the only time I completely relax is when I’m deep in a book. Yes, I experience total zen focus at other times, i.e., when I’m editing books, but that’s certainly not relaxing, because I’m concentrating on continuity, grammar and spelling. Oops, I’m rambling. I tend to do that when I talk books!

    I get sucked into books, especially my favorite series. These include Robyn Carr’s Virgin River novels, Nalini Singh’s Psy-Changeling series, Rebecca Zanetti’s The Dark Protector series, Coreene Callahan’s Dragonfury series, Eden Robin’s After Sundown series, Jennifer Ashley’s Shifters Unbound series, Calle J Brookes’s Dardanos series, Marie Hall’s Kingdom series, Michele Bardsley’s Broken Heart series, Katie McAlister’s Dark Ones series, Lynsay Sands’s Argeneau/Rogue Hunter series, Shelly Laurenston’s Pride series, Lucy Monroe’s Children of the Moon series, Meljean Brook’s Iron Seas series, and anything by Janet Chapman. Sorry, but you DID ask! And I get absorbed and want to visit these times and places and talk to the characters (sometimes just to tell them that they’re behaving like jerks!)

    I truly wish I could visit Virgin River, if only to taste Preacher’s cooking!

  6. MJ Fredrick
    · November 20th, 2013 at 2:33 pm · Link

    Judy, wow, what a list!! I love love love the Iron Seas books! Also the Outlander books.

    I’m chuckling to myself because I tried to use my school laptop to reply but the site is blocked. Oy. Thank heaven for smartphones!

  7. Mary Marvella
    · November 20th, 2013 at 4:30 pm · Link

    Sounds like you married a keeper! Some of my characters do become too real to me! I love the sound of these three books by 3 awesome authors!

  8. MJ Fredrick
    · November 20th, 2013 at 5:30 pm · Link

    Mary, he tells me I did all the time 🙂 J/K, I know how lucky I am!

  9. Pansy Petal
    · November 20th, 2013 at 9:45 pm · Link

    Currently doing the read along with Kim Harrison and her Hollows series. We just finished Fistful of Charms which takes place in Mackinaw Michigan and features the Mackinaw bridge. I was so excited when I read this. I had been there. I knew this place. It was so real too me.
    Last year my daughter and I were traveling thru St Louis. We past under an overpass for Olive Street. I said to my daughter, “Oh, there is Olive. Circus to the Damned is down there someplace. We should check it out.” My daughter’s response, “Mom, you do know that is make believe right? there is no Circus of the Damned.” Ah come on, there is Olive street!
    Yah! I get involved in my books. They are my best friends.

  10. MJ Fredrick
    · November 20th, 2013 at 9:47 pm · Link

    Pansy, I know that feeling so well! I’m in San Antonio, and one of my friends, Meg Benjamin, writes these books set in the King William district (Medium Well, Medium Rare) and I get excited reading them, because everything’s so familiar.

  11. Rachelle Lerner
    · November 26th, 2013 at 2:31 pm · Link

    My mother and I were at the Diplomat Motel in D.C. and felt we had been there before. It turns out we hat just read The Whispered Watchword by Margaret Sutton and the Eagle Motel was too much like what we saw. I found out years later, that was the Diplomat was used as the basis for the Eagle.

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