Saturday, January 30, 2016

What exactly is Fuzzy Logic anyway? Interview with author Maren Anderson...

    Hello one and all! How are you today? I hope everyone is doing well and happy, or at least trying to be, and staying safe and warm, too, I hope! It’s so great to be with all of you again. Welcome back to my writing blog where I try to share whatever I think may interest you: Whether it is writing information, interviews with other authors, or anything else connected to writing. Welcome this time to an Interview with Maren Anderson, Author of the cute, sweet romance, Fuzzy Logic released from Black Opal Books on December 2, 2015. Maren has been a writer since she was four years old and telling herself bedtime stories in the dark. She is a writer, teacher, podcaster, blogger, and alpaca rancher. 
     Pour yourself a cup of something hot, or cold, if you prefer, pull up a chair, or lean back in your recliner, and sit back and relax as we discuss writing, books, and alpacas...

     Welcome Maren and thanks so much for joining us here. Shall we begin to learn more about you, your writing, and your debut novel, Fuzzy Logic? I just adore the title...and now....
                                                                 Author Maren Anderson

But first here's a taste of Fuzzy Logic: 
     She thinks moving to a ranch will lead to the simple life she craves, but the countryside has other ideas…

After divorcing her unfaithful husband, Meg Taylor buys an alpaca ranch to finally do something on her own. Almost as soon as she arrives, she meets not one, but two, handsome—and baffling—men. She thinks choosing between the shy veterinarian and her charming securities co-worker is her biggest problem, until life and death on the ranch make her re-evaluate more than her love life. At least her new life is nothing like her old one.

SJ:Wonderful story here, and first the obvious question. I love alpacas myself, but can you tell us, your readers, what are so great about alpacas and why you put them in Fuzzy Logic? Why alpacas? Did you ever think of using other animals for Meg? Why or why not?

Maren: Hi S.J.! I never thought of other animals for Meg because I came up with the idea for the book before I came up with the characters. I’ll explain.

When I was looking for an idea for another book, I realized at some point that I had read lots of romance books that were centered on horses and horse ranches, but I’d never read one about an alpaca ranch. Voila!

As for why alpacas? Well, a decade ago, my husband and I bought some land and were looking for some livestock. I wanted horses because I’m a girl and have the “I want a horse” gene. But Charles wanted something different. We thought about llamas, but then we went to an alpaca show and fell in love. Alpacas are smaller than llamas and are bred for their warm fleece. They look like a cross between a giraffe and a Tribble from Star Trek, and they have very cat-like personalities.

And they hum like Zen monks.

SJ: They sound so cute. Did anything inspire Fuzzy Logic, or was it just an idea? We'd love to hear about that.

Maren: Well, almost everything that happens to Meg on the alpaca farm (that’s alpaca-related) came from something that happened to us on the farm. But the book was just an epiphany.

Chick Lit on an Alpaca Farm! Thunderbolt! Most of my ideas don’t come that easily, but I’m glad that one did.

SJ: Did you encounter any difficulties in writing Fuzzy Logic? What was the easiest thing you found doing in writing this book?

Maren: Yes. Originally, I wrote this book in third person (Meg did this. She was happy. Etc.). However, my alpha readers “couldn’t connect” with the main character. So, as an experiment, I re-wrote the first 650 words in first person (My name is Meg. I was happy. Etc.). Then I sent both the same section in both third person and first person to a bunch of people and asked them which they liked better.

Long story short, I had to re-write the ENTIRE book in first person from third person. This is more involved than doing a find-replace to change “she” to “I,” unfortunately. It took me months to make that change, but the book was so much better because of the effort.


SJ: That was quite an experiment. I'm so glad it worked out for you, which does a great job of leading us into our next question. What do you love most about being a writer? Least?

Maren: My head is full of characters and stories. I’ve been telling myself stories since I can remember. The best times are when I’m writing and I’m surprised by what I write. It’s like I’m reading a book that is flying out of my fingers. It’s awesome.

I only have two complaints: First, I wish I could find a way to get the books out of my head without typing. Typing takes a lot of time.

My second complaint is that there are only 24 hours in a day, and most days I can only squeeze in 30 minutes to an hour of writing. I need at least two more hours a day.

SJ:What writer inspired you most and how?

Maren: I have to pick one? I can’t. Sorry.

There’s the authors I read as a kid like Anne McCaffrey and Judy Blume. There’s the funny men I read like Tom Robbins and Joseph Heller and Douglas Adams. And Shanna Swendson writes books I want to write. All authors who push my imagination inspire me. And I read a lot, so I’m inspired a lot.

SJ: What is a favorite book you enjoyed reading and would recommend without hesitation? Why?

Maren: Without hesitation? There are so many great books out there that don’t suit certain people. I wish everyone would read Catch-22, but it isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is heaven to me, but some people think it’s too silly and can’t see the awesome satire. I also know people who couldn’t get into Fierce Invalids Home from Hot Climates, but I enjoyed that one sooo much.

So, there are three books, with hesitation.

SJ: Since you are both a teacher and a writer, if you could give just one piece of important writing advice to an aspiring writer, what would it be?

Practice. And read. Okay, that’s two, but they are almost equally important. Practice writing by writing regularly. The more you write, the better you’ll get. And read. Read everything. Doesn’t matter what you read, but realize that you’ll probably write in a manner similar to what you are reading.

SJ: In closing, can you tell us about any other projects in the works?

Maren: I have so many. I have two other manuscripts set in the same place as Meg’s farm in rural Oregon. Both of them are more fantasy, but still set essentially in my backyard.

I am also writing a play for a local children’s theater, and I am working on a medical thriller movie with my brother who is a doctor.

SJ: That all sounds so wonderful and certainly enough to keep you busy. Keep the momentum going. Thank you, Maren for your time and allowing me to take some time out of your busy schedule and interview you about your writing. Readers, take note you may purchase a copy of Fuzzy Logic at:

You can also find a copy at: www. OR
For more information about Maren and her writing, please check her website:


But we can't go without giving you a small bit of Fuzzy Logic to ponder....

I was so confused. Evan made me happy—right?—but I couldn’t just let Cody disappear from my life. Why couldn’t I decide?

“Cody?” I said when I couldn’t stand the silence any longer. “Are you mad?”

He glanced at me, his eyes flashing. “Why would I be mad?” he growled.

“He just kind of showed up last night,” I said.

“Don’t,” he said. “I don’t want to know.”

“I just want to tell you that I’ve been thinking about you, us—”

“And he just showed up and spent the night last night. I hear you.” Cody swung the truck around a corner so forcefully that I gathered the cria more tightly into my arms to keep it from sliding.

“Please, give me another chance,” I said. “I’m not ready to let you go.”

“But you’re not ready to let him go, either,” Cody said. Pain was sharp in his voice.

“Please,” I said. “Give me whatever time limit you want. I’ll follow it. But let me figure this out in my own way until then.” I was afraid to touch him, so I clutched the baby animal to my chest and hoped.

He looked at me hard again, but his eyes softened before he looked back at the road. He made a turn into a parking lot and switched off the key. He turned to me and looked into my eyes. “A week,” he said. “One torturous week, and I’m done.”

Thank you all for visiting with us. Until next month...every one please stay safe. Smile. Be happy. Show compassion. Be nice to others. Put a little love into your heart. Please speak up for those without a voice, whether it be a dog, cat, elephant or monkey. One person, one voice can make a difference. Read a book and pass it on. Leave a review. Reviews are important for authors. Believe me. I know. Thank you!
S. J. Francis
Advocate for the underdog, and cat, and supporting writers, et al.
In Shattered Lies: "It's All About Family." Available now from Black Opal Books and for sale at all on-line retailers and independent booksellers.

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And now for some legal stuff: Copyright 2015 by S.J. Francis. Opinions expressed here are solely those of the author, S. J. Francis and the guest author and are meant to entertain, inform and enlighten, and intend to offend no one.

1 comment:

  1. Loved this interview. Different. I didn't expect the alpacas. I'm embarrassed to say I never heard that name before, but they are sure cute. Really neat story. Nice interview.