Monday, August 26, 2013

Featured Author: Susan Blexrud

Susan Blexrud is the author of the chick lit novel, His Fantasy Maid, published by Crimson Romance. Chick Lit Blog Tours brings her here today for an interview, and she also brought along an excerpt from the book. WARNING! This one's racy. Proceed with caution...

About the book: 

On the eve of Jake Sinclair’s bachelor party, his best man surprises him with a fantasy maid named Amy. Clad in a bikini, she cleans his house and jump starts his heart. She's beautiful, smart, and compassionate. Why is a woman like this working as a fantasy maid? A few days later, with thoughts still distracted by the enigmatic Amy, Jake crashes his car and wakes in the hospital emergency room where his fantasy maid is now wearing scrubs and wielding a stethoscope. Is she an hallucination, or is his fantasy maid a doctor?


Interview with Susan Blexrud

Susan, how did you come up with the title His Fantasy Maid?

On a trip to Orlando in December 2012, I found a pink notice taped to the front of my townhouse door, which read “Bikini Maid Services, 20 percent OFF.” After removing the notice from the door (and wondering how long it had been there), I tucked it into my purse to share with friends. Surely, only in Orlando would there be a service like this. Up here in the mountains of North Carolina where I live most of the year, it’s too dang cold to wear a bikini. However, after a Google search, I found out there are fantasy maid services all across the U.S. Who knew?

And then I recalled something Carl Hiaasen had said (I’ve seen him speak three times). He writes about some pretty bizarre characters, like an ex-governor of Florida who hangs out in the Everglades and eats road kill. I doubt that character was based on a REAL ex-governor, but nonetheless, Mr. Hiaasen’s contention is, “You can’t make this stuff up.” As a reporter for the Miami Herald, he should know.

This is where I started applying “what if…” to that little pink notice. What if…a brilliant medical student moonlights as a fantasy maid to pay the expenses of medical school? What if…a handsome, yet nerdy, young lawyer is poised to marry a social-climbing bitch? What if…as the preamble to the lawyer’s bachelor party, his best man surprises him with a fantasy maid? What if…this fantasy maid has him re-thinking his marriage plans? And so, a book was born.

Do you have another job outside of writing?

I owned a public relations firm in Orlando, and I’ve been involved in the profession for 35 years. During that time, I’ve worked in hospital communications and public affairs for government. I’ve been a political speechwriter and was director of communications for the City of Orlando. Currently, I still have a couple of public relations clients, and I work part-time.

Give us your best tweet for His Fantasy Maid. (140 characters or less.)

How far will a bright girl go to get what she wants? 

Did you have any say in your cover art? Did you have any say in it?

I am thrilled with the cover, and yes, I had some say. Since Jake Sinclair is NOT an alpha-type hero, I provided a couple of photos of someone I thought looked the part. The super graphics team at Crimson Romance took it from there. ( I think I’ve seen the male model on the cover in a television automobile commercial.)

How do you get to know your characters?

I use a terrific character chart that is available to authors at www.charlottedillon.com

When you start a new book, do you know what the entire cast will be?
               
No, I don’t, but I’m a woman who greatly values female friendships, so I always know that there will be secondary female characters who are important to the plot. In this book, Amy’s friend Ellen plays an integral role.

Which character did you most enjoy writing?

I enjoyed writing dim-witted Matt because he has such a good heart, and I’m a sucker for heroes with high emotional intelligence, even when their intellect may be sub par.

I’m constantly on the lookout for new names. How do you name your characters?

Truly, for me, this is one of the easiest aspects of my writing. They float to me on a cloud.

Lucky you! Tell us about your favorite scene in the book.

Jake’s drug-induced dream sequence is probably my favorite scene. And here it is….
The drugs are kicking in big time now.  Goodnight moon.

I’m at the front of the church in my tux, stifling a sneeze. The sanctuary is covered in gardenias, my least favorite flower. I hate their cloying scent. I have a stabbing pain between the eyes. Sam is next to me. My dad and mom are in the front row, and mom’s crying. Maybe the gardenias have gotten to her, too. 

The bridesmaids, in neon blue, take their places, and we all look expectantly to the front of the church for the bride. Claudia wants to walk down the aisle to Pachelbel’s Canon, so I’m surprised when Jason Mraz’s “I’m Yours” begins to fill the church. I look at Sam, who just shrugs like it’s the most natural thing in the world for his sister to change her mind at the last minute.

I flex my hands, and then fold them in front of me. I straighten, locking my knees. I start to teeter, and then catch myself. I’m nauseated. The wedding guests along the aisle have all put on party hats and are blowing noisemakers…to the music. This I find a bit odd.

On her father’s arm, Claudia glides toward the altar. From this distance, I can’t see through her veil. Really, a veil? What is this, the 1950s? When her father hands her off to me, she raises the lace.  It’s not Claudia.  It’s Amy.  And I’m thrilled, ecstatic, on the verge of hyperventilating. In fact, I’m so excited I can barely get through the ceremony. My cheeks hurt from grinning. I keep motioning for the minister to hurry things up. The more I motion, the slower he gets. When the pastor finally pronounces us man and wife, I kiss her quickly, pick her up, and literally run up the aisle. I carry her into a room off the antechamber. It’s the room where the bride and her bridesmaids dress. I know this isn’t proper. We must have a honeymoon planned, but I don’t care. I have to have her this very moment.

She doesn’t object to my urgency. In fact, she points to a settee and starts hiking up her floor length gown. She kneels on the settee. She’s wearing a lace garter belt, shimmery nylons, and the sweetest little thong. Do women still wear garter belts? Amy does. I push aside her diminutive thong. I’ve waited my whole life for this moment, when I claim the woman I love as my own. My cock is the size of Mr. Green Jeans’ prize cucumber. 

Something nudges my shoulder.
“Wake up, Mr. Sinclair. I need to take your vitals.” 
I peel my eyelids open. A nurse is staring down at me, and Amy stands in the doorway.  Someone’s made a tent in my bed. Oh, no, it’s not a tent. It’s my boner, sticking straight up like the main pole in a three-ring circus. It should be obvious that my vitals are, well, vital.

Where’s home for you?

I live in idyllic Asheville, North Carolina.

Oh my gosh, one of my favorite places! Tell us one weird thing, one nice thing, and one fact about where you live.


Asheville is where weird is normal…and normal is weird. No one cares about what kind of car you drive or how much jewelry you have. It’s the town of previously-important people.

Do you ever get writer’s block? What do you do when it happens?

I get it far more often than I’d like…and for weeks at a time. Generally, I just have to push through, and while much of what I write while I’m pushing is unadulterated crap, I can usually find a few kernels that give me hope to carry on.               

Excerpt from His Fantasy Maid

If I believed the adage, “you are what you do,” my self-concept would be in the toilet, so to speak. I clean houses in a bikini or French maid get-up, client’s choice, which contributes little to making the world a better place. As a result, my adage is, “you are what you become,” because I’m becoming a doctor. 

But today, I’m Amy Maitland, fantasy maid.

My best friend and fellow medical resident, Ellen, knows about my undercover life working for Fantasy Maids, but she’s the only one. If word got out at the College of Medicine, I’d be the laughingstock of the University of Central Florida. My five brothers know I work as a housemaid, which they respect as good, honest labor, but they don’t know the fantasy aspect. Protective (and controlling) men that they are, they’d lock me up.

That being said, it’s not the worst job in the world. I’ve been a fantasy maid for almost two years, and so far, none of my clients has tried to assault me. But it’s always a possibility, considering Florida’s propensity for perverts. The company (i.e. Rex, the owner, and a part-time secretary) arms us with pepper spray and an emergency hotline number (Rex’s cell phone), and they screen the customers to make sure no one’s a registered sex offender. They also arrange our appointments, and Rex is good about following up…within four or five days…to make sure we survived the gig. 

Still, being alone with a strange guy in his apartment is enough to get anyone’s adrenalin pumping, and I never go into a new situation without first sending up a prayer. I always let Ellen know where I’m going, and I carry a rosary, even though I’m not Catholic.

Today, I’m heading to a condominium in stylish Winter Park, just north of Orlando. The address alone is comforting. It’s just off Park Avenue in a nice neighborhood, and it’s next door to a church. But, I remind myself, Ted Bundy lived in a nice neighborhood.  Let’s face it; serial killers can look like the boy next door.

About the author:

Susan Blexrud grew up in Orlando, Florida, and now lives in Asheville, North Carolina, with her husband of 27 years, John, who proposed to her on New Year’s Eve 1985 on the Venice-Simplon Orient Express, halfway between Paris and Vienna. Their son Chris lives and works in Manhattan, and daughter Allison is a college junior. Susan has a Chihuahua named Baby and a cockatiel named Romeo. She is an avid reader, and she leads two monthly book clubs in Asheville.  She is a walker and Yoga enthusiast. She enjoys quilting and bird watching (loves hummingbirds), and most of all, writing her next story. 
 
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