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Mitzi: Teddy can sometimes be hard work, but don’t tell him I said that! He’s demanding and he likes to grumble. A typical male, eh? Mind you, I couldn’t manage without him. I can’t imagine a more creative and talented author to work with. The fact that he’s a bear might be, to some, rather unusual, but I don’t have those kinds of species-ist prejudices.
2. Are any parts of this book based on real-life events?
Mitzi: There are many events in the novel that were based on—if not taken directly from—our own experiences while staying in Norfolk, England. We traveled all over the county and soaked up a lot of local color, so there was quite a bit of fodder to choose from. The car wash scene with Thelonious is based on something that happened to my friend, who was en route to pick us up from the railway station when she decided her car needed a wash; like Thelonious, she very nearly didn’t make it back out! And the scene with Thelonious at the snooty gastropub full of obnoxious Londoners needed very little fictional amplification; it was authentic right down to the Cuban cigars. Even Lord Nelson, the dog from The Drowned Duck public house that features prominently in the novel, was inspired by an actual dog we came across at a pub. Let’s just say that each of them possessed amorous intentions that never quite reach fruition.
3. Tell us a little bit about the character, Thelonious T. Bear.
Mitzi: Thelonious is a photojournalist by profession. He also happens to be a bear. Of course, he’s not like other bears you might know of. He drives a Mini Cooper, wears a deerstalker hat, and even uses cologne. He’s also a big fan of jazz musician Charlie Parker (despite the connection of his first name to another jazz great, Thelonious Monk). In this first volume of the series, we find that Thelonious has decided to quit life in the big city (in this case London) and take advantage of his latest photojournalism assignment in the Norfolk countryside by making a new life for himself. He wants a simpler life and some peace and quiet (don’t we all?). Unfortunately, it doesn’t happen. Instead he stumbles upon a series of brutal murders of village publicans, for which he appears to be the sole suspect, thanks to a totally inept detective chief inspector. In a nutshell, this wasn’t quite what Thelonious had in mind when he went to Norfolk!
4. Normal for Norfolk is book one in the Thelonious T. Bear Chronicles. How many books are planned for this series?
Mitzi: I’ve no idea! I guess it depends on how inspired Teddy and I get. We’ve already mapped out the plotline for the second volume and hope to get started on the book next year. I adore this series, as does Teddy, and we’d like to see it continue well into the future.
5. What other books are you working on?
Mitzi: I have a new anthology just out called Thrones of Desire: Erotic Tales of Swords, Mist and Fire. It’s a fantasy-themed collection of short stories inspired by the hit TV series Game of Thrones (based on the George R.R. Martin books). As you can tell by the title, it will be steamy! I’m really pleased to be including a foreword from legendary fantasy author Piers Anthony. In addition, I’m writing a novel, which is a sequel to a classic work of literature (and I won’t say which one!). It’s something I’ve had in the pipeline for a couple of years and will feature both Gothic and erotic themes. I’m also co-writing a novel with another author along similar lines.
6. What do you hope to say to people about your writing?
Mitzi: Just that I hope they enjoy reading my work and, in the process, discover that my books offer something a bit different from what they might expect. So set any pre-conceived notions aside!
7. Who is your favorite author?
Mitzi: That’s so difficult to answer. I read many authors and enjoy many genres of fiction, from psychological thrillers to British-Asian fiction and lots of things in between. People whom I’ve read regularly over the years include Margaret Atwood, Alice Walker, Ruth Rendell, and Dean Koontz. But I also have books that are long-time favorites, such as Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov, The Jungle by Upton Sinclair, An American Tragedy by Theodore Dreiser, and The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy.
8. What do you do when you're not writing?
Mitzi: When I’m not writing, I’m involved with the business of writing, such as promotion, doing interviews, researching, and related admin. It takes more time and energy to do all this other stuff than it does to write a book. What little free time I have—and there’s virtually none—I use for reading, watching a film, and maybe traveling somewhere. However, more often than not my traveling is tied into the business of being a writer. So we’re right back where we started.
9. Are there any occupational hazards to being a writer?
Mitzi: Yeah, starving! Oh, and having your eyesight continually deteriorate from staring at a computer screen 24/7 and developing repetitive stress syndrome. Ain’t it great?
10. What's the last book you've read?
Lily White by Susan Isaacs.
Mitzi Szereto (mitziszereto.com) is an author and editor of multi-genre fiction and non-fiction, has her own blog Errant Ramblings: Mitzi Szereto’s Weblog, and is the creator/presenter of Mitzi TV, which covers “quirky” London. Her books include Thrones of Desire: Erotic Tales of Swords, Mist and Fire; Pride and Prejudice: Hidden Lusts; Red Velvet and Absinthe: Paranormal Erotic Romance; In Sleeping Beauty’s Bed: Erotic Fairy Tales; Getting Even: Revenge Stories; Dying for It: Tales of Sex and Death; and Wicked: Sexy Tales of Legendary Lovers. Her anthology Erotic Travel Tales 2 is the first anthology of erotica to feature a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. She divides her time between the UK and USA.
Teddy Tedaloo is a celebrity teddy bear, trendsetter, world traveler, and the production assistant extraordinaire/co-star of the web TV channel Mitzi TV. Widely popular in social media circles such as Facebook and Twitter, he’s known for his entertaining commentary and opinions as well as being an advocate for animal welfare. He lives (and goes) wherever Mitzi lives (and goes). Normal for Norfolk is his first novel.
Youtube link Normal for Norfolk: http://youtu.be/gVd8RFHMz7s
Normal for Norfolk (The Thelonious T. Bear Chronicles): http://mitziszereto.com/normalfornorfolk/
Mitzi Szereto website: http://mitziszereto.com
Mitzi Szereto on Twitter: https://twitter.com/mitziszereto
Teddy Tedaloo on Twitter: https://twitter.com/teddytedaloo
Mitzi Szereto Facebook fan page: https://www.facebook.com/mitziszereto.fanpage
Teddy Tedaloo Facebook fan page: https://www.facebook.com/teddytedaloo.fanpage
Errant Ramblings: Mitzi Szereto’s Weblog: http://mitziszereto.com/blog
Mitzi TV: http://mitziszereto.com/tv
Thrones of Desire: Erotic Tales of Swords, Mist and Fire: http://mitziszereto.com/thronesofdesire/
Mitzi Szereto Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/72445.Mitzi_Szereto
Mitzi Szereto Google+ official page: https://plus.google.com/b/105002950509883985630/105002950509883985630/posts
Mitzi Szereto MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/mitzi_szereto