Her husband, Greg was the first witness we brought in for questioning.
Q. How often do you see your wife? Is it true she doesn’t write when you’re at home?
A. I see her a couple of times a month. And yes, when I’m home she spends most of her time with me unless she has a deadline to meet. If you don’t hear from her in her usual social circles, she’s either working—or putting me to work.
Q What is it we keep hearing about her nonfiction work? Why has this cropped up all of a sudden?
A. It’s not really all of a sudden. I’ve been nagging her for YEARS to write nonfiction rather than fiction. She’s really good at it too. Years ago she wrote for a national magazine about rheas and emu. We got letters from all over the world wanting her to tell them more.
I was never happy she got interested in fiction. That’s like the most thankless job in the world.
Q. Maria writes an awful lot of steamy romance novels. Does that ever bother you?
A. Have you read her stuff? That woman can curl my toes from fifteen feet away.
We then brought in two witnesses who are known confidantes of Maria Zannini. Her dogs: Tank and Iko.
Q. Tank, you've got the dog's eye view on things - have you noticed any unusual Google searches on Maria's computer?
A. Do I know you? You smell like a cop, a cop with no cookies. Bug off.
All right. We’ll try Iko. He looks friendlier.
Q.You, Iko. I hear Maria locks you in a cage when she goes out. Does she do this to keep you from snooping on her computer?
A. Not the computer—the furniture. But I haven’t been in prison in months. I’m reformed. No more furniture chewing for me. I’ve seen the light.
Q. What has she written recently that gives you 'paws' for concern?"
My only concern is that she works too much. Sometimes I have to get between her and the computer so she can take a break and love on me. (I’m very lovable.)
Oh, oh. Here comes Tank again. Man, that’s a big dog.
Tank: Didn’t I tell you to shove off?
Iko: She was asking about mommy.
Tank: And what did mom tell you about strangers?
Iko: :hangs head: Oh…yeah. Move it, buddy. We’re not allowed to talk to strangers.
I can see I'm barking up the wrong tree here, let's move on to the outside of the house. Nothing here but trees and chickens.
Q. Hey, you! Chicken! Can you confirm or deny if poultry disappearances have anything to do with Maria’s next book?
A. Bwaak! We’re getting picked off one by one—but only the roosters. One day me and Carl were strutting around, acting, cocky, checking out the ladies (if you know what I mean). The next minute—whoosh. Carl was gone. I looked everywhere for him, but all I found was a bloody trail.
I don’t know nuthin’ about no book. But if I’m in it, I hope she spells my name right.
Q. And what is your name?
Ah-ha! This Tweet has led me to Maria herself. Bring her in, boys. I see you’ve had to hog-tie her. We knew she wouldn’t come peacefully.
Q. So, Maria...What's this we hear about future projects and non-fiction work? Aren't your paranormal romances doing great? The reviews are spectacular. Are you giving it all up for something new?
A. Your hands are empty. Do you need a shovel?
If you don’t mind I’ll ask the questions. People want to know what you’re working on.
A. I haven’t turned my back on romance. I suspect there will be two and possibly three romance novels in the works in 2012. But I really want to concentrate on one of my favorite topics next year.
It’s an entire series of books on frugal living, from budgets, to shopping, to pet care. The only topic I won’t cover is kids. They scare the bejeebers out of me.
Happy now? Good. Now grab a shovel. I’ve got some bodies to bury.
Bio: When she's not hunting scorpions and chasing after zombie chickens, Maria’s often at her keyboard telling stories or blogging about her current homestead projects—where it's anyone's guess what body part she'll lop off next.
Her latest books are The Devil To Pay and Chain of Souls, Books 1 & 2 of the Second Chances series.
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