As you may have heard, Contemporary Author Julie James is our Author of the Month for September 2011! Julie writes the most hilarious, most entertaining contemporary romance I've read in a long time. Her books make me burst out laughing and thus get me some weird stares, but it's worth it! Each book is like it's own anti-depressant! So, Maidens, help me welcome the wonderful Julie James to Under the Covers! For more information on Julie and her books, please visit her website here.
I have no writing background, have never taken any sort of creative writing class and, frankly, had never envisioned myself doing anything other than practicing law. But I love movies, and I love reading. I’d always had an idea for a romantic comedy film and one day, I just decided to sit down and write it. So I bought a book on how to write screenplays and got started.
Since I knew no one in Hollywood, after I finished the script I began cold querying agents and managers in L.A. There was some interest in the script, and I signed with a film agent. Shortly thereafter, a Hollywood producer optioned my script, but, unfortunately, the movie was never made. After the option expired, my film agent suggested that I turn the screenplay into a book, and I decided to give it a shot. When I’d finished the book, my film agent hooked me up with a literary agent, and shortly after I signed with her we got a two-book deal from Penguin/Berkley. And the rest, as they say, is history.
In terms of the transition from one occupation to another, sure, there are times when I miss practicing law, but I enjoy writing even more. It’s tough to beat a job you can do in sweatpants.
Do you have any must-have items while you are in the writing dungeon?
In the morning, I need something chocolate before I get started—usually Nestle’s Tollhouse chips right out of the bag, and at mid-day, I go out for a Starbucks run.
I’m very happy writing contemporary romance and don’t currently have any plans to explore another sub-genre. But if I did, I suppose I might try my hand at romantic suspense. Back in the day when I wrote screenplays, I wrote two suspense scripts so I have some experience with that.
For the most part, your books can be read as standalone novels. In the future, would you like to tackle the challenge of writing a series?
While not a series, my third and fourth books, Something About You and A Lot Like Love, are linked by recurring characters. My upcoming release, About That Night, is also linked to those two books. I’ve created this criminal justice world with the Chicago FBI and U.S. Attorney’s offices, and I would like to write additional stories in that setting. In fact, this summer I went on private tours of both the U.S. Attorney and Chicago FBI offices, and I’m fascinated by what they do. That being said, I would never force a story just to get it into a certain setting—so if a standalone idea is what appeals to me most, then that’s the story I’ll write next.
I love all the heroes of your books! Jason Andrews is the sexiest man alive. Jack Pallas has that glowering thing going on and Nick McCall is my number one lover! How do you make sure that your heroes stand out?
What characteristic should all heroes have? My approach is that I start with an awesome heroine, and then come up with a guy who deserves her. My heroes tend to be more sarcastic types, the kind who are far more likely to trade banter and quips with the heroine than be super-expressive about their feelings. But when they do fall in love, they fall hard.
Actually, there is sex in the book, it’s just at the very end and it’s not graphically written. There are two reasons I did that: First, Just the Sexiest Man Alive was my first book, and as I mentioned earlier, the story was originally written as a romantic comedy screenplay. And with scripts, the writer doesn’t write detailed sex scenes—it’s up to the director to figure out the mechanics of the scene. So when Taylor and Jason do finally get together in the book, I wrote those scenes in a similarly non-explicit fashion because that’s what I was familiar with. (My books have since gotten steamier as I’ve become more familiar with the contemporary romance genre.)
As for why the characters wait until the end? Because, simply, that’s what fit with the story. Because Taylor (the heroine) had been cheated on in the past, she had major concerns about getting together with Jason, who is the biggest movie star in Hollywood and a notorious womanizer. It wouldn’t have made sense for her to sleep with him until she completely trusted him.
About that Night is Kyle's book! What can we expect from this upcoming release? More hysterics, I hope!
Well, any book that’s about a guy who’s a billionaire heir/ex-con/computer genius nicknamed the “Twitter Terrorist” who went to prison for hacking into Twitter and shutting it down after his girlfriend broke up with him via a tweet has to have a few laughs, right? At least, I hope it does. What can I reveal about the book…? Hmm… well, the heroine is a woman from Kyle’s past, and the book picks up right after he has been released from prison. I would say, in terms of tone, that the book is most similar to Just the Sexiest Man Alive (meaning pure contemporary romance, no suspense subplot). But there is definitely sex in this book : )
I'm sure readers would agree that they drool over your sexy heroes. But who do YOU drool over? Who is your favourite literary hero?
Oh, I’m a sucker for Mr. Darcy from Pride & Prejudice. He’s just so smitten, despite all his efforts to the contrary, and so intent on winning over Elizabeth. I read that book once a year.
Thanks so much for stopping by, Julie!