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.

Hi Julie! Thanks so much for chatting with us today! Let’s get started, shall we? You were a lawyer before you started writing full-time. What made you decide to be a writer? Was it hard to make that transition from one occupation to another? 

 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.

You write fantastic contemporary romance, but if you could dabble in another sub-genre, what would you pick and why? 

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.

Here’s the sex question…Jason Andrews is the SEXIEST man alive. But there’s no sex in his book! I personally think it works well. What was behind your decision to keep it this way? 

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 : )

 Fun questions! Let’s say Kyle Rhoads, the infamous Twitter terrorist, got on Twitter again. What would be his first tweet? 

 LOL. Knowing Kyle, it would probably be: “I can’t believe these jokers let me back on.”

 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.

Is there a book and/or series that you wished you have written? 

One of the screenplays I wrote back in the day is a romantic suspense about a woman (an attorney) who goes on safari in Africa and discovers that one of the people on that safari is a hitman hired to kill her. There’s a really hot ranger in the story—but the heroine doesn’t know if she can trust him because he could very well be the hitman. I came up with the idea after going on safari in South Africa—that was the most incredible trip I’ve ever taken and would love to set a book there. I’ve pitched the idea, but have been told that books set in exotic locations don’t sell well. But I haven’t given up hope—maybe some day!

Thanks so much for stopping by, Julie!

 
Author of the Month Julie James will be giving away TWO COPIES of A LOT LIKE LOVE! This contest is open to everyone! 
To enter, please:
1. Be a follower
2.In the comments, tell us who your favorite literary hero is! And leave a valid email address too!
Extra entries are acceptable. If you post or tweet this giveaway, we ask that you provide links. Thank you and good luck!

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47 Comments

  1. Hmm, it’s so hard to pick only one! I love
    -from historicals: Elijah from Desperate Duchesses by Eloisa James;
    -from contemporary: Ted from Call me Irresistible by Susan Elizabeth Phillips
    -from PNR: Rydstorm from IAD by Kresley Cole
    -from UF: Barrons from fever series by Karen Marie Moning

  2. Thanks for the contest! I have had this book on my TBR list for awhile now… As to my favorite literary hero… While I’m which Julie on loving Mr Darcy, my first and longest standing literary hero has to be Rhett Butler from Gone With The Wind, but my current hero would have to be Barrons from the Fever series by Karen Marie Moning….how’s that for diversity in hero love? Book Savvy Babe
    booksavvybabe at gmail dot com

  3. Great interview, I had no idea that she wanted to write screenplays!
    I’d buy the safari locale, but I do like exotic locations. 🙂
    My favorite hero is Adam Black from Karen Marie moning’s Highlander series-sweaty Scottish blacksmith who’s really a fae prince? I’m there!

    Higlandhussy(at)gmail(dot)com

  4. Great interview, the whole fade-to-black sex scene makes more sense now!

    I’m not sure I could ever really pick just one, but I do love Curran from Kate Daniels, John Matthew from BDB, Sam Starrett from Troubleshooters, & Acheron from Dark Hunters.

    brilliant dot love at hotmail dot com

  5. Hey everyone! Just thought I’d drop by to say hello. I’ve got a book due in ten days, so I’m deep in the writing hole this week, but I’ll be reading all your comments and will try to pop in and out.

    And a big thanks to UTC for inviting me here and making me the author of the month!

    Julie James

  6. Great giveaway. Not so easy question!
    When it comes to contemporary romance (romantic suspense) JULIAN (Pamela Clare – Hard Evidence)
    PNR: Nalini Singh’s Archangel Raphael, Larissa Ione’s Wraith or Jeaniene Frost’s Bones.
    Thriller: My fave read of 2011 and also fave protagonist (antihero) Victor without a surname. The Hunter by Tom Wood.
    Historical romance: Julia Quinn’s Colin Bridgerton.

    Yay! It’s international 🙂
    sk_86(at)gmx(dot)de

  7. I have many heroes in my books, but one I always return to Burke from the Burke series by Andrew Vachss. There is just something about him that I have to keep returning to these books and read them over and over. Thank you for sharing today and for the lovely giveaway opportunity. I am of course a follower 🙂

    dz59001[at]gmail[dot]com

  8. My favourite literary hero is Bones from the Night Huntress series by Jeaniene Frost! Love everything about him and that series 🙂

    GFC follower

    chibipooh(at)gmail(dot)com

  9. Dont know what I am follower means…..

    I love your books Julie.

    Hard question – favorite literary hero I guess would be Silas Marner – I always remember his story from H.S.

    patoct at yahoo dot com

  10. Ohhhhh this is soooo tough….I have a few favorites…Rafe McKade (The Return of Rafe McKade), Jack Travis (Smooth Talking Stranger), Nathan Devereaux (Untraceable), Luc Martineau (See Jane Score), Jack Pallas (Something About You), Trevor Meede (Just One of the Guys), Jack Bowman (Thread of Fear), Zach Zemaitis (Not Another Bad Date), and Gabe Bonner (Dream a little Dream)….I think I may have a thing for guys named “Jack”…haha…..there are many, MANY more heros that I love…but i didn’t want to take up to much space….Ok one more Jacob Graystone (Birthright)….ok now Im finished!!

  11. I’m on my knees, bowing to the Julie James shrine.

    That woman is fantabulous!!!! (Spellchecker that seriously IS a word).

    Love all her books.

    My favourite Julie James hero is: Jack he is one sexy, sexy, fine, fine piece of hunky, hunky man and I would love to get my hands on his FBI ass.

    A hero from another author??? Too hard, there is way too many, but I just finished Envy by J.R. Ward and that lady really knows how to make a hunky man come to life. All gritty, smart ass and quick witted all in one damn fine package.

  12. Wow I had no idea she started as a scriptwriter. That lady is verra talented. My fav hero…hmm.. would be Roarke because he’s just the whole damn package. But I like the heroes of books I read at the time too – like now, I’m reading Storm Born and Tiago is on my mind like woah.

    queen_tui at hotmail dot com

  13. I have too many favourites, but one who stands out in my mind is Jericho Barrons. Although I kow he would hate being called a hero, but he is to me!

    ~Na
    Cambonified {at} yahoo {dot} com

  14. Ung, I don’t think I have a favourite literary hero. And besides what exactly defines one? Though, if we’re talking hot, super-mega-awesome love interests, a few mentions need to go to Dimitri (VA by Richelle Mead), Jericho Barrons, Bones and Mr Darcy (even though Persuasion is my favourite Austen, no one can beat him). Thanks!

    GFC – JessS
    jessicamariesutton(at)msn(dot)com

  15. I’m all about the Black Dagger Brotherhood right now, and my favourites are Rhage, Zsadist, and Vishous.

    Thanks for the interview and giveaway!

    darlenesbooknook at gmail dot com

  16. Great interview, makes me even more curious about Julia James. I’ve been wanting to read her books but just haven’t got the chance yet. Thanks a lot for this giveaway 😀

    I have a lot of fave heroes actually, if I should name some : Roarke (In Death Series), Marcus Westcliff (Wallflowers Series), Gage Travis (Travis Series), Bones (Night Huntress Series), Will Parker (Morning Glory) and lots lots more 😀

    sansich (at) gmail (dot) com

  17. My favorite literary hero would have to be Rose. She’s so bad ass and doesn’t take anyone’s crap. I love that. Thank you for the giveaway. shae(underscore)carcar(at)yahoo(dot)com

  18. Great interview, thanks! I’m new to Julie James’ books, but I have read so many great reviews. Brava, Julie! Thanks so much for including international readers in this giveaway!
    My favorite literary hero is Mr Darcy from “Pride and Prejudice”.

    natalija (dot) shkomare (at) gmail (dot) com
    Natalija (Italy)