THE JAMES GANG
Each month I interview an author or publishing insider who has “James” in his/her name. My March James Gang interview is with Berkley author, Julie James.
1. Let’s get the most important question asked first: Why James?
Okay, I'll fess up--"James" is a pen name. (But the "Julie" part is real.) My editor suggested I pick a pen name because my real last name, while only four letters, is easy to misspell. (As I've come to learn throughout my life.) As for how I came up with "James"...I like guy names that start with a "J". And "James" seemed to go well with "Julie," so it stuck.
2. What fiction genre(s) and/or sub-genre(s) do you write?
I write contemporary romances for Berkley. Although my next release, while still humorous, also includes a suspense subplot.
3. Tell us about your latest release.
My next book, Something About You, releases on March 2nd. I'm so excited! I love the characters in this book, and the interplay between the hero and heroine. Here's a description:
FATE HAS THROWN TWO SWORN ENEMIES...
Of all the hotel rooms rented by all the adulterous politicians in Chicago, female Assistant U.S. Attorney Cameron Lynde had to choose the one next to 1308, where some hot-and-heavy lovemaking ends in bloodshed. And of all the FBI agents in Illinois, it had to be Special Agent Jack Pallas who gets assigned to this high-profile homicide. The same Jack Pallas who still blames Cameron for a botched crackdown three years ago—and nearly ruining his career…
...INTO EACH OTHER’S ARMS
Work with Cameron Lynde? Are they kidding? Maybe, Jack thinks, this is some kind of welcome-back prank after his stint away from Chicago. But it’s no joke: the pair is going to have to put their rocky past behind them and focus on the case at hand. That is, if they can cut back on the razor-sharp jibes—and smother the flame of their sizzling-hot sexual tension…
4. Is there a core story and/or a theme(s) in your books?
Oh, I'd say that the one thing you can generally expect from my books is that the heroine and hero won't like each other when they first meet. Also, I'm a big fan of older, black-and-white romantic comedies that have lots of back and forth banter between the female and male leads, and that's something I like to incorporate into my books as well.
5. Do you have a favorite hero and/or heroine in your books and why?
I truly had so much fun writing both the hero and heroine in Something About You. The hero, Jack, is a tough FBI Agent who's all dark and scowling and running around trying the save the day while everyone else around him is cracking jokes. Think Jason Bourne or Jack Bauer dumped into a romantic comedy. And Cameron, the heroine, is an Assistant U.S. Attorney. She's pretty much got her act together at the beginning of the book and thinks she has her life figured out, until she's at the wrong place at the wrong time and witnesses a murder that unexpectedly brings Jack back into her life. She's like a Hitchcock hero in some senses--going along just fine until she inadvertently stumbles into a mystery that ends up putting her in danger.
6. What do you enjoy most about being an author?
The writing! Creating stories that people can escape into, stories that (hopefully) make them smile.
7. Do you have any awards, reviews or kudos you’d like to tell us about?
I'd say that I've been fortunate in that my books have been very well-received. I'll try to keep my bragging to a minimum, although people are always welcome to visit my website at www.juliejames.com, where I proudly display all that kind of stuff. I will note, though, that Booklist selected my last book, Practice Makes Perfect, as one of the Top Ten Romances of 2009. That was a very proud author moment.
8. How do you promote your books and your author brand?
Good question! I'm constantly figuring out that part of the business myself. I guess I do the usual things: guest blogs, interviews, giveaways through my blog/website. And I'm on Twitter and Facebook, too--I feel like those are necessary media for authors now.
9. What is your next project?
I'm currently finishing up my fourth book, about a wealthy wine store owner who agrees to pose as the girlfriend of an undercover FBI agent (as part of a sting operation) in exchange for her twin brother's release from prison. And I brought back a couple of the characters from my third book in supporting roles. It's the first time I've linked two of my books that way.
10. Do you have a bit of wisdom you’d like to impart or a favorite quote?
Oh, the pressure to say something smart or profound here... I guess there are two quotes that I feel "inspire" me writing-wise: "All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us" (Lord of the Rings) and "The first draft of anything is shit" (Ernest Hemingway). Kind of an eclectic combo, but it works for me. ;-)
Thanks, Julie! Next month, I’ll interview Patriot Press author, Jessica James!
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