The girls of Night Owl Romance are pleased that you have granted us an interview
We would love to get to know you
Could you please start by telling us a little about yourself?
Sure! My name is Julie Kenner, and I write all across the board. I was born in California, moved almost immediately to Texas, and grew up here in the Lone Star State. I've always wanted to be a writer, but came at it in a convoluted manner, via a career in law.
Here's my current bio, just to give you the nitty gritty run-down: National bestselling author Julie Kenner's first book hit the stores in February of 2000, and she's been on the go ever since, with over twenty books to her credit. Her books have hit lists as varied as USA Today, Waldenbooks, Barnes & Noble, and Locus Magazine. Julie is also a two-time RITA finalist, the winner of Romantic Times' Reviewer's Choice Award for Best Contemporary Paranormal of 2001, the winner of the Reviewers International Organization's award for best romantic suspense of 2004 and best paranormal of 2005, and the winner of the National Readers' Choice Award for best mainstream book of 2005. She writes a range of stories including sexy and quirky romances, young adult novels, chick lit suspense and paranormal mommy lit. Her foray into the latter, Carpe Demon: Adventures of a Demon-Hunting Soccer Mom, was selected as a Booksense Summer Paperback Pick for 2005, was a Target Breakout Book, was a Barnes & Noble Number One SFF/Fantasy bestseller for seven weeks, and is in development as a feature film with Warner Brothers and 1492 Pictures. The sequel, California Demon: The Secret Life of a Demon-Hunting Soccer Mom is currently a finalist for the RITA award. Julie lives in Georgetown with her husband, two daughters, and several cats.
If you could be one of your characters - Who would you be? And why?
Oh dear. That's hard. Because characters, as you know, need ISSUES. They need CONFLICT. They need all the stuff that we crave reading about in books, but would be darned inconvenient and stressful in real life!
Still, if I had to pick, Kate Connor, the heroine of my demon-hunting soccer mom series. She's a mom (and I love being a mom), plus she gets to kick demon ass (and, really, who doesn't want to blow off some steam?) She's funny and a loyal friend and has had a pretty interesting life. So, yeah, I'll go with Kate.
What's your favorite genre to read?
I read anything and everything, but my favorites are probably thrillers and mysteries.
When you have writer's block how do you break free?
Writer's block isn't really something I've had a problem with. I have books to write, deadlines to meet, and this is my job. The one that pays the bills, and I'm quite certain the utility companies could care less about my muse. I worked as an attorney for 15 years, and never once would the judge have accepted "I was blocked" as the reason why I didn't file a written brief in time. Sometimes, the work just has to be done. If you're not doing your best work, fine. Do crappy work. You can edit it a month down the road when you're revising the book. If the characters aren't as full of life as you want, fine. Write them anyway. As you do, you'll be breathing life into them, and you can go back and fix the flat parts. All of which is to say that my answer, I suppose, is: Write through it.
Can you please give us a sneak peek at any of your upcoming books?
Absolutely! There are a lot coming out right now and in the next few months:
April: THE PRADA PARADOX, the final book in the Play.Survive.Win trilogy that began with THE GIVENCHY CODE and continued with THE MANOLO MATRIX. In the books, someone is playing a popular computer game in the real world ... and the "target" must solve a series of clues in order to stay alive. Too slow, and the "assassin" just might take them out ... for real! (Great reviews, so far: "Enticing and fantastic suspence!" - Romance Junkies)
April: THE GOOD GHOUL'S GUIDE TO GETTING EVEN: High school junior Beth Frasier's got her life planned out. Be Valedictorian. Go to film school. Become famous. Unfortunately, being turned into a vampire puts a crimp in her plans, because colleges don't accept applications from the dead. Do they? Now Beth's out to get revenge on the jock vamps who turned her. And maybe - just maybe - she'll get her life back. (Also awesome reviews: ""Buffy" and "Firefly", move over! There is a new show in town. STELLAR!" - Huntress Reviews)
June: I have an essay in EVERYTHING I NEEDED TO KNOW ABOUT BEING A GIRL I LEARNED FROM JUDY BLUME. Much fun, and very personal, about a blood disorder I dealt with as a kid, and how Deenie helped me through it. Also, HELL ON HEELS, the follow-up to last year's HELL WITH THE LADIES, wherein the devil has decided to retire and leave his kingdom to his most worthy child. His sons having failed (they fell in love!) he now turns to his daughters. Will one prevail? Or will they, too, lose to love?
July: BIG month! This month is the release of the third installment of the demon-hunting soccer mom series with DEMONS ARE FOREVER: CONFESSIONS OF A DEMON-HUNTING SOCCER MOM. Also, the mass market re-release of CALIFORNIA DEMON for anyone who didn't grab it up in trade. And a young adult novella about supermodel vampires in the anthology FENDI, FERRAGAMO & FANGSHope you check some of them out!
Please tell us what you have planned next?
More books in the Kate Connor series, of course, and the sequel to GHOUL in September (GOOD GHOUL'S DO). After that, several things are in the pipe.
In 5 years, where do you see yourself? -In general and in you're writing career
Still happily making a career writing, with my family healthy and happy!
What do you do for inspiration?
Read. Watch movies. Take long walks around the neighborhood. Play with my kids!
Is there a genre of book you would like to write but haven't yet?
Not really. If you look at my book history, you can see that I've had a very varied past within women's fiction. I've been very fortunate that the ideas I've pitched have sold. That's not to say there haven't been rejections along the way - there most definitely have - but I don't feel like there's some story out there that's the book of my heart just waiting for the market to open up and let me write it.
What kind of research do you do for your books? Do you enjoy the research process?
I don't dislike the research, but I'm much more about diving into the story. I tend to do a lot of Internet research because I want the answer Right Then. And before I write, I'll read books on the topic (demons for Kate's series, other subjects for other books). I don't like doing in-person interviews or phone calls. I'd rather be the lone writer in the tower, banging away at the keyboard!
Do deadlines help or hinder your muse?
Helps! My muse is very deadline oriented!
When did you first decide to submit your work? Please, tell us what or who encouraged you to take this big step.
I've always wanted to be a writer, but part of what kept me from doing it earlier is that I didn't really want to show my stuff to anyone (that, and I had No Clue how to get published.) After we moved back to Texas from California, I attended a booksigning, and the author mentioned RWA. I had started trying to write a romance in California, but had had no guidance or feedback, so I joined. I started entering contests (I had no qualms about letting strangers see my work!). I did well, and that gave me the courage to show my mom (I was already letting my husband read pages). Once my mom had read an entire book aimed at Temptation (complete with sex scenes!) I figured I was ready for anything. Fortunate for me, I finaled in a contest and the manuscript was requested and, ultimately, sold to Temptation!
What would you like to tell your readers?
Thank you! Thank you for buying and reading the books! Thanks for spending time in the world of my imagination. And thanks for the emails and notes. It sometimes takes me a while to answer, but I read them all and do respond! The comments mean so much!
Do you outline your books or just start writing?
Both. I start writing after I have a solid idea. Usually the first chapter. Then I back off and do a synopsis. That, at least, is my "typical" approach. I've done books where the synopsis came w/o any pages at all. And some that never had a formal synopsis. (But even if it wasn't written, it was in my head. At the very least, I have to see the beginning and end of the book.)
Do you belong to a critique group? If so, how does this help or hinder you?
Yes, and I don't think I could survive without them. My crit partners have become my closest friends. We started out unpublished together, and I'm happy to say we are all now published. Our critique methods have evolved over the years, but they are a constant source of help, inspiration, feedback, friendship, and wackiness. They're fab, by the way. Dee Davis and Kathleen O'Reilly. Excellent authors. Buy their books! (End commercial)
What was your first published work and when was it published?
NOBODY DOES IT BETTER, February 2000. A Temptation. It was just re-released with a fabulous new cover, so if you missed it, you can get it again!