AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT: JULIE JAMES
We have managed to track down another popular author to chat with us… We are chatting with Julie James
What is your most current work out?
My next book, A Lot Like Love, will be out March 1.
Tell us a little about A Lot Like Love—what inspired you to write this novel?
A Lot Like Love is 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. The idea for the book came to me after my husband and I took a trip to Napa Valley. I knew I wanted to write a contemporary romance with the wine industry as a backdrop—after all, wine and romance go hand-in-hand!
When you start writing, do you already have the story plotted out or do you let the characters dictate what will happen?
I’m a plotter. With each book, I draft about a 15- to 20-page outline that includes specific scenes, dialogue, character background, etc. I do the outline so that I know I have enough of a story to support an entire book. But the funny thing is, once I begin writing the book, I rarely look at the outline—the story is already developed enough in my head, and at that point I like the story to flow, and possibly change, as I’m writing.
What inspired you to write in your genre? Is this the genre you started writing in or have you morphed to this one?
After practicing law for six years, I started writing screenplays. When the option expired on my first screenplay (a romantic comedy), my film agent suggested that I turn the script into a novel. I took him up on his suggestion, and that screenplay became my first book, Just the Sexiest Man Alive. I’ve been writing contemporary romances ever since.
Do you have a favorite character you have written?
Ooh . . . this is tough. Probably the hero in my first book, Jason Andrews, because he was such a fun character to write. He’s the biggest movie star in Hollywood and is used to people falling at his feet, so he truly cannot believe it when the heroine, Taylor, wants nothing to do with him. He’s just so charmingly cocky throughout the book—but also very smitten—that I smiled while writing every scene he’s in.
Do you have a character that you look back on now and don’t like?
No. But I’m only on my fifth book. Give me a little more time.
Do you draw inspiration for your characters from real life? Any fun stories you could share?
Well, four of my heroines are lawyers, and I’m a lawyer myself. The heroine in my second book, Practice Makes Perfect, practices the exact kind of law I used to practice (employment discrimination defense) and works at a large firm, just as I used to. So I was able to draw on my own experiences, ambitions, and motivations in creating her character.
What do you find to be the hardest part of writing?
The thing I struggle with most is that I’m a slow writer. Other authors can write in one hour what will take me a whole day. Sometimes I feel like I “should” be able to write faster, but then I remind myself that my process is what it is, and that the most important thing about writing is the result—not how long it took me to get there.
Name one thing that your readers would be surprised to know about you.
I’m addicted to reality television shows—“The Bachelor,” “Survivor,” “Dancing with the Stars,” even “So You Think You Can Dance” in the summer. I love it!
Do you have a guilty pleasure?
Ha! See the above answer about reality TV. Watching “The Bachelor” is probably as guilty a pleasure as they come.
What do you need before you start writing? Anything that is a must have or the creative juices don’t flow?
A quiet house! Ha, ha, like that ever happens with a 3-year-old and a 3-month-old at home. Because of that, I’ve found that the creative juices flow more at a local coffee shop I like to write at.
Does music influence your writing? If so, do any of your stories have a theme song?
Sure, I’ll hear songs on the radio that will make me think of scenes for a book. Sometimes, the songs have little relation to the actual plot of the book—I think it’s just that ability to escape with a good song that gets the mind going.
If your new book was optioned for a movie, who would play your characters?
Oh, I can tell you exactly how I picture Nick from A Lot Like Love. Tall, dark, and smoldering, with brilliant green eyes. . . I’d pick this guy:
I don’t even remember the actor’s name, I just came across this picture on the internet and thought, “That could be Nick!” As for Jordan, I don’t know who could play her . . . I think the best answer is, if someone options the book for a movie, they can choose anyone they want.
Where were you when you got your first contract? Who did you tell first?
I was pushing the stroller with my son, who was 10 days old at the time, when my agent called. She was very excited, and said that Berkley wanted to do a two-book deal, and that they wanted me to write a proposal for my second book as soon as possible. My answer—after I jumped up and down for joy—was, “Um . . . can you tell them I have a 10-day-old baby at home? I can’t even find time to take a shower.” LOL.
How old were you when you read your first romance book?
Well, I have to admit that the first romance book I read was the first one I wrote, Just the Sexiest Man Alive. Since I started my writing career with screenplays, I called the manuscript a “romantic comedy.” When my editor said that it would be marketed as a contemporary romance, I decided to learn more about the genre I’d apparently already been writing in. So I started reading romances, and, of course, now I’m hooked.
If you still have one of those pesky day jobs what is it?
As I mentioned, I used to practice law, but I’ve been writing full time for almost five years now.
What are you currently working on, and what else is in the wings?
I’m writing my fifth book, which is currently titled, About That Night. The hero in About That Night is the brother of the heroine in A Lot Like Love. As soon as he came on the page in A Lot Like Love, I knew he had to have his own book. He’s a billionaire, and also a convicted felon. I’m thinking that’s not a combination you see every day.
What is your reaction to people who say one of the following . . . “Oh you write romance, I thought you were a real writer,” “Romance isn’t a real writing career” or the ever popular “Oh, one of those books”?
Fortunately, no one’s actually ever said any of those things to me. I think if you present yourself seriously as a writer, then others, in return, will take what you write seriously. And anyone who doesn’t probably isn’t worth having a conversation with anyway.
Where can readers find you?
At my website: www.JulieJames.com. Readers can also find me on Twitter—@juljames—or at my Facebook fan page, which is a great place to chat with me and other readers.
FOR WEBSITE: www.JulieJames.com
FOR FACEBOOK: http://www.facebook.com/#!/profile.php?id=1629874449
And one question for the silly side: What is your favorite type of chocolate?
This is like asking me to pick my favorite child. I’m a diehard chocoholic—I’ve even gone as far as saying that I don’t consider a dessert a real dessert if it doesn’t have chocolate in it. I’ll take it all!