Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Interview with Julie James + Giveaway

Button made by the very talented Susi! Thank you!!

Today's guest became one of my favourite contemporary romance authors immediately after I read the first few chapters of her debut novel Just the Sexiest Man Alive: it was sexy, it was romantic and most of all it was witty and funny! And whenever you pick up a book by her it is guaranteed you'll get this amazing mix, please give it up for the fantastic Julie James

Stella: Hi Julie welcome to Ex Libris! :-) Thanks for taking the time to stop by and answer a few of my questions. My first one would be: you were an attorney (just like me), working at a big law firm (just like me), then one day you decided to become a published writer. Can you tell us about how you found your way? What made you decide to choose another path and leave your job as a lawyer? How did it all begin and how long was it before you took that leap?

Julie: Thanks for having me 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.

I wrote the screenplay in my spare time, which, when you work at a large firm—and I’m sure you can relate to this—was, like, 10pm to 2am in the morning. 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, and then I wrote a second screenplay (a suspense thriller), which also was optioned. I think it was about that time that I began to think, “Hmm…maybe I really can do this.” Still, because it was such a big leap—and I truly enjoyed practicing law—I did both (writing and working at the firm) for another 18 months while mulling over my decision.

As for taking that final leap and leaving law to write full-time . . . you know, it was just one of those things that I thought I’d regret if I didn’t give it a shot. Although I still vividly remember the day I told the firm I was going to leave—I was walking to the office of the partner who was the head of my group and I kept thinking, “Oh my gosh, am I really going to do this?” Luckily, that decision seems to have turned out okay!

Stella: Your 5th book About That Night comes out in April! Congratulations! Can you tell readers a bit about the story and its characters?

Julie: Thanks! I’m really excited about it. About That Night is a contemporary romance that will be available on April 3rd and is a follow-up to my previous release, A Lot Like Love. (I should mention, however, that each book can easily be read as a standalone.)

About That Night is about an ex-con, Kyle Rhodes, (who also happens to be a billionaire heir) who has just been released from prison after being convicted for hacking into Twitter. After being dubbed the "Twitter Terrorist,'" he wants to put the past--and his mistakes--behind him. He's therefore quite irked when the U.S. Attorney's office, the very prosecutors who threw him in prison, want his help in a high-profile homicide investigation involving a corrupt prison guard. But the Assistant U.S. Attorney assigned to the case just so happens to be a woman from Kyle's past, and may be the one person Kyle can't say no to . . .

Stella: About That Night is the 3rd book in the FBI/US Attorney series, why did you decide to write a series? Did you already knew when you wrote that it was going to be the first book in a series or it started out as a standalone and then when other secondary characters clamoured for their own story expanded into a series? Will there be other books in the series? How many more do you plan on having?

Julie: I’ve been getting a lot of questions about the FBI/US Attorneys series, so I added a page to my website that explains the inspiration behind the series and how each of the books developed. That can be found here.

As far as how many other books there will be in the series, I generally only think about a book ahead. I can tell you that my sixth book will be connected to the FBI/U.S. Attorney series, but beyond that, I don’t know. I like being able to write whatever story inspires me most, and fortunately, my publisher has been great about letting me do that.

Stella: What is your favourite part about writing a novel? The initial moment when inspiration strikes? Or when you are canvassing all the small details of the story? Or when the h/h meet for the first time? Or something completely different? (maybe when you type THE END?) I’m curious :-)

Julie: I like many parts of the writing process. I generally have a 10-15 page outline for a book when I begin writing, but it doesn’t include all the small details—so I “discover” things about the characters when I begin actually writing. I’ll give you an example from the book I’m currently working on (without giving anything away!) I knew the hero had suffered an injury in college that set his life on a different course from what he’d anticipated, but that was all I knew. So it was fun, when it came time to actually write that, to discover the details of the character’s backstory and how those details shaped him to be the person he is in the present day.

And yes, I do also like writing the moment where the heroine and hero first meet. In my books they often meet under circumstances where they think they don’t like each other, so those scenes are a lot of fun.

Stella: And another question just for fun, I’ve seen many people and readers wonder and comment about this. Please settle this big guessing game debacle that has been going on the internet regarding the exciting cover of About That Night: Kyle’s pants seem a bit tight *cough*, are those readers correct who claim to see a bulging bunchage? (just click on the cover at right to see it bigger)

Julie: LOL, that cover did create a bit of a stir. No clue what the situation is there.

After graduating from the University of Illinois College of Law, Julie James clerked for the United States Court of Appeals in Jacksonville, Florida. She then practiced law with one of the nation’s largest law firms for several years until she began writing screenplays. After Hollywood producers optioned two of her scripts, she decided to leave the practice of law to write full-time. Her books have been translated into thirteen languages and Julie’s most recent novel, A LOT LIKE LOVE, is a national bestseller.

Julie James lives with her husband and two children in Chicago. Her next novel,
 About That Night, will be available in April 2012.

You can reach Julie at her website / blog / Twitter / Facebook / Goodreads


Julie has generously offered a copy of any of her books (except About That Night) to a lucky commentator, and it can be either paperback, Kindle or Nook ebook!

To be entered all you have to do is:

1. fill out the main form so I have your contact info (just once, if you have already filled it out for a previous giveaway that's enough)

2. leave a comment/question for Julie, or tell us: which book of Julie's would you like to read and why that one? what appeals to you about it? 

Giveaway is open worldwide and ends on 15 March 2012.

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