Welcome back to Duck Chat!
Today we have former legal-eagle Julie James with us to talk about her sexy stories set within our judicial system. How I wish these fantasy men would wander through my depositions once in a while.
Julie is taking to heart the author/writer adage to write what you know. Her past law career is what she uses as a backdrop for her sexy romance novels. The U.S. legal system has never looked so good. In the last year and a half, she’s had three books published, all revolving around the ins and outs of courtrooms, law practices, police procedure, et al., and she talks to us about those three books today.
Julie is married and she lives with her family in Chicago. Be sure to leave a meaningful comment or a question for Julie and we’ll toss your name into the ring for a copy of her newest release, Something About You.
Now let’s chat!
DC: We’re so glad you could join us at TGTBTU today, Julie. Welcome! Would you tell those few readers who haven’t read your books yet a little something about yourself?
JJ: Thanks for having me here! Here’s the short-version: after graduating from the University of Illinois College of Law, I clerked for the United States Court of Appeals in Jacksonville, Florida. After that, I practiced law with one of the nation’s largest firms for several years until I began writing screenplays. After Hollywood producers optioned two of my scripts, I decided to leave the practice of law to write full-time. I now write contemporary romances for Berkley, and my third novel, Something About You, was just released on March 2nd.
DC: If you could retire any interview question and never, ever have it asked again, what would it be? Feel free to answer it.
JJ: I’m very flattered when people ask, “Why do we have to wait so long for your next book?” because that means they obviously really enjoy what I write. But then of course it makes me wonder why I can’t write faster. 😉 I think part of that is just learning to be comfortable with my process. What works for other authors doesn’t necessarily work for me.
DC: I’ve heard writers often say their stories take them in surprising directions, or dialogue flows from some unknown place. Is it the same with you? Do your characters surprise you sometimes?
JJ: Absolutely. When I get into a groove with a scene, particularly one with a lot of back and forth dialogue, I can “see” the scene in my head. Sometimes a character will say something particularly clever or funny, and I end up laughing while I type. Jason from Just the Sexiest Man Alive was a good example of that—that guy cracked me up the whole time I was writing him.
DC: Your books have been a huge success with romance readers. You do have a new release, but let’s talk about your previous books first, if that’s okay. Just the Sexiest Man Alive was your debut book and was a big hit. Would you give us a quick peek into Jason and Taylor’s story?
JJ: Sure. Taylor Donovan is a hot-shot associate at a large firm who is sent to Los Angeles to litigate a class action employment discrimination case. While she’s in L.A, her firm asks her to coach Jason Andrews, the biggest movie star in Hollywood (and three-time People magazine’s Sexiest Man Alive), for a legal thriller he’s about to start filming. The problem is that Jason is, um, slightly full of himself. To put it mildly. And he can’t believe that Taylor is so wholly un-enamored with him. So he sets out to win her over and sparks fly. : )
DC: Do you ever argue with your characters while you’re writing? Who usually wins?
JJ: I wouldn’t say I “argue” with my characters. But there might be times when I write something I didn’t plan at first because I realize that it’s necessary to stay true to the character.
DC: What is sure to distract you from sitting down and working/writing?
JJ: The Internet! Checking email. But I’ve started limiting that—I set goals where I tell myself that I have to write a certain scene, or so many words, before I can check my email again.
DC: Practice Makes Perfect is your second book and sounds like a lot of fun when rivals become friends and lovers. Would you tell us about Payton and J.D.?
JJ: Payton and J.D. are associates at the same law firm, and for eight years they haven’t gotten along. But they play nice in public, because the one thing each of them wants more than anything is to make partner. So when their boss hits them with the surprising news that only one of them will make it, it becomes an all-out, battle-of-the-sexes war between them. But as they’re fighting it out for that partnership spot, they begin to suspect there may be a lot more simmering beneath the surface than they’d originally thought. . .
DC: Is there a genre you haven’t tackled but would like to try?
JJ: I never say never to anything, but right now I’m very happy writing contemporary romances.
DC: What advice would you give to your younger self?
JJ: Listen up, third-grade Julie: don’t tie yourself with a jump rope to Lisa Anderson and attempt to roller skate down that hill!! Because when she falls down, you will too, and YOU will have the broken arm to show for it.
DC: If you were a book, what would your blurb be?
JJ: Oh gosh, no clue. In fact, let’s just go with that—the blurb of the book about my life could be “No Clue.”
DC: What would be your “voice’s” tagline?
JJ: Hmm. . . I’d say: Smart, sexy, and fun. (I hope.)
JJ: Cameron is an Assistant U.S. Attorney. Three years prior to the beginning of the book, she worked with FBI Special Agent Jack Pallas on a case that turned out badly, and they both blamed each other. Heated words were exchanged, and Jack said some not-so-nice things about Cameron to the press—actions that got him shipped off to Nebraska. Now he’s back in Chicago, and the first case he’s assigned to is a high-profile murder investigation in which Cameron is the only eye witness. When it turns out that the killer might be after Cameron next, Jack is assigned to protect her. And you guessed it, high jinks ensue.
JJ: I am currently making my way through Joss Ware’s new series, and Release by Beth Kery is on my nightstand as well. Prior to that, I read Nalini Singh’s Archangel’s Kiss. All are books I highly recommend.
DC: If you had never become an author, what do you think you would be doing right now?
JJ: I guess I’d still be a lawyer, which I genuinely enjoyed—just not as much as being an author. Nothing beats a job you can do in sweatpants. <g>
DC: What’s on the horizon for Julie James?
JJ: I’m currently finishing my fourth book, which 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. It’s a lighter, dialogue-driven contemporary romance with a small suspense subplot.
DC: Thank you so much for spending the day with us, Julie!