Get into Bed with Julia London (Author Interview)

one mad nightKeira: One of the things I liked best about your rivals romance One Mad Night was that the hero and heroine played fair and it was still fun! Was fair play important to you and why was it important to the romance?

Julia London: To a point, yes.  The novella is short, so if the hero did something unfair (and it would be the hero, right?), there is not really enough time to redeem him.  And honestly, I think rivals can play fair.  It’s healthy competition that makes for healthy relationship.  I sound like a psychologist.

Keira: What made you decide they were competing over a car ad?

Julia: I thought that sort of ad would be a good and natural tension, because car ads seem to slanted toward men or women.  I noticed minivan ads are all about mom and the kids, and then the luxury cars are all about hip, handsome men. Figures!

Keira: What is your favorite part about snowed-in / isolated / desert / intimate (this subgenre goes by a lot of names!) romances?

Julia: That no one can escape.  The characters have to deal.  No one can run away and talk to friends or think, or pull any of that.  They are stuck.  Delicious!

Keira: What do you love best about writing historical/contemporary romances? 

Julia: Well, I love to read good love stories.  I love to watch them on the big screen.  So I guess I am naturally drawn to them.  I love establishing the male and female leads and their first real notice of each other.  It’s always fun to see where it will go after that.

Keira: Your characters always have such lovely chemistry with each other. What to you makes two characters rub along and create sparks?

Julia: Thank you!  That’s a wonderful compliment.  In high school, we did this play about a couple on a train.  I can’t remember the name of it, but what I remember is that it was my first conscious comprehension of the emotional differences between men and women.  Men want everything to be uncomplicated and unemotional, and women are incapable of leaving everything black and white.  It’s fun to push and pull those two dynamics.

Keira: How do you define love? How do you recognize your true love? What makes it last in the long run and not fizzle out?

Julia: In books or in real life?  Mutual respect and admiration is love.  What makes it last in the long run is appreciation and listening.  I think men and women can put up with a lot if they feel they are heard and appreciated by the ones they love.

Keira: What makes a steamy and sexy sex scene?

Julia: For me, the anticipation and sexual tension is steamier than the actual sex scene.  It’s a problem for me as a writer.  Some readers really like graphic sex.  I really like the build up to the actual depiction.  I have to straddle those and find a happy medium.

Keira: If not for writing, what would be your dream job? “Big business” job?

Julia: Writing is my dream job!  I’ve had the big business jobs before.  I would love to learn how to write screen plays, but there is only so much time, you know?

Keira: What is the hardest part and the most fun part of writing?

Julia: The hardest part of writing is actually writing.  I want each book to be better than the last, so I keep raising the bar for myself.  Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.  But I have to challenge myself to try new things and execute them well.  The most fun part of writing is meeting fans.  I work alone and I don’t know how my books may or may not speak to a reader.  So when I meet them in person and they are so complimentary and sometimes even moved my meeting me, it makes every moment spent alone with a stinky dog, tossing out everything I wrote the day before and trying again very much worth it!

Keira: What are you working on for us next?

Julia: I have the next two books in my historical Cabot Sisters series (The Devil Takes a Bride and The Scoundrel and the Debutante) coming out in late January and late April, respectively.  The Perfect Homecoming, the third book in my contemporary Pine River series, is coming out in February.  I am currently writing a book about rich summer people and the inevitable conflicts with the year round residents at a lake resort.  I just started it, but you know some worlds are going to collide!

One Mad Night Anthology
By Julia London

Two Romantic Adventures…One Mad Night

Two delightful contemporary romance novellas in one book from New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Julia London.

One winter’s night a blizzard sweeps across the country, demonstrating that fate can change the course of lives in an instant…and fate has got a sense of humor.

One Mad Night

Chelsea Crawford and Ian Rafferty are high profile ad execs in cutthroat competition for a client. When a major winter storm puts New York City on lockdown, the two rivals have to make it through the night together—oh, the many ways in which opposites attract…

The Bridesmaid – Bonus Novella

RITA Award Nominee for Best Romance Novella of 2013

Kate Preston has just moved to New York. Joe Firretti is contemplating a move to Seattle. When the weather wreaks havoc with transportation systems, Kate and Joe meet as they are both trying to rent the last car available… As Kate races to make her best friend’s wedding, and Joe races to a life-altering job interview, it looks like together is the only way they’ll make it at all.

Praise for Julia London:

“London knows how to keep pages turning…winningly fresh and funny.” —Publishers Weekly, on RITA Award nominee The Bridesmaid

Buy: One Mad Night

About the Author

Julia London is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of more than thirty novels, including the Homecoming Ranch contemporary series, the Secrets of Hadley Green historical romance series, and numerous other works. She is a four-time finalist for the prestigious RITA Award for excellence in romantic fiction, and RT Bookclub award recipient for Best Historical Romance.  She lives in Austin, Texas.

Connect with Julia London:

www.julialondon.com  | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Excerpt from One Mad Night by Julia London

It took a moment for Chelsea to notice him, which gave Ian a moment to admire her. He was going to crush her tomorrow, but that didn’t stop him from appreciating a figure that guys like him dreamed about. Chelsea was wearing a skirt today. It hit about mid-thigh and was tight enough to show off all her curves. She looked a bit taller today too. He glanced at her feet and noticed the shoes. Chelsea was walking on stilts, and her legs, good God, her legs. She was smoking hot in that dress and those shoes.

“Hey!” she said sharply, her voice full of accusation.

Ian’s head snapped up. “Hey,” he said con-genially. “Practicing your pitch?” He settled one hip onto the conference table.

“Do you mind?” She gestured to the door in a be-­off-­with-­you way.

“If you want, I could listen and give you some feedback.”

Chelsea’s mouth dropped open. And then her green eyes narrowed into little slits. “You have got to be the most arrogant man I’ve ever met.”

Ian smiled and shrugged.

“You can go, Ian,” she said, marching around the conference table to usher him out. “I think I’ve got it.”

“Suit yourself.”

“I will.”

“So hostile,” he said with a wink as he stood up. “I’m just trying to help. It never hurts for someone to hear the pitch, right? You’ve had someone listen to you go through it, right?”

“Yes, I’ve had—­Hey, hey,” she said, poking him in the chest. “Are you trying to play me?” she demanded. “Because it won’t work. I’m not some junior account person, you know. You can’t intimidate me.”

“Well, obviously,” Ian said and poked her back. “You wouldn’t be pitching at all if you were a junior account person. I know I can’t intimidate you. It wasn’t a declaration of war, you know; it was an offer to help.”

“It wasn’t a let-­me-­help, best-­friends-­forever offer, either. I’m not playing games with you. This account means a lot to me—­”

“Me too.”

“Oh yeah?” she said, shifting closer. “Well, don’t get too attached to the idea. I’ve got seniority, you know.”

“So why are you so afraid to show me what you’ve got?”

“Because it’s none of your business.”

“On the eve of the championship, it’s okay to go out and shoot some hoops with your competitor. It’s not going to affect tomorrow’s big game. It’s not like I can go out and change weeks of work overnight if I see you’ve got something better.”

She laughed. “Good try, Rafferty, but I think maybe the reason you want to see my pitch is because you’re worried about the strength of your pitch. Is it a little rough? Maybe I should listen to you.” She winked, and her green eyes shone with pleasure at her comeback.

“I’m definitely not worried about my pitch.”

“No? Seems to me if you’re presenting three,” she said, holding up three fingers and wiggling them at him, “then you must be uncertain which one is the winner.” Her smile broadened into sheer triumph, as if she thought she’d really zinged him.

She hadn’t zinged him, but Ian did wonder how she knew what he had…Zach. Of course. That rat bastard. “Have you been talking to Zimmerman?” he asked accusingly.

She shrugged and studied her manicure. “Maybe. Does it matter? I thought we were doing the let’s-­help-­each-­other thing. But if we’re not, would you mind toddling off? I have a lot of work I need to do before tomorrow. I plan to hit the ground running with this account on Monday.”

She was amazingly and annoyingly confident. Ian was generally a confident guy, but she was making him a teensy bit nervous. “You really think you’re going to get this, don’t you?”

“I don’t think, I know,” she said, looking up.

He tilted his head to one side to study her. “Isn’t it obvious to you why they brought me in?”

“I don’t know—­I haven’t given it the slightest bit of thought.” She lifted her chin, and Ian realized she lied about as well as she engaged in verbal volleyball. “I’ve been promised that this account is as good as mine. Didn’t they tell you that when they brought you in?”

A bit more of Ian’s confidence leaked out of him. He’d been in New York advertising long enough to know that the industry was full of snakes. He wouldn’t put it past anyone to feed him a bunch of half-­baked promises to get him to commit. “Who told you?”

She grinned. “None of your beeswax.”

“Come on, tell me—­” His phone rang, distracting him momentarily. He fished it out of his pocket and noticed the number was the Grabber-­Paulson main number. That was weird. “Listen, I’ll just say this,” he said, clicking off the phone. “Don’t be so sure of things. People say things they don’t mean, especially in this industry.” He started for the door.

“Uh-­huh, I know. And I would offer you the same advice, Mr. Rafferty,” she said in a singsong voice, and she flashed a dazzling smile, full of straight white teeth.

“Cocky too. I like that about you,” he said. “I’ll keep it in mind when I make partner.” He winked at her, smiled as if he was completely unbothered, and went out of the conference room.

Buy: One Mad Night

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Search For A Story When Writing a Book: How to Separate the Suck

ToWishUponARoman_200x300Guest post by Ishabelle Torry, author of To Wish Upon A Roman

As an author and history major still in the midst of my studies enrolled in a university, I often research history that I find to be boring. Why? Because I have to in order to earn my degree, of course! My preferences in history leans toward ancient, the older—the better. However, one of my recent classes was the Renaissance, and I was less than thrilled at first—until I realized just exactly what the Renaissance really consisted of. It was more than a new age, but the revival of the old ways and studies, aided by a new thought process called humanism. This fact intrigued me.

I started to wonder just what exactly lent to this new ideology in history. So I read, and I read. Not only did I read my required texts for assignments, but I did extra research on my own. And you know what I found? Henry VIII. Yep, good old Henry the Horny, Henry the Religion Changer…or dare I say it—Henry the Wife Executioner.

His affairs were fascinating, and his court deliciously scandalous. Aside from Henry, there had been only one other English monarch that dared to marry whom he desired against the wishes of tradition pre modern age. But Henry took it a step further. He made it a habit to search for love. Unfortunately for Anne Boleyn (second wife) and Katherine Howard (fifth wife), he proved to be fickle and untrusting. OFF WITH THEIR HEADS! However, the tawdry ending of these two women, not to mention the divorces to the other wives, taught me something—and it was related to the Renaissance notion of humanism and individuality.

There was more to the Renaissance than a revival of classical literature and new methods of painting, such as that of Michelangelo. The people of Tudor England were influenced by humanism and individuality, and they sought it with all their worth. There in fact was a new era emerging in regards to marriage and sex, and most importantly love. In a sense, Henry VIII may have led the way to modern day romance.

And Henry wasn’t alone! His sister, Mary Tudor, also married Charles Brandon against her king’s wishes because she loved him, and he her. Later on down the line, Elizabeth I would also refute the status quo, and decide not to marry at all! See the connection…people were thinking for themselves. They desired, and they went for it.

So, I am sure you’re asking where the creativity is in this brief history lesson? Peeling back the suckish layers of history of Henry VIII’s political endeavors (if that’s what bores you) and other duties to England, there is still an awesome story to be told involving sex, love, lies, marriage and betrayal. It’s almost like a sordid romance novel, per se. And say you’re fascinated with the political aspects, and the suckish part to you is the romance—there is still a story to be found. The point is THERE IS ALWAYS a story where you look if you know how to separate the suck.

I dare anyone who reads this blog to pick a time period in history and read a little about it. Can you separate the suck and form a possible story line?

Author Bio: Ishabelle Torry is a full time mother, wife and student. She enjoys time with her family, and their plethora of pets on the farm. In her spare time, she is constantly dreaming of characters and the worlds they are found in. Occasionally, Ishabelle has been known to argue with her characters and bribe them with cookies when they have a wayward moment.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/IshabelleTorry?ref=bookmarks

Follow on twitter @ishabelletorry

Book Blurb:

When Lucy received the locket from the estate of her aunt, it came with a warning to never speak his name…but where’s the fun in that?

Trapped for seventeen hundred years, General Hadrian Marias awaits his release from a crystal prison and a chance to find the reincarnated soul of his wife, Lucia. Instead, upon being summoned into the modern world, he finds Lucy—the descendant of Genevieve, the Celtic witch responsible for his entrapment. Everything he knows about Lucy stems from his experience with Genevieve, but he soon discovers the only thing Lucy shares with her ancient ancestor is an uncanny resemblance. He quickly finds himself drawn to the feisty vixen. But can he ever forgive himself for losing Lucia of the past, and move forward with Lucy?

Lucy Brady was devastated to receive word of her aunt’s death. Her only joy, a family heirloom passed down from generation to generation. Inside the golden locket hides a crystal containing the essence of Hadrian. Even though warned to never say his name, she chalks it up to superstition and inadvertently summons an ancient Roman general who demands his freedom from her tyrannical bloodline. Deeming the general’s appearance a prank, Lucy agrees to grant his freedom—in lieu of sex for a fortnight. Will the next fortnight of passion be enough to keep Hadrian at Lucy’s side? Or will he choose absolute freedom from her bloodline?

Buy: To Wish Upon A Roman

Excerpt:

Hadrian was infatuated by the witch’s sudden change. Her demeanor had gone from a scared rabbit to a cunning wolf as she slowly advanced in his direction. She looked ready to pounce.

Damn the gods.

He shook his head in frustration, swearing at his lack-wit brain. He assumed the dark woman with the strange clothing and heavy face paint had been Genevieve’s kin, but instead the innocent angel before him was the vile sorceress’s descendant. How could he have missed it? She even had the same violet pigment as Genevieve. He now knew for certain this pale beauty was his newest captor. “Release me.”

“You never answered me,” she purred prettily, taking slow deliberate steps toward him and emphasizing the sway of her hips.

Hadrian grunted. The witch recognized her powers already. She was another generation warned in advance; already knowing he couldn’t harm her physically as long as she controlled him.

Damn her smugness! He took a step back with each forward step she took. “Stay back, witch.”

He didn’t mean it. He felt himself harden with her approach. He hated her. Nay, he didn’t, but he should. Something about her perplexed him. She has her ancestor’s looks. Genevieve. His last step back was blocked by the loveseat. He thought to sidestep the smiling vixen, but a squared table blocked his path.

Curse her and her second sight! She has me purposely trapped!

The witch appeared to enjoy his uneasiness as she played cat and mouse. She obviously delighted in being the predator, moving in just the right way to keep him cornered. Her siren voice with its otherworldly quality beckoned him as she spoke. Aye, she was just as much the devil’s mistress as Genevieve.

“I ask you one more time, Hadrian Marias: Why should I release you?”

His pulse pounded in his ears. “It would be the honorable thing to do, milady. Seeing your family has held me prisoner for almost two millennia.”

“I see.” She dared to wink. “What’s in it for me?”

His paranoia threatened his temper. He felt the sudden need to hide from this enchantress. He would not make the same mistake again and trust a witch. No matter how beautiful she was or innocent she appeared, she was evil. Genevieve’s blood ran through her veins. “What do you want?” He finally managed to ask, hoping she didn’t hear the apprehension in his tone.

She threw her sultry head back and her laughter floated on the air and teased his defenses.

Devil’s Mistress…

She smirked. “In fourteen days, I will release you, but only if you become my sex slave and guarantee my satisfaction.”

Buy: To Wish Upon A Roman

Outlines…or How I Forgot About Sex!

Guest Blog by Jennifer Wilck, author of A Heart of Little Faith and Skin Deep

I am not a plotter by nature. I write based on what characters pop into my head and start talking to me. They get louder and louder until I write them down. Sometimes they give me a scene or a chapter. Sometimes it’s just a conversation. Other times, it turns into an entire book. Once I tell their stories, they fade away and someone new takes over.

While it might not be the most organized way of writing, it works from me. When my characters speak to me, the writing flows and I can disappear into the story. I love writing and it feels easy. That’s not to say that it IS easy, but it feels that way. Knowing that this method works best for me, you’d think I’d stick with it, wouldn’t you? I mean, I’ve gotten two manuscripts published this way, I enjoy doing it, and I’d like to keep doing it for a long time.

You’d be wrong. While writing my second manuscript, I met an awesome critique partner. She and I are like Yin and Yang. Her strengths are my weaknesses and vice versa. We are brutally honest with each other, we keep each other striving to perfect our craft and we’ve even become friends. So I hope you’ll understand my fear when I’d finished the manuscript, edited it, sent it out to a publisher and had it accepted. Now what? I didn’t want to lose her, because I’m not convinced that I’ll ever find a critique partner as good as she is.

So, after doing my happy dance upon getting my publishing contract, I immediately sat down at my computer to begin a new story. Only, there were no characters talking in my head. I had a story idea that I’d wanted to try for some time. It was also a romance, but with a Jewish theme. It would be tricky, because it would have a story within a story and also because I wanted to make sure that it appealed to everyone, regardless of their religion. It would require planning. It would also require the assistance of my non-Jewish critique partner to make sure that what I was writing was clear, understandable and interesting.

I decided to outline what I wanted to write, even though I’ve never, ever been able to use an outline for any writing in my life. Even as a student, I’d complete my papers weeks early in order to write the outline after the fact so that it would match the paper I’d already written. Going against every writing instinct in my body, I wrote an outline and sent it to my critique partner.

At that point, I could have set the outline aside and written from what was in my head, because by that time, I was getting faint murmurs from my characters. I should have, but I didn’t. I sat down, looked at my outline for chapter one and wrote chapter one. It was excruciating. I used every opportunity to become distracted. I took long breaks between scenes and eventually, chapters. So long, in fact, that I continuously had to consult the outline and what I’d written previously, to know what to write next.

But I did it. I wrote the whole story. I stuck to the outline. The first draft, like most first drafts, needs editing and rewriting and will continue to keep my critique partner busy for months. It’s short and needs to be fleshed out in some areas. But none of those issues are the real problem.

Oh no. Did I mention that this story is supposed to be a romance? Well, I left something important out. Nowhere, and I mean nowhere, did I put in any sex scenes. Totally forgot about them. Hello!!! What romance writer does that? I realize that not all romances need to show the sex scenes; my first book had the sex take place behind closed doors. My second one was most definitely “open door.” I don’t want sex in the book just for sex’s sake, but come on, these characters are supposed to fall in love and have sexual chemistry!

I was so focused on getting everything down in the outline, and then following the outline exactly, that I completely forgot to have my hero and heroine demonstrate any physical attraction for each other. And there lies the problem. I’m not used to having to “make” my characters do anything. When I write, my characters lead the story. They tell me what they want to do and say. It doesn’t always work, but it’s organic. When they fall in love, it seems like the most natural thing in the world. When they sneak a glance or covert touch, the reader roots for them and wants more. The love my characters feel for each other, and how they show it, is not based on what my outline says should happen. As I’ve now seen, when my outline dictates my writing (and please understand that this is only a judgment of my own writing), my story is stilted and emotionless.

So, for my next round of edits, I’ll be tossing that outline out and writing from my heart. Isn’t that where romance comes from anyway?

 About the Author: Jennifer is a chocolate-loving romance writer who’s days are filled chauffeuring her daughters to too many after-school activities, volunteering at school and temple and trying to steal time away with her husband. When all of that gets overwhelming, she retreats to her computer, where she write stories that let her escape from reality. She has two books published with Whiskey Creek Press: A Heart of Little Faith and Skin Deep. She can be reached at: www.jenniferwilck.com or http://www.facebook.com/pages/Jennifer-Wilck/201342863240160. She also writes a blog, Fried Oreos, at www.jenniferwilck.wordpress.com.

Book Purchasing Links: A Heart of Little Faith and Skin Deep

Review: The Claiming of Suzy by KT Grant

by Sandra Scholes, guest reviewer

Suzy wants a good time, and a man to give her the best sex ever, setting her sights on one handsome Cuban, JC, Juan Carlos at her local bar one night. He is the one who sees her and wants her too, and she hopes he can be the one man above all else who can make her feel like a princess. She knows him and his lover, but just wants him to take her roughly, and now – what she isn’t prepared for is his attitude toward her that turns her off completely.

Are all men out there useless?

She thinks that could be a possibility…unless there’s one who can sway her opinion. Men can be hard to put up with, and she thinks sometimes she can’t find a decent man – where are they? Hiding somewhere she doesn’t know about, or just plain evading her? If only she could find one who doesn’t come with baggage, hangups, and too much attitude.

I really liked this novel. It had the lead character, Suzy who isn’t the usual woman you would find in a novel like this – she isn’t a size eight type who can’t eat more than two beans on her plate, she is a well rounded woman, highly sexed and fun-loving, but she is beautiful and originally Juan made her feel that way when they made love. She is desirable, lovely, and has an idea of what she wants from a man, not just any man, a special one.

Funny parts in this are when JC and Suzy are being all intimate, and he refers to her stomach as a soft, downy pillow, when they have finished and he tells her his tee shirt won’t fit her as it’s only a medium and he thinks she takes a large or an XL. JC, according to the dialogue seems to be used to bedding more slender women than her, and she is hurt by that in the story, though his lack of tolerance toward her being the fuller woman borders on cruel.

There are others but it will spoil the story if I tell any more, yet this is a fun novel all round, and Suzy is always having to put up with men that can’t give her what she desires, someone to be hers who will love her for who she is – she does come across that man, but it does take a while for her to find him. Juan is certainly not the man for her, but her finding the man of her dreams could end up more of a compromise than she thinks.

Rating: ★★★★★

Buy: The Claiming of Suzy