Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Guest Author: Julie James - Something About You

Winner: Thank you everyone for your wonderful comments, and thanks Julie for the great post. I've run the random numbers and the winner of Julie's giveaway is:

Congratulations! Please email your mailing address to nalinisinghwrites AT gmail DOT com so I can pass it on to Julie.

I'm delighted to have Julie James on the blog today! You all know how much I love her work - fun, sexy and smart, and with fantastic characters, they're wonderful reads.

Julie's not only talking about the inspiration behind her latest release, Something About You today, she's giving away a copy of the book, so don't forget to enter.

Please welcome Julie to the blog everyone!

Julie James
Something About You

First, I wanted to say thanks to Nalini for inviting me to guest blog! Nalini, you know I’m a big fan of your books, so I’m delighted to be here.

As both an author and a reader, I’m always fascinated by the things that inspire an author to write a particular book, those behind-the-scenes elements th
at fuel the original story idea. So I thought I’d share a few of the things that helped bring my recently-released book, Something About You, to life.

Noisy hotel neighbors. Alfred Hitchcock. Jason Bourne.

Quite an eclectic mix, I know. I’ll explain.

First, the noisy hotel neighbors. The idea for Something About You came to me in the middle of the night during the RWA San Francisco conference. Around 1am, the people in the hotel room next to me decided to have a party. (Not so much fun for me.) As I lay in bed, cursing the Fates (and my neighbors), an idea for a book struck me: a woman, by herself in a hotel, who is woken up in the middle of the night by strange noises coming from the room next door. Only in the book, instead of a party, those noises turn out to be the sounds of a murder.

This is
where the Alfred Hitchcock influence comes in. One of my favorite Hitchcock themes is that of an innocent man in the wrong place at the wrong time who becomes swept up in some kind of murder/suspense intrigue. It’s a theme that works well because everyone can identify with it. We watch the movie thinking, “Hey—that could be me. What if I walked into that bar at just the wrong moment and accidentally saw X that got me in a whole load of trouble?”

Instead o
f a bar, in Something About You I used the aforementioned hotel room. And instead of an innocent man in the wrong place at the wrong time, it’s a woman. My heroine, Assistant U.S. Attorney Cameron Lynde, is treating herself to some much-needed pampering at the luxurious Peninsula hotel when she’s awoken by noises from the room next to hers. At first the noises sound like some kind of crazy sex marathon, but then things change. . . and what Cameron ends up overhearing is a murder that involves a U.S. Senator and a call girl. Watching through her peephole, she sees a man leave the hotel room next to hers and thus becomes the sole witness to the high-profile crime. And just like in Hitchcock’s films, that’s where the trouble begins. Trouble, that is, in the form of FBI Special Agent Jack Pallas.

Okay, so this the Jason Bourne part. See, Jack, the hero of the book, is this tall, dark, and smoldering tough-guy FBI agent who can pretty much kill people with his thumb—normally the type of hero you would find in an action film or dark, edgy romantic suspense or thriller.

But not this time.

Jack is in charge of investigating the murder that Cameron overheard and—wouldn’t you know it—the two of them don’t get along. They worked together three years earlier on a case that ended badly with Jack mouthing off to the press about Cameron and consequently getting transferred to Nebraska. And if it’s not bad enough that the two of them have to work together as Jack tries to solve the crime, things get even worse when it turns out that the murderer may be aft
er Cameron next. . .

When writing Something About You, I wanted it to be a lighter, funnier contemporary romance, like my first two novels. Sure, there’s a suspense element, but that’s just a subplot—a device that brings these two strong-willed characters who allegedly can’t stand each other together. At first I thought to myself, “You can’t put an edgy, action-hero in a light-hearted story!” But then I wondered, hmm... or can you? I realized there’s a lot of potential for humor in that scenario.

I like to think of Something About You as my “What if somebody dropped Jason Bourne into a romantic comedy?” book. Which means that my hero, FBI Special Agent Jack Pallas, is running around all dark and scowling and trying to save the day, while everyone else is cracking jokes. What’s fun about Jack is that we get to see him slowly warm up throughout the course of the book as he begins to fall for and trust the heroine.

With that, I think I’ll turn it over to you guys, and to the giveaway. Maybe you have suggestions of other books or movies that balance suspense and humor. Or you could talk about your favorite tough-guy hero. Or maybe you have a question about me or my books. One person who leaves a comment below by 8 a.m. Friday 26th March 2010 (New Zealand time) will win a copy of Something About You.

Happy reading everyone!

Link to Julie's Website


Anneela said...

Hi Ms. James,

Your book sounds intriguing...I would love to win a copy of your book to find out how the story develops to get to an HEA.

Manulifee said...

HI, I just started working at a small hotel, a friend's business in Vienna and they tell stories of spies renting rooms ... better not to know too much or I'll get the creeps working late alone. Or I should read hotel crime romance at exactly those late hours?

hugs from Wien

Louise Delamore said...

You talk about inspiration and imagages, well I had a very vivid image when you said "FBI Special Agent Jack Pallas, is running around all dark and scowling and trying to save the day, while everyone else is cracking jokes." That image alone makes me want to read this book :)

Blodeuedd said...

Nice post.
Bourne in a romantic movie sounds, yes I can see that ;)
Wolverine is such a tough guy and to see him in something like this would be fun

Jackie Uhrmacher said...

This book, like all your books, is amazing. The chemistry between the characters is evident from the beginning. Add in a little danger, a dramatic leap through a set of French doors, and a track suit (okay, that scene in the hotel room was HILARIOUS) and you have a very entertaining book! The cops are the best part of this book, though. I don't have my copy in front of me, and I can't for the life of me remember their names, but their constant replays of conversations had me rolling. Especially the Max conversation. : )

Unknown said...

This books sounds very good. I love humor in books. The thought of a suspense with humor is new for me. I honestly cannot come up with a reference of one I have previously read. I would love to give this one a try!

CHRISTIE said...

Hi Julie!

I read Just the Sexiest Man Alive last week. I absolutely adored it. I can’t wait to read more of your books.

Mary G said...

Hi Julie
I just loved this book so much.
I can already tell it's going to be a fave for 2010. Great question about the balance of humor & suspense. I read a lot of rom. susp. & it's hard enough to balance the romance & suspense. I have read some rom. susp. that had some humor mostly between the H & H & them trying to get along in the beginning. What I think is different about yours is that it's funny & romantic & has a suspense element. Much more believable than a suspense that's funny. I already have to suspend belief when these H & H's are saving the world from terrorists & criminal masterminds while having hot monkey sex. I don't think the fit is right if humor is given equal time. (IMHO)
BTW don't enter me as I have your wonderful, funny, sexy, smart book already.

Jackie said...

Hello today Ms. James and Ms. Singh, so nice to come out and play with you on this.... My newest found blending of romance, suspense and humor was in a book written by Donna Kauffman and titled Black Sheep and the Princess. This book is part of her Unholy Trinity series featuring, Mac, Rafe and Finn and now since reading the first book the other 2 are firmly on my Want list...
I have yet to read any Julie James books but have wanted this one from the beginning of the promotions so am really hoping to get a copy soon, one way or another *g*!

jackie b central texas

Yvonne Lindsay said...

LOL, I can see why Nalini loves your work if your books are anything like your blog post! And I have to say I really love the way you think in tangents and what ifs. Congratulations on what sounds like an awesome release. I can't wait to read it myself!

Gail Leinweber said...

Humor + Romantic Suspense = Happy reader/movie goer.
One of my favorite humorous spy dramas is an old Dennis Quaid/Kathleen Turner movie called Undercover Blues. The banter never fails to entertain me.

Modokker said...

Hi Julie!

Without thinking to hard the book that comes to mind that balances suspense and humor is Mr Perfect by Linda Howard. Murder suspense with just enough humor mixed in. Everytime i think of that book i remember when the heroine looks over to the heros house( next door) only to see him standing there buck naked and calls him to tell him he should consider closing his blinds. He tells her she could've just closed her. lol Love it! Of course he doesn't try to even cover himself while he's looking at her thru the window and telling her this.


Modokker at Yahoo dot com

I ♥ Book Gossip said...

My question is what or who is your muse when writing these delicious books?

Please count me in.

cindyc725 at gmail dot com

PeppyPilotGirl said...

Honestly, the romance is what draws me, but the banter is what keeps me. Snark is a great lightener and keeps things from turning saccharine. I wish I wrote humor better myself!

I can't think of a book off the top of my head but the TV show Moonlighting (yes, I'm dating myself!) comes to mind.

Would love to win a copy!

Jessika said...

Hi Ms. James & Ms. Singh! I'm a first time reader of Ms. James, I just finished Practice Makes Perfect, and I have to say I laughed out loud quite a few times and finished it in one day. Thanks so much! It was a great book, can't wait to read more of your work! Two of my favorite movies w/suspense & romance are Entrapment & The Thomas Crown Affair. Thanks for your blog, I love hearing about how an author gets their ideas!

Erika said...

My favorite tough guy hero is Judd Lauren. You can't get any tougher than a former Arrow, but he still manages to come off as a guy you trust with your life and your heart.

Chelsea B. said...

This book sounds really good! And I love the cover!
I think Kerrelyn Sparks does a great job balancing suspense and humor (especially in her latest book!) Oh, and Christie Craig!

cait045 said...

I can't wait to read Something About You and Julie is a new author for me so I am very excited.

Julie James said...

Hi everyone! So glad to be here today. Great responses from all you guys. Thanks for all the wonderful comments about my books! And I promise--SAY does have a happy ending. ;-)

The recommendation of Mr. Perfect is, well, perfect. Loved that book, (and that window scene)-- it's a great blend of humor and suspense.

As for who my muse is. . . hmm... I don't really have a muse. A good glass of red wine, perhaps?

And I completely agree with the Judd Lauren comment. I think he's my favorite of Nalini's heroes. And she has a lot of great heroes.

Karen W. said...

SOMETHING ABOUT YOU sounds like a lot of fun!

It's not a book or movie, but I think "Buffy" did the greatest job of mixing suspense (drama) with humor, and I love that combination!

Thanks for the contest. :)

Mujerluminosa said...

Hi Julie,
Thanks for stopping by Nalini's blog. I am a huge fan of hers. Your book has been recommended to me by several folks -- and it sounds like a great read. I love tall, dark and smolderingly handsome heroes :) LOL! So many books...
I look forward to reading it and checking out your other books too. Learning of your influences in terms of ideas for a book; what other personal interests and/or external influences have you thought of turning into stories? I truly enjoy learning of authors inspirations and writing processes. Best wishes,

Joanne said...

Great post.
I love the idea of lying in a hotel room with rowdy neighbours and getting a story idea out if it!!

Kyesha said...

I would love to sink my teeth into this read. The joining of Romantic Suspense and humor sounds fascinating.

Julie James said...

As a big Buffy fan, I definitely agree that show balanced suspense/drama and humor extremely well.

In terms of other personal interests that have influenced my writing... off the top of my head, I'd have to say wine. I went to Napa Valley last spring and said, "I have to write a book with a scene here." So my fourth book, which I'm currently finishing up now, has a heroine who owns a wine shop. And yep--I got in my Napa scene. :-)

Maureen L. said...

I love your books...can't wait to read this one!!

Anonymous said...

For me, The Big Easy has a great combination of suspense and humour. Dennis Quaid and Ellen Barkin had great chemistry, IMO. As for tough of my favourite tough guy heroes at the moment would have to be Hawke from Nalini's Psy/Changeling series; and Callon, Dane, and Jonas from Lora Leigh's Breeds series. These four male characters have off the charts appeal!

Thank you for hosting the contest opportunity, and good luck to everyone else!

Manda said...

Loved SAY, really an outstanding contemporary romance -- and those are hard to find. My only complaint would be that it's too long until your next book!

Can you tell us a little about your upcoming book? The excerpt in SAY looked like fun. . . .

Pam P said...

Like your analogy, Julie, being a huge fan of Hitchcock and Jason Bourne ever since reading the Ludlum books. Thomas Crown Affair is a favorite of mine, too, have watched it many times.

Not entering the contest as I've read and loved all your books, and can't wait for the next one. Recommend them, ladies. I tend not to get to many contemp romances mainly because of the huge pile of historicals and paranormals, but Julie's books have won me over and don't lounge in the TBR.

Manders said...

I've just finished reading Nalini's Psy- Changeling series and so right now my tough guy hero fav is Dorian! He sounds right up my alley...

I look forward to reading your books!

host said...

Very interesting post! SA Jack Pallas sounds like my kind of hero :)

Anonymous said...

I would agree that MR. PERFECT is a wonderful blend of humor and suspense. I would laugh out loud while I was reading it and then read those funny parts to my husband. The banter between Hawke and Lucas is entertaining, too. I think great dialogue is the key; like the old Spencer Tracey- Katherine Hepburn movies.

Ms. James, I've read so many great reviews of your books, I've started to collect them for a trip we're taking to Europe. I don't like to fly very much and I have 2 8-hour flights to look forward to. I figure your books will be a perfect distraction. I have JUST THE SEXIEST MAN ALIVE so far. I've had to stash it away so I don't give in to temptation and read it before the trip!

Julie James said...

A little more about my next book. . . well, it's about a wealthy wine store owner who agrees to pose as the girlfriend of an FBI agent (as part of an undercover investigation) in exchange for her twin brother's release from prison. Some of the characters from Something About You play supporting roles in the book, which is the first time I've done that. (I've never linked my books before.) So for those of you who've read Something About You, Jack will be back. ;-)

RTS said...

Ms. James,
I would have to cite "Alias," although more suspense than romance, she got some action.

Did you choose the FBI for any particular reason? Why not CIA?

Looking forward to reading this.

Ina said...

Hi Julie!
thanks for being here today - I saw your book a lot around on the blogosphere and I can't wait to read it!!! on April 1st I will order my monthly amount of books and yours is on top of my list...

I really like how you described him as a Jason Bourne type - now I've a picture in mind and the story sounds all the more interesting!

wish you all the best,

Christina said...

Thanks for the interview, Ms James! I love the guest blogs, being introduced to new authors and seeing how their process works.

I've had those 'ah-ha!' moments, I love the rush of inspiration that comes from them.

Anonymous said...

I can't wait to read Something About You. My sister has Julie's book so I think its time for me to go digging through her bookcase, lol.

Manda said...

Oooh, I'm glad to hear that Jack will be back -- he was so much fun! Thanks for the info on the next book. It sounds like a great premise!

Tiff said...

Hi! I've heard great things about this book. I have a sample on my kindle that I need to read. I agree with someoneabove, that Mr. Perfect by Linda Howard was a good blend of humor and RS. Open Season by her was great, as well.

MinnChica said...

This book sounds great!! Thanks Nalini for having Julie here. I can't wait to read, sounds like a definate for the TBR pile.

runner10 said...

Inspiration can hit anywhere.
Your books sounds very intriguing.
Would love to read it.

Do you plan to attend the RWA in Nashville?

Nalini Singh said...

Winner: Thank you everyone for your wonderful comments, and thanks Julie for the great post. I've run the random numbers and the winner of Julie's giveaway is:


Congratulations! Please email your mailing address to nalinisinghwrites AT gmail DOT com so I can pass it on to Julie.