Today we have J. Kenner aka J.K. Beck aka Julie Kenner on talking telling us a bit about herself, her alter egos and her new book Release Me, and maybe some other stuff as well.
TBRG: Thanks Julie for coming on today, we’ve been big fans for a long time. We LOVE your writing as J.K. Beck, and just read Release Me which is another fabulous read.
JK: Thanks so much!! It’s so great to be here. (Waving out to the world!)
TBRG: Who has been the biggest influence on your writing?
JK: That is a really good question, and I don’t have a really good answer. It’s cliché, but I’m going to fall back on “my mother” because she’s a big reader, but she also watches a lot of television and is a fan of classic movies. I think the fact that I grew up sort of straddling various forms of story-telling (my undergraduate degree was in film) has influenced the way that I not only write a story (the actual words on the page) but how I develop and plot a story.
And, of course, all the books that I’ve read, especially as a child and a teen, had a huge influence on me.
TBRG: What is the one thing your readers would be the most surprised to know about you?
JK: I don’t know! Sometimes I feel like after so many years hanging out on the internet, all of my surprising stories have been shared.
If I had to think of something, though … um … Oh, I know. I was on the Bozo the Clown show as a child. Well, the entire pre-school class was. And Bozo came to the risers where we were seated and handed us each a balloon. But he’s so creepy looking (I think) that I started bawling and ran out of the studio.
So I had my television star diva moment at the age of 3, all because of a clown.
TBRG: Where is the one place you have always wanted to go, a place on your bucket list?
JK: There are so many! But I think the top of the list would be someplace with crystal clear, warm water and beautiful beaches. Maybe the Caymen Islands? But that’s if I’m forced to pick one place. The real travel-related bucket list answer for me is a tour around the world. A year (or more) just traveling. That would be heaven.
TBRG: What was the first romance book that you read?
JK: I wish I could remember!! It was a Julie Garwood medieval, and I absolutely gobbled it up, then read her entire backlist. I was hooked.
TBRG: Who are some of your go to authors, and what are you reading right now?
JK: Right now, I’m actually re-reading Gone With the Wind. (Rhett Butler … talk about the original bad boy!) I recently finished Unwind and the companion novella, Unstrung, and want to read Unwholly. I usually have several books going at any one time, actually, in print, digital and audio. As for go-to authors, there are so many that I absolutely adore, but the top of the list is J.D. Robb’s In Death series. I’ll download those puppies at 12:01 am on release day!
TBRG: If you weren’t writing and keeping us in books (thanks for that by the way), what would you be doing?
JK: You’re very welcome J Well, I practiced law for fifteen years before quitting to write full time, so I’d probably still be doing that. I think on this imaginary go-round, though, I’d want to do criminal law or appellate law.
TBRG: What is your guilty pleasure?
JK: Really sappy romantic movies. Or end-of-the-world movies (Armageddon, Independence Day). And the musical Buffy episode, Once More With Feeling, which really is just too well-done and awesome to be a “guilty” pleasure.
TBRG: Who is on your playlist when you are writing?
JK: Nobody. I don’t write to music (yes, I know, I’m weird!). The only time I write to music is when I’m in a hotel room with the family. Then I play Hans Zimmer’s stuff, usually the soundtrack to Sherlock Holmes (which, in fact, I played a lot writing some of the J.K. Beck books!) or The Holiday (definitely more romantic than Sherlock!). But there can’t be lyrics. I lose my train of thought. which, frankly, is odd, because I used to write with the TV on. I rarely do that anymore. But I find it easier to tune out the television or a movie than I do music.
TBRG: Where do your ideas/characters come from?
JK: Wal-Mart. Aisle 13.
(I bet folks are getting tired of that smart-ass answer!)
Seriously, I wish I knew. Except, no, I don’t. I’m just glad I have them (and, frankly, unless I learn how to clone myself I couldn’t write all the ideas I have in this lifetime, which is a shame because I really like them. Except for the ones that are crap, and some story ideas always are.)
When I was young, I couldn’t read in a car or a plane, which meant long hours traveling between my mom and dad’s house either on the highway or in my dad’s very turbulent single engine plane. I would close my eyes and make up stories. I’m not sure if that’s an origin story or a symptom story – but I will say they were long and involved and even when I was young involved gorgeous men sweeping me off my feet. (I remember one involving Han Solo …sigh ….)
So either by nature or nurture, story telling is part of me J
TBRG: Are you a planner or a fly by the sear author?
JK: Both! It truly depends on the story, but I almost always have at least a rough synopsis, and I’ll plan out the next few chapters ahead of wherever I am in a book. So I guess that leans me toward “Planner”.
TBRG: How did you come up with this story?
JK: It really evolved with conversations with my editor, but the bottom line was that I was really drawn to the idea of a very alpha guy (but not paranormal!) and a smart, driven, but deeply damaged woman. I wanted the story to be incredibly sexy, but in a way that the sexual relationship was not only central to the plot (which is where Damien’s proposition comes in, she says in a totally spoiler-free way!) but also central to the relationship and the character’s own underlying issues, particularly Nikki’s.
I pondered the idea and came up with a four paragraph blurb that intrigued my editor and then I was so pumped by the story that I wrote a 13 page single-space synopsis literally overnight. Truly, the characters popped for me.
TBRG: Tell us about the series? How many books will there be?
JK: Three!! Release Me is followed by Claim Me and Complete Me. And all three will be out in 2013. Yay!
TBRG: Tell us about Damien and his heroine’s name here (sorry I have mom brain and can’t remember it)
JK: LOL! It’s Nikki, and I think it’s cool you remember Damien’s name but not hers J
Damien is … well, here’s Damien in Nikki’s words when she first sees him in the book (she met him six years ago, very casually):
We’re on the move again when a barrel-chested man in a plaid sport coat shifts to the left, once again revealing Damien Stark.
He is even more magnificent now than he was six years ago. The brashness of youth has been replaced by a mature confidence. He is Jason and Hercules and Perseus—a figure so strong and beautiful and heroic that the blood of the gods must flow through him, because how else could a being so fine exist in this world? His face consists of hard lines and angles that seem sculpted by light and shadows, making him appear both classically gorgeous and undeniably unique. His dark hair absorbs the light as completely as a raven’s wing, but it is not nearly as smooth. Instead, it looks wind-tossed, as if he’s spent the day at sea.
That hair in contrast with his black tailored trousers and starched white shirt give him a casual elegance, and it’s easy to believe that this man is just as comfortable on a tennis court as he is in a boardroom.
His famous eyes capture my attention. They seem edgy and dangerous and full of dark promises. More important, they are watching me.
Damien is a former tennis star turned entrepreneur, so he has been a celebrity all his life. He’s had some pretty nasty stuff in his past, and he’s dealt with it by seizing control—of his life, of his business, and of the woman he wants.
Nikki is a former beauty queen who did the pageant circuit not because she loved it but because her mother pushed her into it. She’s got a head for tech and she has moved to Los Angeles to launch a business. She’s focused and determined and she has a plan. And when Damien makes her an offer she can’t refuse, Nikki’s life changes in more ways than one.
TBRG: What do you want us to know about Damien and his heroine?
JK: You know, I think the above covered it. All the little details that really make up the color come out as the story progresses.
TBRG: Using 5 adjectives describe Damien and his heroine.
JK: They fit together because, though they manifest each trait differently, they are both strong, damaged, focused, smart, and grounded.
TBRG: What are you working on now?
JK: Claim Me and Complete Me!!! (Actually, I have a whole bunch of stuff happening, including the digital re-release of my demon-hunting soccer mom series, and once those books are back on-line, the release of book 6 in that series! Lots of info on that and other tidbits and goodies at my website, www.juliekenner.com)
TBRG: We want to thank Julie for coming on, and talking about herself and her new book Release Me. If you haven’t checked her out, and you aren’t a fan of Erotic Romance no worries she also writes fabulous Vampire stories and a Demon Hunting Working Mom series, that I am no longer allowed to read in bed, because I shake it while I’m laughing.
JK: LOL! Sorry about that! And you are so very welcome! It’s been great!
Random House has graciously agreed to give away a copy of the book, so unless you have another way lined up, I’ll toss this question out for the readers:
It’s the holiday season … what’s the one thing you’re most looking forward to? (Or, if you have questions for me, please shout them out!)
You can hang out with J.K., learn more about Release Me and her other novels, or just poke around and see what catches your eye at her website, www.jkenner.com, and also at her J. Kenner Facebook page, www.facebook.com/jkennerbooks and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/juliekenner
For fans of Fifty Shades of Grey and Bared to You comes an erotic, emotionally charged romance between a powerful man who’s never heard “no” and a fiery woman who says “yes” on her own terms.
He was the one man I couldn’t avoid. And the one man I couldn’t resist.
Damien Stark could have his way with any woman. He was sexy, confident, and commanding: Anything he wanted, he got. And what he wanted was me.
Our attraction was unmistakable, almost beyond control, but as much as I ached to be his, I feared the pressures of his demands. Submitting to Damien meant I had to bare the darkest truth about my past—and risk breaking us apart.
But Damien was haunted, too. And as our passion came to obsess us both, his secrets threatened to destroy him—and us—forever.
Release Me is an erotic romance intended for mature audiences.