INTERVIEW WITH JULIE JAMES, AUTHOR OF THE SEXIEST MAN ALIVE NOW PUBLISHED IN ITALIAN


LMBR: WELCOME TO ITALY, DEAR JULIE! JUST THE SEXIEST MAN ALIVE  has finally been released in Italian.  Just to appease our curiosity, what can you tell us about the story and its characters?  Do you like the Italian title ‘Deliziosa sfida’ / Blissful Challenge ?
JULIE JAMES:  I think the title is great!  The story is about Taylor Donovan, a successful lawyer, who is sent to Los Angeles by her law firm to work on a big sexual harassment trial.  While she's in L.A., her firm also asks her to work with Jason Andrews, the biggest actor in Hollywood, who is filming a legal thriller and wants advice on how to look like a "real" lawyer. The problem is that Jason is sort of, well... a womanizing jerk and Taylor is pretty much the first woman who doesn't fall immediately at his feet.  And so the sparks begin to fly.

LMBR:   Before becoming a full-time romance writer, you worked for an important law firm. To what an extent does your previous career inform your present one as a writer? Actually,most of your main characters have something to do with the law. 
JULIE JAMES: That's correct--out of my five books that have been published, four of the heroines are lawyers.  Certainly, my experience as a lawyer gives me an understanding of their lifestyles and ambitions.  

LMBR: You've also written screenplays. Is that why dialogues play such an important role in your books? The bantering among your leading characters is often a real treat.
JULIE JAMES: Dialogue is one of the elements I focus on most while writing.  I'm big fan of older, black and white romantic comedies with all the back-and-forth banter between the hero and heroine.

LMBR: What I feel when reading your stories is that the heroine is given the same attention as the hero. And I love that. There are writers who tend to dedicate their writing skills to  making  their hero larger than life and they don’t seem to care if the  heroine is a tad obscured. From this point of view I think  your books have a lot in common with chick lit novels , though your stories give much more space to  romance. Am I right?
JULIE JAMES:  I focus a lot on the heroines--in fact, I usually start with the heroine's story when plotting the book.  I come up with a strong, likable heroine first, and then think of a hero who would be worthy of her.  I also try to make my heroines real, down-to-earth women--the type of woman I would sit down and have a drink with.

LMBR:  You have  have achieved  popularity in a rather short period of time. JUST THE SEXIEST MAN ALIVE, which was your first romance to be released, was published in 2008 and was an immediate success.  What's your recipe? I mean, what do you think readers love in your books?
JULIE JAMES:   Ha--I wish there was a recipe! I'm thrilled that my books have been so well-received by readers. I think people enjoy the banter, the dialogue, and the fact that my characters are often dry-humored and tend to be a little sarcastic.  The heroines are strong women, and the men (also strong characters) love and respect that.  I also think that people enjoy the urban settings (all of my books are set in Chicago except for my first book, which takes place in Los Angeles). There are a lot of small-town romances out there, so I think people enjoy having something a little different.

LMBR:Talking about readership, do you think romance  readers’ tastes have changed over the last few years? What do  American  romance fans like reading these days? I've noticed you pushed a bit harder on the 'hot button' in your new book. Is it something you have been asked to do -- by either your readers  or  your editor --  or did you feel your stories could make with a bit more spice in them?
LMBR:What I hear from readers is that they want variety. So it's not necessarily that they prefer urban-set contemporary romances over small-towns (or vice versa), it's that they like having both available. As for the heat level of my books, that's not anything my editor has asked me to change--although she certainly hasn't dissuaded me from writing books with more heat.  And it does seem as though the readers are enjoying that little extra spice. : )

LMBR: What does  Julie James like  doing  when she's not writing stories that make us dream?
LMBR: Spending time with my family and friends, reading (of course!), drinking wine, and watching really bad reality TV like The Bachelor.

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