Interview: Author Julie James + Giveaway

Filed in Interview , Julie James , The Danger Lover Posted on February 21, 2011 @ 7:00 am 35 comments

Please join me in giving a warm BLI welcome to National Bestselling Author Julie James today. In 2008 Julie published her first contemporary romance Just The Sexiest Man Alive which met with rave reviews and it as well as her 2009 book, Practice Makes Perfect, are now available in numerous countries around the world. Last year she delighted readers with Something About You, which along with her first two novels became a National Bestseller. On March 1st, Julie’s latest, highly anticipated contemporary romance A Lot Like Love hits the stands and from this reader’s perspective Jordan Rhodes and Nick McCall’s story does not disappoint.

BLI: Julie! Welcome to BLI, it’s such a thrill to be able to chat with you today! 🙂

Julie: Thanks for having me—I’m thrilled to be here!

BLI: Julie, can you please tell us a bit about yourself?

Julie: Hmm. . . let’s see. I’m a lawyer; I practiced law for six years at a large firm before leaving to write full-time. I started my writing career with screenplays, and when the option on my first script expired without the film being made, my film agent suggested that I turn the script into a book. That script then became my first novel, Just the Sexiest Man Alive.

On the personal side, I live in Chicago with my husband and two children—in fact, I just had a daughter three months ago. She’s sitting on the floor next to me as I type, babbling up a storm. Maybe she’ll be a storyteller someday, too. : )

BLI: Can you please describe a typical day of writing? Are you a planner or pantser?

Julie: I try to spend a good chunk of the morning with my kids, so I generally don’t begin writing until 11am or so. I then typically write until about 4 pm. I used to write at home, but with two kids under the age of four in the house, I’ve found that it’s better to get out and write at a nearby coffee shop. Less noise. : )

In terms of my writing style, I’m definitely a plotter. I draft about a fifteen page outline before starting a book—I do that so I know I have enough of a story for 300 pages. The idea of getting 150 pages into a book and not knowing where I’m going terrifies me. : )

The funny thing is, however, once I’ve begun writing I rarely look at the outline. At that point, the story is solidified enough in my head, and I like the freedom to divert from the outline if that’s what feels best.

BLI: What do you think is the difference between a reader and a real Book Lover?

Julie: Good question! I’d say that if you like to discuss or talk about the books you’ve read, you’re probably a book lover. If you can’t wait until the moment in the day when you get a few minutes—or hours—to read, you’re probably a book lover. Oh—and if you read book blogs, or write one, you’re most definitely a book lover. : )

BLI: What can we expect of A Lot Like Love?

Julie: Lots of back-and-forth banter. An opposites attract dynamic between a wealthy businesswoman/heiress and a rough-around-the-edges FBI agent from Brooklyn. It’s a fun contemporary romance—I hope!—with a suspense subplot.

BLI: OMG, back and forth banter there is Julie! I always know I’m going to be in for some laugh out loud fun when I pick up a Julie James book! It is truly awesome.

While A Lot Like Love isn’t a sequel to Something About You per se, the books are related, could you speak to that and tell us about hero Nick McCall?

Julie: A Lot Like Love is a stand-alone book; you could definitely read it without having read Something About You. But once I knew the hero in ALLL was going to be an FBI agent, I figured I might as well use the same Chicago FBI world that I’d created in SAY. So fans of SAY will be happy to know that Cameron and Jack are back in A Lot Like Love, in supporting roles.

As for Nick, he’s an undercover FBI agent and the most “guy’s guy” hero I’ve written. He has lots of ideas about what men should and shouldn’t do, yet these rules get a little muddled once he meets Jordan. Someone who read an ARC of the book said that she loved how tough Nick was on the outside, but that he was really a big marshmallow underneath. My first thought was that Nick would hate it if people knew that. LOL.

BLI: Jordan Rhodes, the heroine of A Lot Like Love, is the first of the leading ladies you’ve written whose background isn’t in law. She is very intelligent, well educated, competitive, a wine connoisseur-which is her career, and she possesses that sharp sarcastic ‘Julie James’ wit that I so love. Can you please tell us about Jordan and how you conceived her character?

Julie: The first thing I knew when beginning to plot A Lot Like Love was that the heroine was not going to be a lawyer. Having written three lawyer heroines in a row, I wanted to prove to myself that I could write something else. However, Jordan is similar to the heroines in my other books in that she is focused on her career, but still looking for love.

I also thought it would be just plain fun to write a heroine who’s a billionaire heiress. I mean, we have all these billionaire heroes running around, why not a woman? But despite her wealth, she’s very relatable—she has a job she works hard at, she’s protective of her family, and she’s ready to find “the one.”

BLI: Well, IMHO you were successful in that regard because Jordan is very relatable, whether it’s with her store customers or at a fancy society fundraiser, she is able to blend in. And, what I also loved about her is that she not only looks like but emulates Grace Kelly’s style and persona.

One of the many things I enjoyed about A Lot Like Love, and actually found quite fascinating, was the background information surrounding wine, the multimillion dollar business involved in it’s production, distribution and sales, but moreover there is a technique involved in tasting that is for lack of a better word, quite sensual. (Or at least the way Jordan explains and demonstrates wine tasting to Nick it is. lol) In addition, you take readers into the heart of the Napa Valley which sounds like an extraordinary and beautiful place. Are you a connoisseur of wine yourself or did the book involve extensive research on your part?

Julie: Yay! I’m so glad you enjoyed the wine backdrop of the book. The second thing I knew when plotting A Lot Like Love (after deciding that the heroine would not be lawyer) was that the book would involve the wine industry. I knew a little about wine, but I realized that I needed to learn a lot more if I was going to write a heroine who owned a wine store. So I shadowed the owner of my local wine store for a day, and I took a wine appreciation class. During the first day of class the instructor showed us the proper techniques for tasting wine and I realized that the tasting ritual had certain, shall we say, sexual undertones—and I knew I had to write that into the book. : ) In general, I think wine is a very sensual thing, and that pairs very well with romance!

The Napa Valley scenes are also based on my personal “research.” My husband and I visited Napa two years ago, and I fell in love with wine country and knew it would make a wonderful location for a book.

BLI: I loved the way you developed the suspense subplot in the book involving the FBI and Jordan’s background by the way, but I’ll touch on that more in the review of A Lot Like Love that will be posted tomorrow here at BLI.

Thanks! Since I write romances that are generally lighter in tone, it can sometimes get a little tricky to add in the suspense parts. That’s why I say that the suspense is just a subplot—it’s the driving force that brings the heroine and hero together, but the book overall is a fun contemporary romance.

Would you be willing to share a little excerpt from A Lot Like Love with readers today?

Julie: Sure! Here’s an excerpt: (and there’s an additional excerpt on my website.)


The FBI wants her cooperation.

As the daughter of a billionaire and the owner of the city’s top wine store, Jordan Rhodes is invited to the most exclusive parties in Chicago. But there’s only one party the FBI wants to crash: the charity fundraiser of a famous restaurateur, who also happens to launder money for the mob. In exchange for her brother’s release from prison, Jordan is going to be there—with a date supplied by the Bureau.

Agent McCall just wants her.

As the top undercover agent in Chicago, Nick McCall has one rule: never get personal. This “date” with Jordan Rhodes is merely an assignment—one they’re both determined to pull off even if they can’t be together for five minutes before the sarcasm and sparks begin to fly. But when Nick’s investigation is compromised, he and Jordan have no choice but to pretend they’re a couple, and what starts out as a simple assignment begins to feel a lot like something more. . .
Jordan took a seat at the conference table. She watched the blizzard that raged outside the floor-to-ceiling windows, dreading the snow she’d have to shovel when she got home. Perhaps she should look into getting one of those power snowblowers, she mused. Or a man. Either could be quite handy in inclement weather. Then again, snowblowers took up a lot of garage space, and she generally liked to keep at least a three-foot buffer around the Maserati. Not to mention, most of the men she met presumably had even less interest than she did in shoveling snow—they likely would hire someone else to do that kind of thing. The downside to dating Italian-loafer types, she supposed.

Maybe she needed to find more of a guy’s guy. One of those men who could start a fire with two sticks, change a flat tire with one hand tied behind his back, and wasn’t afraid that a snow shovel would scuff his cashmere-lined leather Burberry gloves.



The door flew open and in walked Nick McCall.

Someone, however, who at least knew what a razor was.

“Sorry to keep you waiting, Ms. Rhodes,” he said.

As Huxley followed Nick into the conference room, Jordan noticed that both men had shed their coats. She also saw that they were armed, catching glimpses of the shoulder harnesses and guns they wore underneath their suit jackets.

“What happened to your file?” she asked.

“Would you believe it? We couldn’t find the darn thing,” Nick said. “Guess we’ll just have to march on without it.” He gave Huxley a nod.

“Everything we’re about to tell you is extremely confidential, Ms. Rhodes,” Huxley began. “You can tell no one about the purpose of this meeting.”

Easy enough for her to do, since she didn’t understand the purpose of the meeting. “All right.”

“You already know that this pertains to Xander Eckhart. For some time now, we’ve had him under investigation. We believe he’s running drug money through his nightclubs and restaurants for an organized crime syndicate led by Roberto Martino. You may have heard about the recent indictments of Martino and the others in his organization.” Huxley gave Jordan a moment to process all this.

“You seemed surprised,” Nick said.

She shot him a look. “Of course I’m surprised. I had no idea Xander was messed up in anything like this. You’re sure of this?”

Huxley nodded. “Yes. We’ve been watching Eckhart. We’ve seen him on several occasions with a man we know to be one of Martino’s associates. They meet in Eckhart’s office, which is located underneath the main level of his restaurant, Bordeaux.”

“The one down the hall from his wine cellar, you mean,” Jordan said.
Nick sat forward in his chair, interested in this. “You’ve been inside Eckhart’s office?”

“Yes. Last year at his Valentine’s Day party, he gave me a tour of the entire space at Bordeaux.”

“How well do you remember the interior of the office?” Huxley asked. “Would you be able to describe it, tell us the placement of the furniture, that kind of thing?”

“I can certainly try,” Jordan said. “Is that what this is about? You want me to describe Xander’s office to you?” It seemed too insignificant for all the secret-agent rigmarole.

Nick shook his head. “Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. What we want is for you to help us get inside Eckhart’s office. This Saturday night.”

It took her a moment. “You mean during the party?”

Nick folded his arms on the table. “How would you feel about bringing along an undercover agent as your date, Ms. Rhodes?”

Jordan leaned in to meet him halfway. “I think that depends on who the date is, Agent McCall.”

What can readers look forward to next from the desk of Julie James?

Julie: I’m currently writing my fifth book, which is tentatively titled, About That Night. The hero is the brother of the heroine in A Lot Like Love. He’s a billionaire heir/ex-con who is fresh out of prison and trying to figure out what he’s going to do with his life. The heroine is a woman from his past. . . and that’s all I’m going to say for now. : )

Do you have a question for readers today?

Julie: I guess one question I have is what readers look for in a contemporary romance. I’m always interested in getting feedback on that subject. Also, if there are any additional questions people have for me, don’t hesitate to ask—I’ll be stopping by throughout the day.

Thank you again for taking time out of your busy life to chat with us today Julie, it’s been a real pleasure.

Julie: My pleasure—thanks for having me here!

Where To Find Julie:
And, Julie’s local coffee shop. 😉


Julie has generously offered a copy of “Something About You” to one lucky commenter!

All you have to do is answer Julie’s question OR ask her a question.
(You can read our full giveaway policy here)

Please leave us a way to contact you.
(Email in blogger profile or twitter name – no way to contact you – no entry).

This giveaway is open worldwide!

Giveaway ends on Saturday, March 5, 2011; and we will announce the winner on Sunday.

Good luck!


About Lea

Lea is an animal loving, tree hugging vegetarian who lives in Toronto, Canada with her family, which includes three dogs. She is a prolific reader and has been blogging and reviewing since 2008. Lea is a contributor at the USA Today HEA Blog and an active member at Goodreads.

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Join the Discussion
  • Hales February 21, 2011 at 10:37 am

    What a great interview and post. A Lot Like Love sounds delicious of course and I already have to have it!

  • Natasha February 21, 2011 at 10:51 am

    This book sounds amazing! I can't wait to check it out. Who's your cover art designer?


  • Welzen February 21, 2011 at 10:54 am

    Great interview and the book sounds amazing.

    Julie "What are your goals for the future?"


  • Mary G February 21, 2011 at 10:59 am

    Oh No. Another laugh out loud book I can't read in public LOL.

    Enjoyed the interview Lea & Julie.

    This book has so many things that I love. Opposite attract, back & forth banter and a wine country back drop.

    Looking forward to release day. Also looking forward to the next book which sounds like reunited lovers, another fave thing for me.

  • Mary G February 21, 2011 at 11:25 am

    Congrats. I just read that Something About You was voted Best Contemp – All About Romance Annual Reader Poll. That's wonderful & well-deserved news!

  • JenM February 21, 2011 at 11:43 am

    What do I like most in contemp romance? It's kind of a paradox. I love humor and good banter, but I also love a strong emotional connection and real angst. I like characters that are carrying true emotional scars, not just "I had one girlfriend who slept around on me, so now I hate and mistrust all women".

    I haven't read any of your books yet, but I've read a couple of excerpts and I'd love to give one a try.

    jen at delux dot com

  • Leni February 21, 2011 at 12:59 pm

    Contemporary romances have to have characters that are enjoyable to read. The same goes with the story. I want to discover something as I'm reading and be drawn in and care about the characters and how they are going to handle the situations that they find themselves in.

  • Lea February 21, 2011 at 1:22 pm

    Hi Everyone!

    Thank you for coming by and commenting on Julie's interview today. 🙂 A Lot Like Love was a great read for me and I hope any of you who choose to read it (or any of her books for that matter) will enjoy it as much as I did.

    Julie: Thank you again for spending time at Book Lovers – we are so happy to have you here!


  • Birgit February 21, 2011 at 1:32 pm

    Love the answer about book lovers 🙂 !
    As to the question: I was wondering about your favorite authors?

    danaan at gmx dot at

  • Johanna R Jochum February 21, 2011 at 1:47 pm

    I love sexy and fun contemps! I love to laugh and escape for awhile! I want to know what are some of your favorite go to authors and what are you reading now if you have the time that is! LOL! Thanks for sharing with us!


  • Julie James February 21, 2011 at 2:07 pm

    Hi everyone!

    First, let me start by saying that I'm thrilled to be here. Second, I should mention that Baby Girl James had a pediatrician appointment–with shots–so I may be popping in and out between fussy periods. : )

    Now let me catch up:

    Hales: Thanks! If you pick up ALLL, I hope you enjoy it!

    Natasha: Rita does my covers over at Berkley. She does such a great job!

    Welzen: My goals? Honestly, to get Baby Girl James from waking up at 4:45 in the morning. LOL. Writing goals? Really, it's just to write the best book I can. After that, I cross my fingers and hope people like it.

    Mary G: Thank you! Yes, I was thrilled about the AAR news! And I look forward to hearing your thoughts on A Lot Like Love. : )

    JenM: I agree. "Fake" angst doesn't work for me, either. Not saying men and women can't be commitment phobic, but the reasons have to feel real.

    Leni: I'm with you!

    Lea: I'm so glad you enjoyed A Lot Like Love! And thanks again for inviting me here!

    Birgit: My favorite author is Jane Austen. I re-read Pride and Prejudice every year.

    Johanna: I'm a judge for the RITA competition, so right now I'm reading books for that. Unfortunately, I'm not allowed to say which ones! Which is a shame, because the one I'm really enjoying the one I'm reading now. : )

  • Stephanie February 21, 2011 at 2:54 pm

    The characters have to have chemistry. Whether it is love or hate, I have to be able to relate to the characters and be entranced by whatever path they set on.

    smccar1 at hotmail dot com

  • beth kery February 21, 2011 at 3:09 pm

    Wonderful interview, Lea and Julie! Looking forward A Lot Like Love. Please don't include me in the drawing–I'll get a copy at the March 13 book signing).

    P.S. Julie–Congrats on your award for best contemporary romance for Something About You at AAR!

  • Blodeuedd February 21, 2011 at 3:42 pm

    What I look for, that is kind of hard to pin down really. Well, I really do not want a total alpha sexist ass. That can work elsewhere but not a fan of it in Contemporary.

    In 😀
    blodeuedd1 at gmail dot com

  • Estella February 21, 2011 at 5:13 pm

    I need a strong emotional connection between the h/h.

    kissinoak at frontier dot com

  • Julie James February 21, 2011 at 5:49 pm

    Hello again, everyone!

    Stephanie: And often there's a fine line between love and hate, right? : )

    Beth: Thank you! (Both for dropping by and for the congrats.) Looking forward to the 13th!

    Blodeuedd: I definitely agree with you on that. Too "alpha" in a contemporary can come off as, well, kind of psycho. LOL.

    Estella: Definitely! Otherwise, where's the romance, right?

  • Kim February 21, 2011 at 6:48 pm

    I'm looking forward to reading A Lot Like Love. It's great that we'll get to see a bit more of Cameron & Jack. Hopefully, they're still sparring and in love. As for Book 5, I also enjoy reading plots where the protagonisist have a past together. They usually adds to the romantic tension.

  • Linda February 21, 2011 at 7:25 pm

    Regardless if what genre of romance I read I love to read how the characters interact & how the relationship develops between them. Instant attraction is fine but boy-meets-girl & the next day declare undying love is a bit too much! A good plot; lots of humor & wit. Love smart intelligent heroines!


  • Chris February 21, 2011 at 8:11 pm

    I'm not entering, because, although I enjoyed your first two books, Julie, I'm now deeply immersed in reading m/m romance exclusively.

    *waves at Lea and Tori*

  • Julie James February 21, 2011 at 9:23 pm

    Kim– Yes, Jack and Cameron are back. And actually, Cameron is back again in Book 5–probably Jack, too, I just haven't gotten to him yet. : )

    Plots where the H/h have a past are fun, but in writing one, I had to be comfortable with the "why didn't they get together earlier?" question.

    Linda: LOL. Kind of like The Bachelor–yes, I admit, I do watch the Bachelor. I want to yell at some of this people for declaring their love after ONE date!

    Chris: Glad you enjoyed the first two books! Thanks for dropping by!

  • Barbara E. February 21, 2011 at 10:43 pm

    What I look for in any romance, including contemporaries, is a great story, with interesting characters and a story that's believable. I like, smart, funny, sexy men and women who have lots of attraction that they just can't deny.

    Barbed1951 at

  • lisagk February 22, 2011 at 2:18 am

    Great interview, questions and of course answers, the book sounds wonderful. I like humor in my books, but some snark too. thanks for the giveaway.
    lisagk at yahoo dot com

  • Tore February 22, 2011 at 10:17 am

    Great interview. I have never read any of your books but I would like to. I love a book with romance and characters that have emotional scars not just that someone cheated on me. I love having action, murder and mystery. Please enter me in contest. I would love to read your books.

  • Amy February 22, 2011 at 12:55 pm

    Since there are so many contemporary romances today, what I am looking for is a story that touches my heart. I love a story that can make me cry in sadness and happiness for the characters. I want a likeable hero (an alpha male who is protective and absolutely loyal, and NOT unbearably arrogant) and heroine (she's not too b*tchy, she is deep and sweet).

    Would love to read Something About You!


  • BooksforCompany February 22, 2011 at 1:52 pm

    This book sounds great!
    Thanks for the interview and giveaway.
    I love realistic relationships in books.. l also think the male has to sound good luck!
    booksforcompany @

  • Allison February 22, 2011 at 4:18 pm

    Thanks for the great interview. I'm very excited about this book. I first noticed your books because of the amazing covers, but I was hesitant to take the plunge. Than, one of my 'go-to' book blogers made a list of favorite reads that released in 2010 and reads previously published. She put down your first 2 books and gushed and gushed about them. I knew I had to try them.

    I read "Just the Sexiest Man Alive" and LOVED it. I was afraid I liked it so much that I wouldn't like the next. But I couldn't help myself and picked up "Practice Makes Perfect" and loved it even more. Again, I thought "No way can it get better." But I was wrong, but I loved "Something About You" more.

    Sorry for the gushes. *blushes*

    What I look for in a contemporary romance is a sense of realism. I can't buy into some crazy off the hook behavior some stories try to pull. I look for fun, smart, and real characters who have a life besides looking for that special someone. I look for a woman who can talk to other woman about something OTHER than men.

    akbabcock at gmail dot com

  • -petit February 22, 2011 at 5:14 pm

    Well, in contemporary romances I look for some realism. I really hate those kind of books, that the girl meets the guy, have sex with him and after two hours want to have babies and a house with him (or vice-versa). In my opinion only mad people do that XD And it's good to see womans with other jobs that being the future-husband-secretary x_x
    I'm really excited to read this book 😀 Thanks for the giveaway! 😀

  • vickyvak February 22, 2011 at 5:16 pm

    In contempory books I like to discover the characters little by little as well as see them improve the issues they might have not be like "Oh I'm fat" and stay that till the end of the book! It's tiring!

    I would love to win this book! It sounds awesome! And don't get me started about the cover! 😀


  • YWLiang February 23, 2011 at 12:31 am

    Hi Julie!

    Hm, I'm not sure about contemporary since I've been reading mostly historical romance for the past few years… but what I want from all my books are likeable characters, character development evident throughout the course of the story, and realistic sexual tension! 🙂 Oh, and I really like angst in my stories too 🙂

    Thanks for the giveaway!

    Email: yiliang0124[at]

  • The Biddlecomb Family February 23, 2011 at 2:19 pm

    I am also really looking forward to aLLL. My contemporary romance favorites vary. I am on a kick lately with innocent heroines/alpha male heros.
    Thanks for the excerpt!

  • winnie February 25, 2011 at 10:10 pm

    What I look for in a contemporary romance are great cast of characters (main and supporting) and emotional connection and sexual tension between the hero and heroine because ultimately, I want to be rooting for them as a couple that would make me read on until they get their HEA.


  • Meredith February 27, 2011 at 3:31 pm

    I look for a contemporary to be somewhat believable and "normal". Normal is hard to define, but I guess I'd say I could do without obsessives, incests, abusive type stuff. A little action or adventure doesn't hurt to liven up the story.

    meredithfl at gmail dot com

  • JerseyGirl22 February 28, 2011 at 8:31 am

    My question:If the book would be made into a movie, who would you give the lead role?

  • HistoricalRomanceJunkie Rita February 28, 2011 at 11:15 pm

    Great Interview!
    To answer your question: I love emotion. Just plain old drama and conflict that I can feel. Since I love historicals, I often can't relate directly to the conflicts (no marriage of convenience for me), but with contemporaries, I get my chance to read the character that is me. And I don't want to be boring ;). Love action and plot twists and external relationship trials like another lover trying to move it (which you did great with A Lot Like Love and with Xander and I actually would have enjoyed reading more of that than what was at the party. Great scene). I've read countless books where the author has a brewing love triangle but then goes the other way with the plot for fear of predictability or something.)

    I loved theFBI and carefully crafted background to the story as well!!!

    Thanks for the contest, haven't read SBY and have been dying to!

    email: historicalromancejunkie[AT]gmail[DOT]com

  • Pat L. March 6, 2011 at 12:41 am

    Hi, Julie – what book will you never forget and why?

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