Monday, February 20, 2006

Author Q&A: Julie Kenner

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1 ) Can you give us a blurb about your current release, THE MANOLO MATRIX?

Surely! Aspiring actress Jennifer Crane knows all about games-the games girls play to get a guy; the games actresses play to land a part; and the good old game of credit-card roulette. But she never expected to be playing a game with life-or-death consequences. Now she must set out upon a scavenger hunt across Manhattan in search of the ultimate prize: survival. Before this, Jen's definition of fighting dirty has been elbowing her way to the front of the line at a Manolo sample sale. Now, if she wants to stay alive, she's going to have to learn a few new uses for her stilettos . . . and they ain't pretty.

Click here to read an excerpt

2) Your books have the attitude of chick lit, name brands popping in for cameos, the fun of a good romance, but it’s also chock full of suspense, adventure and the constant threat of dead bodies. How do you balance all these areas? Is there one aspect you focus on, or did it all just come together on its own?

Oh dear! If I analyze it I’m not sure I can do it, LOL! Somehow, it all just comes together. Voice and plot (and action) first. The fashion stuff I tend to layer in. Lots of XX’s that get filled in later after I surf for designer names :)

3) THE MANALO MATRIX is a sequel to THE GIVENCHY CODE. How are they related? Does a new reader to the series need to read them in order to keep track of what’s going on?

It is a sequel, but it was written to stand alone. They’re related in that a couple of the characters cross-appear in the books, and the device that sets the suspense in motion — a deadly game called Play.Survive.Win — is the centerpiece of both books. The final book (THE PRADA PARADOX) will also stand alone. But it will also answer certain questions raised in GIVENCHY and MANOLO (such as who’s behind the whole thing). So while a reader can enjoy each on it’s own, there’s sort of an “added value” by reading the preceding book(s) first, if that makes sense.

4) So, have you ever had to play bodyguard in a matter of life and death, like the heroine in your book? Was it fun? What words of advice do you have for someone who might find themselves in that position unexpectedly?

Oh, absolutely. It seems to happen to me all the time! Gorgeous men that I’m forced to protect in innovative and daring ways. Honestly, it can be such a burden at times! As for advice ... Um, stilettos might be great for shaping your legs, but you’ll move faster in Nikes!

5) How did you research assassins for this book? I can imagine it might be difficult to come up with willing interviewees willing to discuss their careers…

Most of it is my own twisted imagination! I’ve read a few books about assassins from a psychological perspective, and several true crime books. But nothing that I can specifically point to in crafting the characters of Lynx (Givenchy) or Birdie (Manolo).

6) In addition to this series, you have a demon series with lots of paranormal beasties running around. How do these books differ from the MANOLO MATRIX series? Same attitude? Same risk of winding up in a body bag, differing only in the method of demise?

That’s actually an interesting question. My voice and humor is evident in both series, but other than that they’re quite different. The Demon series is very much a mystery series (well, a paranormal mommy-lit mystery series ), whereas the Game series is a suspense/thriller series. And while the voice is similar, the tone is different. The Game series is much more chicklit in that the heroines are more internally focused. In the Demon series, the heroine is very family-centered. It’s much more suburbia. The overarching theme of the demon series is family and the huge job that goes with being a mom, especially a mom who’s returning to the workforce. Mom stuff would seem very out of place in the game series!

7) So, your heroines in this series are all in the know about all the oo-la-la brands. Did you have to buy lots of expensive shoes to do research for these books, or are you one of those folks who has always followed brands? Is this an extension of your own passions, or are your heroines like foreign beings to you?

While I do have a few designer pieces (like some wonderful vintage Givenchy things!), I had to do real research for the labels (and rely on my NYC-saavy editor!). I do loooooooove clothes, but I tend to be bargain-shopper girl. That’s not to say I don’t splurge. My favorite purse is a Prada bag I totally splurged on (well, eBay splurge; not retail price splurge). So, while they’re not really foreign, they’re also not living the life I live.

8) Can you give us a sneak peek at your next book?

Oh, sure! My June release is the sequel to CARPE DEMON, and is called CALIFORNIA DEMON: THE SECRET LIFE OF A DEMON-HUNTING SOCCER MOM. I absolutely love Kate (the heroine) and we learn much more about her, her past, and get much more into her relationship with her husband, Stuart, and Allie, her teenage daughter. And, of course, there’s an overarching mystery stemming from another pesky demon nosing its way into San Diablo. Between domesticity and demons, Kate’s got her hands full once again!

Visit Julie on the web
THE MANOLO MATRIX, Available Now! read an excerpt


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