"New Worlds Are Our Oyster."
Romance...With a Little MYTH-Story!
Update: Julie Kenner
According to Publishers Weekly, USA Today and Waldenbooks bestselling Author Julie Kenner's "star is on the ascent." She writes for multiple publishers across a range of women's fiction. Her 2001 paranormal, APHRODITE'S KISS was a RITA finalist and won the Romantic Times' Reviewer's Choice Award for best contemporary paranormal. Julie is known for her "flair for dialogue and eccentric characterizations" (Publisher's Weekly).
Julie began her storytelling career at the tender age of three when she would pass the time regaling her parents with such thrilling and original tales as The Lion Who Lost His Breath and The Mouse That Flew Planes. Following on the heels of this grand oral tradition, Julie moved on to the written word, penning her first novel, Kitty Claus, at age seven. A huge success, the short novel about a Christmas Santa cat sold out its exclusive limited edition press run of one.
As a child, Julie sought out stories in all formats. She spent summers curled up on her grandmother's couch reading everything from Judy Blume to Agatha Christie while her grandmother tried everything (including bribery) to get Julie to go outside. Being a cooperative kid, Julie would ... with her book in tow. Television and movies were equally fascinating, and Julie credits her mother with introducing her to romantic comedy -- in junior high, she took Julie to a revival house to see Bringing Up Baby on the big screen and, after that, Julie was hooked. As for television, to this day Julie is convinced that if she wiggles her nose or blinks her eyes hard enough, she can make magic happen (she's had no luck so far, but she keeps trying).
Growing up being what it is, breathless animals, genie's and Judy Blume eventually gave way to other pursuits. Julie finished film school, but ended up in law school instead of Hollywood (go figure). After that, she practiced law in California and later Texas, but kept coming back to her love of storytelling. Eventually, she quit the practice of law to write full time.
Julie still hasn't had any success making things happen by wiggling her nose or blinking her eyes, but she has discovered that tapping out stories on the computer is a little bit like magic, and she likes nothing better than to get lost in the quirky worlds she creates.
When PNR last spoke with Julie Kenner, she had recently released her first Paranormal Romance, "The Cat's Fancy". Readers found the storyline unique. "The Cat's Fancy" was nominated for the 2000 P.E.A.R.L. award in the Fantasy/Magical category and won Honorable Mention. Julie also won a P.E.A.R.L. Honorable Mention for Best New Paranormal Romance Author.
RITA finalist APHRODITE'S KISS won the Romantic Times Reviewer's Choice Award for Best Contemporary Paranormal for 2001
Julie K: Oh my gosh! Are you kidding? It was a HUGE thrill!!! To be nominated by readers and fans of paranormal romance ... and then to get an HM when The competition included such amazing books ... well, it was fabulous. I'm honored. Truly honored.
PNR: While your new paranormal release, "Aphrodite's Kiss" is not technically a sequel, the secondary characters, Deena and Hoop, are making a return appearance. What are their roles in this story?
Julie K: I confess ... I just fell in love with Deena and Hoop. And Deena (with her particular eccentricities) makes the perfect best friend for a woman like Zoe! I mean, it takes an extraordinary personality to not even blink when your best friend flies off a skyscraper to go fight crime in the streets!!!
As for Hoop, he's still plugging away at his PI agency. And the hero in AK shares office space with him. And Deena and Hoop are still plugging away at their relationship...they're not married yet <g> And I'm still working on a story for the two of them!
PNR: Humor is a major factor in both books. They are reminiscent of humorous paranormals such as Sandra Hill's, though definitely unique. Do you feel that humor is a important element of paranormal romance writing? Do you extend this humor to your contemporary romances?
Julie K: Is humor an important element of paranormal romance writing. Hmmm. Well, I think I'd have to say no. I mean, there are wonderful, fabulous paranormal romances that are very dark but, oh, what amazing romances! But for *my* paranormals ... absolutely. It's just in my blood. I guess I have a quirky view of the world, LOL! As for my non-paranormals, humor definitely plays a part, though I don't think they're quite as much of a "romp" as the paranormals. The humor tends to be more dialogue-driven, and less situational, if that makes sense.
PNR: Let's talk about "Aprhodite's Kiss". While the traditional Olympian "gods" are not present, it is implied that they were truly a race of called the Protectors, with special abilities from which the current super heroes are descended, correct?
Julie K: Absolutely! I get a kick out of taking mythology and fiddling around with it <g> And what a great cover story ... these superheroes back in ancient times telling everyone they're gods. I mean, look at Hieronymous from the book -- that's certainly something I could see him doing!
PNR: The heroine Zoe Smith is a halfling. That is her father is a Protector while her mother is a mortal. As her birthday approaches she is faced with a dilemma?
Julie K: She certainly is. She has to either accept her role as a Protector (which means telling her mother, which for a lot of reasons terrifies Zoe) or she has to forfeit her Protector heritage and become mortal. In which case hermemory of the Protectors (including her father and half-brother) will be erased.
PNR: The hero's name is George Bailey Taylor. He prefers to be called Taylor. His given names are reminiscent of the movie "It's a Wonderful Life". Is there any significance there?
Julie K: You're the first person who's asked me ... and there absolutely is. In fact, his car is Francis (Frank) Capra ... who directed It's A Wonderful Life. That movie, and Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, are 2 of my all-time favs. And since the book is set around Hollywood, it seemed appropriate <g>.
PNR: Taylor really hasn't had a wonderful life to date. He'd been abandoned as a child but had made something of himself. How does the former police detective find himself a nearly destitute private investigator?
Julie K: Pride and the need to be out there working. He took a bullet in the leg, and rather than take disability and sit behind a desk, he quit and struck out on his own. But it's not as easy at it looks, and when he meets Zoe he's hitting some really hard times.
PNR: Taylor's wish if for the kind of family he never had, but he hasn't had much luck with women. What kind of woman is he looking for?
Julie K: As Taylor says, someone normal. Someone with a picket fence, lemonade, and a dog. Very Norman Rockwell. And that's *so* not Zoe!!
PNR: One look at Zoe Smith and Taylor knows he's found that woman he's been searching for. Unfortunately the circumstances of their meeting aren't likely to impress the attractive library assistant. Can you tell us a bit about that?
Julie K: Taylor's snooping around, trying to find dirt on a woman who happens to be Zoe's boss. He's not happy about the job -- he knows it's sleazy - but he needs the money. And Zoe catches him rifling through the woman's desk.
PNR: Zoe is attracted to Taylor as well, but there are several things keeping her from forming a relationship?
Julie K: A lot of things ... the least of which are their big differences, her being a halfling, and Taylor being mortal. But even more, Zoe's got supersensitive senses. She's never had sex before, and though she wants it, the possibility terrifies her. And so she's hesitant to get involved.
PNR: Unbeknownst to Zoe her trial has begun. What is the goal that must be attained?
Julie K: Well, without going into too much detail, she has to save the world by recovering a mystical gemstone that was the centerpiece of Aphrodite's Girdle!!
PNR: Her cousin Mordi, another halfling who shares her birthday, is her rival for the prize. Aside from the fact that her acceptance as a Protector rides on her success, is there another reason that it is important for her to prevail?
Julie K: Their whole lives, Zoe and Mordi have competed. Growing up, they were tested against each other as they learned new skills. And Mordi always won. So there's a personal angle for Zoe. And, again, the whole saving the world thing <g>.
PNR: Eventually Tayor and Zoe do get together. Quite a number of strange things happen around Zoe. How does Taylor handle these events?
Julie K: Ah! Well, in the book Taylor grows a lot. He goes from disbelieving, to believing, to unable to cope, to finally realizing he loves Zoe even though she's not entirely, well, "normal".
PNR: While not a main character, this story features another unique pet?
Julie K: I love Elmer <g>. Elmer's a ferret and he's Hale's companion (Zoe's half-brother). Hale can talk to animals, so we get to hear Elmer (in my mind, btw, he sounds a lot like Nathan Lane <g>). He's a sarcastic little guy with a very definite mind of his own, and he'll have more "air time" in APHRODITE'S PASSION (Hale's story, which will be out in April of 2002).
PNR: I've mentioned that you've written paranormals and series contemporary romances. I understand that you will continue to write both. "Aphrodite's Kiss" is the first in a super hero series? What other stories can we look forward to in this line?
Julie K: Hopefully quite a few <g>. Right now, we've confirmed Seeking Single Superhero (a novella in an as yet unnamed anthology with Susan Grant, Lisa Cach and Lynsay Sands) in March 2002. SSS will star new characters you haven't met yet, with appearances by some of the AK cast. And in April 2002, you'll find Hale's story, APHRODITE'S PASSION. I've also got story ideas for Lane and Mordi, along with some other new characters. So fingers crossed! I'd love to continue this series for a while!
PNR: Oooh fingers crossed <g>. You also have a Harlequin Temptation Blaze coming this fall? What's next for Julie Kenner.
Julie K: I sure do, and I'm very excited. Next, though, is a Temptation in July - INTIMATE FANTASY (3rd in the Fantasies, Inc. series with Janelle Denison and Carly Phillips). Then the Blaze -- L.A. CONFIDENTIAL in November (it's part of the Sexy City Nights series). After that, I have the Love Spells I already mentioned, as well as more Temptations and Blazes!
Zoe Smith was far from normal. Crazy as it sounded, on her twenty-fifth birthday, she had the chance to become a superhero. But X-ray vision and othe ability to fly were only two things to consider. There were other factors too. . . . There was her newfound heightened sensitivity. She could hardly eat a chocolate bar without convulsing in ecstasy; how was she to give herself the birthday gift she'd really set her heart on - George Taylor? The handsome P.I.'s dark exterior hid a truly sweet center, and Zoe felt certain that his mere touch would send her spiraling into oblivion. But the man was looking for an average Jane - no matter what he claimed. He could never love a superhero-to-be, expecially one whith an overprotective stallion of a brother and a creepy cousin who seemed to be lurking in all the wrong places. Could he? Zoe had to know. With her super powers, Zoe could only see through his clothing - to strip bare the workings of his heart, she'd have to rely on something a little more potent.
was the very beautiful goddess of love. She was the only Olympian
who had no parents. She had been born from the foam of the sea and
had been carried across the waves by the West Wind. She washed up
onto the coast of Cyprus (or Cythera in some stories) where the three
Graces were waiting for her and welcomed her arrival. The Graces became
her attendants and dressed her in shimmering garments and precious
jewels before leading her up to Mount Olympus were all the gods greeted
her. They marvelled at her beauty and she was made one of the Olympians.
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