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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Julia London in and around...London

Tantalizing Tuesday

Julia with Shades - CloseupHello Everyone!  Today I bring Julia London to our corner of the web.  Of course, her traveling here can't hold a candle to the more exotic places she's been in her lifetime, but hopefully we can make it memorable enough for her today!  

If you've been to Julia's website, you've seen her sitting in a beautiful red velvet (or is it velour?) two seater, kicking back with what looks like a glass of red wine.  Very cool and comfortable setting. 

[Does Moonlight, Lace and Mayhem need something like that here, to make readers feel more at home?]

As many of you know, Julia writes historical novels, but she also writes contemporary fiction.  However, our focus will remain on the historical side of things today because well, that's our focus for this month, and the interview questions will reflect that.  

Q. Most of your historicals appear to take place during the 1800’s of British history, which equates to the Georgian Era. What is it about this time period that fascinates you? Why this time over others?

A. In the last few years I have written books set in both the Regency and the Georgian era. My latest series is set just before the Regency. I like that time period because it was prosperous and was ruled by civility. To me, it’s a very sexy time period because men where real men, but they were chivalrous, and women were beginning to emerge as capable in their own right. I also like the aesthetics of the period, with the costumes and big houses and furnishings, and ornate carriages, etc. It’s just fun for me personally to spend time there.

I wouldn’t mind writing in other time periods, but the truth is that I have written so many historical novels set in this time period that I am well-versed in the era’s society and politics and I have quite a lot of research materials for that time period. I’d need more time to research a new period. But I’d be up for it.

Q. How do you choose the settings for your books? How do you decide whether to use Scotland, London or some other British location?

A. It really comes down to my personal preference. If I’ve written a couple of books set in London, I want to write one in another part of Britain just for a change and a fresh location. I am writing a quartet of books for publication beginning next year that are set in a fictional village two hours south of London. I did it that way so I can build a close community, but go easily step into the London highlife. The best of both worlds!

Q. According to your website, you’ve traveled to many places. What experiences during your travels have contributed to your historical novels?

A. I think it helps me portray the places where I set my books. I have walked through many Georgian mansions, and I have driven all over the U.K., so I think I can describe the landscape. The other benefit is that when I go to some of these historical sites, you can often find obscure books or maps that I would never find in the United States, which help me add authentic details. But I guess the best part of traveling to the places I write about is just soaking up the atmosphere and hopefully transferring some of that onto the pages.

Q. Tell us about some of the exotic places that you’ve been to. Where was your favorite place to visit? Least favorite? Sexiest place? Details, details, we want details! Pictures too!

Julia on a CamelA. The most exotic place I have been is probably the Sultanate of Oman. That was many years ago, but it was such an experience. There is a modern society, but there is a society that still lives as they did dozens and dozens of years ago. I also visited a Bedouin tribe. I heard later that they named a camel for me. I have no idea why. I have traveled through Europe, as well, but it seems like we always end up in the U.K. again. I really love it there. I think I must have been a queen or something in a previous life.

The most romantic place is, of course, Paris. France in general. I don’t know why, but it just has the feel to it.

Let’s talk about the heroes.

Q. In your mind’s eye, what makes for a truly great hero? Which hero(es) of your books best illustrate this?

A. I think great heroes can take on a lot of characteristics, but at their core, they have to be the kind of guy who will do anything—absolutely anything—for the woman he loves. He has strength of character, he is loyal, he is noble, but he is a little dangerous. And he can be softened by the right woman.

I try to write heroes that have flaws and may act in ways that are not politically correct, but are redeemed by love. One that comes to mind is Adrian Spence in The Dangerous Gentleman, or Rhodrick Glendower in The Perils of Pursuing a Prince. Both men were isolated by their actions and prejudices from society and had to overcome some personal flaws before they could win the hearts of the women they fell in love with.

Q. Many writers have a picture of a real person in mind when they start creating a hero. What about you? Who inspired the heroes in your historical novels? What visuals did you use to help create them? Again, we want details and images please!

A. I am not generally inspired by real people (other than perhaps Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy, who, as you know, wasn’t exactly real) when I create my heroes. They are truly created out of my imagination.

Q. Which was your favorite hero that you’ve written and why?

Oh man, that is a tough question. I don’t know if I can choose just one. I will always have a soft spot for Michael, my first hero, in The Devil’s Love. I also liked Rhodrick Glendower, just because he wasn’t a beautiful man. But I really like them all, and it’s hard to choose a favorite.

Now let’s talk about your heroines

Q. In your mind’s eye, what makes for a truly great heroine? Which heroine(s) of your books best illustrate this? Which ones least illustrate this? Why?

A. I like heroines who can pull themselves up by their bootstraps when they need to, and aren’t afraid to take men on. I like it when they have to dig deep, but I also like them to have some innocence in them, too. By that I mean I don’t think they have to know the reasons why they do what they do, but just react from some place that is all girl. In my very fist novel, Abby was very naïve at times, and she made some bad choices. But the girl knew what she wanted and went for it. In Book of Scandal, Evelyn had to overcome so very deep pain to find herself and her love for her husband again.

Q. Who or what was the underlying inspiration behind your heroines? What visuals did you use to help you create them?

A. The heroines I write are composites of women I have known or read about. I suppose they all have a little of me in them, too, although that part isn’t particularly inspiring, LOL. It’s just familiar.

Q. Which was your favorite heroine that you’ve written and why?

A. Like Michael, I have a soft spot for Abby in The Devil’s Love. I also like Lauren in Wicked Angel, and I really liked Claudia in The Ruthless Charmer. But like me heroes, I like all of my heroines for different reasons. I can’t choose a favorite. They all appeal to me.

Highland ScandalQ. What new books can readers look forward to in the near future?

A. I have a lot of things in the works! In October 2009, the last book of my historical Scandalous Series, A Courtesan’s Scandal (following Book of Scandal, Highland Scandal) will be released. In that one, the Prince of Wales orders the Duke of Darlington to keep a secret for him the duke would rather not keep.

In 2010, One Season of Sunshine, another book set in Cedar Springs, Texas will be out, as well as the start of a new historical quartet, The Secrets of Hadley Green. That series is set in 1807, in the village of Hadley Green south of London. An old crime wreaks havoc in the lives of several people as they try to determine what truly happened all those years ago. In the course of discovering the truth, several secrets are revealed and unlikely pairings occur because of it. I have just started writing the series and I love it. It’s a little different than my other historicals because there is a bit of a mystery.

Summer of Two WishesAny questions or comments for Julia? One lucky commenter will win a copy of Julia's historical Highland Scandal and another lucky commenter will win a copy of Julia's contemporary Summer of Two Wishes. According to my friends at Jack's Bar (Robyn Carr's Chat Group), Summer of Two Wishes makes for a pretty good read.

Remember, if you don't comment, you can't win the book (Please indicate if you have a preference)!

I want to thank Julia for joining us today and giving us some great answers!

16 Moonbeams (comments):

Kim Castillo said...

Hey there!

Well, the gals over at Jack's bar are exactly right. Summer of Two Wishes is awesome. One of my very favorite books this year!

Julia London said...

Hi Carrie, and thanks again for inviting me to blog today. I'll check back in later and answer any questions anyone has for me.

Jack's Bar, huh? Sounds like a great place to hang out.

Carrie said...

Jack's Bar is a pretty cool place to hang out. I've met some neat ladies there as well as learned about some new authors...okay, lot's of new authors.

Thanks to Jack's Bar my TBR Pile is now a mountain range!

Mary (Bookfan) said...

Hi Julia and Carrie,

Julia, Carrie is right about Jack's Bar - a pretty cool place to hang out. Great people there. I stop in whenever I can.

I've just started reading historical romances in the past year or so. I enjoy them and look forward to reading yours. I'll probably start with Book of Scandal and then keep going. Love the cover of Highland Scandal - do you have input on your covers? Also, I love your definition of a great hero!

Thanks for highlighting Julia's books, Carrie. Nice interview.

I'll pick Highland Scandal if win the giveaway : )


meah56 at gmail dot com

julia london said...

Hi Mary -- I have some input, but not much. We talk about "the look." (the publisher does most of the talking). They show me drafts. My agent and I suggest things. But overall, they know what they want and what they think will attract people to pick up the book, and if I were to suggest something completely different, it probably would not fly.

Molly Daniels said...

Hi Julia:) Your books sound sooooo awesome! Darn it...list is growing out of control again!! (Bangs head on desk)

Grrr...we seriously need a bookstore in this town! And I need to own/run it, so I always have access to these fantastic books the MLM gals introduce!

Anonymous said...

HiJulia, I am not into historicals anymore but love contemporary books. I have recently read Summer of Two Wishes. I found it to be a very heartfelt book to read. It makes you think about what all of the returning wounded or well soldiers feel trying to get back to regular life once they get home. I can't imagine what it would be like to have to decide between two men you love. I am glad she picked her first husband, Finn even though it was alos sad for Wyatt. I thought the dog being thrown into the middle of the decision was very smart and crative. I look forward to more books set in Cedar Springs. I am glad you were recommended to me by some of my fellow readers at Jack's Bar. It is a great place to chat and find new authors. Diana

Kenzie Michaels said...

LOL..Julia the camel has five humps...Sorry, I have a kindergartener:)

The Scandal Series sounds excellent!

Sheila Deeth said...

Your books sound fun - I grew up in England, so it's always nice to know a writer has actually been there and knows what it's like.

Carrie said...

Thanks to everyone who stopped by! It's nice to be able to make someone else's TBR pile grow uncontrollably! *wicked grin and laughter*

Anonymous said...

Wow, so glad you're here Julia !!
I'm a real fan of yours. I've read many of your books. You're one of the rare authors that write historicals AND contemporaries and is good at both !
Being french I'm very glad you find my country romantic. Ironicaly, I'm more partial to Ireland or Scotland myself ;-)
I can't wait to read your next book.
Congratulations again !

Rebecca J Vickery said...

Great interview! Whenever I reach for a Historical, Julia London is at the top of my list.


Julia London said...

Wow, you guys are so nice to me. Thanks for the kind things you said about Summer of Two Wishes and telling me about Jack's Bar.

Emmanuelle, when you grow up in the desert of Texas, just about anything with trees is romantic, lololol.

Sheila, I have a few British fans, but I've also had a couple through the years tell me to stick to America. :-). But I can't because of that queen-in-a-previous life thing.

Margay Leah Justice said...

Julia, welcome to our little blog! So good to have you here!

Unknown said...

Hi :)
Thanks for the great interview!
All the best,

Judy said...

Running behind!! Enjoyed the interview and both books look great. I love historicals so I would have to pick Highland Scandal.