Thursday, September 24, 2009

Author Guest Post - Julie Kenner

Readers, please join me welcoming Julie Kenner, author of the Demon Hunting Soccer Mom Series, who will be guest blogging here today!

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There is an old adage that instructs that a writer should “write what they know.” Frankly, I always thought that was a load of hoo-ey. After all, did Margaret Mitchell live through the Civil War? Did John Grisham sign on with a mob-run law firm immediately after law school? Did Madeline L’Engle travel by tesseract?

And yet, despite the fact that a goodly portion of my books dive deep into the world of the paranormal, I can honestly say that with each and every book, I do in fact write what I know. Because the adage isn’t meant to be taken literally. Instead, it refers to those basic human emotions that drive both life and solid fiction. Emotions that make us laugh and cry and connect with the characters in a story.

Of course, that doesn’t mean that real life experience never comes in to play. Back when I was practicing law and succumbing to the siren’s call of fiction, I drifted naturally toward legal thrillers (or perhaps not naturally, as I never managed to write past the third chapter of any of my false-start books). Later, when I became a mom, both the experiences and the emotions of motherhood became key components of my demon-hunting soccer mom series of books.

I can even remember the inspiration for the soccer mom books. At the time, I wrote primarily romance novels, and I was out of contract and racking my brain for a new story idea. I’d been writing light, tongue-in-cheek stories, but I had an urge to write something with both a paranormal bent and strong heroes. I didn’t have a story idea, but I did have an image: Five warriors striding over a hill with long knives and scarred faces. They were demon-hunters, and they’d led hard, loveless lives.

As I was pondering how to bring romance to my hunters, I was also busy pondering another area that I’d like to write in: chick lit. Bridget Jones’ Diary had drawn attention to books with spunky female narrators, and the classification of “chick lit” was born. But while I loved reading chick lit, I wasn’t as interested in writing it. At the time, I was a mom with an eighteen month old, still sleepless, still carrying a hefty portion of the sixty—yes, sixty—pounds of baby weight I’d gained (all gone now, thank you very much!). Frankly, I wasn’t much interested in the job trials and boyfriend tribulations of a girl in the city. Where was the book about me?

There weren’t many, and as I pondered that void my mind was also churning about my demon hunters. And then, like that infamous Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup commercial, the two ideas came crashing together. What if I wrote a book about a mom who was a demon hunter? Now that was something I could get behind. At the time I was juggling a husband, a kid, a high stress job as an attorney, and a writing career. Trust me when I say I had demons a-plenty in my life!

I plunked myself in front of the computer and banged out the first chapter of Carpe Demon in about an hour. Kate Connor was born, and to this day she remains one of my favorite literary companions. Not only because she can take out a demon with a can of Diet Coke and a Happy Meal toy, but because she’s one-hundred percent mom (well, except for the percentage that’s a demon hunter, but Kate’s not that great at math, either).

When I sat down to write the stories, my goal was to not only entertain, but also to accurately portray some of the emotional rollercoaster that a working mom faces. And, yes, Kate kills demons. And, yes, she keeps her job a secret from her family (or she did at first), but so much of what she goes through is faced by both working moms and stay-at-home moms. The trauma of putting a toddler into daycare. The guilt when a mom realizes the all-over effectiveness of Bribery By Nabisco or Babysitting By PBS. The stress of maintaining a relationship with a hormonal teenager.

So I suppose in writing Kate I did write what I know. Maybe there’s something to that adage after all.

But as for the demonic bad guys? Well, as for those, I’m going to fall back on my legal background and plead the Fifth …

Thanks for that great post, dear author! You can visit Julie at her website - www.juliekenner.com.

As always, your thoughts and comments are most welcome, readers.
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2 comments :

  1. So good to see Julie Kenner here! I was just over at Bitten by Books! Can totally relate to working moms in Julie's novels!

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  2. Shawna L
    weloveourdogs@juno.com

    I just love the cover of this book It makes me Smile ;o)!!! Thanks for the review I have been wanting to read this but wasn't sure it was for me but after your review I know now I really do need & want to read this Too cute cover & What sounds like a wonderful sexy read~!!!!

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