Please give a warm welcome to Julie Cohen!
Please tell us about your books.
I’ve got two releases right now–One Night Stand, a single-title contemporary romance out in the UK with Little Black Dress, and His for the Taking, a Harlequin Presents out in the US in February, which has been shortlisted for the RNA Romance Prize.
One Night Stand is the story of Eleanor Connor, who by day writes erotic comedy novels and by night works in a dingy pub. Though she writes about sex all the time, her own love life is pretty dire–in fact the closest she gets to sex is trying not to listen through the thin walls as her best friend and neighbour, Hugh, makes love to a string of women. One night, fed up with her life and her writing, both of which seem to be going nowhere, she gets drunk and has a one night stand with a stranger. When she wakes up in the morning, he’s disappeared, leaving her alone…and, she later discovers, pregnant.
She enlists Hugh to help her find her missing lover, though all she knows about him is that he looks a little bit like George Michael. But as they search for the elusive father of her child, Eleanor begins to suspect that her perfect man might have been under her nose all this time…
His for the Taking (originally published as Driving Him Wild) starts when Nick Giroux, a Maine park ranger, turns up on the doorstep of an expensive Manhattan apartment, searching for the father who abandoned him sixteen years before. What he finds instead is smart-talking cab driver Zoe Drake. It’s her great-aunt Xenia’s apartment, and since she’s there to pick up clothes for Xenia’s funeral, she’s surprised to find a sexy hunk camped out there, refusing to go away without some answers.
Zoe doesn’t know anything about Nick’s father. But there’s something about him that shakes her iron-strong defenses, and she finds herself drawn into his search, as Nick finds himself drawn into her life, and her emotions.
Come to think of it, both stories are about searches for missing fathers. Huh. I never noticed that before!
What inspired the stories?
One Night Stand was inspired by my own personal experience of being pregnant. I was trying to write a sex scene (for His for the Taking, coincidentally enough) and I had morning sickness so bad that the mere idea of sexual intercourse made me want to hurl. Somewhere in there I thought, “Hey, that would be a great scene to write–an erotica writer with morning sickness.” And the book was born. (My baby was born when I was writing page 74.)
His for the Taking began with a single image, of a man in outdoor clothing sitting on a spindly couch in a posh Manhattan apartment, setting up a camping stove. I had to figure out why he was there…so I wrote the book.
Congratulations on being shortlisted for the RNA Romance Prize! Can you tell us more about that for those who might not be familiar with that award?
Thank you! I’m totally thrilled to be shortlisted. The RNA Romance Prize is the biggest prize for category romance in the United Kingdom. It’s awarded, along with the Romantic Novel of the Year award (for longer books), at a fancy Award Luncheon at a London hotel. I don’t expect to win because I’m up against (among others) bestsellers Liz Fielding and Lucy Gordon, but I think it’s great that the judges chose a fun, contemporary, sexy romance to go on the short list. And it gives me a brilliant excuse to buy a new frock!
What is your favorite part of being a writer? Least favorite?
My favourite part is getting to know the characters so well they leap off the page and start doing things by myself. I find myself laughing hysterically and talking to my computer screen. My least favourite part is when the crows of doubt come to roost. They hang around looking evil and telling me that everything I do sucks. Generally this is about halfway through writing a book. I haven’t yet found a surefire way of getting rid of the buggers.
Is there anything you would like to write, but haven’t? For example, any other genre you’d like to try?
I have long been on a quest to write the world’s best limerick.
Any advice for aspiring writers?
I find that the main difference between writers and everyone else is one simple thing: writers write. Everyone else just talks about it. If you are writing, you are a writer. Treat yourself like one. I don’t really believe in all this “muse” stuff: to me, it’s work. Luckily, most of the time, it’s the best work in the world. No writing is ever wasted; even if nobody else reads it, even if it gets rejected a million times, you’ve still learned something from it. So I guess my advice boils down to: write.
Describe yourself in 3 words.
Far too wordy.
What do you like to read?
I’ve read two great books lately: Devil in the White City by Erik Larson, which is a nonfiction account of the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair and America’s first serial killer. I also loved The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets, by Eva Rice–a scrummy, lovely story about being an upper-class teenage girl in 1950s England. I don’t usually read romance while I’m writing a romance, but then in between books I pig out: I’ve got a stack which includes Anyway You Want It by Kathy Love, I’m In No Mood for Love by Rachel Gibson, and Staying at Daisy’s by Jill Mansell for when I’ve finished the current ms.
If you had a time capsule to be opened 50 years in the future, what would you put in it?
A stash of chocolate! We’ll all be needing some by that time.
What is next for you?
This morning I gave in revisions for my July Little Black Dress release, Honey Trap, which is the story of a private detective turned aromatherapist and an ex-alcoholic ex-rock star. I can’t wait until that one comes up properly on Amazon because it has the most gorgeous cover. I even dreamed about it last night. And then tomorrow, I’m starting work on my next book after that, which is about a female comic book artist and total geek who takes a vow not to get a boyfriend.
Oh and there’s always that limerick quest, too.
Thank you Julie for that great interview! Good luck on the limerick quest! 😉
Readers, you can find out more about Julie by visiting her website at: http://www.julie-cohen.com/
Her Harlequin Presents, HIS FOR THE TAKING be found here or here.
And her book, ONE NIGHT STAND can be found here (UK) or here (US).
Julie has kindly offered a copy of ONE NIGHT STAND to one lucky winner!
Julie will select the winner from those who answer the following:
“If you could have a one night stand with anyone, who would you choose? And why would you be his for the taking?”
Julie will choose a winner and that winner will be announced sometime Monday, January 28!