J.K. BECK-Interview and Giveaway with the Author
The Official Bio ala J.K. Beck Website
J. K. Beck spent more than ten years as a litigator in Southern California and Central Texas, using her rare free time to indulge in her passion for writing. Now she uses her legal background as inspiration for her paranormal romantic suspense series, The Shadow Keepers, set in and around a secret judicial system hidden within and mirroring our own. California born, J. K. now lives and writes in Texas, where she hangs out with her husband and daughters and drinks far too much coffee.
TRC: Hi Julie and welcome to The Reading Café. We would like to start with some background information. Would you please tell us something about yourself?
J.K.: Sure! I live in Central Texas with my husband and my two daughters. My husband and I met in Los Angeles–I was practicing law, he was working at a bookstore and writing screenplays. After the Northridge quake (that was a rocking time…literally–the only glass in our apartment that survived was the Waterford crystal my grandmother gave us for our wedding. How amazing is that?) we moved to Orange County, which was fabulous (I used to go SCUBA diving right off the beach) and then later bought a house in an inland town called Redlands. The house was built in 1900, and was totally cool … and in need of lots of repair. Even so, I was sad to leave it when we moved back to Texas.
Even though my husband and I met in LA, we’re both from Texas, and we returned to be closer to family. It’s great … but I do miss the beach!
Um, what else? Ah, coffee. I’m pretty sure I’m personally keeping Starbucks in business. Could be wrong…but I bet it’s close.
Oh, and I’m a Libra!
TRC: You have quite a dossier listed on your website including a degree in law, yet you left the practice of law in 2004 to concentrate on writing full-time. Do you believe your education has benefited your writing career as it pertains to research etc?
J.K.: Sure! Certainly the practice of law has helped in molding the Shadow Keepers series. I really wanted it to feel a bit like a paranormal Law & Order, and my background helped play out that the Order part of the equation. At the same time, it’s a paranormal judicial system, so there’s a lot of embellishing and changing going on.
I was also lucky enough to meet a wide variety of people while I was practicing. From folks who couldn’t afford an attorney and were therefore pro bono clients, to clients with both money and fame. Some classier than you can imagine, some … not. And that’s always great for helping to build characters.
TRC: Have you even considered working in the legal field as a lawyer in the publishing industry?
J.K.: Not really. If I were to continue practicing law, I’d like to either do appellate work or practice criminal law. (I did work quite a bit on copyright and trademark issues when I was in California, not to mention First Amendment issues (defamation), but that was always from the litigation end. In house counsel at a publisher would, I imagine, be quite different).
TRC: What challenges have you faced as a writer eg. research, logistics, literary?
J.K.: Certainly every book has its own challenges. As a whole, though, the biggest challenge has been in getting the writing done in the time there is to write. In the early years, I had a full time job as an attorney, as you know. Then I had kids–and while parenting alone presents its own challenges, I also homeschool (although my 5th grader is excited to go to public school next year!) and that makes time management so important!
TRC: The Shadow Keepers is your latest paranormal romance series with quite a repertoire of characters and political factions ‘fighting’ on different sides. Would you please tell us about the premise of this series?
J.K.: Sure! The idea is that all sorts of paranormal creatures–the ones we think of only as living in nightmares–really do exist. They’ve been around for ages, but they’re self-regulating. They have their own paranormal government–particularly with regard to investigating and prosecuting crimes–and it’s hidden inside our own government (and the government’s of other countries as well). The PEC (Preternatural Enforcement Coalition) has agents and lawyers and when crimes are committed against other shadow creatures or against humans, the PEC metes out its own punishment. Some humans–but only those within the highest levels of our government–know the truth. The rest, think that the agents in the PEC are part of that country’s government. In Los Angeles, for example, the PEC is hidden inside Homeland Security. The books are a blast to write!
TRC: WHEN PASSION LIES is the fourth book and May 2012 release in the Shadow Keepers series. Would you please tell us something about the storyline?
J.K.: Of course! Passion features Caris and Tiberius (whose backstory you can read in SHADOW KEEPERS: MIDNIGHT (a novella). Tiberius is the one who made Caris a vampire. They are, in a word, soul mates. But something horrible breaks them apart, at the same time turning Caris into something different, something new. And something that Tiberius can’t handle, both personally and politically. When the book opens, they’ve been apart for years, and though neither acts on it, they both still want the other. But then something horrible happens, and they have to work together. It’s a romance, so you can probably guess where they end up, but I promise there’s action, adventure and lots of fun.
TRC: The character of Caris is both a heroine who knows what she wants, and yet is fragile enough to know that she can be hurt if the man that show loves rejects her for what she has become. Do you think these particular traits make her more vulnerable and more human?
J.K.: Absolutely. And I don’t think there’s any contradiction in having a strong woman show vulnerability. It does humanize her, and having that spark of humanity–even if it’s buried incredibly deep–is what makes paranormal characters so appealing.
TRC: WHEN DARKNESS HUNGERS is your June 2012 release with Alexis and Serge. Would you please tell us about the premise of their storyline?
J.K.: I just love Serge. He’s so tortured. He’s been in all of the books, but in WHEN BLOOD CALLS we see him in a truly bad time, and he kills a girl. That girl is Alexis’s sister, though she doesn’t know it when she first meets Serge. She has, however, learned about vampires, and hunting them has become her compulsion. Too bad the one she’s attracted to is the one she really can’t be with.
TRC: WHEN TEMPTATION BURNS is your latest release (July 31, 2012) featuring half-demon Ryan Doyle. Would you please tell us about his storyline?
J.K.: Doyle is an agent with the PEC who fights his daemon half hard and has no tolerance for those shadowers who don’t fight the darkness inside. He meets his match in a reporter who’s on to the same story/case that he’s on: a group of humans who’ve realized the truth and are determined to eradicate the Shadowers. They start out wary of each other, but their relationship grows as they work together.
TRC: How many books do you have planned for the Shadow Keepers series?
J.K.: I don’t have a set end point, so that’s really an open question. I’ve been thinking about doing a trio set in the NY office (the books so far have been set in Los Angeles, primarily). I’d also love to do a spin-off with Nick and Petra (from When Wicked Craves) working together as PI’s (Nick’s an attorney w/ the PEC, but Petra’s a PI and I just see all sorts of possibilities). So we’ll see!
TRC: What challenges or difficulties have your encountered trying to get your books published?
J.K.: I’ve been so incredibly fortunate. There have been struggles, of course — rejected proposals that end up unwritten and filed away on my computer. Writing through life issues that have resulted in deadlines getting pushed (that’s one of the reasons the 2nd set of Shadow Keepers books got bumped to this summer–my mother had a stroke followed by a series of seizures, and my editor was kind enough to move the pub dates to give me breathing room). But for the most part, I’ve been very lucky. My second manuscript sold and a few years later I was able to quit my day job to focus on the writing. I’m so grateful to all the readers who’ve enjoyed my Julie Kenner and J.K. Beck books!
TRC: What was the decision behind publishing 3 full length novels in 3 consecutive months?
J.K.: That’s really a question for Bantam, but basically publishers have discovered that it can drive sales. I know that I personally as a reader want to read the next book in a series as soon as I finish the one before. Having chunks of three out satisfies that craving!
TRC: Many authors like to bounce ideas with other authors, or between family and friends. With whom do you bounce ideas and why?
J.K.: I have some great friends to bounce ideas with, especially Kathleen O’Reilly and Dee Davis. We started critiquing together before any of us were published and we’re still great friends.
TRC: Who or what has influenced your writing or career the most?
J.K.: Well, at the end of the day, I’d have to say me, because no matter what other authors you read and have learned from, or what classes you’ve taken or what character and plot devices you’ve studied, ultimately what ends up on a piece of paper is what is filtered through that writer’s brain. And the same holds true with career choices, because there’s always another path that could be taken.
But along that path I have had some absolutely amazing editors from whom I have learned so, so much. Not to mention my agent, who is awesome. And I hear their voice (and the voice of my critique partners) in my head when I’m writing or when I’m thinking about some specific career thing. Having them support me and watch my back is awesome.
TRC: On what are you currently working?
J.K.: I’m starting to indie pub the continuation of my demon hunting soccer mom series, and book 6, PAX DEMONICA is going to be out really, really soon.
And I just sold RESCUE ME to Bantam. It’s an erotic romance chronicling the passionate and tumultuous relationship between a powerful entrepreneur with a dangerous secret in his past and the woman who accepts his scandalous proposition. Yes, it’s along the lines of 50 Shades or Bared To You. I’m very excited!It’s going to be published under the name J. Kenner
TRC: Would you like to add anything else?
J.K.: Absolutely! for the rest of this month, 50% of the proceeds for THE CAT’S FANCY by Julie Kenner at Kindle and Nook are being donated to Austin Pets Alive! so please check it out!
And please subscribe to my newsletter to find out everything about my books as Julie Kenner, J.K. Beck and J.Kenner – the site is J.K. Beck Website and there’s a newsletter icon on the navigation bar.
I’m also active on twitter as @juliekenner
Ah, that would be under the dessert category 🙂
Frozen blueberries, thawed for 20 minutes, covered with heavy cream
Favorite TV show
Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Star Wars (the original) or Raiders of the Lost Ark
Last book that you read
I just finished Gone Girl – loved it!
Last Movie you saw
Ice Age 4 (and before that, Spiderman)
Dark or Milk Chocolate
Do you have any pets?
Two cats! One tabby, one black and white
TRC: Thank you Julie for taking the time to answer our questions. Your Shadow Keepers is a wonderful series that I hope everyone gets a chance to read.
J.K.: Thank you so much! It was great being here!
J.K. (aka Julie) is offering a $15 Amazon Gift Card to one lucky member at The Reading Cafe.
1. You must be a member at The Reading Cafe. If you are not a member, please register using the log-in at the top of the page or by using one of the social log-ins.
2. If you register using Twitter or Facebook, please post your email address with a comment, so that we may contact you if you are the potential winner.
3. Giveaway/Contest is open internationally.
4. Please post a comment answering one of the LIGHTNING ROUND questions.
SHADOW KEEPERS SERIES
By J.K. Beck
Attorney Sara Constantine is thrilled with her promotion—until she finds out that she must now prosecute vampires and werewolves. The first defendant she’ll be trying to put away? Lucius Dragos, the sexy stranger with whom she recently shared an explosive night of ecstasy. When Lucius kisses a beautiful woman sitting next to him at the bar, he’s hoping only to avoid the perceptive gaze of the man he’s planning to kill. But what starts as a simple kiss ignites into an all-consuming passion. Charged with murder, Luke knows that Sara is determined to see him locked away—unless he can convince her that he’s not a monster. And that might mean making the ultimate sacrifice.
Seven innocents have been brutally murdered in Los Angeles, yet the Shadow Alliance has no suspects and no leads. As the body count mounts, the age-old feud between vampires and werewolves threatens to explode. Lissa Monroe—a strong-willed, ravishing succubus who entices men to surrender their souls—agrees to go undercover for the Alliance. Her mission: infiltrate the mind of werewolf leader Vincent Rand, a ferociously alluring enemy who exerts a powerful hold over her. As the City of Angels teeters on the brink of apocalypse, these two adversaries must join together in order to survive an even more lethal enemy hidden in plain sight.
Petra Lang is cursed never to love. One touch of her skin unleashes the vilest demons. Sentenced to death by the Shadow authorities, who fear she’ll turn her curse against them, Petra is rescued by vampire advocate Nicholas Montegue. As their bodies merge and transform into mist, Petra feels an erotic longing.
Nicholas risked his own life to save Petra, yet he knows he can never give in to the explosive attraction he feels for her. But the deep yearning they share tempts them. Together, they must find a way to lift the curse. For only a love this strong has the power to overcome such monstrous evil.
Tiberius is a vampire dedicated to protecting his kind—and the secrets of the shadow world. Now, as his quest to become head of the Alliance draws within reach, a shattering new threat puts him to the ultimate test. It’s a nightmare of grim proportions: a dark plot to bring about the mass extermination of human and shadow alike. And it forces Tiberius to turn to the woman he loved and lost, the lover he still desires but doesn’t trust. Caris was Tiberius’s mate for centuries—until a fateful mission changed her forever. Her tortured secrets drove her into the arms of his rival, but desperation has brought her back. As a horrifying new weapon of mass destruction is about to be unleashed, Tiberius and Caris harness the power of their immortal and passionate love. But will it be enough to battle devastating odds and a ruthless enemy with the ambition to destroy them all?
FBI agent Alexis Martin knows that vampires exist—because one of them killed her sister. Assigned to investigate a series of bizarre homicides in Los Angeles, Alexis believes the murders are the work of rogue vampires—perhaps even the monster responsible for her sister’s death. Now she finally has a chance for retribution. Even better, Alexis receives unexpected help from a sexy stranger as hungry for rogue blood as she is. Serge is a centuries-old bad boy who stays off the grid—keeping his secrets, his hunger, and his heart safe from exposure. A new breed of vampire that feeds off other shadowers, Serge finds sweet torture in Alexis’s arms. Loving her is a chance to be free from the hiding, the loneliness, the secrecy. But the truth about what he is, and what he’s done, may banish him to the dark confines of his own private hell—and destroy the beginnings of their love.
Half human, half daemon, Ryan Doyle is a driving force for justice. As an agent for the Preternatural Enforcement Coalition, he’s investigating murders linked to a Los Angeles fringe group bent on exposing the shadow world to humanity. He is a master of self-control, keeping his deepest hungers hidden beneath a veneer of cool professionalism. Until he crosses paths with sinfully sweet Andy Tarrent, a gutsy reporter who makes him crave all the pleasures he’s denied himself for centuries. Tracking a band of conspiracy theorists eager to spill blood, Andy has uncovered the story of her career. Brooding, mysterious Ryan is an enigma—but their dance of seduction is hotter than any fantasy. As they race to stop mass murder on the streets, Andy knows that Ryan is holding back, keeping secrets. But getting close to Ryan means opening the door to a world that will challenge her deepest beliefs—including what it means to truly surrender to love.