Handbags, Books...Whatever

Handbags, Books...Whatever (http://www.vickibatman.blogspot.com) is the website of Vicki Batman, sassy writer of sexy and funny fiction. Handbag lover. Avid Jazzerciser. Mah jong player. Yoga practioner. Movie fan. Book devourer. Choc-aholic. Best Mom ever. And adores Handsome.

HBW Calendar

  • 08/02- open
  • 07/30 - Keta Diablo
  • 07/26 - Mariah Lynne
  • 07/23 - Mageela Troche
  • 07 19 - Vicki
  • 07/16 - RWA
  • 07/12 - Edith Maxwell
  • 07/09 - Chris Redding
  • 07/05 - Vicki
  • 07/02 - Fourth of July

Friday, January 11, 2008

Author Interview - Juliet Burns

Juliet says most authors have always wanted to write, but she loved to read. As a teen, her favorites were Kathleen Woodwiss and Barbara Cartland. She grew up to be a big murder mystery fan, reading Sue Grafton, Elizabeth George and Anne Perry. She loves Elizabeth Lowell, Jayne Ann Krentz, and Linda Howard, too.

And one day, a story filled her head - a hero, a heroine, a past, flaws, scenes, then dialogue. She had to write the story.

Her new books are The Spy's Surrender, Secrets, Vol. 26, out December, 2008. Baby, Don't Bet Me from Harlequin Blaze, Spring, 2009, and The Pirate's Possession, Secrets, July, 2009.

Hi, Juliet, Thanks for coming to Books and Stuff. I have to say your story is almost identical to mine - being a big reader, what you read, and your favorite murder mysteries. Do your new stories lean toward the murder mystery angle? I know your new books have erotica in them. Can you tell us what caused the change to write in this genre?

Can you tell us about these new projects?


Juliet Burns said...

Do your new stories lean toward the murder mystery angle?

No, not these. I did write a romantic suspense targeted for Silhouette Intimate Moments (Now called Silhouette Romantic Suspense) but it was ultimately rejected. The editor said it was "too edgy" for category. And yet, it was too short to sell as a single title romantic suspense. It's still sitting under the bed.
I tend to write short. I don't know why. I guess I'm not a real complex person--yeah, I'm simple minded--and so my plots and even my writing tends to be very to the point. Not complex enough to warrant 100K words. 50K words is more my style. But I will say I love secrets and secret identities and I love to put my characters in danger!

I know your new books have erotica in them. Can you tell us what caused the change to write in this genre?

Well, I've always loved to read and write "hot and steamy" love scenes. Believe it or not, there's not a lot of difference between the steamy love scenes in a Harlequin Blaze and the blazingly hot love scenes in a Red Sage Secrets erotic romance. The content is almost exactly the same. The only difference might be word usage. And since the Secrets are novellas and therefore shorter, that seemed perfect for me. Also, my Secrets novellas are Historicals. My favorite pleasure read is a Historical romance. But I never felt "qualified" to write Historical because I had always heard, "write what you know". But with a novella, I think the shorter length freed me to experiment with writing Historical. If I failed, it wasn't like I'd wasted quite as much time.

Can you tell us about these new projects?

The Spy's Surrender was inspired by the BBC's 90's series called Sharpe's Challenge, about a major in the British army during the Napoleonic wars. Since I love reading Regency romance, and love spy stories, this novella seemed to just flow out of me. If you ever saw Christian Bale in Batman, the Beginning, you have seen my hero, Major Ambrose Delacourt. Here's the blurb:
When a British spy is captured by a sadistic French spymaster, a beautiful courtesan is the only one who can save him. But first, she must enslave him.

After years of surviving on her wit and beauty, the famous courtesan Eva Werner is the perfect double agent, England’s secret weapon against Napoleon. Her orders are to attend a sadistic marquis' depraved house party and rescue a British spy being held prisoner. But when she’s forced to make the spy her slave for the Marquis’ pleasure, her hardened heart melts in the fiery arms of the handsome officer. Will she sacrifice her mission and surrender to a spy?

Major Ambrose Delacourt was captured behind enemy lines. Now he’s a prisoner of the Marquis de Séréville, Napoleon’s Master Spy. In order to determine if a stunning blond courtesan is his rescuer or a treasonous double agent, Ambrose must become her love slave. But as the weekend orgy continues, mistress becomes slave and slave becomes master. Will they both end as pawns in a mad man’s treacherous war game?

I actually pitched this idea to a Red Sage editor at the National conference in Atlanta before it was written, and when she seemed very enthusiatic about the idea, I went home and wrote it in about 6 weeks.

More blurbs about the other 2 books I have coming out in the next post.

Juliet Burns said...

The next sale I made was so exciting because I sold on a partial. Only the first 3 chapters and a synopsis. I have to credit my former editor Wanda Ottewell for nurturing me through the upheaval of changes to the Desire line and believing in me through 3 rejections trying to write for the new Desire guidelines and ultimately encouraging me to break into Blaze. I was really lucky to have her revision suggestions on this project. I hope that it will be the beginning of a 3 book series but for now, it's a harelquin Blaze due out in the spring of 09 and the title WILL change. It's about an Air Force fighter pilot who's been injured in the war with Iraq and is taking his R&R in Vegas. Here's the blurb:

Used to living life at full throttle, Captain Cole Jackson is eager to prove he still has what it takes. War injuries have permanently grounded him from ever flying fighter jets again and he needs a new challenge. When he sets his sights on a beautiful but remote Keno girl his buddies bet him he can’t bed her in a week. But as soon as Cole has slept with her he realizes he's made a tactical error. The haunting beauty has secrets that rock his world and make him want to be her personal warrior.

Vegas Keno girl, Jordan Brenner, has been cursed with the kind of beauty that makes men notice her bra size and not her I.Q. The grounded flyboy is no exception. But Jordan questions her resolve to be cautious when the hunky Air Force captain launches an intense campaign of seduction. One reckless night she gives in. Then she discovers their extraordinary night of passion was only about winning a bet.

My hero was inspired by another foreigner, Eric Bana.

I'll put the blurb about my next release in the next post.

Juliet Burns said...

My final sale in 2007 was really cool. I must credit the Red Sage editor I pitched the Spy to for this idea. She said she really wanted to see a Pirate story. So, I took her words to heart and went to work on it. WAY bunches of research later, I wondered what I had done to myself! I chose an era I knew virtually nothing about: the 17th century. But the events in Ireland with Cromwell's troops invading lended itself so well to my poor Irish heroine and a LOT of danger. The Pirate's Posssession will hopefully be released in July 09 in Secrets. Here's the blurb:

A noblewoman must become a pirate’s possession to save her Irish people from an evil cousin

Plain and quiet, Lady Gertrude (Tru) Fitzpatrick hides a passionate will. When her disgusting cousin tries to ravish her, she escapes, and willingly gives her body to the handsome captain of her girlhood fantasies. But she fears her heart is lost as well as her innocence when she becomes a pirate’s possession.

Ewan MacGowan needs money to get back to the Caribbean. But when he thinks he’s been tricked by a noblewoman, he exacts revenge by taking her to his bed. Only trouble is, he may have stolen the lady’s innocence, but beneath her plain exterior is buried a hidden treasure he never thought to find. The true woman of his heart.

Franny said...


Your comments about persevering after the disappointing rejections is very inspirational. Major kudos to you for persevering and believing in your talent!!

Those of us who have read you KNOW how fabulous you are!!! Can't wait for the anthologies and the new Blaze to hit the shelves!!


Juliet Burns said...

Awww, Thank you, Franny. It's hard NOT to presevere when I have such wonderful friends like you to support and encourage me.
Big hugs!

Lauren Blades said...

Congratulations on a wonderful year and for sharing your experiences. =)


Nalini Singh said...

I echo Franny, Juliet. You go, girl! I think 2008 is going to be an awesome year for you :)

Natasha said...

Yay, Juliet! Yours is a great story of perserverance - and talent finding the right home - or, rather, homes :) Can't wait to see your new stories on the shelf!

Vicki Batman said...

Wow, Juliet, Lots of good comments. Thank you and thank you to the friends who popped in.

Let's talk some craft talk for a bit. What kind of writing turns you off? What stops you from writing?

How have you shocked your readers?

How do your get your ideas?

What is your writing day like?

Playground Monitor said...

I loved your first book and hated you weren't able to sell more to Desire. But the Blaze blurb sounds awesome. Can I put a copy on advance order now?

Congrats on your new success. You're such a tremendous example to us all of perseverance, determination and willingness to take direction and run with it.


Juliet Burns said...

Let's talk some craft talk for a bit. What kind of writing turns you off?

Hmm, I guess the only thing that turns me off is a heroine that is too weak or doesn't seem to know her own mind. And really slow pacing. I like a fast-paced book.

What stops you from writing?

I'll admit it. I'm plot-driven. So, it takes me almost 100 pages into the story before I really get to know my characters. (This is not good if your novella is only 120 pages) So, sometimes, I am writing along, having my characters do a certain thing because I decided I needed them to do it for the plot, and suddenly, one of my CPs will ask, "Why are they doing that?" My answer, "Er...because I need them to for the plot?" Um, NO. They must have a motivation for doing that. Duh. Then I have to stop, go back to my character's backstory, or core belief, or GMC and try to figure out why he/she really is doing that. Usually, the reason is there, but it's just not on the page. Amazing how that works out. But it can take me a week to figure it out. Of course, maybe if I didn't play so much solitaire while I was thinking about my characters... :)

How have you shocked your readers?
Um, I don't think I have yet. But when /IF you read The Spy's Surrender, you might be shocked at the master/slave bent the story takes...

How do your get your ideas? Usually I'm reading a great book, or watching a movie or TV show and one aspect of one collides with the other. Like BBC's Sharpe's Challenge series, and one scene from Sandra Shwabb's THE LILY BRAND inspired my Regency British spy.

What is your writing day like? As soon as I get the last kid to school, I sit down at my PC, check my email, play some music that I've chosen as a soundtrack for my WIP, read through what I wrote the day before, check my synopsis, turning points, and/or my chapter outline, then just start writing. I try for 5 pages a day. And I try not to check my email again until lunch. Sometimes I make it, sometimes I don't.

Hi Nalini and Lauren!

Juliet Burns said...

Oops, sleepy me missed Natasha! Hi Natasha!
Off to beddy-by now. Talk some more tomorrow, Gnight!

Juliet Burns said...

Wow, Thank you Marilyn.

You're no slacker yourself. Selling, how many? 17 stories this past year?
Fun to see you here.
Kiss that beautiful grandbaby for me!

Andrea Geist said...

Juliet, thank you for sharing. I'm excited to read your 3 books coming out. I can't wait for your seminar about 'muse'.
Vicki, thanks for interviewing Juliet. Love to both! Andrea

Deb said...

Sorry got here late but loved your first book and am eagerly awaiting more. I love the strong heroine and get turned off when they they just let the Hero walk all over them. Keep writing and trying to get all your stories published. Will be looking out for them.

Nancy said...

Hey Juliet and Vicki! Wonderful posts that have me nodding and grinning. I can hardly wait for your next books, Juliet, and I thank you for sharing your experiences and insights!

Light, Nancy

Vicki Batman said...

Wow, Juliet, we've had lots of friends pop in. That's so nice to see how supportive all of them are.

Referring back to your idea for stories, I know Sandy Schwab will be greatly flattered when she reads your post.

Your comment about secrets and secret identities caught my eye. We all have them. What kind of secrets, for example? And piggybacking on this thought, what are three things people don't know about you?

Let's fill in this blank: Your ideal fictional hero would think you gorgeous if you....

Bronwyn Jameson said...

Hi Juliet and Vicki. Great interview.

After reading the blurbs (and the men who inspired the yumminess) I'm even more impatient to read these stories, Juliet. Spies and flyboys and pirates -- oh, my!


Juliet Burns said...

Your comment about secrets and secret identities caught my eye. We all have them. What kind of secrets, for example? And piggybacking on this thought, what are three things people don't know about you?

Oh, wow, Vicki, you DO ask interesting questions. Ok, let me see...
What kind of secrets do I have? That's a hard one because I am the type of person who will tell you my life story within the first five minutes of meeting me. Hmm...
Ok, here goes:
1. I used to be a professional singer (weddings and funerals)
2. Before I met my husband, I was engaged to be married to someone else. I broke it off 3 months before the wedding date, but I still had to go to the wedding because it was supposed to be a double wedding. My sister still married his brother. Now see, truth IS stranger than fiction!
3. I'm deeply spiritual person and very practical at the same time and I believe sex as an expression of love can be very spiritual.

Let's fill in this blank: Your ideal fictional hero would think you gorgeous if you....

If I always managed to surprise him. The most romantic thing my husband ever said to me was, "At least with you, I know I'll never be bored."
Ahhh, sigh, such a romantic guy...

JUliet Burns said...

Hi Bron!
Oh, I LOVE that: Spies and Flyboys and Pirates, Oh My!
May I have your permission to borrow that phrase for my Website?
Thank you for visiting here. I'm rubbing my hands in glee to pick up YOUR newest release out THIS month. Fianlly a new Bronwyn Jameson Desire out!
The first in the Diamonds Down Under series, Vows & A Vengeful Groom!! Cannot WAIT to read this!


Juliet Burns said...

Thank you so much for making me feel like queen for the weekend. I've never been the interviewed on a blog before, and this was just the funnest experience. You are one cool lady.

I'm still here today to answer anymore questions or just say HI.


Juliet Burns said...

Hi Andrea!
Hi Nancy! Hi Deb!
Thank you for coming here and leaving comments!
I'm truly blessed to have such great friends.

Hugs to all,

Vicki Batman said...

Juliet, it has been such a pleasure to have you do an interview. I truly appreciate your answers. You have given lots of thoughts. You deserve to be queen and I like being *cool*. Thank you.

I have to say, I ran by Handsome what your husband said about life with you would never be boring. I TOTALLY love this comment. And Handsome agreed, saying his life hasn't been boring with me. This goes along with my personal philosophy that life is an adventure. Live life.

So a few final questions: what is up next for you?

And the wrap up question: How do you feel about cake?

Juliet Burns said...

So a few final questions: what is up next for you?

My editor has asked for the partial of the sequel to my Flyboy/Las Vegas book, and I sent 3more blurb ideas, including the third in the series. I'm hoping to sell the other 2 Vegas /Flyboy (and one Flygirl) this year, and one more novella for Eredsage--a modern day Jane Eyre story...

And the wrap up question: How do you feel about cake?

Cake? Cake for me means celebrations. We always have cake at the big celebratory moments in our lives, right? Birthdays, weddings, First Communions, Bat-mitzvahs... But my favorite kind of cake to eat and bake is excotic and decadent; German Chocolate cake--Only my grandmother's recipe--only from scratch. Cake should be like sex, sensual, thick, rich, and irrisistable. :)

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