GCC~I Sure Wish I Had HER Abilities!
"This book, as crammed with events as any suburban mom's calendar, shows you what would happen if Buffy got married and kept her past a secret. It's a hoot."
-Charlaine Harris, USA Today bestselling author of DEAD TO THE WORLD
Julie Kenner's Carpe Demon: Adventures of a Demon-Hunting Soccer Mom is delighting readers this summer! A combination of mommy lit and fantasy, the book has been receiving praise since even before its release when Booksense honored it by selecting CARPE DEMON as one of its Top Ten Summer Paperback Picks for 2005. The book was also selected as a Target "Breakout Book" and has held the Number One slot on Barnes & Noble's SF/Fantasy trade overall bestseller list for six weeks (and counting!).
CARPE DEMON has also been optioned for film, and is currently in development at Warner Brothers, with 1492 Pictures (Chris Columbus, Harry Potter) producing.
Carpools. Crabgrass. Creatures from the depths of hell. Suburbia has its problems too...
Lots of women put their careers aside once the kids come along. Kate Connor, for instance, hasn't hunted a demon in ages...
That must be why she missed the one wandering through the pet food aisle of the San Diablo Wal-Mart. Unfortunately, he managed to catch her attention an hour later-when he crashed into the Connor house, intent on killing her.
Now Kate has to clean up the mess in her kitchen, dispose of a dead demon, and pull together a dinner party that will get her husband elected to County Attorney-all without arousing her family's suspicion. Worse yet, it seems the dead demon didn't come alone. He was accompanied by a High Demon named Goramesh who, for some unknown reason, intends to kill off the entire population of San Diablo.
It's time for Kate Connor to go back to work.
"Advance praise compares Kate to a domesticized Buffy the Vampire Slayer, which seems accurate. Throw in a bit of Teri Hatcher from Desperate Housewives while dropping pop culture references. Whomever you picture as Kate, she's hilarious, and so is this book. Toss this one in your beach bag, and don't forget the sunscreen." - Kat Lively's Book Picks
"I loved CARPE DEMON! It was great fun; wonderfully clever... ninety-nine percent of the wives and moms in the country will identify with this heroine. I mean, like who hasn't had to battle demons between car-pools and play-dates?" -Jayne Ann Krentz, New York Times bestselling author of Falling Awake
"Smart, fast-paced, unique--a blend of sophistication and wit that has you laughing outloud!" -Christine Feehan, New York Times bestselling author of Oceans of Fire
"What would happen if Buffy the Vampire Slayer got married, moved to the suburbs and became a stay-at-home mom? She'd be a lot like Kate Connor, once a demon/vampire/zombie killer and now "a glorified chauffeur for drill-team practice and Gymboree play dates" in San Diablo, Calif., that's what. But in Kenner's sprightly, fast-paced ode to kick-ass housewives, Kate finds herself battling evil once again." -- Publishers Weekly
"Julie Kenner's Carpe Demon: Adventures of a Demon-Hunting Soccer Mom is a hilarious romp through the life of desperate, demon hunter housewife, Kate Connor. www.armchairinterviews recommends Julie Kenner's latest novel. You'll laugh out loud." -- Armchair Interviews
Julie Kenner's first book hit the stores in February of 2000, and she has since seen over 20 books hit the shelves. A USA Today and Waldenbooks bestselling author, Julie spent several years mainlining venti nonfat lattes in order to work fulltime as an attorney, write books, and be a mommy. In 2004 she finally wised up, decided that sleep was a good thing, and left the practice of law to write full time. She now lives and writes in Georgetown, Texas, with her husband, daughter and a variety of cats. She still doesn't sleep all that much, though. Julie is also the author of The Givenchy Code (www.givenchycode.com), a chicklit thriller released earlier this summer. Read more about Julie at www.juliekenner.com (and if you're interested in slaying a few demons of your own pop over to www.slayyourdemons.com, Julie's guest-blogging site!)
And onto the interview!
MO'C: What an original concept for a novel! How did you think of it?
JK:Honestly, I just sort of stumbled across it while brainstorming. I was trying to come up with a romance series w/ mega-alpha males. At the same time, I had in my head the idea that I wanted to write mommy lit because, at the time, I was a relatively new mommy. Anyway, I had an idea about a team of hunters (guys) chase after demons, and in the course of that somehow my critique partner (Kathleen O'Reilly, also a GCC'er) and I twisted it around until suddenly I had a demon-hunting soccer mom. It was one of those, oh my, yes, moments. I wrote the first chapter that evening and, honestly, it didn't change all that much. Kate just sort of came to me!
MO'C: You recent novel, The Givenchy Code, made me laugh out loud when I read it. That surely has a story behind it as well...?
JK: You'd be amazed at how dull my "behind the story" stories are, LOL! For this one, I wanted to write a "scavenger hunt" book, where the heroine races from one clue to the next to the next. I originally wrote the proposal to fulfill my option contract for a romance novel. Before I did, though, I asked my editor if I could write it in 1st person, and she said sure. So I wrote a proposal, turned it in, and heard ... Nothing. I was sure she hated it. Turned out (yay!) that she loved it, and so did her editorial director, and they wanted to move me from the romance imprint to Downtown Press. So I revamped the proposal, changing the story so that the suspense component drives the arc of the story rather than the romance between Mel and Stryker (which ended up being a subplot instead of the main plot). I also changed up the backstory and created the computer game scenario that runs through the whole trilogy. It was interesting because although the changes were massive, at the same time the "voice" and the overarching story and the character of Mel never changed. That's one of the things that amazes me about writing sometimes -- how elastic the process can be.
MO'C: How have your experiences as a mom affected your fiction?
JK: Certainly it gives me insight into Kate, and I'm happy to have an outlet for my own mommy experiences! At the same time, writers are like actors. So a mom can "play" a single girl on the town, and a single girl can "play" a mom. Or a murderer. Or a dead girl. Or whatever. You draw on experiences twist them, and make them fit the characters and the plot. In that regard, being a mom has given me a whole new set of experiences to work with.
MO'C: Can you discuss this culture's obsession with heroes and good vs evil (I'm thinking The Incredibles, Superman, etc) ? How did this affect Carpe Demon?
JK: I don't think it's this culture, actually. I think every culture throughout history has a fascination with good and evil, light and dark, yin and yang. That's the very heart of religion, mythology, fables even. I also don't even know that we're really seeing a resurgence. Or if it's just better technology. I mean, certainly in the past we had Batman, the Green Hornet, Kung Fu, even The Incredible Hulk. Even if you look at just basic fiction you see that there's always going to be a protagonist and an antagonist, even if the antagonist is the protagonist himself in that he's fighting his nature. At the heart of it, one character probably represents good and one probably represents evil. Or some level thereof. Which is about as close to being analytical as I'll ever come, so kudos on the question! As for Carpe Demon specifically, um... Kate, good. Demons, bad :)
MO'C: Are the demons in your novel a metaphor for anything?
JK: Actually, you're the first person who's asked me that, I think. And the answer is yes and no. No, in that they really are demons from hell. Bad. Evil. Sulphur-smelling demons. And Kate has to fight them. Yes in that they are also a metaphor for all the "demons" that face moms on a daily basis. And the demons that stay at home moms have to fight are often more "hidden". It's amazing to me how many people think it's easy to stay at home with a kid. Like you're taking a daily vacation or something, LOL!
MO'C: How did your legal background affect your writing?
JK: A lot of ways, I'm sure. But the biggest is probably that I'm completely open to editing. I have never seen a manuscript (or legal brief) that can't be made tighter, more precise, more moving, more whatever. And authors sometimes forget that the whole point of having an editor is to be edited. So they freak when they get a redlined mss or a two (or more!) page revision letter. But that's a good thing. It gives you the opportunity to take the work up a level. Also deadlines. Courts are rather picky about hitting deadlines. And if you need an extension, you know to ask early.
MO'C: Name the top three "demons" existing in the world today that you would demolish if you had Kate's powers. (Note: This question was asked pre-Katrina and I'm sure Julie and all of us would all obliterate the aftereffects of that disaster if we could. Please help by donating to the Red Cross or another worthy aid organization.)
JK: Calories, insane gasoline prices, and the utter lack of decent television programming on at 2 in the morning. And annoying hold music, just to top off the list.
MO'C: What advice do you have for aspiring authors?
JK: Read. Write. And then read and write some more.
MO'C: What's next for Julie Kenner?
JK:Next month is the release of FIRST LOVE, the fourth in THE BRIDESMAID CHRONICLES from Signet. And next year, I have THE MANOLO MATRIX in February, and CALIFORNIA DEMON: FURTHER ADVENTURES OF A DEMON-HUNTING SOCCER MOM in June!
Thank you so much for coming to the blog, Julie! Want to order the book? Try Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or my personal recommendation, Booksense!