Sometimes I have a bad case of author envy, and my guest blogger today, Julie Kenner, inspires a HUGE amount of author envy in me. Not only does she come up with fantastic ideas for books (Carpe Demon) plus she has the chops to execute. I read Carpe Demon first as a screenplay when I was still a motion picture literary agent and the premise knocked my socks off, so I then picked up a copy of the book; Carpe Demon: Adventures of A Demon Hunting-Soccer Mom which I loved even more. A big Thank You to Julie Kenner for her guest blog today!
by Julie Kenner
I have a new book out this month – (a brief pause while I gaze lovingly at its snappy yellow cover) – and Maggie was kind enough to suggest I offer up a guest blog. I’m thrilled to have the opportunity (thanks, Maggie!) but, of course, the possibility of blogging also raises that most notorious of questions: what the heck shall I blog about?
It’s shades of déjà vu all over again. That ever-present question that arises with every guest blog (or, for that matter, every entry on my own pathetically un-updated blog). That staring blankly at the screen waiting for inspiration and thinking, dang, writing a novel’s easier than a blog entry! Never fails. It’s always the same. That desire to be witty and interesting. Readable. Memorable. (And speaking of Déjà Vu, my husband and I watched it on Encore the other night. Great flick. Time travel thriller. Denzel Washington. ‘Nuff said. But I digress …)
But tonight, I have found inspiration along Interstate 35. No, seriously. Bear with me, and you’ll see: The book I have out this month (Deja Demon – get it? It’s like a blog theme!) is the fourth in a series staring Kate Connor, demon-hunting soccer mom. A woman who I have grown to absolutely adore. Honestly, it’s a shame Kate doesn’t live next door to me, because there’s a woman I could totally hang out with by the pool with a wine spritzer. But since Kate is a figment of my imagination, I must instead make do with spending a few months out of every year getting inside her head and, yes, tossing bad things her way.
What does this have to do with the deja factor, you ask? I’ll tell you: when writing a series, the book may not be the same, but the trappings of the release often are. Right now, for example, I’m in the DFW area (having arrived here by driving up I-35). I’m writing this from a hotel because later this week I have an interview at a local television station. I’m excited about the interview, but I’m not nervous. Why? Because I’ve appeared on this show with the release of the previous three books. It’s like stepping back into a familiar world!
Ditto the process of stopping in to all the local bookstores to sign stock. And my father and stepmother who live in the area have gotten with the program, too. “Be sure and tell us when the show will air,” they say, without needing prompting. And, “isn’t that too early to plan lunch? There are a lot of bookstores up Central Expressway corridor!” They know my routine; it’s become as familiar to them as it has to me. That’s the deja part.
But like each book in a series — which has its own plot, character arcs, mysteries and crises — each book release (and corresponding publicity travel) has its own personality, too. Not everything’s déjà vu this go round. For example, did I mention that my location in the DFW area is across the street from Six Flags? And that tomorrow morning I’m going to take my two little girls to ride roller coasters? When the first book came out, my daughter was almost four. Now, she’s almost seven. When the second book came out, my husband and I were one short month away from receiving our travel approval from the Chinese Government to go over to China and adopt our second daughter. When the third book came out last year, our youngest daughter had been home with us a mere eight months! And now, with the release of book four in the series, I’m taking two very excited little girls, ages 6 and 4, to an amusement park.
I confess that as I’m writing this, I have tears in my eyes (the good kind). Not until I really sat down and put those release dates in the context of my life did it hit me how much has changed in such a short time. Last year at this time, Isabella was still clingy and shy. Now, she’s a little spitfire who is determined to ride the loop-de-loop roller coaster while her older sister stands back, shaking her head and telling the little one that she’s crazy.
Déjà vu? Maybe a little, but not in the ways that matter. Each book in the series stands on its own, Kate’s life and story becoming richer and more complex even as my own life does the same. Things have changed. Life changes. Life happens. Sometimes good, sometimes bittersweet, but always moving forward. And how wonderful I can look back and mark the passage of time with my books on the shelves and the memory of where I was when my good, albeit fictional friend, stepped out into the world with her stories.
Julie Kenner’s demon hunting soccer mom series started with Carpe Demon, currently in development with Warner Brothers and 1492 Pictures. The fourth book, Deja Demon is on shelves now! She writes across a wide range of genres, and you can read more than you could possibly want about Julie and her books at her website, www.juliekenner.com