Kenner_PhotoJ. Kenner has written several best-selling novels and now famous for her „Stark“-series. Her books have fascinated readers for several years now and since she writes under the names Julie Kenner, J. Kenner and J.K. Beck everyone can find something in her backlist: romance, urban fantasy, paranormal romantic suspense or erotic romance. (Photo: Copyright Kathy Whittaker)

Of course, your „Stark“-novels are now being compared to „Shades of Grey“. How would you define the differences between the two series for new readers?

That’s such an interesting question because the truth is that I hadn’t read the entire 50 Shades trilogy prior to writing the Stark books. Obviously there are similarities (the books are very, very sexy and both heroes are bazillionaires) but beyond that, it’s like asking how two mysteries are different, or two thrillers or two romances. Sure the genre/trope is similar, but there are so many differences in characters and plot. (Damien isn’t as messed up as Christian Grey and has different issues. And Nikki (the heroine) has very real serious issues of her own.) So in the end, I think the question is more how are they the same (they both offer readers a satisfying, sexy, erotic reading experience featuring a very strong, dominating, uber-rich hero) than how they are different.

Originally I first met your writing with the Blood Lily Chronicles. What made you give the erotic romance genre a try with „Stark“ and why did you choose a new pen name?

While Bantam was fine with publishing the Stark books as Julie Kenner, I ultimately wanted to let my readers know it was me, but also set up a „cue“ for readers to know that these books cross a line from sexy to erotic. So we decided to do J. instead of Julie. As for why I decided to write in the genre, my editor and publisher actually approached me and asked if I’d be interested in writing an erotic romance. I’ve always written super sexy (I started with Temptation and Blaze), and I’d been fiddling around with an idea for some messed-up characters who were essentially soul mates, and when I wrote out a „TV Guide“ blurb, they loved it. I expanded it into a synopsis overnight, and Nikki and Damien just came to life for me. I truly fell in love with those characters!

Readers might know you under your other names – Julie Kenner, J. Kenner or J.K. Beck. Today it is not unusual for authors to go by more than one pseudonym. What was the reason for your choices?

At the time I started using J.K. Beck, we wanted to distinguish those very dark paranormal books from the lighter Julie Kenner books (particularly my Demon-Hunting Soccer Mom books). Bantam has now repackaged the digital editions as J. Kenner books and I don’t plan to publish as J.K. Beck in the future. Three names is hard to juggle!

Romances still are somewhat stigmatized. How did you come to terms with that and how would your ideal comment on a demeaning remark look like? 🙂

Hmmm. That’s not an easy question to answer because to say I „came to terms“ with it suggests that I had to make some change in the way that I think about romance. But I didn’t, and I don’t. I have always both written and respected romance and women’s fiction, and I figure if some folks don’t like it, there are a gazillion other books out there for them to read.

At the moment Young Adult novels for all ages are very popular. Are you planning to work on a novel in that genre again?

I have some ideas for YA books, but it’s really all about time! I have way more ideas than I have hours!

Several authors have had their novels turned into graphic novels or manga. Would that be something for you, too? And if yes, which artist would you prefer and which of your novels would you like to be made into a comic book?

I certainly wouldn’t be opposed to it, though I haven’t spent any time thinking about it. I’m not familiar enough with graphic novels or manga to be able to name an artist, though!

Many authors are now publishing their books themselves. Would that be an option for you and where do you see your own future?

Absolutely. I’m already doing it. I have several of my backlist books up as indie titles, and I’m continuing my demon-hunting soccer mom series as indie (Book 6 will be out soon), as well as starting some new romance series, both super sexy and slightly sweeter.

What new projects are you working on?

Right now, I’m focused on the Most Wanted series of erotic romances that are coming out soon from Bantam! These romances follow up the Stark Trilogy with three heroes who share a dark past and a dangerous present.

Do you want to tell your German readers something else?

Thanks so much for all the support over the years! I love visiting Germany, and I hope to get to get back for a conference one of these days!

Thank you for the interview.

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