Hey y’all – I know. I owe another update. I’ll be back dating posts and listing winners, as well as some explanations. But we have J. Kenner with us again, because Sue G. asked, and what she asks, she gets. 😉 And also? It’s release day! So yay for that – you can now get your hands on a copy of Complete Me! 😀 Everyone wish Ms. Kenner a very happy release day!
Inspiration in the World of Damien Stark
As if Damien Stark isn’t inspiration enough (sigh), I have to admit that there are a lot of things from the trilogy (Release Me, Claim Me, and Complete Me) that were inspired by real life … or real life with an imaginative twist. (No, not that! Or at the very least, I’m not going to be talking about that!)
No, I’m talking about scenes, settings and even a few events and brief moments.
Take the very first scene in Release Me. There’s Nikki, standing on the patio and looking out over an absolutely breathtaking sunset. But it’s also me, because back when I lived in Los Angeles, I was fortunate enough to not only be able to go to the beach (as everyone in LA can) but to have clients and employers with the means to live, if not as Damien lives, then at least on par with Evelyn. And that meant private beaches with amazing views.
Or Damien’s cars. Now there’s life inspiration for you. My childhood memories of sitting in a Model-T that my dad was rebuilding. Or, later, visiting him during my law school years and watching him oh-so-carefully rebuild a glorious Bentley, the elegance of which took my breath away.
Years ago I went to a desert spa with a boyfriend and had the most spectacularly relaxing massage. Of course a steamy version had to make it into the book! And my old town of Redlands was inspiration for a restaurant scene in Release Me, the actual restaurant being an amalgamation of several local haunts.
In Claim Me, Damien takes Nikki up on the Santa Monica Pier Ferris wheel.
I laugh, delighted. Not only have I never been in this Ferris wheel before, I’ve never been in any Ferris wheel. It moves slowly, but the basket sways, which would be unnerving except for the fact that it’s Damien beside me, Damien with his arm around me. And now— as the basket stops at the very top— Damien reaches for the backpack he set on the floor beneath his feet.
“What are you doing?” I cry. “Don’t let go!” I glance out at the world around us. The sun is down now, and the lights from the Pier glow. It’s like living inside a fairyland. A little too high up in a fairyland, actually. “Why aren’t we moving?” I ask.
I love the Ferris wheel in Santa Monica—I miss it, though I don’t miss the crowds! And it’s been far too long since I’ve been up on the top of that wheel, looking out at the edge of the ocean and the city lights beyond.
I’m sorry to say that the German hotel in Complete Me is not based on real inspiration. I wish it were! I spent hours on the website for the Hotel Kempinski in Munich, and I can imagine spending hours in those fabulous rooms or having a drink in that amazing bar. Ah…
Heck, maybe the story has inspired me! Road trip anyone?
Are you a writer? How often do you pull from real life? A reader only? How often does a scene seem to mirror your own experience?
I’d love to hear your thoughts!
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author J. Kenner (aka Julie Kenner) has published over forty novels, novellas and short stories in a variety of genres. You can find out more about her at her website, or connect with her through social media on Twitter or Facebook (Julie Kenner/ J. Kenner).
And if you want more official bio-y stuff, read on!
Praised by Publishers Weekly as an author with a “flair for dialogue and eccentric characterizations,” J.K. is also a two-time RITA finalist, the winner of Romantic Times‘ Reviewer’s Choice Award for Best Contemporary Paranormal of 2001, the winner of the Reviewers International Organization’s award for best romantic suspense of 2004 and best paranormal of 2005, and the winner of the National Readers’ Choice Award for best mainstream book of 2005.
She writes a range of stories including sexy and quirky romances, young adult novels, chick lit suspense and paranormal mommy lit. Her foray into the latter, Carpe Demon: Adventures of a Demon-Hunting Soccer Mom by Julie Kenner, is in development as a feature film with 1492 Pictures. Her popular dark paranormal Shadow Keepers series originally issued as author J.K. Beck has been reissued as J. Kenner titles.
The first book in her current Stark Trilogy, Release Me, was a multi-week New York Times and USA Today bestseller. Book two, Claim Me, debuted at number two on the New York Times list and remained on that list and the USA Today list for multiple weeks. Book three, Complete Me, will be on sale July 30. The series has sold to over a dozen countries.
Julie lives in Central Texas, with her husband, two daughters, and two cats.
Quite a bio, isn’t it? Thankfully I could just c/p it ;). So – you can answer the questions that J. aka Julie has. I made the text green so they stand out. And guess what? J. or Random House is offering one lucky commenter from the US a copy of Complete Me. (Sorry, their rules.)
But of course I (we!) hope international friends will chime in too! Cheers!