August 29, 2005

GCC: 3 Questions with Julie Kenner

Meet Julie Kenner. She is having a good day.

Her novel, Carpe Demon: Adventures of a Demon-Hunting Soccer Mom is a BookSense Top Ten Summer Paperback Pick 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 seven weeks and counting. CARPE DEMON has also been optioned for film, and is currently in development at Warner Brothers, with 1492 Pictures (you know, the folks that did Harry Potter) producing.

That, my friends, is a pertty dern good day.

I picked it up last week when I was on a book run, but I am kinda saving it and a couple of others I snagged for the PLANE. The flight to London is 8 hours and change, and I am a veteran insomniac, so I imagine I am going to need atleast three highly diverting books to avoid hanging myself in that tiny little foul smelling toilet cubicle. I liked what Publisher's Weekly had to say about the book...

"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..."

I sat virtually down with Julie and yacked with her for a little about her latest brain-child...

JJ: This book is I believe your twentieth? And it has really taken off -- bigtime Cristopher Columbus-y movie deals, best seller lists --- did you know when you were writing it this was your break out book?

JK: I knew it had potential (the movie deal happened on 3 chapters and a synopsis, so that not only gave me insight into the marketability, but also added a nice little level of performance anxiety, LOL). I also knew that it had a nice, solid hook, and I knew (thought/hoped) that it would have broad appeal to women, especially moms. But at the same time, I have written a lot of books, and the learning curve in this biz is steep. Nothing is a sure thing. (Still, I was certainly hopeful that the book would make a splash!!!)

JJ: This book keeps getting compared to a grown-up Buffy, and, um, I worship at the perfume-scented feet of Joss Whedon. In other words, you had me at Hello. Tell me, is Whedon an influence?

JK: Yes, and no. I love, love, love the first 3 seasons of Buffy, so I know I've absorbed Whedonisms, just as I've absorbed Bewitchedisms and Jeannieisms. (I fell out of love with the series when the college years started, and have seen only a scattered few from seasons 4-7. I know! Slap me around! -- but I have them on DVD and plan to watch!). And as far as I know, Whedon was the first to put vampires (and demons) into suburbia. So there are definitely influences. (And I don't mention Buffy in the book on purpose, even though the book has a lot of pop culture references. I don't want the reader "jumping" b/w the worlds, if that makes sense.)

The truth is I (being somewhat tunnel-visioned at time) while realizing the *concept* was marketable, didn't actually realize the *Buffy grown up* marketing hook until I'd already finished the book, or was pretty close (I don't exactly remember when the V-8 moment came). And it never occurred to me to use that as a marketing tool (duh) until Charlaine Harris said essentially that in her cover quote (That was a wonderful surprise, getting that quote! I adore her Sookie books!). There is a reason I didn't choose a career in marketing, no?


JJ: I FREAKING LOVE YOUR COVER---Did you have any input or how did that cover come about?

JK: It's fabulous, isn't it? And the one for the sequel sounds awesome too (haven't seen it though ...). But to answer your question, the extent of my input was: "Julie, have you got any ideas for the cover?" and me responding, "Um, no." (Sigh. They ask. And I have nothing to say ... How pathetic is that?). My editor told the art department she wanted something completely different. And they totally delivered!

Posted by joshilyn at August 29, 2005 3:44 PM

Wahoo first comment!

Now that I have THAT out of the way....

I hardly get finished one book and you recommend another that I HAVE to buy... because for whatever reason, I like your taste in books and I am thusly forced to buy every recommended book... because so far you have yet to lead me astray.

So Julie Kenner should give you big sloppy kisses for selling another book. Never mind marketing, she's got the 3 Questions!

Posted by: Heather McCutcheon at August 29, 2005 5:06 PM


You better not read this while everyone is sleeping on the flight, 'cuz you're going to be laughing out loud.

This is the "IN" book for Texas soccer moms this summer. (after gods, of course) But let's just say we can relate to the multitasking.

Posted by: Susan at August 29, 2005 10:22 PM

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for the Julie Kenner Questions. Why?

Before we were married, I mentioned to my soon to be wife, Cathy, that I was a Buffy fan. She laughed - no not laughed, BELLY LAUGHED - while I tried to explain that Buffy was one of the better written TV shows ever; right up there with the Twilight Zone and Seinfeld. Although I invited her to watch reruns with me to illustrate, she would have none of it. She was too old, too wizened, too busy, to spend time watching a teen angst TV show. "Never!" she says, "Never!"

The irony of the above is that Cathy is a huge fan of yours. She even has a link to your blog from hers (this is how I found your site). Her first book is about to be published, and Cathy is looking for ways to market it so of course she goes to you for inspiration. What to read? Let's see what Joshilyn says! Need to lighten up after a bad day? Let's see what Joshilyn says! In other words, your real name is: Joshilyn - She Almost Walks On Water - Jackson.

Imagine Cathy's surprise when she finds out you and Julie Kenner are (were) Buffy fans. Maybe now I can purchase the DVDs and she'll take the time to watch with me and come to appreciate the wit and humor.

One thing is for sure, we will be reading Julie's book very soon.

Thanks again,

Posted by: Allan Dix at August 30, 2005 5:43 PM

I bought this book precisely because I am a ginormous Buffy fan LOL

Posted by: Angel at August 30, 2005 9:01 PM