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Blog Tour & Giveaway (US): Come chat with Julie Kenner about Complete Me from the fab Stark Trilogy


Posted July 30, 2013 by

Yoooo! Welcome to our stop on the fabulous blog tour for Complete Me, the third book of the Stark Trilogy.

Today we have the talented and super versatile, Julie Kenner. You may also know Ms. Kenner as J. Kenner from the Stark Trilogy or J.K. Beck from her popular paranormal series, Shadow Keepers.

GT: Hi Julie and welcome to GraveTells! It’s really great having you here. I’m a big fan of the Stark Trilogy and am so stoked that the third and last book of the trilogy is finally here. Yay!

JK: Thank you, thank you!  I am beyond excited to be here and soooo thrilled that TODAY is the release day for Complete Me!  Whoop, whoop!!!!

GT: For those of you that don’t know Julie, not only has she covered a broad spectrum of genres in the publishing world, i.e. PNR, Young Adult, and Urban Fantasy to name a few, but she’s also had a very interesting education while in college, starting with journalism, switching to film, and finally ending up in law school. Now tell us, Julie, what prompted you to switch your undergrad from journalism to film and how did you end up in law school?

JK: I always wanted to be a writer, and I’d edited my highschool newspaper from mid-way through my freshman year until I graduated.  So journalism made sense.  But I wanted to tell stories, not report stories.  I’m very Type A, though, and there is no “Novelist 101” in the course catalog at the University of Texas (or there wasn’t back then!).  Even so, I was content.

Then I got the urge to audition for a movie even though I can’t act my way out of a paperbag.  But I’d done drama (the tech side) all through high school, and I missed it.  So I go, and tell the guy that what I really want is to work crew, and he offers me a “job” (i.e., no pay) as a PA.  At the time, I didn’t even know what a PA was (it’s a Production Assistant).  I absolutely adore movies, so I jumped at the chance (and because of that Type A thing, after a week they actually put me on the payroll).

It was awesome!  I learned so much.  The movie is still available.  It’s called Future Kill and was made by many of the same folks who did the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre.  I’m in the credits as Julie Beck, and I even have a cameo!

I was exhausted – I was working from 7 to 7 on the shoot, and then going to school, then my regular workstudy until 5.  I couldn’t do that now!! – but I LOVED it, and I promptly changed my major to film.

But a) I am not cut out to be a director or cinematographer, and b) I was too chicken at 19 to move to LA when I graduated to try to sell screenplays (and, frankly, the ones I wrote back then sucked).  So I worked in Austin as a media assistant, decided that having no money sucked even more than my crappy screenplays, and took the LSAT.  It was a total and complete fluke that not only did I love law school, but I was really good at it.  I had my pick of jobs when I got out, and worked on the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals before moving to Los Angeles to work at some excellent high power firms, including Skadden Arps.  I even taught torts as an adjunct professor for a while.

Ultimately, though, the writing bug couldn’t be suppressed any longer!  I finally sold a book, kept writing, and in a few years was in a position to write full time.  I haven’t looked back!

GT: Now on top of all that, you’re a best-selling author whose novels run the gamut of genres. What was it that made you pick up writing again?

JK: I sort of answered that in my loooong ramble above, but honestly it was that the voices in my head were either going to drive me crazy or end up on paper.  Since paper seemed a better result than insanity, I started writing in my “spare” time!

GT: I think it’s really cool that you’ve published books in so many genres. It seems like a task in itself to be able concentrate and write in more than one genre. Is it difficult for you to switch back-and-forth between them?

JK: Not at all!  I love genre-hopping, probably because I’ve never read in just one genre.

What is hard is finding the time to play in all my sandboxes.  And, I think, as a young author I would have been well served to stick with a genre and build an audience.  But then again, I’m happy where I am now, and all of those steps led to here, so …

GT: Since the 50 Shades Trilogy, Erotica has become wildly popular. What was it that made you decide to tackle Erotica and what was the inspiration for the Stark Trilogy?

JK: Honestly, the decision to write Release Me directly resulted from talking with my editor at Bantam; I was fiddling with a significantly less sexy proposal before our conversations!  But once we started talking, Nikki and Damien popped into my head.  I wrote a “TV Guide blurb” and sent it to her and she loved it and asked me to flesh it out.  I wrote an incredibly long synopsis over the course of an evening (about 14 pages single spaced) and sent it to her – and she loved the story as much as I did.  Sometimes that happens: the story and characters just leap to life for you!

GT: The Stark Trilogy can definitely be compared to other popular Erotica series such as 50 Shades, the Crossfire series, etc., but you bring a different spin to the table with your heroine, Nikki and her issues with self-harm. The issue of self-harm and cutting is becoming more and more, I guess you would say, “popularized” along with the Erotica genre. It’s been in quite a few novels I’ve read just this year. Could you tell us how and why you decided for your heroine to have this problem and how it relates to the darker aspect of the Erotica genre?

JK: I actually wasn’t aware that it was becoming more “popular” for lack of a better term; that’s the downside of not having enough time to read, I guess!  But it’s an interesting factoid, and not particularly surprising.

I hadn’t started out knowing that Nikki was a cutter.  At the same time that I wrote that synopsis, I also wrote the first scene of Release Me (because I have to know that I “feel” the story).  The cutting aspect came about when the waitress drops the glass.  At the risk of making writing sound overly whoo-whoo, that’s when I knew – and I knew because of the way I wrote Nikki’s thoughts in the moments following.

It was perfect, though, and had obviously been brewing in the back of my mind.  I needed something deep that impacted her self-image despite the fact that she’s a beautiful woman.  Something hidden so that it mirrored Damien’s own hidden issues.  And something that had at least a metaphorical connection to the BDSM aspects of their relationship (though I wouldn’t call these books BDSM reads, though there are certainly BDSM elements to their sexual relationship, and the fact that Nikki needs pain to center her fit beautifully within the context of the story).

GT: Complete Me is the third and final novel of the Stark Trilogy. Can you give us a little hint about what’s in store for Nikki and Damien?

JK: Oh, my … a lot!!!

The story picks up where Claim Me left off, and without giving away spoilers, the first chunk of the book takes place in Germany where the characters are all dealing with the Massive Horribleness that is facing Damien.

The plot has some twists and turns as Nikki and Damien work toward solidifying their relationship, and as Nikki works on solidifying her own personal goals.  There’s drama and danger and, no surprise here, some really hot sex!

GT: This is a total fan-girl question, but who would you cast as Nikki and Damien?

I totally think Ian Somerhalder would rock as Damien, but I wouldn’t sneer at Matt Bomer!  As for Nikki, for the look I’d totally go with Kate Upton.  She has that Southern beauty queen glow!

GT: What can we expect next from you? Do you have any current or future Erotica projects in the works?

JK: Yes!!!  In fact the first chapter from my upcoming book in a new super sexy series is supposed to be in the back of the digital version of Complete Me!  I haven’t officially announced the title yet because I’m waiting for the cover to be finalized.  And I’m writing this before the book goes live, so I can’t check, but I hope that it’s in place in the end matter!  If not, I’ll post on my website once I get the thumbs-up from Bantam.

I’m totally excited by the new story (and … drumroll … you’ll even have the chance to meet the hero from book one of the new series in the Stark epilogue novella that’s in the works!  Squeee!  I haven’t officially announced that yet either, so shhhhhhh )

On the less sexy side of things, I’m putting up my backlist as indie books, including my bestselling Demon-Hunting Soccer Mom series … and a brand new book 6, Pax Demonica, will be out in time for Halloween!  I’m soooo excited!

GT: Well, I really enjoyed the Stark Trilogy and am seriously looking forward to reading any future Erotica you publish, as well as works from all other genres. Thank you so much for including us in your blog tour and visiting GraveTells today. We definitely hope to see you back here again.

JK: Thank you so much I’m thrilled to be here today, and thank you for hosting!

Release Me (Stark Trilogy #1) - Julie Kenner Claim Me Stark #2 - Julie Kenner Complete Me (Stark Trilogy #3) by Julie Kenner
Release Me
Claim Me
Complete Me


Bantam is giving away a paperback copy of Complete Me (US only) at each tour stop! To enter to win, leave a comment on this post then fill out the Rafflecopter below. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Single mom totally addicted to books and promoting my favorite reads. Catch more of my reviews: gravetells.com/category/all-reviews/reviews-by-molly/


    Liz S

    Just picked up my copy of Release Me today and I can’t wait to read it. I have enjoyed your other stories very much! Thanks for the giveaway.


    sounds awesome!!! thanks so much for sharing!

    Crystal Guidroz

    Sounds like a great read! Added to my to-read list and super excited to start reading it! Thanks for the giveaway and interview 🙂
    Congrats on the 3rd book!

    Eva Millien

    J Kenner rocks and I am looking forward to reading Complete Me. Thanks for sharing and the giveaway.

    Meagan Wells

    Love your books. Thanks for the giveaway!


    I LOVE Release Me & Claim Me and now I’m hoping to win Complete Me! I NEED to know what happens in the end!

    Karen Arrowood

    This is a fabulous book! I was fortunate enough to receive an arc, and let me tell you all – you won;t be disappointed! But Julie, how are you ever going to follow this one?


    I can’t wait to read Complete Me!!
    Thanks for the chance to win!

    Allison W

    I am so excited to read this series! I was waiting for all 3 to be out because I knew I wouldn’t be able to wait for the third in the trilogy

    Kai W.

    I love the book description. I have put the Stark Trilogy on my TBR list and hope to get to reading the series soon. Thanks for the series description.


    Loved the series and all of your other books as well.

    Sue Sattler

    This is such a good trilogy. I have the first book and I loved it so much, I got my step-mother hooked too. Thank you for sharing your worlds with us. 😀

    felicia sidoma

    I just finished reading your first book. I really liked it can’t wait to read the next one!


    Congrats to Karen A. on winning the paperback copy of Complete Me! Thank you to everyone who came out to support the new release and especially to Ms. Kenner for being our special guest! <3

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