**UPDATED: And the winner is...BRENDA! Congratulations on winning Julie's (aka B.H. Dark) eBook. Please email me at jaxcassidy@gmail.com to claim your prize.

Thanks for participating!**

I had met Julie Cohen during RWA conference a while ago and I always thought she was pretty cool but never had the opportunity to spend time with her. This year, I had the pleasure of sitting across from her at the Literacy for Life Signing in Washington, DC. We smiled and waved at each other and she even tossed me some chocolates. With her cool fashion sense, bright red streaks and laid back attitude, we just had to become friends! So, I’m very happy to introduce her to you all. She’s currently residing in the UK but she’s already making a splash in the US.

Julie also writes sexy alien abduction stories for Samhain Publishing under her alter ego B.H. Dark with author Kathy Love. There’s never enough books about sexy, edgy men from outer space, that’s for sure!

**Here's your chance to win her eBook CLOSE ENCOUNTERS. All you need to do is post a comment and we'll pick a name at random. Winner will be announced on Friday.**

Now, let’s officially welcome Julie, my friend from the other side of the pond, to Hooked on Romance!

Thank you, Jax! It was great to catch up with you again in DC and I’m so pleased you invited me here to Hooked on Romance.

You’ve written quite a few books for Harlequin as well as some single titles that have a fun and unique, almost chick-lit style voice. Was it a difficult jump from the structured Harlequin romances to your current projects?

I’ve been making the transition from category romance to chick-lit/women’s fiction for a few years now, and to be honest it’s both exhilarating and scary. I love writing for Harlequin, but there were so many things I wanted to write about that just weren’t going to fit in a category romance novel. So I was lucky to have a single title romance accepted for a new romance imprint in the UK, Little Black Dress, when it was just starting out. And my editor there has been wonderful at encouraging me to spread my wings. My books have been getting longer and longer (and some might say, stranger and stranger) and I’ve been working on structuring more complex stories that have a lot of romance, sure, but also deal with friendship, family, career, and very important things like Star Trek and cardboard Wookies.

The B. H. Dark book, CLOSE ENCOUNTERS, on the other hand, is just a pure sex romp. That was enormous fun to write, pleasure from beginning to end. I especially loved using all those dirty words!

I am sure sci-fi fans are going to love your current release, GIRL FROM MARS. Can you tell us a little bit about the book and provide an excerpt for our readers?

Philomena Desdemona Brown (Fil for short) is an artist for the long-running comic book Girl from Mars. She’s a geek, a tomboy, and a misfit with blue hair. She spends the rare times when she’s not drawing with her only friends, three similarly misfittish men, watching Star Trek and X-Files reruns and arguing about who’s the best super hero ever.

One day, though, one of her friends falls in love, and suddenly isn’t around any more. Stung by the rejection, Fil and her remaining two friends take a vow (in Klingon) to forsake all romantic relationships and stick together.

But changes are afoot at Girl from Mars—including a handsome new writer who seems determined to make unwanted changes in the comic, and in Fil’s life.

It’s a fun, funny book about friendship, love and comics and I absolutely loved writing it.

Here’s an excerpt from when Fil meets an attractive stranger, by accidentally switching coffees with him in her favourite cafĂ©:

“I‘m not sick or anything.”

It was an American accent, and it was right next to me again. I opened my eyes and he was standing beside my table.

“Uh,” I said. “What?”

“I thought you might be worried after drinking from my cup, that you might have caught something. So I thought I’d reassure you that I’m not sick.”

“Um. Well. Thank you.”

He stood there as if he were expecting me to say something else. But what would I say? Sorry I was staring at you, it’s just that you’re handsome and I can’t help drawing you, you know, just as an exercise?

So I was quiet. He cleared his throat a bit.

“I’m Dan.” He held out his hand to me. He had a broad palm, but not square or clumsy. A deep-grooved life line, and a broken love line. I looked at it.

“Like I said, I’m not contagious,” he said. “Not at the moment, anyway.”

“Oh.” I shook his hand, which was what he’d meant for me to do all along. I noticed how small and scrubby my hand looked, how untidy the nails, how smudged with pencil.

“What’s your name?” he prompted.

“Philomena.” Should I ask him to sit down, though I couldn’t imagine anything more embarrassing?

“That’s an unusual name.”

I nodded. My parents were both university lecturers in literature. I was lucky I wasn’t named Eustacia Vye.

“Do you live around here?” he asked.

“No, I work nearby.”

He nodded. I nodded back. Was it my turn to say something?

“Well, I’ve got to—” I began at the same time that he said, “Do you mind if I sit down?”

“—Be going,” I finished.

“Oh. All right. Nice meeting you, Philomena.”

“Um. Yeah.”

I pushed aside the rest of my coffee and stood up, even though I didn’t have to be going, even though I could really use that coffee, because Daniel’s smile made me all hot and twitchy, like a feverish hamster.

I should’ve drunk the decaf, because then he’d never have talked to me. He could have ignored me like every other attractive man in the world usually did, which was really for the best because I was such a fool when I felt this way.

“See you around,” he said as I left.

I hope not, I thought.

Where do you get your creative ideas? What inspired GIRL FROM MARS?

I got the idea for GIRL FROM MARS from reading comic books. I love them, but a lot of them seem to be very male-centred. I thought, what would it be like for a female comic book artist in a male world? I love writing about outsiders, so she appealed to me immediately. I pictured her, probably a bit of a tomboy, a lot of a geek. She’d have male friends, and she’d be uncertain of how to act like a “proper” woman. Then I thought of her name—Philomena Desdemona Brown—and suddenly, I had her. Because she feels like an alien herself, I had the title, too, GIRL FROM MARS, which is the title of one of my favourite songs, by Ash. It’s also a play on the title of the self-help book MEN ARE FROM MARS, WOMEN ARE FROM VENUS.

The rest of the book then wrote itself...er, I wish.

Your website announces this year is the year of the robots, can you tell us more about this? It sounds intriguing!

Ahh, well it’s because I’ve got two books that are vaguely science-fictiony out this year. GIRL FROM MARS has a Dalek in it, and I was lucky enough to have my photo taken next to a Dalek when I was visiting the BBC. (Note: Daleks are evil robots from the Dr Who television series.) Alas, there are no robots in CLOSE ENCOUNTERS, unless you count a big vibrator. Anyway, robots are cool. I think C3PO is hot.

Let’s have a little fun, after all, this blog is about being easily entertained….so, what is the most daring thing you’ve ever done and did you get caught?

I said the word “cunnilingus” on national television once. They edited it out.

Well, I won't edit you out because I should have known what I was getting into by asking that question! LOL

If you were a lipstick color, what would it be called and why?

Um...I know I should should come up with something like “Siren Temptation” or “Red Devil” or “Crimson Sin” but sadly I’m just not that clever or sexy. So how about “Funky Fuchsia” as that appears to be my hair colour at the moment?

What projects should we look out for in your future?

My next book is called NINA JONES AND THE TEMPLE OF GLOOM. It’s the story of what happens when a typical shoe-obsessed chick-lit heroine suddenly loses everything and is forced to live in a run-down gothic mansion with spiders and a brooding, nocturnal upstairs neighbour. And no shoes. It should be out in 2010.

Any parting words for new authors? For our readers?

I think the best advice I heard recently was what Janet Evanovich said at the RWA National conference. She said “Don’t save anything for the next book. Put everything you’ve got into this one.”

I hold her personally responsible for the midnight stolen-horseradish-dealing, crop-circle-creating, airplane-flying scene in my latest manuscript.


Growing up in small-town Maine, Julie Cohen dreamed of doing three things: moving to England, writing books, and marrying Paul McCartney. Well, the last one didn’t work out, but she’s accomplished the first two, and has become an international bestseller with her sexy Harlequin romances and her “funny, clever” romantic comedies from Headline (UK). HIS FOR THE TAKING was shortlisted for the UK Romantic Novelists’ Association 2008 Romance Prize, and HONEY TRAP took first place in the 2009 Romance Writers Ink’s More than Magic contest. She lives in England with her rock god husband, their small son, and about a million guitars. Her website is http://www.julie-cohen.com.

Comments (24)

On August 20, 2009 at 11:35 AM , joder said...

I love Doctor Who (and Torchwood) and am totally jealous that you got your picture taken with a Dalek!

The books sound fun and I'm adding them to my tbb list.

On August 20, 2009 at 2:05 PM , Julie Cohen said...

Thanks for having me, and thanks for stopping by, Joder!

The Dalek and I made great friends with each other and it even let me get quite close to its eggbeater...

Seriously, I was visiting the BBC and they're in reception! How cool is that?

On August 20, 2009 at 6:38 PM , Jax Cassidy said...

Thanks for stopping in. I had meant to post earlier but life got in the way. I'm sure you'll get more responses later in the day. After all, everyone is probably trying to beat traffic home! :)

**Jax waves at Julie**

On August 20, 2009 at 6:45 PM , Angeleque Ford said...

More books to add to my growing to be bought list.

On August 20, 2009 at 6:52 PM , Kate Pearce said...

We obviously crossed sides of the pond and our dreams as I grew up in the UK, always wanted to meet a cowboy, and ended up living in California LOL
I was terrified of the daleks when I was a kid before it dawned on me that they couldn't get you if you climbed the stairs. Ha!

I've enjoyed all the Little Black Dress books I've read so far-and your excerpt sounded great!

On August 20, 2009 at 8:11 PM , Nikki Duncan said...

Welcome to HOR Julie!

On August 20, 2009 at 8:20 PM , lillie_80 said...

Girl From Mars sounds great! Thanks for the excerpt :)

On August 20, 2009 at 8:28 PM , Vicki said...

Really great interview. I already know I'm going to love your voice. :)

The books sounds fab and I can't wait to read it.

On August 20, 2009 at 9:05 PM , RosettaStone said...

Girl from Mars sounds great and I'll defintely be on the lookout for Nina Jones and the Temple of Gloom (that title is nothing short of amazing)!

On August 20, 2009 at 11:43 PM , Kytaira said...

I love your Harlequin Presents so I hope you don't give up on them completely. Honey Pot sounds like alot of fun as well. Guess it probably helped that you have a rock god husband for that one!

On August 21, 2009 at 1:44 AM , Brenda said...

I absolutely love alien abduction stories. I still remember the first one I ever read. I'm hooked for life. My sister thinks I'm nuts but I'm dragging her kicking and screaming into space - the final frontier :)

NINA JONES AND THE TEMPLE OF GLOOM is a must have. Gotta have it, will have it, so where is the line to buy it :)

On August 21, 2009 at 4:49 AM , Julie Cohen said...

*waves at Jax and throws over some more chocolate* ggg

On August 21, 2009 at 4:50 AM , Julie Cohen said...

Angeleque, I have a huge to-be-bought list for books too! And a to-be-read pile that is nearly scraping the ceiling! It's the curse of being a reader...

On August 21, 2009 at 4:50 AM , Julie Cohen said...

Kate, that's so funny that you grew up in the UK and always wanted to be in the US. Obviously we switched places! Where are you from in the UK? Did you marry a cowboy?

I think the Daleks can levitate these days...

On August 21, 2009 at 4:51 AM , Julie Cohen said...

Thank you, Nikki, I was thrilled to be invited! There are definitely perks to pelting Jax with chocolate... ;-)

On August 21, 2009 at 4:54 AM , Kerry said...

Hey Julie, yes it's me, i'm not stalking i promise. i just wanted to put in my bit. I love Girl from Mars, i'm a serious addict of romance and have a couple of Julie's books and they are all really FAB.
Looking forwards to reading Nina Jones and the Temple of Gloom :O)

Your fav ex-bookseller Kerry x

On August 21, 2009 at 4:58 AM , Julie Cohen said...

Thank you lillie_80, I'm glad you enjoyed the excerpt.

On August 21, 2009 at 4:58 AM , Julie Cohen said...

Thanks Vicki, it's easy to do a good interview when you're asked good questions! I had to ponder the lipstick colour though. I think the people who make up lipstick and nail varnish names are very clever. Much more so than I am. I can't think up two-word phrases like that, I need to write the 100,000-word books to express what I want to say. Sigh. ;-)

On August 21, 2009 at 4:58 AM , Julie Cohen said...

RosettaStone, I'm glad you like the title for NINA JONES AND THE TEMPLE OF GLOOM. I don't come up with all my titles myself, but that one was one of mine so I'm happy to take the credit. I actually proposed it to my editor as a working title and a bit of a joke, and she loved it, so it stayed. Unfortunately my heroine was actually *called* Nina Chatham, so I had to do a bit of editing at that point. LOL

On August 21, 2009 at 4:59 AM , Julie Cohen said...

Kytaira, I'm so glad you've enjoyed my Presents! Category is such a blast to write--and quick to write too--that I'm definitely leaving the door open to write more of them in the future. Harlequin readers are awesome, too; I love connecting with them.

On August 21, 2009 at 4:59 AM , Julie Cohen said...

Brenda, good for you, dragging your sister into the realm of alien abduction! LOL!

I just found out that NINA JONES AND THE TEMPLE OF GLOOM will be out in March 2010. I can't wait to see what cover they come up with for this one...

On August 21, 2009 at 5:02 AM , Julie Cohen said...

Hey Kerry! Thanks for dropping by! Don't worry I know you're not a stalker...well, not of me, anyway. ;-)

Thanks for saying such nice things about my books, where should I send the cheque? ggg

On August 21, 2009 at 5:28 AM , Lori x said...

Love your books Julie and I'm not sure which I want to read more Girl from Mars or Nina Jones and the Temple of Gloom.
By the way I haven't quite forgiven you for the 'tube' dilemma, I'm still dreaming of who would be best.....

On August 21, 2009 at 9:33 AM , Jax Cassidy said...

*Jax catches the chocolates*

I am jealous I'm not living in the UK. Kate lives in San Fran now so she's totally crossed the pond and switched places. Although, I am not sure about her cowboy. I live in cowboy country and got me a business guy. Go figure.

Thanks so much for blogging with us :)