Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Another Year, Another Me

I'm not certain I wanted to be
writer at age two, but by three
the bug had definitely bit me! 

Thanks so much to the Girlfriends Book Club for having me here during this Authorial Reinvention cycle – because that is a topic that hits so close to me, as I’m pretty sure that I have reinvented myself about as often as, oh, summers in Texas cross the 100+ mark (in other words – often!)

But at eight, I knew!
The thing about being an author is that it’s one of those jobs that is inextricably intertwined with your life.  In other words, I can’t really talk about how I’ve reinvented myself as an author without also talking about the changes in my life during the time that I’ve been writing. 

For example, that “inextricably intertwined” thing I mentioned a moment ago?  Lawyer speak.  Yup, when I first started the journey to become a published author, I was practicing law.  Working loooooong (billable) hours and managing to squeeze out moments of creativity in cleverly crafted briefs and legal memos.  (Really, you might be surprised.)

My first book! I
still love this cover!

Although I’d been writing my whole life in fits and starts, it wasn’t until I was practicing law that I got serious about it.  After never quite managing to get a legal thriller off the ground, I tried my hand at contemporary romance—and found that I loved writing hip, sexy stories!  My second manuscript sold to Harlequin Temptation in 1999 and suddenly, my identity changed.  I wasn’t “a lawyer” anymore.  I was “an author.” Pretty dang cool!

Coming in October!
But life is ever changing, and so was my writing.  While I loved the contemporary romances, I was weaned on paranormal, and I started also writing a series of romances featuring superheroes (back in the day when it was near-impossible to sell a paranormal.  Yes, that time really existed!) and then, when I had my first child, I shifted away from romance and toward my own spin on chicklit, reinventing myself (and sort of inventing a genre) with "paranormal mommy lit" and the book Carpe Demon: Adventures of a Demon-Hunting Soccer Mom.  (I'm excited to say that I have the rights back to these books, and an all new book featuring Kate Connor will be out in just a few months, Pax Demonica!)
If you need proof that writing
twines with life, here's me and authors Dee Davis
and Kathleen O'Reilly (my critique partners) at
my eldest daughter's baptism! 

Did I mention that whole new-mom-reflected-in-the-writing thing?  I recently re-read the early books in the series while proofing them to get the books ready for their new life as digital indie releases, and it was a walk down memory lane, as so many of Kate's toddler's "isms" came from my own daughter's habits, likes and dislikes.  (She used to call margarine "butter cheese," for example, and yes, that made it into a book!)
Here's an old pub photo

About the time that Carpe Demon came out, I had another life change:  I gave up the practice of law and became a full-time writer.

In China with the oldest and
our newly adopted youngest daughter!
And then another life change on the heels of that one when we adopted our second daughter (that whole "I'll have more time to write now" thing just went out the window.  And then we decided to homeschool, and I did that until the last academic year when our oldest started fifth grade.  (The youngest will do her first year in public school this coming year.  Am I excited?  Why yes, I am!)  And in addition to all that life stuff, I took on a new name, J.K. Beck (so I was juggling Julie Kenner for most stuff and J.K. Beck for dark, sexy paranormal romances.)

But the changes weren't done coming!  Especially in this day and age with publishing changing so rapidly (it's exciting!) and now I'm reinventing myself again.

Here's my new pub photo,
10 years later!
I've come full circle on the sexy books and have stepped up that game with the Stark Trilogy, a New York Times bestselling series of erotic romances that I write as J. Kenner.  I'm having a fabulous time writing these books (and a new trilogy that I'll announce soon!) for Random House's Bantam imprint.  The third book, Complete Me, comes out in just a couple of weeks on July 30, and so far I've been thrilled with the advance reviews! (Books 1 and 2 are Release Me and Claim Me.)

Coming July 30!
At the same time, though, I'm not only indie-publishing my backlist, but working on new books like Pax Demonica (and others that I'm psyched about!)

I've gone from lawyer to lawyer-author to author-mom to author to entrepreneur-author.

Honestly, I'm excited to see what's next!  And you can follow along with me if you want!  Pop over to my website, follow me on Twitter, or hang out with me at my Julie Kenner or J. Kenner Facebook page!

How about you? Does change excite you or make you nervous? Have you "reinvented" yourself?


  1. When I start feeling the crazies about where to go, what to do as far as my writing, I actually forget that I don't need to be me...I can be another me!

    It does make me feel a wee bit nervous. Like what if the new me is just a recycled version of the old me? Or what if the new me is not who I need to be? But, that's my angst speaking, which may mean she needs her own voice.

    Thanks for sharing this and for reminding me that being a writer opens the door to legitimizing my multiple personalities.

    Looking forward to reading your new you!

    1. True, but if you don't like the new me, you can be a NEW new me. And so on and so on. Like that old hair commercial for ... was it Prell?

  2. Great post, Julie! I love seeing all the pictures. It's fascinating to see all the ways you've used your writing. How nice to know that we can have so many lives as writers and so many ways to write. I am thinking about my own reinventions now...

    1. Thanks so much Samantha! I'm happy to be here!

  3. Wow! I'm exhausted just keeping up with all the changes! And I can't wait to read the latest...