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London, Julia

London, Julia

PERSONAL:

Married Louis Harvey. Education: Graduated from the University of Texas.

ADDRESSES:

Home—Austin, TX. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER:

Novelist. Worked for nine years as a civil employee in Washington, DC (the last three years in the White House); county manager of justice and public safety in Austin, TX; freelance writer.

AWARDS, HONORS:

Bookit Award, 2000, and RT Bookclub Award for Best Historical Romance, both for The Dangerous Gentleman; The Ruthless Charmer was named best historical Regency romance by Romance Reviews Today; best romance selection, Writers Write, 2003, for Material Girl; Borders Best Romance selection, 2005, for Miss Fortune.

WRITINGS:

FICTION

The Devil's Love, Dell (New York, NY), 1998.

Wicked Angel (sequel to The Devil's Love), Dell (New York, NY), 1999.

The Secret Lover, Dell (New York, NY), 2002.

(With Alina Adams) Guiding Light: Jonathan's Story, Pocket Books (New York, NY), 2007.

The Book of Scandal, Pocket Books (New York, NY), 2008.

Contributor to Talk of the Ton, Jove Books, 2005, and School for Heiresses, Pocket Star, 2006. Also author of a blog.

"ROGUES OF REGENT STREET" TRILOGY; ROMANCE NOVELS

The Dangerous Gentleman, Dell (New York, NY), 2000.

The Ruthless Charmer, Dell (New York, NY), 2000.

The Beautiful Stranger, Dell (New York, NY), 2001.

"LEAR FAMILY" TRILOGY; ROMANCE NOVELS

Material Girl, Berkeley (New York, NY), 2003.

Beauty Queen, Berkeley Sensation (New York NY), 2004.

Miss Fortune, Berkeley Sensation (New York, NY), 2004.

"LOCKHART FAMILY" TRILOGY; ROMANCE NOVELS

Highlander Unbound, Pocket Books (New York, NY), 2004.

Highlander in Disguise, Pocket Books (New York, NY), 2005.

Highlander in Love, Pocket Books (New York, NY), 2005.

"THRILLSEEKERS ANONYMOUS" SERIES

Wedding Survivor, Berkley Sensation (New York, NY), 2006.

Extreme Bachelor, Berkley Sensation (New York, NY), 2006.

American Diva, Berkley Sensation (New York, NY), 2007.

"DESPERATE DEBUTANTES" SERIES

The Hazards of Hunting a Duke, Pocket Star Books (New York, NY), 2006.

The Perils of Pursuing a Prince, Pocket Star Books (New York, NY), 2007.

The Dangers of Deceiving a Viscount, Pocket Star Books (New York, NY), 2007.

SIDELIGHTS:

After earning a degree in government from the University of Texas, romance writer Julia London set out to work in politics. For several years, she was a White House employee, spending much of her time traveling around the world. However, she became homesick for her Texas home and returned to Austin to work for the city. Her life changed when she decided one day to write a romance novel and had the good fortune of having her first effort, The Devil's Love, published. That novel was followed by a sequel, Wicked Angel, but London's first real breakthrough came with her "Rogues of Regent Street" trilogy. The plots of The Dangerous Gentleman, The Ruthless Charmer, and The Beautiful Stranger concern the adventures of several Regency-era English gentlemen after their lives are marred in the dueling death of one of their friends.

The "Rogues of Regent Street" books won critical praise and awards, thus establishing London as a successful romance writer. Although opinion was not unanimous—All about Romance Web site critic Andrea Pool complained that in The Dangerous Gentleman readers are not allowed to see the central couple "develop feelings for one another"—many other reviewers enjoyed the series. For example, Lori-Anne Cohen, also writing on the All about Romance Web site, felt that "The Beautiful Stranger moves along at a snappy pace and is never boring." In a review of the same book, Booklist contributor John Charles asserted that London displays "a gift for both characterization and plot" and provides an "adventure-packed tale."

London also uses the Regency period as the setting for her "Lockhart Family" trilogy, comprising Highlander Unbound, Highlander in Disguise, and Highlander in Love. The basic premise in these books is that a mysteri- ous bejeweled statue known as "the beastie" has somehow caused a rift in the Lockhart family, creating two bickering clans, one in Scotland and one in England. Competition between the family branches adds conflict and complication to the stories' romances. Charles, writing about the first installment in Booklist, praised the "finely crafted characters and polished writing rich with the author's deliciously tart humor." In a review of Highlander in Disguise, a Publishers Weekly contributor enjoyed the "sprightly and fresh" tale that "should please readers thirsting for a droll, light read." Another Publishers Weekly critic praised the trilogy's conclusion, describing it as a "heel-kickingly fun and high-spirited" historical romance novel.

Not all of London's books have been set in eighteenth-century Great Britain; she has written a romance set in Victorian England titled The Secret Lover, as well as the "Lear Family" trilogy of contemporary romances. The Secret Lover takes advantage of the restrained morals of the Victorian period with a scandalous tale of a woman who dares to divorce her husband only to fall in love with the illegitimate son of a nobleman. Booklist reviewer Charles described the book as a "delightfully imaginative romance," and a Publishers Weekly critic declared it a "vibrant portrait of early Victorian-era life."

The "Lear Family" trilogy, which consists of Material Girl, Beauty Queen, and Miss Fortune, features Rachel, Robin, and Rebecca, the three daughters of a dying billionaire. Ill-suited for adult life because of their parents' neglect, the young women try to cope with their work, school, and love lives after their father's death, with each book in the trilogy focusing on a different daughter. Reviewers of the trilogy appreciated its charming characters and use of humor. Remarking that "the cast is a delight" in Material Girl, Harriet Klausner wrote on her AllReaders.com Web site review that "readers will relish" the trilogy's opening installment. Writing about Beauty Queen in Publishers Weekly, a critic admitted that although "there's little complexity" to the story line, the characters are "winningly fresh and funny." Library Journal contributor Kristin Ramsdell described the final book, Miss Fortune, as an "often hilarious conclusion" to the trilogy.

In 2005 London embarked on a new series of contemporary romances with Wedding Survivor, which is about a wedding planner who must make all the arrangements for two difficult Hollywood star clients who insist their nuptials must be held in absolute secrecy. A Publishers Weekly writer enjoyed the book for offering readers "the pleasures of a celebrity tabloid without the guilt." The ensuing sequence of novels, dubbed the "Thrillseekers Anonymous" series, continues with Extreme Bachelor and American Diva. The former novel features Leah Klein, a one-time star of Broadway but now just one more struggling actress in Hollywood. Leah holds one man responsible for the downward spiral of her career: her former lover, and a man whom she hoped would one day be her husband, Michael Raney. When he left her, she could no longer create star-quality performances. Now, after five years, Leah's career is finally getting on track again with a role in a hot film about soccer moms. The only problem is, the stunt man hired to train the soccer moms is none other than Michael, her former lover. Booklist contributor Charles had high praise for this "deliciously sexy, clever, and fun" second installment in London's "wonderfully entertaining" "Thrillseekers Anonymous" series. A Publishers Weekly reviewer similarly commended this "fun but predictable contemporary romance" that also "delivers some sensual trysts and funny characters." Likewise, Curled up with a Good Book Web site critic Kelley Sittner Hartshorn thought Extreme Bachelor was "entertaining and well-written, and will keep readers eagerly awaiting the third book."

London carries the same series forward with American Diva, a novel that "provides prime escapist material that's perfect for anyone who reads tabloids in supermarket check-out lines," according to a Publishers Weekly reviewer. Audrey Larue has become an overnight singing sensation, but she finds her sudden fame disconcerting in many ways. Her family looks at her as their meal ticket, and her boyfriend cum manager also seems quite content with her becoming the cash cow. When she starts to receive threatening letters, her boyfriend hires a bodyguard, Jack Price, who turns out to be someone Audrey was close to in the past. Now the two must try to hide the instant attraction that begins when they are reintroduced. Reviewing the novel on the Roundtable Reviews Web site, Jennifer Wells found it "an irresistible and absorbing adventure of two people trying to make sense of life in the public eye." The Publishers Weekly reviewer termed the same novel "luscious," while Midwest Book Review critic Harriet Klausner called it "a strong insightful contemporary tale."

London returned to historical romance with her "Desperate Debutantes" series, set in Regency England. The three novels in the series follow the fate of three well-bred, attractive, but rather impecunious young ladies, Ava, Phoebe, and Greer, two sisters and their cousin. When their mother (and aunt) dies, their stepfather (and uncle) decides it is incumbent upon him to keep their inheritance. He therefore attempts to marry them off so to avoid any responsibility for their care. In the initial volume in the series, The Hazards of Hunting a Duke, Ava decides to marry a very eligible man, Jared Broderick, the Marquis of Middleton, notorious as a womanizer. She makes a devil's bargain with him: she will share his name and fortune and in return will provide him with an heir. Love is not really part of this equation for Jared, and neither is it initially for Ava, who plans to enter into matrimony with eyes wide open. However, soon Ava finds herself wanting to make Jared fall in love with her, and Jared meanwhile is also beginning to have odd feelings for his new wife. Could it be love? Writing on the Roundtable Reviews Web site, Sylvia Cochran called this a "well written romance." Charles, writing in Booklist, found The Hazards of Hunting a Duke to be "another of [London's] delectable combinations of superbly crafted characters, graceful writing, and sinfully sexy romance."

The second novel in the series, The Perils of Pursuing a Prince, focuses on the cousin, Lady Greer Fairchild, who is off to visit the Earl of Radnor, Prince of Powys, Rhodrick Glendower, the man who is in possession of what is left of her father's estate. Rhodrick is suspicious of this newcomer, as is Greer of him, for both are misinformed of the other. Made a virtual prisoner in the prince's castle until he can ascertain that Greer is who she claims to be, Greer begins to see another side to Rhodrick. Rhodrick for his part also begins to see Greer in a different light. Can he overcome past emotional injuries and allow her into his life? Kathe Robin, writing on the Romantic Times Online Web site, had high praise for The Perils of Pursuing a Prince, noting that London "really sets off fireworks by adding a mystery, a murder and a ghost. This is a stay-up-all-night read." For Booklist reviewer Charles the book had "splendidly sexy results" in a series that is a "wickedly witty, smartly written Regency romance trilogy."

Phoebe Fairchild takes center stage in the third installment, The Dangers of Deceiving a Viscount. Unlike her sister and cousin, Pheobe wants to make her own way as a fashion designer. However, such work is not a respectable occupation for a young woman of a certain social status in Regency London. Therefore, she takes the name and identity of Madame Dupree, a French widow. Phoebe's secret, however, is about to be made public unless she agrees to design clothes for the sisters of the Viscount of Summerfield, to whose castle she must travel. Once there, the Viscount and Phoebe develop more than a working relationship, in this "lusciously sensual and delightfully witty romance," as Charles described it in Booklist. Similarly, a Publishers Weekly reviewer praised London's "masterful ability to bring characters to life [that] makes this romance entirely absorbing." Speaking with Tammie King of the Night Owl Romance Web site, London remarked of her "Desperate Debutantes" books: "I loved writing this series. Historical romance is definitely my first love, and I will be writing it until they kick me out (whoever ‘they’ is)."

When asked the question "What first got you interested in writing?" London told CA: "When I determined that being a bureaucrat was not something I could do the rest of my life. Public service is a wonderful thing, but it wasn't for me, and I was looking at many years of doing something I really did not enjoy. In the midst of my career crisis, I found an Iris Johansen book. I had no clue that it was a romance, but I loved that book and went through a period of a few weeks where I read every book like it that I could find. And when I had completely saturated myself with dozens of them, I got the bright idea to try it myself. I never aspired to be a writer, but I loved writing. I realized I needed that sort of creative outlet. Fortunately, it worked out, and now I love my job."

In answer to the question "Who or what particularly influences your work?" London said: "First and foremost, the differences between men and women and our almost desperate need to be with one another in spite of some fairly substantial divergences in our view of the world. It's fun, it's maddening, and it's fascinating to me. The other thing that influences me is the depth of human emotions, especially when worlds are turned upside down. Emotions are something we all universally relate to and in some respects, we fear them. It's fun to plumb that on the page."

When asked to describe her writing process, London said: "Each book has its own unique challenges, and I am mystified as to why that is. One would think it would get easier and easier, but it's quite the opposite. Each book gets harder. I think because I want to and expand and flourish with my writing, but I don't always know how to do it. There is one truth to my process: I absolutely despise writing that first draft of any book. I am filled with tremendous self-doubt with each new book and draft. It's very frustrating—I can see the characters, I know their story, but it seems impossible to get what's in my head down on paper. But I know I have to do it, and I can't type or work fast enough to suit me. I want it all to magically appear on the screen in front of me so I can start what I like best—the process of turning that horrible first draft into a true story. That is the most exciting part of the creative process for me—improving and expanding on the original idea, adding depth, and watching the story and characters take shape before my very eyes."

To the question "What is the most surprising thing you have learned as a writer?" London replied: "That I don't have any more control here than I did out in the workplace. The only thing I can control is what I put down on paper and the rest is up to the universe. Most people probably aren't surprised by that, but I can be pretty gullible that way."

When asked which of her own books was her favorite, London replied: "My favorite is always the one I am thinking of writing. It always seems so fresh and unique in theory. Looking back, there are a few that stand out to me. The Devil's Love, because it was my first, and the only book I have ever written from a free-flowing stream of consciousness. The Dangerous Gentleman because it was a book that was hard to write and its success broke me out from the pack. Wedding Survivor, just because that was one book that was truly a joy to write from beginning to end. It was fun! And I am also partial to Book of Scandal, which is one of my more emotional books. The challenge of that was hard, but I liked it."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Booklist, June 1, 2001, John Charles, review of The Beautiful Stranger, p. 1854; April 15, 2002, John Charles, review of The Secret Lover, p. 1385; February 1, 2004, John Charles, review of Highlander Unbound, p. 954; April 1, 2004, John Charles, review of Beauty Queen, p. 1355; November 1, 2004, John Charles, review of Miss Fortune, p. 471; February 1, 2005, John Charles, review of Highlander in Disguise, p. 949; July, 2005, John Charles, review of Highlander in Love, p. 1909; September 15, 2005, John Charles, review of Wedding Survivor, p. 50; April 15, 2006, John Charles, review of Extreme Bachelor, p. 32; June 1, 2006, John Charles, review of The Hazards of Hunting a Duke, p. 48; May 1, 2007, John Charles, review of The Perils of Pursuing a Prince, p. 77; October 15, 2007, John Charles, review of The Dangers of Deceiving a Viscount, p. 38.

Library Journal, November 15, 2004, Kristin Ramsdell, review of Miss Fortune, p. 46.

Publishers Weekly, April 19, 1999, review of Wicked Angel, p. 70; March 27, 2000, review of The Dangerous Gentleman, p. 58; September 25, 2000, review of The Ruthless Charmer, p. 94; June 11, 2001, review of The Beautiful Stranger, p. 68; April 22, 2002, review of The Secret Lover, p. 56; March 22, 2004, review of Beauty Queen, p. 68; December 13, 2004, review of Highlander in Disguise, p. 51; April 4, 2005, review of Talk of the Ton, p. 48; June 13, 2005, review of Highlander in Love, p. 38; August 22, 2005, review of Wedding Survivor, p. 42; March 27, 2006, review of Extreme Bachelor, p. 64; November 6, 2006, review of The School for Heiresses, p. 41; March 5, 2007, review of The Perils of Pursuing a Prince, p. 45; June 25, 2007, review of American Diva, p. 33; September 10, 2007, review of The Dangers of Deceiving a Viscount, p. 46.

ONLINE

All about Romance,http://www.likesbooks.com/ (November 28, 2005), Jennifer Keirans, review of Beauty Queen; Kate Smith, review of Wicked Angel; Marianna Stillings, review of Wicked Angel; Lori-Anne Cohen, reviews of The Beautiful Stranger and The Devil's Love; Andrea Pool, review of The Dangerous Gentleman; Ellen D. Micheletti, reviews of Material Girl and The Devil's Love; Sandy Coleman, review of Highlander Unbound; Robin Nixon Uncapher, review of The Ruthless Charmer; Jane Jorgenson, review of The Secret Lover.

AllReaders.com,http://www.allreaders.com/ (November 28, 2005), Harriet Klausner, reviews of Beauty Queen, Highlander Unbound, Material Girl, The Beautiful Stranger, and The Secret Lover.

Best Reviews,http://thebestreviews.com/ (April 29, 2005), Sharon Galligar Chance, review of Talk of the Ton.

Curled up with a Good Book,http://www.curledup.com (May 18, 2008), Kelley Sittner Hartshorn, review of Extreme Bachelor.

Fog City Divas,http://fogcitydivas.typepad.com/ (August 7, 2007), Jami Alden, "The Divas Welcome Julia London."

Joyfully Reviewed,http://www.joyfullyreviewed.com/ (May 18, 2008), review of The Perils of Pursuing a Prince.

Julia London Home Page,http://www.julialondon.com (November 28, 2005).

Midwest Book Review,http://www.midwestbookreview.com/ (May 18, 2008), Harriet Klausner, review of American Diva.

Night Owl Romance,http://www.nightowlromance.com/ (May 18, 2008), Tammie King, "Author: Julia London."

Novel Thoughts,http://novelthoughts.wordpress.com/ September 17, 2007), interview with Julia London.

RBL Romantica,http://www.geocities.com/rblinterviews/ (May 18, 2008), "Spotlight on a New Author: Julia London."

Romance Ever After, http://www.romanceeverafter.com/ (May 18, 2008), interview with Julia London.

Romance Reader,http://www.theromancereader.com/ (December 30, 1998), Cathy Sova, interview with Julia London.

Romance Review,http://www.aromancereview.com/ (May 18, 2008), Debbie Kepler, interview with Julia London,

Romantic Times Online,http://www.romantictimes.com/ (May 18, 2008), Kathe Robin, reviews of The Perils of Pursuing a Prince and The Devil's Love.

Roundtable Reviews,http://www.roundtablereviews.com/ (May 18, 2008), interview with Julia London; Jennifer Wells, review of American Diva, Sylvia Cochran, review of The Hazards of Hunting a Duke, Jennifer Jones, review of The Perils of Pursuing a Prince.

Smart Bitches Trashy Books,http://www.smartbitchestrashybooks.com/ (December 10, 2007), interview with Julia London.

Writers Write,http://www.writerswrite.com/ (May 18, 2008), Claire E. White, "A Conversation with Julia London."

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