I thought I’d share the Q&A that will be going out with the press release to Chicago media, where I talk about my soon-to-be-released book, Practice Makes Perfect, Chicago, writing sex scenes, and a little bit about the book I’m currently writing…
Q: What was your inspiration to write Practice Makes Perfect?
JJ: I guess it’s like they say—write what you know. I practiced law at a large firm in Chicago for six years and I loved being a trial lawyer. Because that was such a big part of my “adult” life, I thought it would be fun to write a light-hearted romantic comedy about associates at a large firm. Practice Makes Perfect is a he said/she said, battle-of-the-sexes story about two lawyers who are total opposites and who have to fight it out for the one partnership spot at their firm.
Q: How was it writing a book based in your hometown?
JJ: I loved writing a story that takes place in Chicago! So much so that I decided to set my third book here as well. It’s great for a lot of reasons: first of all—it saves me time having to do location research. Second, and more important, I love being able to showcase Chicago because it’s such an amazing city. I use a lot of actual locations and landmarks in the book— bars, restaurants, Wrigley Field, the federal courthouse— and hopefully those scenes capture the essence of the city.
Q: How much of Practice Makes Perfect is based on your former career working for a large firm?
JJ: Okay, so this is where the lawyer part of me would like to emphasize that Practice Makes Perfect is a work of fiction. Names, characters and incidents are products of the author’s imagination and any resemblance… well, you know the drill. That being said, of course as a former associate at a large firm I drew on my own experiences and ambitions. And Payton, the heroine, practices the type of law I practiced—employment discrimination defense. I’d like to think that my own experience helps make the two main characters and the law firm setting seem more real.
Q: Did anything in Practice Makes Perfect take you out of your writing comfort zone?
JJ: As an author, it’s my job to stay true to my characters and to go where they want to go. And, well…. if that means my characters want to have sex, then that’s what I need to write— and that probably took me out of my comfort zone a little. My writing background is with screenplays, and with scripts you just write the general feel of the scene and let the director and actors take over. With a book, since there obviously isn’t a director or actors, everything that I want to convey with a scene has to be on the page. So what I did was try to keep those scenes consistent with the overall tone of the book— light-hearted and comedic, yet still romantic. And it also helped to drink a lot of wine when writing them.
Q: Practice Makes Perfect keeps you wanting more— do you think a sequel is in the future?
JJ: I don’t have a sequel planned for the immediate future, but all that means is that I haven’t thought past the book I’m currently writing. I certainly never say never!
Q: What can we look forward to seeing from you next?
JJ: I’m writing a third book for Berkley/Penguin, currently titled Partners in Crime. It’s about a female Assistant U.S. Attorney who by happenstance witnesses a high-profile murder involving a U.S. Senator. The FBI agent assigned to the investigation is a man from her past that she doesn’t get along with. The proverbial sparks fly as she and the FBI agent work together on the case, and even more so when it turns out that the killer might be after her. It’s another romantic comedy set in Chicago, although I do sneak in a thrill or two with this one.