Q&A: Practice Makes Perfect, writing sex scenes and what I’m writing now

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.



10 thoughts on “Q&A: Practice Makes Perfect, writing sex scenes and what I’m writing now

  1. Elyssa Papa says:

    Great interview! Chicago sounds so lovely. I hope to visit one day. But there’s something to be said about setting in a place you’ve lived—my current WIP takes place in Vermont (where I went to college) and a lot of it is my own sensory details and memories of the place.

    And is Partners in Crime the novel that has the homage scene to <It Happened One Night?

  2. Stacy ~ says:

    As someone who lives near Chicago (i.e. the ‘burbs LOL) I love reading about the various locations and seeing the drama unfold in a familiar setting. It never gets old for me to read a story set in Chicago. The fact that it’s a romance makes it all the better.

    And if wine helps to write those sexy scenes, well, tell me your brand and I’ll buy you a few bottles *g*

  3. Julie says:

    Carolyn Jean– thanks so much for dropping by! There is a scene in PMP that takes place in an elevator that was definitely wine-induced. ; )

    Elyssa– I’ve never been to Vermont, but I’ve heard it’s gorgeous. I bet it’s a wonderful location to set a novel. Yes, Partners in Crime, the book I’m currently writing, is the one with the homage to “It Happened One Night.” Actually, two scenes in the book play off the film– I was having so much fun with it, I added the second one yesterday.

    LOL, Stacy. Did I hear you’re going to Lori Foster’s Readers/Authors conference? I’m hoping to go, and if you’re there too, we’ll grab a drink together. ; )

  4. Rowena says:

    I thought you did a great job writing about my hometown in JTSMA and thought you did a wonderful job of writing about your hometown as well. I cannot wait to read more about your next book coming out….you give me something to look forward to! =)

  5. carrie says:

    Wanted to leave a review at Amazon, but it’s not open yet, so I’ll leave it here…I absolutely loved this book! Great job! I am looking forward to the next one.

  6. Johanne says:

    I’ve read oh so many, and some oh so a formule…but both yours are what can I say : incontournable… whitty, modern, contemporary, defining the romance novel of now… the very best in a long long time… thank you

  7. Julie says:

    Johanne– thank you so much! Really, that’s so nice of you to say! I’m thrilled to hear you enjoyed the books. “Defining the romance novel of now…” wow!

    Okay… now I’m off to go deflate my ego… 🙂

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