Those familiar with me may know that when I find a book (or series) I really like, I tend to turn into a bit of a fanatic. I’ve been cyberstalking author Julie Moffett ever since I picked up No One Lives Twice, the first (now second) book in her Lexi Carmichael series. A funny, intriguing story featuring a geeky heroine? Yes, please!
Well, I’ve been on the edge of my seat waiting for a third release in this fantastic series, and here it finally is! I just had to share it with you. A heart-pounding action/mystery taking place on a beach — doesn’t that sound like a great summer read? Today, it is my pleasure to welcome Julie Moffett to Authors by Moonlight! Let’s start with a peek into her newest release:
NO MONEY DOWN by Julie Moffett
Me and the legendary Zimmerman twins — it’s a friendship made in geek heaven. And it all started back when I worked for the NSA…
My best friend Basia dragged me to the beach for her idea of a vacation. All those annoying people, sand in embarrassing places — not exactly R & R for a girl who doesn’t like the sun, the ocean or bathing suits. I couldn’t wait to get back to work.
But things started looking up when I ran into Elvis and Xavier Zimmerman. We discovered we had a lot in common: gaming, anchovies, hacking. After that, the vacation was perfect — until I accidentally broke some poor guy’s fingers. Then Broken-Fingered Guy disappeared, and things got really dicey. With the Secret Service and a bunch of thugs suddenly after me, all I wanted was to solve the mystery and enjoy what was left of my vacation — preferably alive.
Prequel to No One Lives Twice.
Welcome, Julie! Let’s start with a little introduction. What led you to begin writing?
It started in the second grade when I wrote a love story between Prince Valen and Princess Tina who met, fell in love and got married on Valentine’s Day. It was a hit with all the girls in my class. The boys held their noses. After that I won a 3rd grade poem contest about a haunted house, followed by a stint on my college newspaper, and later I moved into international journalism. Eventually I got brave enough to pen a novel.
If you were to name one author who has shaped or inspired your writing, who would it be?
Anyone who dares to write a book from beginning to end is inspirational to me. It takes a lot of guts to put your thoughts down on paper for all to see and critique. My hat is off to all writers, regardless if you’ve ever published or not.
Tell us a little bit about your writing process. Do you set a certain time per day?
These days with 2 jobs, 2 kids and studying for my second MA, writing is done in snatches whenever and wherever I can. I hope things will settle down soon so I can have more dedicated time to devote to Lexi and her (mis)adventures.
Are you a plotter or a pantser?
I’m a total plotter. Think Dragnet: “Just the facts ma’am.” I need to know the plot up front and all the way to the end, including the series arc. That doesn’t mean things don’t sometimes take an unexpected turn. They do. But I’ve always got a goal in mind.
When did you first get the idea for the Lexi Carmichael mystery series? Back then, did you think it would ever get published?
I wrote No One Lives Twice some time ago and it garnered a lot of attention, but no sale. Two editors actually called me personally to say they were so sorry they had to pass on the manuscript because they loved it, but just couldn’t figure out how to market it. They would say: “It’s not exactly a romance. It’s not exactly a mystery.” One of those editors was the late Kate Duffy from Kensington who told me, “You damn well better sell this book. It’s a shame when a good book can’t get published because of marketing concerns.” I was lucky when Harlequin started Carina Press and they were actually looking for books that didn’t fit the mold.
You also write historical romance. Do you find it challenging or liberating to switch back and forth between the two genres?
I love to write historical romances, just as I love writing time-travels, contemporary novels and a humorous action/adventure mystery series. It’s all about the writing. That being said, I do have a special love for history, and am especially fond of Scottish and Irish settings (not to mention the guys!). Gotta love those kilts and brogues!
What’s your favorite part about writing the Lexi series? What part do you find the most challenging?
My favorite part is Lexi herself. She’s such a conundrum. She’s smart enough to know she needs people and a life outside her “virtual existence,” but she doesn’t know quite how to go about it. Enter her best friend, Basia, who is essentially the expositional character in the series. She plays off Lexi’s inexperience and offers suggestions to help bring her out of her geek shell with sometimes (well, most of the time) unexpected results.
They say every author writes a bit of themselves into their main characters. In which ways, if any, are you similar to Lexi?
I think there are definitely parts of me in Lexi, but in all actuality, I’m probably more like Basia, but much less of a fashionista!
If you were in Lexi’s shoes, which hero would you choose and why — the rich Irish lawyer, Finn, the mysterious Italian secret agent and hacker extraordinaire, Slash, or the quirky and dependable friend Elvis?
Ha! You think I’d tell you?? Nice try.
If the series was made into a movie, who would you cast in the roles of the main characters?
Oh, jeez. I have no idea. Do you have any thoughts?
Putting me on the spot now, are you? You’re right, that’s a tough one.
How many books do you envision writing for the series?
Probably six or seven. Book 3 titled No Place Like Rome is almost finished. This is mostly Slash’s and Lexi’s adventure. You may remember that Slash is Italian. His uncle works for the Vatican and they are having hacking problems. Enter Lexi and Slash to take on the bad guys!! Here’s the big question … how much trouble can Lexi cause at the Vatican? LOL! I also have Book 4 plotted out and have a plan for Book 5. Overall, I know how I want to end the series. I’m just not certain of the exact number of books it will take me to complete the series arc in a satisfactory way.
What’s the next thing in store for Lexi?
The June 4 release of No Money Down is a novella explaining how Lexi met the Zimmerman twins. No Place Like Rome might possibly come out next year if I can squeeze in time to finish it. I also will have a January 2013 release from Carina Press titled The Thorn & The Thistle, which is a reprint of an older Scottish historical romance I wrote. I really enjoyed writing that book.
Would you mind sharing a short excerpt from your newest release, No Money Down?
Why, certainly. Here’s the start of the book….
My name is Lexi Carmichael and I hate the beach.
Okay, maybe hate is too strong a word. I don’t really hate the beach. It’s just the sun is too bright, sand is everywhere and seaweed gets stuck in my toes. Don’t even get me started on how much I dislike bathing suits. It’s not pretty.
I don’t like people being crammed together in a mathematically disproportionate way in a very small area. Especially when they’re half-dressed and strutting around like peacocks. It’s too hot, too loud and smells too much of coconut suntan lotion. Beam me out of here, Scotty. Please.
Yet here I am, spending my precious vacation days at Ocean City, Maryland, on a beach without my beloved laptop, forced into this so-called “time away from technology” with my best friend and former roommate, Basia Kowalski. Somehow I let myself get talked into it. Usually I can resist her crazy ideas. After all, I have a pretty high IQ and recently graduated from Georgetown University with a double major in mathematics and computer science. But sometimes she talks so fast and runs me in circles that I often will acquiesce just to quit trying to figure out what she’s saying. Unfortunately, at that point it’s already too late. I’m stuck, having agreed to God-knows-what just to end the conversation.
Don’t get me wrong, I adore Basia. She’s everything I’m not—pretty, social, fashionable and outgoing. She’s also witty and has a remarkable flair for languages. She speaks about twenty of them fluently and has her own business as a freelance translator while working part-time for Berlitz, those folks who put out the small phrase books in dozens of different languages. She’s brought me out of my shell more than any other person I’ve ever known, even if it does make me nervous and cranky most of the time.
She’s always telling me, “Lexi Carmichael, it’s time to log off and get a life.” She’s usually right.
I’ll be the first to admit I’m not the easiest person to be around. I’m neither a girly-girl nor a tomboy. I’m skinny in an awkward way, have no fashion sense and I don’t date much (or at all), which is not surprising since my social skills suck.
I’m a geek.
That means my happy place is online. Computers, code, gaming. I’m also an ace hacker. Or at least I used to be. Then I sort of got busted. It wasn’t a malicious hack, that’s not my style, but it was still illegal. Lucky for me, my dad is a high-priced lawyer for a swanky firm in Georgetown so no one could prove anything. However, it scared the beejeebies out of me. It scared Dad too. Although I’m technically an adult, he threatened to take away all my computer equipment if I ever hacked like that again.
Thanks for joining me here today, Julie! I appreciate it.
CONTEST ALERT: Leave a comment for Julie by 11:59 PM EST on Friday, June 22 for your chance to win the Carina Press anthology housing No Money Down.
Find the Lexi Carmichael series at:
Find Julie Moffett online at:
- Twitter ID: @JMoffettAuthor
- Facebook link: www.facebook.com/pages/Julie-Moffett-Author/123804877633091
- Author website: www.juliemoffett.com