Julie joined the Harlequin family when her first Intrigue, ONE GOOD MAN, was published in 2000. Since then, she has crafted the best-selling, award-winning Taylor Clan series for Intrigue, as well as its equally successful spin-off series, THE PRECINCT. While she continues to write about cops and crime scenes for Intrigue and other special projects at Harlequin, Ms. Miller has also published military romantic suspense and paranormal romantic suspense books herself. Millions of copies of her books have been sold around the world.
Julie is a teacher who grew up in Missouri and now lives in Nebraska with her husband (a teacher and YA author), son and an assortment of spoiled pets. She's been dubbed the resident "Grammar Goddess" of her local writing group, The Prairieland Romance Writers. You may write Julie at P.O. Box 5162, Grand Island, NE 68802-5162, or contact her through her website at www.juliemiller.org. Check out Julie's book giveaway contests, monthly newsletter and more on her website.
ANGI: Is THE PRECINCT modeled after a real Kansas City precinct?
JULIE: No. The real KC precincts are named after areas of the city, such as Metro, Central, North, etc. I’ve given them numerical titles to emphasize that I’m writing fiction, not true crime stories. Most of my Precinct stories take place in the fictional Fourth Precinct. I’ve based the building designs I use in my books on the real KCPD headquarters in downtown Kansas City. Historic limestone and granite. Marble floors. Elevators. Cubicles. Layers of security. The different departments housed there (admin, dispatch, investigations, SWAT, etc.). The details are real. Some of my characters are even inspired by real officers/staff I’ve met and seen there. But my Precinct is a conglomeration of research and observations I’ve had with different KCPD members at different sites in different parts of the city.
ANGI: How did you get the idea for a tornado in KCPD Protector?
JULIE: KC is in the heart of tornado alley. I’ve always wanted to do a “natural disaster” story, but I knew I had to keep the romantic suspense elements going, too. I knew this book was going to come out in the heat of summer—and summers in KC can be pretty hot and humid, with all the water in the area. Prime magnets for severe weather. I’ve hidden in the basement many times during tornado warnings, and I’ve even been in a situation where the weather hit before a “watch” turned into a “warning” and the sirens went off--so I could write realistically about the weather in this book. The weather became a secondary character as I wrote—a villain of sorts that mirrored the villain stalking the heroine. The weather worsened each time his terror campaign escalated.
ANGI: What's your favorite thing about George in KCPD Protector?
JULIE: His name? My late father’s name was George, as is my “baby” brother (soon to be a Lt. Colonel in the Army!). George tends to be a name that gets made fun of or used in cartoons—but to me, it has always been an heroic name. So I’m glad to give the name some positive press and do justice to the Georges in my family. I like, too, that George Madigan is a mature hero. He figures love has passed him by, so falling in love surprises him. But because he is that seasoned veteran of life and love, he takes things seriously. He’s a rock of dependability. A true leader. He commands the respect of the entire department because he’s earned it. He’s a man who uses his brain, authority and life experience as much as his gun and brawn. I loved writing him!
ANGI: What are who inspired the hero for KCPD Protector?
JULIE: My dad. He used to say, “Once a Marine, always a Marine.” I figured the same applied to the leader of cops as well as the military. “Once a cop, always a cop.” In fact, that was the original title of KCPD PROTECTOR, Once a Cop…
ANGI: Your favorite fairy tale is Beauty and the Beast. Is BEAUTY AND THE BADGE anything like the fairy tale?
JULIE: It’s my favorite romantic storyline. So yes, I created a “beast” of a hero in Det. Kevin Grove. He’s big and strong, definitely not handsome, and not real smooth in the romance department. It takes a woman with a “beautiful” personality to find the heart inside him.
ANGI: Is there a playlist you’d recommend for reading KCPD Protector?
JULIE: My instinct is to say some mellow jazz to suit George’s maturity. But I think he’s probably got some 80’s rock secretly blasting inside him. And for some reason, I keep hearing the music from The Wizard of Oz. Must be the cyclone in the story. And you know it and the bad guy are coming. So yeah, I hear that pulsing Wicked Witch theme in my head.
ANGI: Your favorite villain is the Wicked Witch of the West. Did you like what ONCE UPON A TIME did with her story line?
JULIE: I am a HUGE fan of that show. But I will confess, that that wasn’t my favorite storyline. Although, I loved that Regina got to be “good” for a change—I loved her romance with Robin Hood (knew it was too good to last!) and that it was her true love for Henry, her adopted son, that broke the spell. I know they tried to do a riff on WICKED, but as a big fan of that show, as well as the Oz stories, it just didn’t quite work for me. But I’m stoked to see the Snow Queen stepping through the time portal at the end of the season finale!
ANGI: If you could portray the Wicked Witch…what would you like best?
JULIE: I love playing a good villain! The wicked laugh (a la Margaret Hamilton) would be a lot of fun. Say something pithy or threatening, then laugh like that? Love it. And transporting from place to place on a puff of smoke would be pretty cool, too.
ANGI: How is it working with hot guys and sexy women all day?
JULIE: It’s a tough job, but somebody’s got to do it. ;) I love my heroes. So falling in love every day and living a grand adventure (there’s usually some part of me in every heroine, so that’s where I fit into the story) is pretty exciting stuff.
ANGI’S GOTTA ASK: I know that you are a star in your local theater company. What do you like best about being on stage?
JULIE'S GOTTA ANSWER: I love inhabiting another person. There’s an intellectual challenge and a creative fun involved in discovering that character’s motivations and goals, and in experiencing their joys and fears. It’s a chance to be somebody different in a totally safe way. Despite being so shy, I’ve never had stage fright—because it’s that character onstage, not Julie Miller. That has always been an emotional freedom I’ve loved. Plus, I’ve made some wonderful friends in our community theater, so it’s a lot of fun to hang out with them and work together to entertain, educate and enlighten our audiences. Some people knit or make scrapbooks or run for a hobby—I do theater (onstage, backstage, directing). It’s a lot of hard work, but it’s also a lot of fun!
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