Message From The Author

J.J. Murray

Book Title: SHE'S THE ONE
Genre: Multicultural, Contemporary Romance

View J.J. Murray's Profile | Visit J.J. Murray's Website

Author's Message

Since in most of my novels the hero and heroine follow initial attraction to deep friendship and eventual eternal love, I wanted to write a book where the hero and heroine move from intense distraction to reluctant toleration and eventual eternal love. Katharina and Pietro despise each other at first, gradually develop a grudging respect for each other, and finally fall in love.
Because I achieved some success modernizing Romeo and Juliet for my first novel (Renee and Jay), I revisited Shakespeare while writing She’s the One and used the basic plot outline of Taming of the Shrew. I enjoy tinkering with the Bard’s plays, and I am constantly amazed at how Shakespeare was light years ahead of his time when it came to writing and plotting romance.
Katharina is the embodiment of notable (and notorious) divas in today’s music and movie worlds. I spent several days compiling a real-life list of “Diva” (Dismissive, Insensitive, Villainous, Audacious) exploits by American actresses and singers, mainly using the Internet and gossip magazines. Then I applied the list to Katharina. After a less-than-stellar and mostly forgettable acting career, Katharina has turned into a living, breathing caricature of a woman who plays her diva role to the hilt. Underneath, however, Katharina is a good-hearted woman from a small town who has allowed herself to be caught up in and jaded by the insanity of the entertainment world.
Pietro, like his Shakespearean counterpart, steadily tames Katharina’s spirit and trust, winning her heart by novel’s end. Unlike the Pietro in Shakespeare’s play, however, Pietro doesn’t completely tame his bride, because I believe no modern man could ever—or should ever—do that.
I chose a barren, harsh setting near the Quebec border in northern Ontario, Canada, as another way to break down Katharina’s defenses. The bone-chilling cold, the heavy snow, and the rustic conditions heighten Katharina’s removal from the pampered life she once lived and force her to face her true self.
I put the novel, originally titled Shrewd, through several rewrites to “soften” Katharina’s character, but I didn’t soften her completely. To make her a dynamic character, I had to establish and emphasize her “diva-tude” early in the novel so that she can change and grow as she grows to respect and love Pietro. As a result, some readers won’t like her at all—at first. While it isn’t unusual for a writer to create an unlikable “rogue” or a “stallion” hero for the heroine to break, it is unusual for a writer to create an unlikable heroine, especially when his fan base is 99% female.

- J.J. Murray

Read Book Review ›