Today I’d like to welcome Julie Ann Walker, author of the new Black Knights Inc. series, to Love To Read For Fun.
Hi Julie! Tell us a little about yourself. Have you always wanted to be a writer?
Hidey-ho there! I'm so pleased to be here on Love To Read For Fun, talking about the second book in my Black Knights Inc. series, IN RIDES TROUBLE. And a little about myself? Only a little? Okay, here goes... (Now, read this all in one breath like I typed it, okay?) I was born and raised in rural Oklahoma, riding horses, catching crawdads in the stream, and tanning brown as a berry in the summertime. I received a degree in mathematics–you read that right; what the heck was I thinking?—and taught high school trigonometry and calculus before waking up one day and deciding I wanted a completely different life. Luckily, my husband supported my aspirations... Although, you know he had to be thinking I was completely nuts. I mean, come on! I was a flippin' MATH teacher! By this time, we'd moved to the big, bad Windy City and inspiration struck the way inspiration usually does... in the form of a lightning bolt from the clear blue sky. Black Knights Inc. was conceived. And, baby, it's been one heck of a ride ever since!
What do you love most about writing?
The freedom to listen to the voices in my head without everyone thinking I'm insane? No, but seriously, what I love most about writing, plain and simple, is that it's an outlet. All my secret desires, aspirations, and fears... they're all there in my stories. I get to explore facets of myself, through my characters, that I wouldn't get to otherwise. And how much fun is that?
Describe Black Knights Inc. in 140 characters or less.
Grease monkey motorcycle mechanics by day, Uncle Sam's last resort by night.
What was the inspiration for this series?
I've been a longtime volunteer with the USO, and I knew, right from the start, that I wanted to write about men and women in uniform. Their dedication, courage, and drive has always awed and humbled me. But I also knew I needed my series to have something a little more. It needed an edge, a hook, so to speak. So I asked the age-old question, "What if?" What if there was a way to combine my fascination with the military with my love of motorcycles? And it was that simple question that sparked the genesis of Black Knights Inc.
Did you have to do a lot of research?
I have to do research on weapons, military hierarchy, slang etc. I've visited a gun range and fired a few different models to get the feel of a pistol in my hands. But, really, if I'm ever in doubt about anything, all I have to do is ask one of the service men or women who visits the USO. Those folks are completely goo-goo-gah-gah over their guns. They're more than happy to give me the lowdown on the chain of command, and they're chock-a-block full of military idioms, slang, and colloquialisms. It's actually quite fun just to sit quietly at my little desk and listen to them banter back and forth. They're founts of information for me and my series, and they don't even know it!
How many books do you have planned for this series?
*wince* I get this question a lot, and I always hesitate to answer because, truth is, I'm not sure yet. There will be at least ten. But there's definitely room for more...
What are you currently working on?
I'm working on the fourth book in the series. It stars Rock Babineaux, the ragin' Cajun, and Vanessa Cordero, the communications specialist who doesn't know the meaning of the word “no,” at least not where Rock is concerned. It starts out in the jungles of Costa Rica and I can promise you this... It. Is. Steamy!
(I am definitely a fan of steamy!)
Do you read reviews of your books? If so, do you let them influence your writing?
I read the reviews my publicist sends me, and the ones reviewers and book bloggers specifically contact me to read. But, other than that, I tend to let that particular facet of the business buzz by me in a blur. Because, the truth of the matter is, what one person loves, another hates. And, as an author, I'd make myself nuts trying to please everyone. So, I write the stories I love, with the characters in my head that are screaming to be brought to life, and I let my agent, editor, and publisher worry about the reviews.
What book(s) are you currently reading?
Just yesterday, I downloaded Thea Harrison's DRAGON BOUND. I can't wait to get started! *rubs hand together*
(I loved Dragon Bound! such an awesome book)
Who are some of your favorite authors?
Oh, I have so many! I love John Grisham for his plot twists, Stephen King for his ability to make me shudder, J.R. Ward for her deft characterizations, and Sandra Brown for her tortured heroes. But that just scratches the surface. We'd be here all day if I was going to list them all!
Thanks for stopping by!
Thanks for having me!
Black Knights Inc.—Behind the facade of their tricked–out motorcycle shop is an elite special ops team assigned the jobs too hot for anyone else to handle.
Rebel With A Cause...
Becky "Rebel" Reichert never actually goes looking for trouble. It just has a tendency to find her. Like the day Frank Knight showed up at her door, wanting to use her motorcycle shop as a cover for his elite special ops team. But Becky prides herself on being able to hang with the big boys - she can weld, drive, and shoot just as well as any of them.
Man With A Mission...
Munitions, missiles, and mayhem are Frank's way of life. The last thing the ex-SEAL wants if for one brash blonde to come within fifty feet of anything that goes boom. Yet it's just his rotten luck when she ends up in a hostage situation at sea. Come hell or high water, he will get her back - whether she says she needs him or not.
Thanks to Sourcebooks, I have 1 copy of In Rides Trouble to giveaway. Contest is open to US and Canada residents only. Leave a comment with a valid email. Contest ends 9/17/12. Good luck!
Deep in the heart of the Windy City, three things can be found at Julie Ann Walker’s fingertips: a keyboard, a carafe of coffee, and a sleepy yellow Labrador retriever. They, along with her ever-patient husband, keep her grounded as her imagination flies high. Look for the first and third books in her fast-paced series: Hell On Wheels (August 2012) and Rev It Up (October 2012).
For more information, please visit www.julieannwalker.com or follow her on Facebook www.facebook.com/jawalkerauthor or Twitter @JAWalkerAuthor.