Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Kame + TBQ Interview: Julie Ann Walker + Giveaway!

 I pointed Kame towards JAW's books last year. Now, I haven't read any of them yet, mind you, but I had heard many great things about them, I knew I wanted to read them myself, and they were romantic suspense, which Kame was looking for at the time. Now, a few months later and she's not only read all of the books in the series, but decided she wanted to interview Julie, too! :)



Julie Ann Walker is the New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author of the Black Knights Inc. romantic suspense series. She is prone to spouting movie quotes and song lyrics. She'll never say no to sharing a glass of wine or going for a long walk. She prefers impromptu travel over the scheduled kind, and she takes her coffee with milk. You can find her on her bicycle along the lake shore in Chicago or blasting away at her keyboard, trying to wrangle her capricious imagination into submission. Look for the first three books in her fast-paced series: Hell On Wheels (August 2012) In Rides Trouble (September 2012) and Rev It Up (October 2012).
Where to Find Julie:

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Kame:  Hi Julie, I can’t tell you how excited I am that you have agreed to stop by and answer a few questions about your Black Knights Series.  It is like nothing I have ever read before.  I am so thankful that The Book Queen suggested Hell On Wheels to me. I never would have picked it out myself but now I am hooked!

Julie:  Thank you so much for having me on today.  What a pleasure!  And a shout-out to The Book Queen as well.  Because, hey… I love me some free publicity.  LOL!

K:  How did this series form in your writers mind? Why mix motorcycles and covert operations?

J:  I always knew I wanted to write romantic suspense.  For me, that particular sub-genre embodies all the things I love in a good book: action, adventure, mystery, romance...  And because of the time I'd spent volunteering at the USO (United Service Organization), because I'd worked with soldiers, seen the sacrifices they make, witnessed their courage and honor and duty, I felt compelled to write military themed romantic suspense.  Of course, every great series needs a hook, right?  And there were many military romances out there.  So I asked myself one simple question… How can I make the gun-toting, washboard-bellied, man in uniform even hotter?  And the answer that came to me?  Give him a leather jacket and a few tattoos, then put him on a badass bike.  Voila!  Black Knights Inc. was born.       

K:  The Black Knight compound is impressive, complete with underground tunnel (which I just love when they use that!). I just imagine this huge building with extensive grounds, additional buildings and massive concrete walls. How did this place develop as you were writing? Do you have the whole compound all mapped out or are you adding parts as you write new book?

J:  Thank you!  I love the BKI compound, too.  It's almost a character in and of itself, am I right?  All big and imposing and secretive… just like I like my men. *grins and wiggles eyebrows*  But to answer your question, as with most aspects of my writing, the concept was 90% complete before I ever sat down to put the words and descriptions on the page.  However, I'll be the first to admit that the remaining 10% is where all the fun is.  Because it's the little details that reveal themselves to me in each new book that I find exhilarating.  I liken it to my husband.  We've been married almost fifteen years.  I think I know everything about him.  Then he'll say something, or do something that totally surprises me - in a good way - and for a moment I get that zing of excitement.  Like we're dating again.  Like we're still, after all these years, learning new and fascinating things about each other.   

K:  You have quiet the cast of characters, and some of them are characters!  They all have such diverse backgrounds and style. Your attention to detail with them is amazing; Snake being a surfer dude complete with the lingo, and Frank’s love of Dum Dum lollipops. Was it important to you that Black Knights be a very diverse group – or did they just “grow” into a diverse group?

J:  You know, this sort of harkens back to my earlier answer about the little details being where all the fun is.  I didn't want my heroes or heroines to be cookie-cutter characters, pushed along by the plot.  I wanted them to push the plot, shove it forward with all their eccentricities and foibles, their strengths and weaknesses, their individual charisma.  Of course, if you're writing character-driven books, then those characters better be one hell of an interesting bunch.  So to answer your question, yeah, it was definitely important to me that they be diverse from the very beginning.   

K:  We haven’t seen as much of Ghost since he married Ali.  At the end of Rev It Up two couples are engaged. Is being married going to change them?

J:  Well, of course!  Doesn't marriage change us all?  LOL!  You'll see a bit more of Ghost in Thrill Ride, debuting April 2nd, and you'll certainly notice a few changes in him.  But that's all I'm going to say… No spoilers! ;-)   

K:  If you don’t plan on writing a wedding scene in a future book, how about a short novella of Frank’s wedding? Just a suggestion as I can see little Franklin will make a great ring bearer, and the wedding will have its own Black Knight style.

J:  I would love to write a wedding scene.  And I could definitely see one making its way into a plot at some point.  As for a novella?  That'd be up to my publisher.  And right now they're pushing me to keep pumping out full length books.  Bunch of slave drivers…  No, no.  Just kidding, Leah! ß That's my editor. ;-)    

K:  You have some pretty graphic scenes; Grigg and Ghost’s last moments together and Snake’s final fight scene come to mind. I can’t imagine writing them.  How did you research those situations, and are they hard to write?

J:  Truthfully, most of my research is done after I've already written the scenes.  I go on the internet or call my acquaintances in the medical field to see if the injuries my characters have sustained are, indeed, survivable, what the recovery time would be, stuff like that…  And yes, I do find them difficult to write.  I'm usually so immersed in my characters' heads that I'm experiencing the pain and trauma with them.  Perhaps that's why those scenes are so descriptive…

K: I can see your books appealing to men; and actually if you changed the covers and took them out of the romance section I bet even more would read them – as they have so much intense action, motorcycles and fantastic dialogue. (I have suggested your series to The Romance Man). Have you heard from many male readers?
J:  I do have male readers.  They're certainly fewer and farther between than my female readers, but they're there.  One of my favorite pieces of fan mail came from a male reader who picked up Hell On Wheels thinking it was a straight thriller.  He said, quote, "I was surprised to discover it was as much a bodice-ripper as it was an action/adventure novel.  Pleasantly surprised.  And now I'm wondering why all authors don't include great emotional upheaval and torrid sex scenes in their books because, damn, that stuff is good."  I mean, seriously, how awesome is that?  I converted a man, a skeptical man at that, into a romance reader!    

K:  So what is on the horizon for the Black Knights?  Can we expect many more installments to come?

J:  Of course!  As I stated earlier, Thrill Ride debuts April 2nd.  That's the story of the ragin' Cajun, Rock Babineaux , and Vanessa Cordero, BKI's spunky communications specialist.  It's set mostly in the jungles of Costa Rica, and it is steam-my… even if I do say so myself.  Then Born Wild hits shelves in November.  You'll finally find out what all the fuss is between Wild Bill and Eve.  I can't wait to hear what readers think!   

Kame:  I can’t wait to read your next book!  Thank you so much Julie for stopping by. Readers if you haven’t checked out one of Julie Ann Walker’s Black Knight Series you are missing out on a great read, something that is definitely not like anything I have read before.  I wish you continued success Julie, and I will continue reading as long as you continue writing!

Julie: Thank you again for inviting me on today. What a blast!


TBQ: Now it's my turn! :)

Chocolate OR Vanilla ice cream?
Hands down, it's chocolate.  Unless I can cover the vanilla ice cream in chocolate syrup.  Then the choice is a lot harder! ;-)

A day on a secluded island OR a day at the spa?
Secluded island all the way, baby.  I like adventure if you can't tell from reading my novels. LOL!

Reading a steamy romance novel OR a suspense-filled mystery?
Ooh, this is a tough one.  Can a totally cop-out and say both?  I love steamy romances, but I love a good mystery, too.  Which is probably why I write romantic suspense; it combines both, right?  ;-D
If you had to choose, which would you rather have an affair with: a sexy highlander OR a devilishly handsome English lord?
Sexy highlander all the way.  A good brogue does naughty things to my blood pressure. (Hehe---yes, it does that with mine, too! :D)
Hot summer days OR cold winter nights?
I. HATE. WINTER!  Does that answer your question.  LOL!
Where would your dream house be: in the city, where all the action is OR nestled in the mountain where you can enjoy the quiet and the wilderness?
Dangit!  Why do you keep making me choose?  I want both!  I want the hustle and bustle of the city apartment during the week followed by a country house where I can unwind on the weekends.  Wow!  I don't want much, do I?  ;-)  (It's perfectly okay to be "greedy" like that! :D)
If you could live in any time period, past or future, which one would it be?
I'm a total sci-fi girl, so the future it is!  How exciting would it be to see what the world is like two hundred years from now?
Cover Lover OR Blurb Fan?
I never buy a book by the cover alone.  It HAS to have a good blurb.  I need to know what kind of story I'm in for.  Does that make me a control freak?
Steamy Novella OR Sweet Novel?
I'm not much for shorter stories.  As a reader, I like the emotional journey between the hero and heroine to be long and drawn out.  So, I'd have to go with a sweet novel.
Quick—name the one food that you cannot live without?
Coffee.  That's a food, right?  Because, if you're like me, you make it so strong that sometimes you almost have to chew it.  LOL!
And finally, tell us 3 unique/wacky/fun things about yourself:
  • I hope to visit 100 countries before I die.  It's my bucket list.  So far I've visited forty-two. (Dannng girl!)
  • I'm obsessed with mayonnaise.  I think it's delicious.  I would eat it on everything if it didn't adversely affect my waistline.  I think it's my grandmother's English blood coming out in me. 
  • My degree is in advanced mathematics.  How's that for a strange background for a romance writer? 
The Book Queen: Thanks so much for stopping by, Julie, and please know that you are welcome back anytime! Do you have any questions for our readers—something to spark a good discussion? :)

I’m all about the ‘mash-up’ in romance. Obviously. Black Knights Inc. heroes are a ‘mash-up’ of military studs and motorcycle-riding bad boys. So, out of pure curiosity, what kind of ‘mash-ups’ do you like to see in romance?

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Thrill Ride by Julie Ann Walker
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca (April 2, 2013)
Series: Black Knights, Inc. (4)
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Ex-Navy SEAL Rock Babineaux’s job is to get information, and he’s one of the best in the business. Until something goes horribly wrong and he’s being hunted by his own government. Even his best friends at the covert special-ops organization Black Knights Inc. aren’t sure they can trust him. He thinks he can outrun them all, but his former partner—a curvy bombshell who knows just how to drive him wild—refuses to cut him loose.

She Won't Back Down

Vanessa Cordova hasn’t been the team’s communication specialist
very long, but she knows how to read people—no way is Rock guilty of murder. And she’ll go to hell and back to help him prove it. Sure, the sexy Cajun has his secrets, but there’s no one in the world she’d rather have by her side in a tight spot. Which is good, because they’re about to get very tight…

Where to Buy*:
 Amazon | Kindle | BN | NOOK | ARe
More Info:

Previous Books:
Hell on Wheels (1) --- Kame's Review
In Rides Trouble (2) --- Kame's Review
Rev It Up (3) --- Kame's Review

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Julie's going to give away ONE signed copy of Thrill Ride! Open to US and Canada shipping only.
How to Enter:
  • Leave a comment below answering Julie's question (or asking one of your own!).
  • Please leave either your email, Twitter/Facebook/GoodReads handle, or some way to contact you. This makes it easier to get ah old of you if you win! If, however, you are not comfortable doing this, that's okay--just be sure to check back when the winner is announced! (Note: Even if I don't announce it on the blog, I always announce the winner on Twitter and Facebook!)
Giveaway ends April 10th! Winner will be picked by and announced on the 11th. Good Luck!
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I really, really need to start this series! :) Thanks so much for stopping by today, Julie, and thanks for the wonderful interview questions, Kame! :D

Don't forget Julie's question:
 I’m all about the ‘mash-up’ in romance. Obviously. Black Knights Inc. heroes are a ‘mash-up’ of military studs and motorcycle-riding bad boys. So, out of pure curiosity, what kind of ‘mash-ups’ do you like to see in romance?

Hmm... Well, I'm open to many different kinds of mash-ups myself, but I'm always found of a Highlander Shifter. Yum! :D

Until Next Time,


*TBQ's Book Palace is a member of both the Amazon and Barnes and Nobles affiliates program. By using the links provided to buy products from either website, I receive a very small percentage of the order. To read my full disclosure on the matter, please see this post!


Angela Love said...

I'm all about the military/bad boy Motorcylce mash-ups or bad boys/ sucessful business guys or to heck with Mash-ups Just give me Alpha Males!!!!
Congrats on the release I'm anxious to start reading it!!!!
FB is Angela Love
Twitter is @angela_s_love
Goodreads Angela Love

Angela Love said...

I'm all about the military/bad boy Motorcylce mash-ups or bad boys/ sucessful business guys or to heck with Mash-ups Just give me Alpha Males!!!!
Congrats on the release I'm anxious to start reading it!!!!
FB is Angela Love
Twitter is @angela_s_love
Goodreads Angela Love

Julie Ann Walker said...

Thank you, Angela! And good luck in the giveaway!

Unknown said...

I love the military/badboys they make my blood flow

Unknown said...

Congrats on the release im going home from work today to read it.

Tasha Garrison Clanton said...

The military/bad boy mash up is my fav! This series is also similar to Tara Janzen's Steele Street series where they are ex-military and old muscle cars. I own the first three books and would LOVE to win this next installment. Love your characters and can't wait to read Rock and Vanessa's story!

Julie Ann Walker said...

Thank you, Tasha! And I get compared to Tara Janzen a lot. Which I find amazing, since the woman is boobdiggity! I love her paranormal stuff. Good luck in the giveaway!

Susan Frank said...

You can add me to the military guy fan. Combine him with anything - bad boy, law enforcement, cowboy, it doesn't matter :-)

Julie Ann Walker said...

You said it, Susan! Something about a man in uniform. MEOW!

Valerie Rapp Fuller said...

I also love the military/tattoo/bad-boy/protector guy too. Down to earth, simple things in life (makes 'em more believable and real). But throwing in some kind of foreign accent is pretty sexy too. ;)

Delaine McLafferty said...

Julie When will the next book in the series be out? I love this series and it is really hard to wait

Brenda Schiefer Crider said...

Love, love love the military/bad boy mash up!!!!! Motorcycles and tattoos just take it up another notch! I have loved all your BKI books and can't even begin to pick a favorite! I also am a fan of Tara Janzen's Steele Street Boys series and rank your BKI series right up there with hers! Can't wait until November for Born Wild!!!!!

Jen Yocum Humphrey said...

i'm more of the hunky firefighter mash up...although bad boys/military men do make it hot!!!

Johanna R Jochum said...

I love the military/bad boy mash up but I love hot cop books not sure how I could mash that up. I'll have to think on that. Thanks for sharing!

evjochum AT aol DOT com

michele harper said...

Interesting question... love the military/motorcycle bad boy mash up. Reading a series that has the military/family-run elite rescue group. Love this series and now that I have Rock and Vanessa's book almost done I will be waiting patiently for Bill and Eve's book. Soooooo want to know what their background story is! I do have a question for you, will there be future books on the rest of the BKI family?

Julie Ann Walker said...

Absolutely, Michele! I just signed another 3 book deal with my publisher. So, there's lots more BKI fun to come!

Julie Ann Walker said...

Hey, you can't go wrong with a man who knows how to handle his... hose. Heh-heh *Beavis and Butthead laugh*

Julie Ann Walker said...

Thank you so much, Brenda! Best of luck in the giveaway!

Julie Ann Walker said...

Aw, thank you, Deliane. And to answer your question, BORN WILD, hits shelves this November. It's Bill and Eve's story. FINALLY, we get to find out what the hot fuss is between those two. It's available for pre-order now. (Unabashed plug. LOL!)

Julie Ann Walker said...

Ooooh, I do love a good accent. :-D

kame said...

Wow - thank you all for stopping by - I love any book with a hero in a uniform and maybe with some cars/bikes. But I do love the sports dudes and alphas... I think of Frank each time I see a dum dum! Thank you again Julie for the great interview! And thanks TBQ a great book suggestion!

Carolyn Walker Rhodes said...

I'm all about the story line. If he's bad and alpha then it's my book, so my answer is all of'em!

Julie Ann Walker said...

Thanks, Kame! I'm having a blast today!

Julie Ann Walker said...

Hahahah! Well, you said it, right? Any alpha is a good alpha!

bn100 said...

alpha and tortured

bn100candg at hotmail dot com

Colleen Isolde said...

Great interview!!! I read Thrill Ride in one day and LOVED it!!! I highly recommend it!

For my mash-up, I like the tortured hero (military, ex-military, police, firefighter) and alpha male. Throw in a motorcycle or fast car and I am completely sold. :)

Ginger Robertson said...

Hi Julie Anne,
Loved the blurb, interview and follow up in regards to Thrill Ride. I enjoy suspense/romance and comedy/romance. Also, you noted that you write your scenes and then follow up with internet searches or phone calls to individuals. Do you ever do pinterest in regards to the BKI Headquarters?
Many thanks to both Julie Anne and Kame.

Julie Ann Walker said...

Yes. Those emotionally tortured heroes make for fascinating reading, don't they? ;-D

Julie Ann Walker said...

Yay, Colleen! I'm so happy you enjoyed it. Thanks for stopping by!

Julie Ann Walker said...

Actually, I do! I have Pinterest "story boards" that I use as inspiration while writing!

Lover Of Romance said...

Just loved the interview!! Sounds like something I would enjoy reading.

Sue Peace said...

I just like a very alpha military type guy!!!

Kame said...

Thanks so much - oh I am sure you would love it...start with book 1!

Kame said...

So glad you liked the interview - my favorite to date!

Kame said...

Me too when I can stop by - so sad work go in the way! LOL!

Kayla W. said...

I love pretty much anything woth an alpha in uniform. Military is my fav, but just about any uniform will do ;-)

Thanks for the opportunity!

Knwdesignsva @ gmail dot com

Tina Rucci said...

Love the interview! As for mash-ups, I really don't have a preference as long as there is romance.
purpleunicorn AT

Chelsea B. said...

Mash-ups are always fun! I love historical time travel. Present girl goes back in time and finds her prince-- literally? Yes, please! :-)

Kame said...

Thanks Tina - Interviews are fun to do and when you have a great series to talk about it makes it easy!

Beth Haney said...

Great interview! I love mash-ups between alpha bad-boys and military, or alpha bad boys and shifters, vamps, or anything paranormal. Thanks for the chance to win!
ehaney578 at aol dot com

CassandraG said...

Good interview. Definitely, like the bad boy/military with a touch of reformed goodness,historical time travel ones are definitely fun,especially when you get the culture shock:(upper or lower or no class at all) clash going.

Thanks for the chance to win.

Unknown said...

Love military/ bad boy/ cowboy that is a total alpha male. That all combined is my personal ultimate mash-up. Love BKI. Keep up the awesome writing. You totally "ROCK" Julie. *big grin*