I am so excited to have the Julie Ann Walker on my blog!
As you will see from her answers, she's got the best personality, and she's gorgeous!
She's also beyond generous, so good luck to those who enter the giveaway.
Marisa: Since I stalk you on Twitter, I know where you live. Not the exact location, but the city. :D Please tell us what a typical day in your life in the city is like.
JAW: Oooh, this is going to be so disappointing. Because that dang Carrie Bradshaw led everyone to believe the life of a writer in a city is nothing but brunches, art openings, and cocktail parties. Now don't get me wrong; there are those things. But they're fairly few and generally far between. The truth is I work fifty to eighty (when I'm on a deadline) hours a week. And that means my days are scheduled to the gills…
So, I wake up… well, that's not true. Really what happens is I tumble out of bed, stumble to the kitchen, and immediately pour myself two cups of very strong coffee. (That sounds remarkably similar to an old Dolly Parton song.) Then I wake up. The second step is to plunk my ever-expanding bottom into my office chair and take care of what I call the "business" of being an author. I update my website, post on Twitter and Facebook, compose blog posts, write speeches, create lesson plans and handouts for the classes I teach at conferences, organize book signings, put together contests and giveaways, answer fan mail, touch base with my agent and editor, etc. This usually takes me most of the morning. Lunch rolls around and I try to catch up on an episode of one of my favorite TV shows: Justified, Sons of Anarchy, Mad Men, Breaking Bad, and most recently The Following. Then in the afternoons? Bliss. Finally. I get about five hours of uninterrupted writing until it's time to go to the gym, hop on my bicycle, or take a walk along the lake shore in an attempt to combat my ever-expanding bottom. Shower. Dinner with my lovely husband. A couple of hours for some fun stuff. (Oh, get your heads out of the gutters. I'm talking drinks with friends, watching Comedy Central, or taking in a movie. I swear! *wink, wink*) Fall into bed. Rinse and repeat.
See, I told you Carrie made it look like a lot more fun than it is! LOL!
Marisa: We met at RWA in New York City, but it was brief and totally intimidating. You were on your way to dinner with your agent and your editor and maybe other people from your publishing house. Would you please share with us what it was like back when you were just getting started? Before your three novels hit the lists and you became a household name.
JAW: Bwahahaha! A household name? I soooo wish. Then maybe I wouldn't have to work those fifty to eighty hours a week. I could hire an assistant to take care of the "business" of being an author for me, and I'd spend my mornings having brunch with my homegirls. Maybe that's how Carrie managed it! *narrows eyes and rubs chin contemplatively*
But, seriously, back when I first met you I was a complete rube. I didn't know what the heck a "brand" was supposed to be. I didn't know there was a "big six" in publishing. I didn't know about royalties or the Rita Awards or book bloggers. I was completely lost when folks used industry jargon around me, and particularly acronyms: HEA, H/H, POV, ARC… (Happily-ever-after, hero/heroine, point of view, and advanced reader copy for the uninitiated among those who're reading.) My degree is in mathematics, so it was like I'd traveled to a foreign country where I didn't speak the language. I still feel that way most of the time, a stranger in a strange land. But I'm learning. Slowly but surely… ;-)
Marisa: Did you buy stock in Dum Dums? From where did that piece of characterization develop?
JAW: My local drycleaner has a bowl of Dum Dums sitting on the counter, and my husband and I actually fight over who gets to pick up the clothes because each of us wants to brandish our lollipop in front of the other. Picture Eddie Murphy sing-songing, "I got some ice-cream! And you can't have none!" But my husband always picks out the root beer-flavored ones, which I think are -bleck - hideous. So, yeah. The Dum Dums featured in the BKI books are a bit of fiction inspired by fact.
Marisa: Congrats on THRILL RIDE releasing in April! How many books in total do you have planned for Black Knights Inc.?
JAW: Thanks! I'm really excited for readers to get their hands on Rock and Vanessa's story. As for the total number of books planned, right now I'm banking on twelve. Of course, there's always room for more operators at BKI. So… who knows? *shrugs*
Marisa: What has been the most thrilling part of this experience for you?
JAW: I'd have to say it was the evening a friend introduced me to one of her work associates as Julie Walker, and the work associate said, "You mean Julie Ann Walker? Oh, my god! I read all your books!" It wasn't five minutes of fame, more like five seconds, but I'll take it! :-D
Marisa: Okay, so in every picture you're so completely glamorous! Even the one with the foil on your head. ;) Please tell us what you wear when you write. Ball gowns? Harley outfits?
JAW: I'm going to have to disappoint you again. :-/ The truth is my daily attire consists of a rotating selection of yoga pants and sweatshirts and/or T-shirts. Except for when I'm crunching on a deadline... Then I've been known to stay in my pajamas for days on end. It's a scary sight, believe me! LOL! We're talking no makeup, haven't showered, greasy hair twisted up in a lopsided bun… *shiver*
Marisa: Do you write in any other genre besides romantic suspense?
JAW: Nope. I'm an action and adventure girl at heart, so romantic suspense is the genre for me!
Marisa: Where will readers be able to find you to connect with you in real life?
JAW: I'm headed to three writer/reader conferences this year including RT Booklovers Conference in Kansas City, the RWA National Convention in Atlanta, and Authors After Dark in Savannah. I invite everyone to come and visit. It should be tons of fun! Confession: look for me at the hotel bar. I tend to hang out there. *cough, cough*
Morning or night?JAW: Night. Definitely night. If you try to have a conversation with me before about 10AM I'm liable to cut you.
Wine or liquor?JAW: Both! I love a good bottle of wine, especially a big Chardonnay or a deep Cabernet. But I'm a fan of gin and tonics, as well. Oh, my god! Did I just come off sounding like a huge lush? LOL! Now I want to call an audible and take back the part where I told everybody I tend to hang out at the bar during conferences!
Desktop or laptop?JAW: I work on my desktop the majority of the time. But I've been known to take my laptop to the gym and use it to answer emails and such while I'm on the treadmill.
Jeans or a dress?JAW: If it's a casual tunic-type dress that I can wear with tights and boots, I'm there. Otherwise it's jeans all the way!
Ponytail or headband?JAW: Ponytail! I'm sporting one right now! :-D
Shower or bath?JAW: When it comes to baths, I take a page from Sweet Brown, "ain't nobody got time for that!"
Summer or winter?JAW: Is this a real question? Who in their right mind prefers winter?
Motorcycle or bicycle?JAW: I should say motorcycle, right? Considering what I write? But I must admit I like to ride my bicycle (Queen song alert!) when the weather is nice in Chicago. In fact, I'm out on it almost every day from spring until fall. It's where I do all my best plotting.
...and because Julie is completely amazing, she's offering to one lucky winner three SIGNED Black Knights Inc. novels: HELL ON WHEELS, IN RIDES TROUBLE, and REV IT UP.
JAW: Thanks for having me on Pens and Peonies! It was a blast!
***CONNECT WITH JULIE ANN WALKER***
...and don't forget to add THRILL RIDE to your Goodreads list!
THRILL RIDE BY JULIE ANN WALKER – IN STORES APRIL 2013
He’s Gone Rogue…
Ex-navy SEAL Rock Babineaux is as Cajun as they come—spicy, sexy, and more than a bit wicked. But would he actually betray his country? Even his best friends on the special-ops Black Knights team aren't sure they can trust him. Now the target of a massive manhunt, Rock knows the only way to protect the team—especially his partner, Vanessa—is to run...
She Won’t Back Down…
Rock might think he can outmaneuver them all, but he hasn't counted on how stubborn Vanessa Cordero can be. And she refuses to cut him loose. Sure, her partner 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 she and Rock are about to get very tight...
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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 four books in her fast-paced series: Hell On Wheels (August 2012) In Rides Trouble (September 2012) Rev It Up (October 2012) and Thrill Ride (April 2013).