Julie Ann Walker is the author of Hell on Wheels, the kickoff to her Black Knights, Inc series. She recently visited the virtual offices to introduce herself, and she brought along a copy of Hell on Wheels for one of you to win!
[Manga Maniac Café] Describe yourself in 140 characters or less.
[Julie Ann Walker] Romantic Suspense Author, Aspiring Amateur Chef, Vino Enthusiast, World Traveler, Recovering Shoe-and-Handbag-aholic, Dog Poop Scooper Upper, Embracer of Life
[Manga Maniac Café] Can you tell us a little about Hell on Wheels?
[Julie Ann Walker] Whew! Can I use more than 140 characters? I can? Thank goodness! Okay, so I think the best synopsis for HELL ON WHEELS came from a reviewer at Publishers Weekly: "Former Marines Grigg Morgan and Nate Weller work for Black Knights Inc., a high-tech motorcycle shop that’s really a black ops group doing side jobs for Uncle Sam. After Grigg dies on a mission, his sister, Ali—Nate’s longtime crush—gets embroiled in a plot that could get her killed. Crooked Sen. Alan Aldus becomes convinced that Ali has secret files that incriminate him, and he hires Dagan Zoelner, an ex-CIA agent, to bring Ali in. Lucky for her, Dagan has a conscience, and Nate will do anything to keep her alive even as he fights his attraction to her." That’s the story in a nutshell, just throw in some steamy sex, some flying bullets, and some really kick-ass motorcycles. Right on!
[Manga Maniac Café] How did you come up with the concept and the characters for the story?
[Julie Ann Walker] I get this question a lot and it always makes me blush. Because the answer delves deep into my psyche, my own personal fantasies. You see, I’ve always kind of had a thing for two types of men. One: the military man. I mean, what’s not to love about a guy in uniform? And two: the rebel outlaw who rides a loud, mean Harley. There’s just something about a bad boy who loves the open road. And one day I thought, "what if?" What if there was a way to combine the two? That was the seed that grew into the Black Knights Inc. series. And, baby, it’s been a hell of a ride since!
[Manga Maniac Café] What three words best describe Ali?
[Julie Ann Walker] Quirky, courageous, and downright loveable.
[Manga Maniac Café] What are three things Nate would never have in his bedroom?
[Julie Ann Walker] It scares me a bit that my mind instantly went down a very risqué route when I read this question. But, ahem, I’ll give it a go and try to keep it PG… er, probably more NC-17. Number one: Nate would never have a television in his bedroom. After all, he’s got better things to do in there than watch Seinfeld reruns…if you know what I mean… Number two: He would never have another woman in his bedroom. Ali is his one, his only. Number three: Nate would never have a flame-thrower in his bedroom. Ha! I just wrote that last one because I couldn’t think of anything else. Although, it does seem smarter to keep the flame-thrower in the kitchen… or maybe the garage?
[Manga Maniac Café] What is Nate’s single most prized possession?
[Julie Ann Walker] You mean besides Ali? Well, that would have to be Sierra, his M-40 A5 sniper rifle. Don’t you just love a man who knows how to handle his, um, gun?
[Manga Maniac Café] What are your greatest creative influences?
[Julie Ann Walker] My hubby is my inspiration. *Wink, wink. Nudge, nudge* No, but seriously, there’s a little bit of him in all my heroes. Shhh. Don’t tell him I said that. His head will swell so much his hats won’t fit.
[Manga Maniac Café] What three things do you need in order to write?
[Julie Ann Walker] A cup of coffee at my fingertips, my warm Labrador Retriever curled around my feet, and pictures of the locales of my latest work in progress taped to the walls around me for inspiration. Currently my office looks like a greenhouse since book four in the series takes place, partially that is, in the jungles of Costa Rica. Oh, soooo steamy!
[Manga Maniac Café] What is the last book that you read that knocked your socks off?
[Julie Ann Walker] Without a doubt, that would be GLITTER BABY by Susan Elizabeth Phillips. That woman has a way of telling a story – so complex and disjointed – that leaves green with envy.
[Manga Maniac Café] If you had to pick one book that turned you on to reading, which would it be?
[Julie Ann Walker] ROMONA AND BEEZUS by Beverly Cleary. I consumed that entire series in elementary school.
[Manga Maniac Café] What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?
[Julie Ann Walker] I love to travel. My husband and I are trying to become part of the Travelers’ Century Club. In order to do that, we have to visit 100 countries. We aren’t even close to the goal yet, but we’re having a blast trying to get there. In fact, our last trip took us to Serbia, where we caught a taxi that drove us three and a half hours across the country to Croatia – during which time I was certain we were about to get our organs harvested. But all turned out well, and I still have both of my kidneys. One of my favorite quotes is attributed to Mark Twain, "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."
[Manga Maniac Café] How can readers connect with you?
[Manga Maniac Café] Thank you!
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HELL ON WHEELS BY JULIE ANN WALKER – IN STORES AUGUST 2012
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.
Hold On Tight…
Ex–Marine Nate "Ghost" Weller is an expert at keeping his cool—and his distance—which makes him one hell of a sniper. It’s also how he keeps his feelings for Ali Morgan in check. Sweet, sexy Ali has always revved his engine, but she’s his best friend’s baby sister…and totally off limits.
Rough Road Ahead
Ali’s never seen anything sexier than Nate Weller straddling his custom Harley—or the flash of danger in his eyes when she tells him she’s in trouble. First something happened to her brother, and now she’s become the target of a nasty international organization. With Nate, her life is in the most capable hands possible—but her heart is another story altogether.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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 next two books in her fast-paced series: In Rides Trouble (September 2012) and Rev It Up (October 2012).