Author Spotlight: Interview With Julie Ann Walker

Welcome back to our 12 Nights of Christmas Event, hosted by Ana of Beach Bum Reads and Neyra of Darkest Addictions. It's Night #3 and we've got another special guest, Julie Ann Walker. Author of the very sexy Harley-Riding-Black-Ops-Can't-Keep-Your-Hands-Off-Even-If-You-Tried, Black Knights Inc series! Read on for a very saucy interview with the Black Knight herself ;).

*At the DarkShores Lounge* 

Ana: Welcome, Julie! Thanks for joining us today; we know you're a busy woman.
Neyra: Hi Julie! We’re glad to have you with us, thanks for the time.
Ana: Tell our fellow readers a little bit about yourself.

Julie:  Thank you for having me on today.  *rubs hands*  I'm looking forward to the grilling.  

Ana: *pulls out grill and hamburger patties* 
Neyra: *facepalm* you would be hungry right now. Smh.... got enough for two more?
Ana: WHHHAAAT. She said “grilling” jeez. and... *looks at food* yepp ^_^ Got enough for us and all these awesomely sezzy Harley ridin’ studs ;)
Neyra: She didn’t mean literally! *sigh* Oooh, they’re here? Yumm, and i don’t mean the hamburgers ;)
Ana: *looks off confused....sigh* I suppose... and oh, yeah, they’re looking oh, so mouth watering ;)

Julie: LOL!  And it starts off with a bang, huh? A little bit about myself?  Well, here goes...
I was born and raised in rural Oklahoma.  So I grew up riding in the backs of pickup trucks, catching crawdads in streams, and baling hay with the neighbor boys.  When I went to university, I majored in mathematics - 

Neyra: *looks at Julie Ann, perplexed* Math?
Ana: *nudges Neyra* Ain’t nothin wrong with math ^_^ 1 + 1 = 2 lmbo
Neyra: *grumbles* No, but she’s so good at writing, who’da thought? -__- I’m happy to see you can count as well, lmao
Ana: *ignores Neyra’s last comment* Yeah, really good at writing... multitalented?
Neyra: Possibly..

Julie: -I know... what was I thinking? - and there I met and fell in love with my own personal hero. After graduation, I taught advanced high-school mathematics and LOVED it.  Then, a move from Oklahoma to Chicago via Michigan (a story for another time) afforded me some down time and the opportunity to return to my first passion, writing.  And the rest, as they say, is history... 

Neyra:  Nice, Ana *facepalm* lmao. We’ll have to chit chat about that Oklahoma to Chicago move some other day then Julie^_^ 
Ana: lol thanks ;)
Neyra: So, what got you into writing?

Julie:  I've always written.  My mother, an elementary teacher, enrolled me in a book club the minute I began sounding out words.  And it wasn't too long after that I started penning my own stories.  I was the editor of my high school newspaper; I've been a staunch pen pal, the scribe for family vacations, and an avid, if somewhat erratic, blogger.  But reading and writing always came naturally to me, and I thought I needed a challenge - hence the mathematics degree.  

Neyra: Oohhh, I see... I get it now ^-^
Ana: *continues singing Beyonce’s ‘1+1’ song* 

Julie: ..So, it wasn't until the move from Oklahoma to Chicago, when I found myself with a bit of free time, that I actually decided to try to sit down to write a book.  Much to my surprise, after completing a rough draft, a literary agent fell in love with the premise.  And after some sweat, tears, and revisions, what I ended up with was HELL ON WHEELS.  

Ana: And those sweat, tears, and revisions paid off! Hell on Wheels is a great start to Black Knights Inc. 
Neyra: *nods in agreement* It is, and they sure did!

Ana: How did you come up with the idea for Black Nights Inc.?

Julie:  I volunteer at the USO (United Service Organization), and I'm around men and women in uniform on a fairly regular basis.  I'm lucky enough to bear witness their valor, honor, sacrifice and patriotism.  And having borne witness to these traits, it was a foregone conclusion I'd write military-themed romantic suspense.  I wanted to tell THEIR stories...  Alas, there were a boatload of military-themed romantic suspense books out there, which caused me to ponder the ways I could make MY books stand out from the crowd.  One day, it hit me.  What could make the steadfast man-in-uniform even sexier?  Dress him in leather and put him on a badass bike.  Voila!  Black Knights Inc. was born!      

Neyra: Oh they stand out alright, I respect men and women of the military, but black ops have always been my favorite kinda heroes, there’s something so sexy and rogue about them ;) love it!
Ana: TADAAA lol. Yes, hawt  military men dressed in leather and ridin’ a badass bike? Wheeew. *wipes away sweat* 
Neyra: Amen!! xD Who was the easiest character to write, and which was the toughest?

Julie: Hands down, the easiest character for me to write was Becky.  She's a smartass, wise-cracking tomboy - much like myself.  So getting inside her head was a piece of cake.  It was sort of like being inside my own head. 

Ana: Love Becky! 

Julie: The toughest character for me to write, by far, was Michelle.  Because while I understood her motivations, I didn't necessarily agree with her reactions to those motivations.  Therefore, it made writing her story - and liking her as a heroine - extremely difficult for me.   

Ana: One of your characters, (and I’m sorry if this is a spoiler for some of you) Ozzie, does a lot of music references and some of your characters beg to differ with what they think is “great” music. Are you a fan of 80s music like Ozzie or are you siding with the other characters?

Julie:  Confession time... I have an affliction.  Not only do I love music, ALL music, but I have this funky, Rain Man-esque ability to remember song lyrics.  Whether it's Bon Jovi, George Straight, The Kinks, or Beyonce, chances are pretty good I can sing the song from front to back.  My husband likes to tease me and say, "Just think of all you might have accomplished, finding the cure for cancer or brokering peace in the Middle East, if your head wasn't filled up with song lyrics."  He's obviously exaggerating my would-be abilities, but it does highlight the fact that I'm an equal opportunity listener when it comes to tunes.  Anything and everything goes! 

Ana: Lol. Hey, if you ever get onto the show “The Singing Bee” or “Don’t Forget The Lyrics” you’ll be a shoe in to win! ^_^
Neyra: Lol.. Ah, but that’s the beauty of music, though, find the beat of your heart and everything goes ;)
Now, the book contains a lot of firearm specifics in which you go into detail to what most of them do, ex: how far they shoot, how loud they are, etc. Were you an army brat whose curiosity garnered her much firearm knowledge, or did you have to do a ton more research on this subject?.

Julie:  Well, like I said, I grew up in Oklahoma where shotguns are still known to reside on racks in the backs of pickup truck windows.  LOL!  So, yeah, I was raised around weapons, shooting weapons, learning to respect weapons, etc.  But I get most of my sidearm specs from soldiers.  Ask a service person to tell you which weapon they prefer, and they'll usually regale you with data until your ears bleed.  Not that I'm complaining, mind you.  That stuff is pure gold!

Ana: Lol. I know what you mean, my bro isn’t in the military, but he’s looking to enlist, so when I ask him about weapons he goes on and on and on... until I just drown him out xD
Neyra: That’s kind of sad, Ana. You’re bro’s enthusiastic and you deny him. smh @ you lol 
Ana: Lol. Hey, I didn’t ask for the whole enchilada, just one simple question. *shrugs*...

There’s a bit of an age difference between Frank and Rebecca, did that bother you any while writing their story, In Rides Trouble?

Julie:  Absolutely not.  I'm more of a "love knows no bounds" kind of gal.  What makes sense for some, doesn't for others, and vice-versa.  

Ana: Ahh. The age difference is a big one for me. I stop after a certain number. >.<
Neyra: Mm, yeah the story not only has to be well written, but the characters well fleshed out, and lets not forget, GROWN UP for me to even consider a relationship like that.. 
Ana: I agree, the younger of the two definitely needs to be on their “grown folks” game. Can’t be messin’ around with a grown ass child *shrugs* >.<

Julie: I think if two people genuinely like, respect, and honor each other, a little thing like a thirteen year age difference doesn't make a hill of beans. <--- That last reference is the Okie coming out in me.  Ha!  
Ana: Lol. Haven’t heard that one before. But I can dig it... *chants* hill of a beans, hill of a beans, hill of beans... lol xD
Neyra: *facepalm* 
Ana: Hush, you love me ♥

Neyra: But of course! ^_^
*Turns to Julie* Were you worried at all that you might have fans opposed to this relationship because of the age difference between the two?

Julie:  Here's the thing... I've lived long enough to realize I can't please everyone.  Some portion of every single one of my books will be viewed as offensive to somebody out there, guaranteed.  So, I write the stories as they are in my head and let the chips fall where they may.

Neyra: Well, I can respect that. Authors and readers both need to understand that we’re all raised differently and what might be right for one person, isn’t always right for another. So definitely good there Julie ;)

Ana: So,  I’m pretty sure Griggs death was important for Hell on Wheels to take off and become a story all its own, but I just had to say, the little bits and pieces of him that were in the book really made me love him as a character. Was there any point throughout the process of writing Hell on Wheels that you decided to bring him back to life? (I’m hoping it’s a yes lol)

Julie:  Oh, how it killed me that Grigg was really dead and gone.  But, like I said previously, I write the stories as they are in my head.  And, in my head, Grigg breathed his last in a sandy hut in Syria.  So, no, at no point did I think of bringing him back to life.  But, hopefully, like all good characters, his memory will live on in readers' hearts.

Neyra: Yeah, i think Grigg really needed to be dead and gone for this story to work. Sorry! But it’s true. Ana: *wipes away tear* R.I.P Grigg♥ But, I can appreciate that. His death, IMO, really added to the story. Neyra: Nate’s character was much of a brooder, he really fit his nickname well, always silent and stealthy. Is there anyone you drew inspiration from to create him and bring him to life?
Julie:  Bwahahah!  Well, I always say there's a little bit of my husband in all my heroes, and Nate is no exception.  Nate's level of reserve, his tendency to stay quiet and remain watchful, is TOTALLY my own sweet, lovin' hubby.  Because, hey, there can be only one life-of-the-party in any family and you're talking to her! ;-)   

Ana: Lol @ only one life of the party in any family. I so agree! Heeeey ;) 
Neyra: Smh, you would! lol Opposites attract sort of relationship? Nice ;)

Ana: Did you have a playlist to help you write the Black Knights Inc. series? If so, what was on this playlist?

Julie:  I listen to everything.  And I usually have different go-to songs for each book.  For HELL ON WHEELS, I played a lot of Curtis Stigers and the Forest Rangers, as well as an eclectic mix of The Killers, REO Speedwagon, Amy Winehouse and Styx.  For IN RIDES TROUBLE and the whole pirate plot, I went with Jimmy Buffett, Looking Glass, Grand Funk Railroad, and Gordon Lightfoot.  Then I got on a bit of a classic country music kick with REV IT UP, and I tuned in Kenny Rogers, Patsy Cline, Tanya Tucker, and the Man In Black himself, Johnny Cash.

Ana: All great artists/bands too ^_^ 
Neyra:  *coughs* yeah.. never heard of them... *crickets*

Ana: Let’s take this interview in a different direction now, shall we? If you could go on a date with one of the Black Knights, which would you pick and why? And where would this awesome date take place?

Julie:  I'd take Ozzie on a date any day of the week.  Because not only does he share my love of music, but he's also a Trekkie.  I figure we could go to a local bar where live music was playing and argue over which Star Trek incarnation was better: Voyager, Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, ad nauseum ad infinitum...  I know!  This probably only sounds fun to me... and Ozzie.  ;-)

Neyra: Oooh! Ozzie!! ♥ Love him to death and I would love a date with him as well :p
Ana: WOOOOT! Oh, but I do love me some Ozzie. He’s definitely my favorite by far! 

Neyra: Are you more into the romantic knight in shining armor, or would you rather the one that lets you fend for yourself while still protecting and loving you?

Julie:  Totally the second.  I'm not a wallflower or wilting lily.  If there are bullets flying, I definitely want a Glock and a full clip of my own, dangit!

Ana: lol @ wallflower. *turns to Neyra* She’s a badass all her own. 
Neyra: LOL! she sure is, girl after my own heart :D

Ana: Christmas is just around the corner, what is your favorite part of the holidays?

Julie:  Food.  Food.  Family.  Food.  Did I mention I like the food???
Neyra: *contemplates* No... I believe you’ve yet to mention food o.O lol
Ana: Hahaha! Nom Nom Nom. Making me hungry here xD

Neyra: Anything in particular you’re looking forward to this holiday season? Have you made your Christmas list and checked it twice?

Julie:  Oy.  How about an extra month added to my current deadline?  What was I THINKING agreeing to have a book due at the beginning of the year?  I must've been high on caffeine when I signed that contract...

Ana: You will not be held accountable for that caffeine high.... wait.. yes you will be. We. Want. More. Knights. *drools* xD
Neyra: You’re so horrible Ana, authors need love. That’s how they do your bidding and make more Knights xD lmao
Ana: Okay. You show her love, and I’ll simply wait here for more Knights. :| 

*Turns back to Julie* Thanks so much for joining us today!

Neyra: *shakes head at Ana, and turns to Julie* We had a lot of fun, and we hope to see you again at the DarkShores Lounge. Thanks for stopping by Julie!

Julie:  Thank you both for hosting me!  It was lovely, and I hope to stop by again soon!  Happy holidays!

Neyra: We look forward to it, and Happy Holidays as well! :)
Ana: *nods head in agreement* Happy Holidays! 
Concluding our lil chit chat with Julie, we’ve decided to join forces and conquer the world do a GIVEAWAY! What’s up for grabs, you ask? ONE winner will get their pick of any PAPERBACK COPY in Julie’s Black Knights Inc. series. Winner can choose an eBook copy instead of paperback, if they'd like. (If you choose Thrill Ride, we will pre-order that for you and send a confirmation email) 

 Fill out the rafflecopter below.
MUST be BOTH a follower of Beach Bum Reads
and Darkest Addictions to be eligible to win.

Open Internationally as long as the Book depository ships to you.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

HELL ON WHEELS, August 2012

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.

IN RIDES TROUBLE, September 2012

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.

REV IT UP, October 2012

He Never Misses a Target...
Jake "the Snake" Sommers earned his SEAL codename by striking quickly and quietly - and with lethal force. That's how he broke Michelle Carter's heart. It was the only way to keep her safe - from himself.   Four long years later, Jake is determined to get a second chance. But to steal back into Michelle's loving   arms, Jake is going to have to prove he can take things slow.  Real slow... 

She Aims to Make Him Beg
Michelle Carter has never forgiven Jake for being so cliché as to "love her and leave her." But when her brother, head of the Black Knights elite ops agency, ticks off the wrong mobster, she must do the  unimaginable: place her life in Jake's hands. No matter what they call him, this man is far from  cold-blooded.  And once he's wrapped around her heart, he'll never let her go...


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.

HE'S GONE ROGUE...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 DOWNVanessa Cordera 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...
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). For more information, please visit or follow her on Facebook and/or Twitter @JAWalkerAuthor

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