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). Readers can find visit her at her web site, her Facebook Fan Page, and on Twitter.

PonyTails (PT): Hell On Wheels is your debut novel and the first in the Black Knights Inc. series. What was it like to get the call that Sourcebooks Casablanca wanted the entire trilogy?

Julie Ann Walker (JAW): Oh, I hope my agent doesn’t read this, because it’s still a sore subject between the two of us. You see, I got “the call” while I was out cycling. Now let me set the stage for you… Imagine me fifteen miles down the road from my condo, peddling my little heart out, trying to burn off at least some of the calories from the fettuccine I shouldn’t have eaten for lunch – I have very little willpower when it comes to pasta – when, suddenly, there’s a sea of broken glass in front of me. I slam on my brakes, but it’s too late. I run over the glass – which, of course, results in two blown tires. So, long story short – too late! – I finish changing both tires, but now I’m hot and sweaty, covered in grease from my bicycle chain, bleeding from where I scraped my knuckles on the pavement, and severely ticked-off about the fact that I still have to cycle all the way back home, when, suddenly, my cellular rings. Gingerly, with greasy, bloody fingers, I dig the phone from my pocket to hear my lovely agent squealing that she’s sold my books. And my response? In that moment? “Oh, good. But can I call you back in about half an hour?” *wince* She says it was the most underwhelming reaction she’s ever had.

But I’ll tell you this, those fifteen miles home went by in a flash, and I completely forgot about being hot and sweaty, bleeding and covered in grease.

PT: What drew you to the military romantic suspense genre?

JAW: Really? Have you ever seen a serviceman in full dress uniform? Hubba-hubba! The better question is why isn’t everyone drawn to military romantic suspense? No, but seriously, I volunteer at the USO and I can tell you, there isn’t another group of individuals out there more heroic than our fighting men and women. I’m always awed but their grit, determination, and sacrifice.

PT: Why do you write about these modern day warriors?

JAW: It’s a very small way for me to express my admiration for all that they do..

PT: Do you plan your stories or do you just put pen to paper and see what happens?

JAW: Aw, yes, the writing process… What a mystical and… harrowing?… thing it is. You see, for me, the stories usually manifest themselves all in one fell swoop. I’ll know my hero and heroine, all the secondary characters, and the major plot points before I ever sit down to put my fingers on the keyboard. So the actual sitting down to put my fingers on the keyboard is a bit of a… um… let’s call it struggle. Since I already know how the story ends, I find it very difficult to take the time to put the words on the page – mostly because I’m ready to start dreaming up something new. Of course, there are days when the story goes off in a direction I didn’t expect and then… bliss!

PT: What are your go to resources when you write? Favorite books, websites, technology, etc.

JAW: I absolutely love military internet message boards. Everything from talks on weaponry to gear to simple military terms is there at the tips of my fingers. Message boards are also phenomenal resources for discovering how service men and women speak to one another. Because, you know, they really do have their own language, one that, as a civilian, I can’t possibly hope to fake simply from watching a few movies.

PT: Being a debut novelist, what advice would you give aspiring authors?

JAW: Write, write, and write some more. Like everything else, practice really does make perfect. My favorite quote is from Ernest Hemingway. It goes something like this, “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” Amen, Ernie. Amen.

Thank you to Julie Ann for visiting PonyTails.

The wonderful Danielle Jackson at Sourcebooks Casablanca has agreed to sponsor a giveaway of 1 copy of Hell On Wheels . It is open to US and Canadian residents only. I will close the sign up on Friday, September 7, 2012 at 11:59pm EDT. I will use Random.org to select the winner and will announce the winner here on Monday, September 10, 2012. To enter, please fill out the form at the end of the post.

About Hell On Wheels:

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.

Hell On Wheels is available from Amazon in Print and Kindle editions.

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