Saturday, February 2, 2013

Guest Blogger: N.R. Walker on Blind Faith

Today N.R. Walker is joining me on my blog to talk about her latest release, Blind Faith. Everyone please make her feel welcome and enjoy the interview with her along with an excerpt from her newest book! One I can't wait to read myself! ^.^


Welcome N.R., can you tell us a little bit about your background?
I’m an Aussie. I’m married. And I’m a mum to two children (a ten year old and a nine year old) and I work full time, which leaves my writing time to the hours between 11pm and 1am.  Needless to say, I don’t sleep much. 

When did you start writing m/m romance and why were you drawn to it?
I started writing fanfiction. I actually started writing het (male/female) and discovered m/m almost by accident.  I haven’t written m/f since.  I can’t lie, the main reason I was drawn to it was because it was HOT!  But there were complex characters who overcame adversities and issues outside of the standard m/f relationship. There were acceptance issues, insecurities and the fight to be one’s self which gave characters such depth. There was an honesty to it.  Aaaaand the sex was HOT.  LOL

Do you write full time?
No, but I wish I did.  It’s a dream of mine to write full time, and one I’d like to see come to fruition in the next few years. I’m very new to the publishing world – first published in 2012 - so realistically I should expect it to take a while to establish a reader base before I can.  We’re also in the process of building a house, so financially I’m not in a position to do so.

How long did it take you to get published? Was your book/novella accepted on the first submission or did you have to submit to more than one place before it was accepted?
My first story, Taxes and TARDIS was published in April 2012, but I had actually submitted Point of No Return first.  However, Taxes and TARDIS was an anthology piece and had a deadline and a pre-set release date, so it went live first.  Point of No Return, a standalone submission, followed about four months later.

I had subbed PoNR and was looking to write something else. That’s when I saw the Special Submissions call out for a short Geek-themed story.  I wrote Taxes and TARDIS, had it edited and submitted within ten days.  Luckily, it was accepted on first submission. 

What event(s) in your life helped you to decide to become a writer?
There was no one thing or event that led me to writing. As I mentioned before, I started in fanfiction. I’d never written before that (not since high-school) and really had no idea that people would even read my stories.  

Fanfiction is a great way to start writing and to hone writing skills, but I had original characters in my head who were screaming to be written, and presto! Here I am. 

Are you the type of writer who edits as they go along or do you finish and then go back to the beginning to start the 'polishing' process?
Oh, I write, write, write and then go back and edit. I need to keep writing while the characters are talking and just get the story down before I go back and fix it.  I also have pre-readers and beta-readers who help with plot holes and editing before it gets submitted.

Do you write from experience or are you the type who researches a subject until you feel you know it inside and out? 
While some of my story lines might stem from personal experience, I do the research. I write contemporary romance, so I mostly need to research locations and maybe occupational info specific for characters. In saying that, yes, I’ve done fairly extensive research on subjects like the hierarchy of the LAPD, the weather patterns in Florida, medical procedures, advertising, Ducati motorbikes, psychological disorders, personal lubricants, anal wands, martial arts, architecture and living with blindness.  

How do you come up with the title of your works? Is it during the writing process, before, after? Do you outline or fly by the seat of your pants when you start a new piece?
My titles always come from a line in the book.  I usually have the title in mind and write it into the story.  I outline my stories – or have what I call milestones. I know which plot-points have to happen, but the minor details and what the characters do in between usually just writes itself.

How much of yourself do  you incorporate in your characters? Is it intentional or does it come out subconsciously? Do you ever use people in your life for inspiration?
There is always a part of me in each character. For example, most of my characters, or someone in the book, loves coffee. LOL   I never noticed it, but when my sister reads my books, she’ll tell me something a character has done or said is me through and through. LOL 
I will usually have someone (celebrity or model)  in mind for my characters. It’s usually a visual inspiration. I find having a picture of how a character looks helps when writing him. 

 What do you hope your reader feels or experiences as they read your work?
I just hope they feel something. If they feel what the character feels, be it love, loss, anger, heartbreak or humor, then I have done it right.  The reader may not particularly like what they feel – if they hate a character or hate what a character did or said – but they have felt something.
I love hearing that a reader cried or laughed out loud when reading my stories. It’s the ultimate compliment.  

Since your first publication, has there been any surprises or funny/interesting stories you'd like to share?
I’ve met some amazing authors and readers alike, and had some great laughs with them through social media and even with personal emails. I love the social interaction and reactions I get from readers. 

What are you currently working on?
My current WIP is a short story series titled The Thomas Elkin Series. I’ve written and subbed the first in the series, called Perfect Retrofit. I’m almost finished the second, titled Clarity of Lines and then I can start the third which will be Sense of Place.

The main character, Thomas Elkin, is a 44 year old divorced architect. He finally decided to stop living a lie, making the decision to come out before he turned 40.  We meet him four years later when he’s at a bit of a cross-roads, not entirely sure what he’s looking for. 

That’s when he meets Cooper Jones, a 22 year old friend of his son. Needless to say, neither man’s life is the same. 

How do you overcome writer's block?
I’ve only ever had one serious case of writer’s block. I didn’t write a word – literally not one word -  for eight weeks. It was when I was writing fanfiction. How I overcame it, was reading the whole story (a 280,000 word story) from the beginning. I got a new sense of direction for the story and the characters and knew where it had to go.

Because I usually write so late at night, I find if the words aren’t coming, I need to sleep. LOL  I simply go to bed and let the scenes play out in my head. When I get up the next morning, I know how the scene should go.

Do you like to read as well as write? What types of books do you enjoy? Do you ever find yourself incorporating pieces of books you've read into your stories?
I only read m/m.  Not by principle, just that that’s my interest. It’s what I love.  I don’t read as much as I should. I find when I read a book, I get those characters in my head and they mess with mine. I usually read when I’ve finished a story and need to give my brain a rest. 

Where does your inspiration come from?
Inspiration for characters come from pictures I find best suit the character – what they wear, how they do their hair, maybe a dimple etc. 

Any special projects coming out soon that we should watch for?
Blind Faith has a sequel!!  It’s called Through These Eyes and it has a release date of March 30th!   Then of course there’s the Thomas Elkin Series, which I’m very excited about. And Point of No Return 2, titled Breaking Point should be released sometime this year as well. 

What do you like to do in your spare time?
Write, write and write some more. Between working and two school aged kids, there isn’t much spare time. LOL

Please tell everyone where to find you on the internet.
Facebook  N.r. Walker
Twitter  @NR_Walker

Okay, enough about me, now about this new story of mine… Blind Faith.
Now these boys were something special. I loved, loved, loved writing these boys.   

The Blurb:
Starting a new job in a new town, veterinarian Carter Reece, makes a house call to a very special client.

Arrogant, moody and totally gorgeous, Isaac Brannigan has been blind since he was eight. After the death of his guide dog and best friend, Rosie, his partnership with his new guide dog, Brady, isn't going well.

Carter tries to help both man and canine through this initiation phase, but just who is leading who?

And an excerpt:
“So, Carter,” Hannah said, smiling at me when I finally drew my eyes off her brother. “How’s the patient?” she asked, looking to the dog sitting between my legs.

I looked Brady over, feeling his spine, his hips, ribs, legs and fetlocks. I looked at his eyes, his gums, his teeth, though I really didn’t need to.  He was a picture of health. But before I could say so, Dr Fields answered. “Brady’s what? Nearly three years old now?”

It was a little odd. He wasn’t giving any kind of diagnosis.  He was steering the conversation.  I looked at him quizzically, but he gave a quick but subtle shake of his head and I knew not to question him.  But I had to say something. If I wanted Isaac to trust my professional opinion on anything in the future, I had to ask something.  So, instead, I asked, “Isaac, how’s his appetite?”

It wasn’t an invasive question, more of a general observation.

Isaac, who was now again sitting next to Dr Fields, seemed surprised at my question. “He would eat until he exploded if you let him.”

I chuckled.  Most Labradors, even well-trained guide dogs, would eat until they exploded if you let them, but I didn’t say this out loud. “And how many days per week on average does he work?”  I wasn’t an expert on guide dogs but I knew some. I knew when they were harnessed with their human half of the team, it was called working.

Isaac was still, no expression, no movement, and I wondered if I’d asked a wrong question.  But then he answered, “That depends. Sometimes five, sometimes seven days a week.”  He opened his mouth to say something else, but then obviously thought better of it. He cocked his head in my general direction. “Why?”

“Just getting to know the patient,” I answered, hoping he’d hear the nonchalance in my tone. “That’s all. I’m sure Dr Fields will fill me in on any particulars if needed.”

Dr Fields, my boss for the next two weeks before his retirement, jumped in on the conversation. “Dr Reece, could you go out to the car and grab the bag of dried dog food? There’s a five pound bag in the trunk. I forgot to bring it in.”

I could read my cues. He wanted some alone time with Isaac.  “Sure.” 

And as I stood to leave, Hannah joined me. “I’ll walk you out.”

As we walked out into the warm summer sun, she sighed. “Isaac can be difficult,” she said softly. “So don’t feel bad. He and Max have known each other a lot of years.”

I popped the trunk, collected the bag of dog food and closed the station wagon’s rear door. I looked at her and smiled.  “I can see that.”

She smiled back at me. “You can see which one? That Isaac can be difficult, or that he’s good friends with Max?”

I wisely chose not to answer, which was in itself an answer.

Hannah smiled and nodded. “Just don’t let him bother you too much. He loves Brady, he does. It’s just some days are better than others…” 

Before I could ask her what she meant, she looked to the bag in my arms and she brightened. “Come on, I’ll show you where you can put that.”

We walked back into the house, through the living room where Isaac and Dr Fields were still talking, and into the kitchen.  I sat the bag of Brady’s dry food on the counter and not a second later, the two men in the living room stood, their conversation drawing to a close.

When we were saying goodbye, Dr Fields had taken Isaac’s hand, patting it the way a grandfather would his grandson’s. “It’s not goodbye. I’ll call in and see how you’re doing from time to time.”

Isaac snorted. “If you can drag yourself off the golf course.”

Dr Fields laughed.  “Well, there’s that.”  But then he was serious and patted the younger man’s hand. “You can expect the same service from Dr Reece, Isaac. He’ll look after you.”

Isaac had nodded but not said anything, and when we’d driven out onto the road, heading back to the clinic, Dr Fields sighed.  “Isaac doesn’t take change very well,” he explained.  “He never has.”

I thought about that, and what certain changes would mean to a blind man. He’s familiar with Dr Fields, he trusts him. Not just in his treatment of his guide dog, but trusts his judgment and also, more importantly, trusts him in his house.  His safe haven.  Any kind of significant change must be an ordeal. I looked at the older man and agreed with a nod.  “No, I don’t suppose he would.”

I had questions about Isaac Brannigan, but figured the older man had just basically said goodbye to an old friend, so I decided it could wait another day. We made the rest of the drive back to the clinic in silence and went straight back to appointments.  It wasn’t until later that evening the questions I had couldn’t wait.

I’d finished my daily appointments and was catching up on paperwork when I’d opened the Brannigan file. So I knocked lightly on Dr Fields’ office door, and when he looked up, I held up the thick file so he’d know who I was referring to and asked, “Is there any reason why we run every imaginable test on a healthy dog?  Just what exactly are we trying to find wrong with this dog?”

Dr Fields put down his pen and closed the folder in front of him. He took off his reading glasses, rubbed his thumb and index finger into his eyes and sighed loudly. “Come in and sit down, Carter,” he said, resigned. “Let me tell you about Isaac Brannigan.”

* * * *

Blind Faith is available at Silver publishing. The link to buy is HERE!!

1 comment:

  1. Ooh~ I'm so happy to see sequels to those two books coming! :D
    Really enjoyed the interview~