I wanted to interview a fabulous new author, Hope Walker. Convincing her only took three hours of pleading, another hour of begging, and two bottles of wine. I’m not going to count the box of chocolates since by the time I gave it to her, it was half empty. Anyway, the important thing is she agreed, so I kicked some bodies out of the way and made room for her to sit down and tell us all about her world.
Thank you so much for inviting me for this interview, Kimberly! I’m glad the bodies are in the basement, and your knitting needles are put away, replaced with a pad of paper and ink pen instead.
Where were you born and where do you call home?
I was born in what was once a lovely little town called Everett, Washington. It’s located just 20 miles north of Seattle. I was pretty much born and raised there until 2006 when my husband and I packed our daughter and belongings up in a moving truck and moved to Ellensburg, which is located in central Washington.
Unfortunately we were hit with the downfall of the housing market and my husband lost his job, which resulted in us losing our home. We came back to Everett with our pride hurt and feeling as if it was the end, especially when we had to move into my parents’ basement. But everything has a way of coming around, and we found ourselves with an opportunity to become care-takers of a 10 acre farm just a little further northeast of Everett. This place is magical in its countryside beauty. It easily became the backdrop to Ink Slinger.
What do you do when you are not writing?
I’m pretty much a stay at home mom where I not only take care of our 8-year-old daughter, but also a couple other children. They keep me busy. We also have a variety of critters on this here farm! LOL. We have chickens, ducks, dogs, cats and not that long ago we even had two Scottish Highlander cows. No, they did not become dinner. They were strictly our pets. However, they kept getting out and causing some commotion in our community and we had to give them away to a place that could keep them in better than we were able to. My friends often laugh at me when they hear my stories of the cows and chickens. I was always the city girl. Now I’m the farm girl, and I love it!
I’m also involved in the PTA, helping my daughter in Girl Scouts, and running her soccer team.
Recently I’ve taken up running. I was never a runner, barely a walker other than my last name. My weight was getting out of control and I knew I had to do something to get in control of not only my weight, but my life. I was beginning to lose who I was after losing our home, and doing everything for everybody else. I vowed last year that 2012 would be the year for ME. So I joined Weight Watchers, participated in a program called the Couch to 5K that taught me how to get off my butt and jog. I ran my first 5K in October and I lost 50 lbs in 2012.
As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
First, I wanted to be a teacher, then a mother, then a writer. I wanted to be all three of those. They seem pretty easy. Go to college, get married, have a baby, write a book. None of it came easy to me.
I couldn’t afford college and after paying for a year out of my pocket, I just couldn’t imagine putting myself in debt any further, so I went to work as an Admitting Representative at the hospital I was born at. I liked my job.
Being a mother should have been easy too. After all, most of my friends were mothers. Teenagers were getting pregnant every time they sneezed or giggled at a boy. So here I was married to my first love, had our own home and we both had decent jobs. I couldn’t get pregnant. My dream of becoming mother was soon going to the curb just as wanting to be a teacher. After hard work, and lots of injections in my stomach and butt, we were blessed to become pregnant through IVF and in July of 2004, I gave birth to my wonderful daughter, Megan, and I became a mother.
Sometimes feeling like a failure, I would get depressed, but then I realized that everything I had, although was not much anymore, we worked hard for. So why couldn’t I still make my dream of becoming a writer come true? God puts people in your life for a reason, and he put someone special in mine that encouraged me and inspired me to follow my dream. Now here I am being interviewed as an author by MY favorite author! Life is pretty good!
Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?
I was always a fan of Laura Ingalls Wilder. I loved watching the Little House on the Prairie when I was little, and I loved reading her stories even more. I had always felt that there was a little bit of her in myself. She was so intriguing to me.
When I was older, I loved reading John Steinbeck, My other favorite was Wilson Rawls, who wrote Where the Red Fern Grows.
My love of thrillers, suspense and horror didn’t actually come from books at all. That came from movies. I love movies where I have to close my eyes and wonder if my heart will stop after being scared to death.
My grandmother took my brother and me to see Poltergeist when I was 8 years old. She thought the movie was about something else and had no idea what it really was about. That movie changed the way I looked into mirrors, the way I looked at trees, and it made me always check behind the shower curtain at my grandma’s house. I loved the adrenaline and fear it caused me.
My mother was a Stephen King fan, so watching his movies was always a must in our house. Cujo was one of the first movies I remember being allowed to watch. Oh how I loved it!
Growing up, my stories were always about love and finding love. I never saw myself as a writer of suspense, but I thought since I loved it so much, why not give a go at it.
What does your family think of your writing?
My daughter thinks it’s pretty awesome and wants to read my stories, but I won’t let her yet. She’s still too young for some of the content in my stories. My husband is supportive and is pretty proud of what I’ve accomplished thus far. My mother is beyond proud!
Give us three “Good to Know” facts about you.
One “Good to Know” fact about me is that I’m afraid of failure. I won’t put myself out there, or try something that I could possibly fail at. It was another reason I didn’t continue in college.
Another “Good to Know” fact about me is that I am awful in math. Math scares me. I mean really scares me. I could read a math book and be just as scared as if it was the #1 written horror story of the century. I still count using my fingers. I couldn’t tell you what 5+7 is without counting it on my fingers… The answer is 12. I had to count on my fingers, and I had to do it twice. I guess you could add the fear of math into my first fact of failure. I didn’t want to continue because I didn’t want to take math and fail.
The last “Good to Know” fact about me is that my stories will always have a bit of me, or someone close to me, in them. There will always be something from my life in each story. One character will be a big version of a small part of me.
How many books have you written?
This is a trick question. I have written many! I have three that are published right now, along with a poem in a book called Quiet Moments. I have two on my computer that are in the revision process, and one that I just started that I am hoping will become my first actual novel. It will be more of a love story, but will still have some elements of suspense, but just in a different way than my other stories. It will be one for my friends who love their “romance” books, which let’s face it, they are just a written form of porn. I love them too, though! I have actually written a complete porno for my husband, and I know I am good at it. It’s just one of my fears I have of putting myself out there with that genre, but give me time.
Which one is your favorite?
Oddly, most would think Ink Slinger, because that was my baby. But I really love Grace’s Secret. I wrote that story really fast to get my name out there, and I didn’t know where it was going to go. When I was done with that short story, I was excited! I read it several times and never got tired of reading it.
Who is your favorite character?
Well, I do have a favorite character, but I can’t say which one as I’m afraid it would give something away in the story. So my second favorite character is Sissy in Co-Dependent. She is a single mother with no self-esteem and just has a thing for a bad boy. I can relate for falling for the bad boy.
Can you tell us about your challenges in getting your first book published?
My challenge was that it was ALL new to me. The formatting was the most daunting to me. I took each challenge as a learning process. It’s teaching me to fail, but to learn from it. That in itself is the challenge for me. It’s the failing. Even if it’s just that the size of my cover failed to load. I wanted to scream several times.
What marketing avenues have you found work best for you?
Right now I am Tweeting, Facebooking, Goodreads, and talking to everyone I know.
Have you written a book you love that has not gained the reviews you expected?
Yes. Ink Slinger has only been out a short time, and I haven’t been getting any reviews on it. My friends all tell me verbally how much they LOVE it, but I can’t seem to get any written reviews.
Are there certain characters you would like to go back to, or is there a theme or idea you’d love to work with?
I want to stick with romance with more sex, but still keep it suspenseful. I like the idea of having a little bit of everything in the book. I wish I could go back and turn Grace’s Secret into a full length book.
What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?
Being new at this, I’m learning I can’t please everyone. I have had lots of complaints that Grace’s Secret is too short to be called a book. Which is funny because I’ve never called it a book. It’s a short story, but apparently, too short of a story. I had one review saying it was a waste of time, that it was predictable and a cliché. That hurt me really bad.
The best compliment is being called “The New Queen of Twists.” Whoa! That was pretty awesome! That is what I want to write! I love stories that seem so predictable, but they have a little surprise waiting for you. I want to keep that going.
When did you first realize you wanted to write?
It was third grade when I wrote a story and the teacher told my mother that I had an incredible imagination and wanted me to keep writing. I was never good at anything before. Never played sports, and was really shy. So I felt like I finally had something.
Where do you get your ideas?
My ideas come from life. Either from a snippet of a moment I’ve experienced, or a friend’s experience. My new short story, Split, which will be out soon, was inspired by my friend and her husband who decided to move into their cabin in the woods to save money. Even though Split has NOTHING to do with them, that decision they made inspired the beginning to my story.
Do you ever experience the dreaded writer’s block?
Yes! I have a story that is sitting in my computer because I can’t finish it. I went years without ever writing.
Do you work with an outline, or just write?
I just write.
What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?
I don’t have one. When inspiration hits, I write until I’m either so tired I can’t stay awake, or I’ve hit a spot I need to think about.
Where and when do you prefer to do your writing?
I write with the TV on, sitting on my couch. I love to write at night.
Do you prefer a laptop, desktop, or good old pen and paper?
I use to use pen and paper. I have lots of notebooks with stories. But now I use my laptop.
What is one of the most surprising things you have learned in creating your books?
I’ve learned that I’m not as creative as I once used to be. I used to be good at creating imagery. I have to work a bit more at that now. It doesn’t come as easy as it did when I was younger.
Have you ever hated something you wrote?
Yes! Nobody will ever see those.
What is your favorite way to unwind after a long day of writing?
Sleeping and just vegging out in front of the TV.
Will you have a new book coming out soon? If so, what is it about?
YES. I have another short story called Split that I am working on. It’s about a guy who moves his family to a cabin to save money. He quits his truck driving job that he LOVES to be home with his wife because she is not thrilled about living in the cabin, and hates the idea. He comes home one night and his wife and kids are gone suddenly, just vanished. It will have some hard, brutal stuff in it all around.
I’m also writing a new romance/erotica/thriller. This is going to hopefully be a follow-up for my fans of Grace’s Secret. I am hoping it will be my first full length novel.
Now for a little 7/7/7. Not counting the intro or title pages, go to the seventh page in the book you are currently writing, go down to the seventh line, and give us the next seven sentences.
Hurrying back to my truck so I can unload it, I notice another odd thing. The hood of my truck is open. “What the…” I say aloud. “Jack, so not funny son!” I snicker as I call after my son. I know he’s out here somewhere trying to prank me. He’s always doing things like that to me.
What advice would you give to aspiring writers on how to better themselves?
Surround yourself with other writers. Find ones that are just as excited to write as you. They will be the ones to help you and support you the most.
Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
Yes! Of course it is YOU, Kimberly A. Bettes. Reading Rage and then Held really got me thinking that the type of stories I should be writing, are in the style of the ones I love to read the most. I had been reading Twilight and all the vampire books, but it wasn’t until I read Rage and Held that the fire began burning inside me again.
List 3 books you recently read and would recommend?
Twisted, by Kimberly A. Bettes
On the Island by Tracey Garvis-Graves
Strangers by Barbara Elsborg
If one of your books was made into a movie, what actors would you like to see playing your characters?
I would like to see Paul Walker playing Scott in Ink Slinger. Just because he’s nice to look at!
If you gave one of your characters an opportunity to speak for themselves in this interview, what would they say?
JUST FOR FUN
What kind of films do you enjoy?
I like thrillers/horror.
What kind of music do you listen to?
I like everything except Jazz, classical and blues.
What television shows are a “must-see” for you?
The Walking Dead and Dance Moms. Love me some zombies and love the reality shows!
How many U.S. states have you visited?
How many countries have you visited?
Of all the places you’ve traveled, where is your favorite?
That’s a toss up between Florida and Mexico.
What is the longest flight you’ve ever been on?
Probably to Puerta Vallarta. I don’t like to fly, so any flight is a long flight for me.
Describe yourself in five words.
Sarcastic, romantic, mother, shy, afraid
What is your best characteristic?
Being able to make people laugh.
What is your worst characteristic?
My fear of failure.
What is something you have experienced in your life that you would like to go back and experience again?
Meeting my husband when I was 16. Best time ever! I will write a book about it someday!
What is the key to happiness and/or success?
Family, friends, love and communication.
Are you a beach, country, or city person?
Although I live in the country, I love the hot sand between my toes and looking out at beautiful open blue water.
What is your favorite quote of all time?
Winners find a way, Losers find an excuse.
Where can your readers stalk you?
Thank you so much for stopping by and taking the time to do this interview. It was a great peek into your world. I hope you had some fun, and good luck on your future endeavors.
You’re very welcome. I enjoyed it! Thank you so much for this opportunity!
A professional writer, or one who edits/proofreads for professional writers.
This is a short story.
Grace is every man’s dream, with her blonde curly hair, long legs, and her willingness to let them use her and toss her aside. She thrives on it. Her life gets tangled when she falls in love for her first time with Trevor, a man from church who’s dating Grace’s angelic best friend, who also happens to be her sister.
A day at the beach that started out innocently, will change all of their lives forever, and it forces Grace to harbor a secret from the ones that she loves. A short story with an ending you think is predictable, but has a wicked twist you won’t see coming!
When Sissy’s abusive husband leaves her and their son, she is forced to go from a reclusive stay at home mom to a working career woman. Her life now consist of taking care of their ill son, dealing with her overbearing mother, and co-workers at the law firm she works at, who make it clear they don’t want her there.
Sissy Hall is weak, broken, and starving for affection. She needs someone to take care of her.
Her life takes an unexpected turn when her estranged husband shows up after being away for two years, and is insisting on seeing their son.
Asking her boss, a lawyer in the firm for help could be her answer.
Will Sissy be strong, or fall into her co-dependent ways?