Saturday, June 8, 2013

Author Interview & Giveaway: J.H. Walker

We are excited to welcome author, J.H. Walker, to the nest today. She's here to discuss her novel, Rewrite Redemption. Be sure to check out the giveaway details at the end of this post.

Andrea @ Reading Lark: What inspired you to write the book?

J.H.: I grew up in an extremely strict environment. Self-expression was not something encouraged in my house. Conformity and absolute adherence to a rigid ideology were the rules of the day. (The main reason why I never wrote early in life.) Since I lived in Central America, I wasn't part of the mainstream American culture. I knew nothing about the real world and was totally unprepared to deal with it when I left home at eighteen. I've always wished I could go back in time and talk to my younger self, give her the benefit of the wisdom that begins to come with age. That desire led me to a fascination with time travel and eventually a book about it.

Andrea @ Reading Lark: What is your favorite part of the book?

J.H.: If I told you that, I’d be revealing spoilers, and that’s not something I want to do. But there’s something I did deliberately that takes me back to my own teen years, and I hope will resonate with some of the readers.

If a popular girl sees a guy she likes, she usually has the confidence and power to meet him and get things rolling. (And vice-versa with a guy.) But it doesn't work that way for everyone. Often, there’s a lot of lusting, longing, and obsessing from afar before anything really happens, perhaps before they even actually meet.

Have you ever had the experience of becoming aware of someone and then not being able to get them out of your mind? You might think it’s their eyes, or their smile, or the way they walk through a room—and those could be the triggers. But what’s most likely going on is that for reasons too complicated to explain here, your brain is flooding you with feel-good chemicals whenever you see this person…or maybe even think of him or her. (It’s a process that has gone on since the dawn of time that has insured the continuation of the species.) That being said, the point is that those feelings can be really intense, especially in teens.

I wanted to give a taste of that intensity in this story…that longing from afar. The hero and heroine don’t meet right away, but they’re aware of each other early on. There are reasons they each need to meet the other that relate to the paranormal elements in the story. But there’s more going on. Something has clicked and they are obsessing about each other. It really comes into play in a couple of scenes that take me back to my teenage days, sigh. The pure physicality of it is never as intense as when you’re young—thank you hormones.

So if you've ever had that feeling where suddenly you’re brain has locked on to someone and you’re obsessing about them, you know what I’m talking about. I’m hoping you can experience that again, vicariously, in this story. And maybe, it’s just possible that they’re obsessing about you too. What is that like from the guy’s side? It’s fun to imagine, and I hope it will be fun to read about it in the book.

Andrea @ Reading Lark: Does music influence your writing? Do you have a writing playlist, and if
so, are you willing to share a sample or two from it?

J.H.: I suppose it does in an indirect way. There are times when I’m working on a particularly dramatic scene, and I’ll use a song to heighten the tension. In this book I've used “Hallelujah” by Jeff Buckley and “Save Me” by Remy Zero to that effect. One of my characters, Constantine, is a musician and very connected to music and sound. He plays guitar and is in a band. When I’m looking at things through his eyes, music is always involved because that’s how it is for him.

In my twenties, I was living in the Chicago suburbs, and knew a bunch of people in the music business. I had back stage passes to all kinds of venues. They say write what you know, and I’ll probably use those experiences at some point. Constantine’s band doesn't come into play in this first book, as Constantine is separated from his normal life. But it might play a part in the sequel. One of the bands he likes is Strange Familiar. They have a song, “Redemption.” If I had a play list for this book, that song would be on it.

Andrea @ Reading Lark: Which comes first? The character's story or the idea for the novel?

J.H.: Wow, that’s a hard one. I knew I wanted to write a book that had time travel as an element. But the characters and their stories begin to form first. The book is very character driven. I get a sense of who the characters are and what’s happened to them to make them that way. And then, I suppose the story follows.

Andrea @ Reading Lark: What is your favorite bird? 

J.H.: We love the raptors at our house. Living in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, our picture windows look out at these spectacular red rock cliffs—no houses in between. The raptors love to fly off the cliffs and soar across the valley. We keep binoculars handy, as we are particularly fond of a pair of Red Tailed Hawks that live there. They are so elegant. In the evening the Nighthawks come out to play, and they are incredible too. But I have to say, my favorite bird is this Great Horned Owl that lives down the gulch in the pine trees. We see him from time to time and we hear him hoot at night. I find it soothing.

About the Author

My life has been rather unconventional. Born insanely curious into an authoritarian, religious family, I know what it’s like to not fit in. My teen years were a struggle, and I remember them in all their intensity. That’s why I like writing for young adults.

I grew up in Central America, surrounded by jungle, and was never too far from the ocean. I observed other cultures, including an indigenous tribe that, at the time, had seen little of the modern world. While there, I slept in a hammock in a bamboo hut, dressed in tribal clothing, and helped bring three babies into the world at the tender age of fourteen. I survived a hurricane aboard an ocean liner, canoeing through alligator infested waters, P.E., my brother’s pet tarantulas, sky diving, para-sailing over the Pacific shoreline, rock climbing, a ropes course blindfolded, and walking barefoot across hot coals. I’m not done having experiences.

I attended the University of Colorado, Boulder, but was so obsessed in my quest to understand human behavior; I left midstream to travel the country and study with people doing groundbreaking work in the field. I’m certified in Ericksonian Hypnosis, am a Master of Neuro-linguistic Programming, and have worked with world-class athletes, including members of the U.S. Ski Team. I've completed advanced studies with some of the most brilliant minds of my time in the field of NLP and am a perpetual student of sociology and human behavior.

I live with my photographer husband in the foothills of the Colorado Rockies. I’m surrounded by trees. And I will always remain insanely curious. 

About the Novel

She’s sixteen. He’s seventeen. They don’t know each other…at least not yet.

She has a secret and her whole life revolves around keeping it. Every few months and with little warning, she simply disappears, pulled into the past for hours or even days. She’s terrified it will happen in front of someone, changing her life forever. So far, the only witnesses have been her parents, and that didn’t end well. She has no control over it and no idea why it happens to her. 

She wants answers.

He has answers—at least he understands what’s going on. He has a secret, too. He’s part of an organization that goes back in time to rewrite reality. But he also has a problem. He broke the organization’s number-one rule by altering his own timeline. As punishment, he’s been blocked from time travel, which is most unfortunate. Because the changes he made to his timeline, accidentally resulted in disaster for his family. A disaster he’s now prevented from repairing. No one can travel beneath the organization’s radar except a Shadow. But they’re rare, so rare he’s never even met one.

Then he moves to her town.

We have TWO eBook copies of Rewrite Redemption up for grabs. Thank you, J.H. Walker, for providing the books for the giveaway. The giveaway is open internationally. In order to win you must:

* Be 13+ years old
* Fill out the Rafflecopter below

The giveaway runs from June 8-15. The winners will be contacted via email on June 16. Reading Lark is not responsible for prize delivery.


  1. Love your blog and the awesome giveaways!

    This book looks great and the plot is definitely interesting. Can't wait to read it.

  2. Andrea, thanks for hosting me on your blog. You have such a cool site...clean, elegant. Even my husband, standing over my shoulder, remarked about what a nice design it was. It was a pleasure doing the interview with you.

    1. Thank you for the sweet comments! I'm so glad both you and your husband enjoy the look of the blog. You're welcome to come back and hang out with us anytime. :)

    2. Thanks for the compliments, we have worked hard on feathering our nest just right. :)

  3. I like secrets in a story.

    A great post thank you.


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