Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year! Author Interview: TR Graves, author of The Warrior Series

Happy New Year everyone!!!  I managed to get my house about 75% clean AND pamper myself just a little before the clock struck midnight.  I rang in the new year with my hubby and a nice glass of champagne.  My oldest son TRIED to stick it out, but he just couldn't make it :-).  

Anyway!  Today I have a super special guest to get this year started off right.  I have had the tremendous pleasure of working with her on her most recently published book, Guardians of the Cross, and now she is stopping by so we can get to know her a little better.  I'm doing this feature a little out of order this time because I wanted the good stuff to post on New Year's Day!  So, my review of Guardians will post tomorrow...

Everyone please welcome Ms. TR Graves, author of the The Warrior Series.  

Author Interview
TR Graves
The Warrior Series
GL:  Please tell us a little about your lovely self.

TG:  I'm a wife, mother, and friend (first), a nurse and hospital administrator (second), and an aspiring author (last).  Of course, when you look at who I am, you will see that I have deeply embedded the things most important to me into every page of The Warrior Series.

GL:  I can absolutely see that, and I think it makes it EVEN better because you pour yourself into the work.

GL:  Now, tell us about the first two books of your Warrior series.

TG:  I'm including the books' summaries:
Warriors of the Cross:
Allison La Crosse, beginning a challenging family medicine residency, leaves the protection of her family. With the transfer, her worst nightmares come true. Her closely guarded mystical talents – those which seldom appeared before the move – unleash themselves from her confinement and reveal their presence with very little provocation.  Allison’s most terrifying power is her compulsion to cure the dying with her touch. Given her career, this gift would be valuable if she were not drawn like a magnet to the ailing person's every symptom. Some of which are fatal.

Guardians of the Cross:
Allison La Crosse's world is in a tailspin. After learning she has the power to cure the dying with her touch (a lethal curse when wielded), she is viciously attacked. More unsettling than the violence is the identity of her assailant. Devin turns out to be the first person she ever saved and her mother's killer. When her soul met Devin's an unbreakable bond was formed. Now, Allison must save Devin - again - from his twin brother's control or kill them both. If she fails, she'll lose those closest to her...including the love of her life, Brody, and her best friend forever, Clark.
GL:  What was your inspiration for the series? 

TG:  My family and my patients.  As a nurse, I've watched distraught parents lose their children.  I've seen children grieve over their dying parents' beds.  I consoled wives (husbands) mourning over their husbands' (wives') deaths.  Really, there is nothing more heart wrenching.  As a compassionate caregiver, I would have done anything to be able to magically heal these people's loved ones and rescue them from their suffering.  The Warrior Series is my way of saving people in situations where I would have been made to stand by and watch death take over.

GL:  Any time I have been a patient in the hospital or had a loved one in the hospital, especially when my father was so sick and passed away, we have had THE most amazing nurses and doctors caring for us.  You can truly tell when someone loves their job, although it is undoubtedly extremely difficult, and when they strive to pass along every ounce of care and compassion they have to their patients. Thank you SO very much for being one of those compassionate caregivers.  You mean so much to everyone you come in contact with!

GL:  Which character do you relate to the most?

TG:  As a healthcare worker, Allison La Crosse - a woman who wants to help others - would be the closest to who I am.  Though, her physical characteristics are those of my very, very lovely daughter who dreams of being a physician one day.

GL:  Which character was the most difficult for you to write/develop? 

TG:  There are things hard for me to write, but it's not my characters.  Everything about them and their characteristics flows effortlessly from my vision to the page.  My most difficult challenge is writing about Brody and Allison's attraction to one another in a manner that helps the reader understand how uncontrollable their craving is without it appearing gratuitous or crude.  My good-natured friends make fun of me because I have such a hard time writing the very intimate scenes between Brody and Allison.  If I didn't know how important those moments are to the story, I would cowardly avoid them...ask the reader to believe handholding is all the passion soul mates need.

GL:  I am the same way!  LOL  I put a little teeny, teeny tiny bit of “risqué” stuff in one of my stories (SO PG!), and my mom called me out on it.  I’m like, “Hey, I’m trying to make this real.”  And, I still felt like it was totally silly.  Sigh…

GL:  Did you have to do much research while writing the series?

TG:  I am constantly researching.  It's amazing what you forget when you don't use it every day.

GL:  If the Warrior series was made into a movie, are there any particular characters you would prefer played the main roles: Allie, Clark, Brody, Devin?

TG:  Allison La Crosse would be Blake Lively or Dakota Fanning.  Brody Kennedy would be Zac Efron.  Clark Ardent would be Drew Roy.  Devin DeMorte would be Theodoros Theodoridis.

GL:  I had to look those last two up (yum!), but I think that is a perfect cast (with Blake as Allie).

GL:  What are you currently working on?  When can we expect the next amazing book of the Warrior series?

TG: Enemies of the Cross will be released in the fall of 2012 (unless I can finish sooner).  Then, I want to write James' stories from Guardians of the Cross, Worth Living For and Worth Dying For

GL:  I am SO glad you are going to write James’ books!!!  I can’t wait!!

GL:  Given a choice, would you prefer to be a Warrior or a Guardian? Why?

TG:  I want to be a Warrior because they have the power to heal. 

GL:  I kinda think I’d like to be a Guardian, maybe because of the incredible responsibility the Warriors must shoulder. 

GL:  What important lessons have you learned in writing and publishing?

TG:  There are almost too many to mention.  The most important lesson is the critical role others play in a book's success.  Let me explain.  I can write the most wonderful story, but it takes others - reading it, talking about it, recommending it - to make it successful.  In addition to wonderful readers/fans/friends, I've met people I like to call virtual angels.  Without virtual angels, I would still be trying to create my book covers, edit my books, and single-handedly market Warriors & Guardians.  I've been fortunate to have been able to work with the best-of-the-best. (Of course, this includes you, Cassie!)

GL:  Awww, shucks!!  It truly has been my pleasure…

GL:  Who created your beautiful covers?

TG:  Claudia McKinney with Phatpuppy Creations.  I saw one of her book covers late last year and immediately contacted her.  I will forever be thankful for her kindness, her talent, and her work ethics.  She is phenomenal.

GL:  She does amazing work!

GL:  What do you enjoy in your “free time”?

TG:  Between work, commuting, and writing, I'm logging a solid 90-100 hours per week.  That leaves very little time for anything else, but every spare second I do have is spent surrounded by my wonderful kids and supportive husband.

GL:  What was your favorite highlight of 2011?

TG:  Warriors of the Cross reached heights that I never thought possible.  It topped some of Amazon's bestseller lists (#1 Bestsellers in Romance, #1 Bestsellers in Family Saga Fiction, #2 Bestsellers in Action & Adventure Fiction, #4 Bestsellers in Genre Fiction, #5 Bestsellers in Kindle Store) and sold more books than I ever expected.  It would be AMAZING if Guardians of the Cross could reach even a few of those milestones.

GL:  I believe it will! :-)

GL:  Do you have any big plans/resolutions for the New Year?

TG:  I have several.  1) Finish writing Enemies of the Cross, 2) begin writing Worth Living For, and 3) carve some time out of my very, very busy schedule to begin running again.  I love to run, but my every waking hour over the last year has been devoted to other obligations and passions.  I'm looking forward to making running a priority. 

GL:  Best wishes for an amazing, productive New Year!  Thank you SO much for being my guest today!

Everyone be sure to drop by tomorrow, January 2nd to see my review of Guardians of the Cross.  

Here's were you can find Ms. Graves and buy her books: