BOOK TOUR INTERVIEW & GIVEAWAY: Left by TR Graves
by TR Graves
Still Standing Series, Book One
1. Tell us a little about yourself.
I’m the author of Warrior, Secret, and Still Standing series—currently available—and Moral Dilemma and Underwater series—to be released in 2013/2014.
I live in Texas with my husband, our nineteen-year-old daughter, and nine-year-old son.
I work full-time as a hospital administrator and RN in the third most populous county in the country. To say that I’m passionate about the subject of healthcare is an understatement.
2. What made you want to become a writer?
My father was a man who could tell a story that was so vivid and dramatic that people hung on his every word, flocking to our house morning, noon, and night just to hear them. A few months after he died, story plots and their characters began haunting me. They were so demanding that I had no choice but to write them down… to share them. Before his death, writing a book was not anything I’d ever imagined doing. Since his death, writing books is all I imagine doing. In some ways, I believe that the stories/characters that I’m creating come directly from him. Knowing how strong-willed he was, I suspect he’s found a way to communicate with me and keep his stories alive even in death.
3. Who or what gives you inspiration?
I get inspiration for lots of different things, and it can come from anywhere at any time.
The inspiration behind Left (Still Standing, #1) came after suspecting that several young, beautiful, and intelligent women that I know are living in relationships with men who are abusive. Because I appreciate how special these women are and what amazing qualities they offer to the world, I couldn’t stop asking myself why they were staying with someone who treats them with anything less than respect… with someone who doesn’t shower them with the unconditional love they deserve. From that internal dialogue, Left was born.
4. Tell us about Left.
Left deals with an unspeakable subject, domestic violence, but it’s not preachy or in your face. Instead, it’s full of sweet and tender (and passionate) moments, ones that will help you understand how a woman, Baylee, can fall for a man, Colt, who has a monster buried deep inside. It’s offset by empowering moments where the main character realizes she’s been looking through her rose-colored glasses long enough and that it’s time to admit what she already knows. Enriching the story is the team of people (in the form of amazing back-up characters… most notably Ryker) who support Baylee as she pulls herself up and swears on all that is holy she will stand on her own two feet if it’s the last thing she does. Finally and because no story is complete without an ‘Oh my God! I never saw that coming’ ending, there are some finishing events that are similar to the ones we see played out every day across this country. They are the result of several relatively benign and ignored actions/reactions. I’m convinced that everything about this story will hit home with readers because the progression of events and the characters’ underlying relationships with each other are so natural and real.
5. What’s the hardest part of being a writer?
I can honestly say… lack of time. I wish I could write all the stories that pop into my head, but writing a really good story and developing the characters that go along with them takes lots of time and patience.
6. What do you need around you to write (special drink, lucky items, etc)?
Diet Dr. Pepper or Diet Mountain Dew. I must have one of these every day. On top of being a wife and mother, I work full-time. In order to get to my job, I commute 10-12 hours per week. As an indie author, I write, market, and publish my books. On top of all of that and as if I don’t do enough, I am the coordinator of a team of authors who blog about the trials and tribulations of being an indie author. Without caffeine, I would not be able to accomplish most of this.
7. What are some of your favorite books?
I have an eclectic list of favorite series: Mortal Instruments, Shades of Grey, and Tiger’s Curse. I love them because of the visual images painted by these authors as well as the author’s ability to draw me into the story and make me love/hate the characters. Books that make me feel like I’m in the room watching the action or elicit the emotions the characters are having are the ones I label as favorites.
8. Are your characters based on anyone you know?
Allison in Warrior Series is an amazing patient advocate (willing to give her life to heal the dying). The nurse in me identifies with that passion.
Emily in Secrets Series has lived her entire life enslaved by a commune of men who have tried to make her think there are no options. The moment she gets a peek into a world where she can be free to live – and love – anywhere – anyone – she likes, it becomes impossible for her to go back to her life of servitude. The strength it takes for her to fight against that world makes her absolutely endearing.
Baylee in Still Standing Series is naive, happy-go-lucky, and prepared to stand by her man through thick and thin. When he leaves, my heart goes out to her. I love the way we – the readers – stand back and watch her deal with a situation she never thought she’d be in.
The common thread with all of these women is that they are strong… they refuse to compromise their morals/ethics… they love long, hard, and unconditionally… and they refuse to conform no matter how simple their lives would be if they did just that. In some ways, I believe those characteristics embody me and my choices.
9. What, if anything, are you working on right now?
I’m finishing up Underground (Secrets, #2). It’s the second book in the Secrets series, Grave Bound being the first.
Betrayal and loss have changed Emily Riddle in ways she never thought would have been possible. With a death wish guiding her every move, she’s willing to compromise her morals, ethics, and instincts to bring the men who’ve broken her heart to justice… even if that means living a life underground, being someone she’s not, and pretending to respect the very men she’s positioning herself to take down.
As soon as she teams up with the district attorney, Tope Bryson, and agrees to be a member of his covert operation, she returns to the commune and convinces the patriarchal leaders she is the most qualified person to take on roles traditionally assigned to men. Desperate and without options, Owen, the commune’s leader and Emily’s father, agrees to a temporary change.
Emily takes full advantage of the opportunity and quickly proves to him – much to her brothers’ dismay – that he can’t live without having her in those critical roles and that she may be the best candidate for his ‘next in command’.
She and Tope quickly realize that the men of the commune consider a woman who threatens the good ole boy system that’s been in place for decades public enemy number one. Determined to protect Emily from her brothers, Tope plants an undercover officer and charismatic law student, Noah Babineaux, in the commune. Neither Tope nor Emily is prepared for the attention Noah pays Emily.
With a nothing else matters attitude, Emily focuses on her underground mission and pushes her hate, anger, grief, and… blossoming feelings down until they threaten to explode from the inside and tear her apart. It’s a race against the clock to get the evidence necessary (and ultimately the retaliation Emily craves) before a life of submissive brutality – or sibling jealousy – kills her.
10. Why do you love writing?
As a regular human being without any special powers, I have absolutely no control over the real world. As an author, I become judge and jury… have the power to make a character loved or hated… determine where the characters are going, when they’re going, how they’re going, and what challenges they’ll meet along the way. Something about that is exciting.
About the Author
There will be a tour wide giveaway of a finished paperback copy, 2 ecopies, and a giveaway to win an Amazon Kindle Fire along with all of the book-related Hidden Object books created by Phatpuppy (Claudia McKinney) if you purchase the ebook during the tour. Please email your receipts to shanereads (at) yahoo (dot) com for proof.