I am sitting with authors Brooke Johnson and Natalya Parks to find out more about themselves and The Need To Touch. They’ve brought along a prize of two signed paperback copies to give away. To enter to win, visit this Rafflecopter link to enter and for more contest details. Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.
STRW: The Need to Touch is the first book in the Stay True series. Which came first the idea for the series or the first story?
Brooke and Natalya: The story, when we first started writing we hadn’t decided on the ending. But now that the story is finished we have an idea how the whole series will play out.
STRW: Regional “voices” can be tricky. Go too far and the character can fall into caricature ville. Not go far enough and the character is left without any local “flavor”. How did you all avoid that syndrome?
Brooke and Natalya: Brooke was married to a country boy and Natalya grew up on a farm. We used this to create Ryder. Ben is a lot like Brookes friend from high school who was the original idea for the book.
STRW: Ryder Harrison grows up on a small ranch in Montana. Is that location and setting based on research or experience?
Brooke and Natalya:The location of Montana is from research. We chose it because it wasn’t too far from California but would still be a huge change and adjustment for Ryder. The ranch setting is from experience.
STRW: Bentley Carter has a background of abuse. That also is such a sensitive topic that writing that into a character needs to be handled believably. Do you all feel that came across?
Brooke and Natalya:Yes, Brooke has an associate’s degree in adolescent psychology and is working on her bachelors. Natalya grew up in an abusive environment.
STRW: Why write with a partner? How did that come about?
Brooke and Natalya: We’re both gifted in different ways when it comes to writing. Where one of us is a little weaker the other one is stronger in that area. We have a lot of fun when we start brainstorming story ideas.
Brooke had a gay friend in high school who committed suicide at the age of sixteen. She wanted to write this story to inspire young adults that true love can prevail no matter how old you are. Brooke started an outline and asked Natalya for help and we went from there.
STRW: Do you find writing with a partner presents more challenges or less when trying for cohesion and fluidity in a story?
Brooke and Natalya: We actually feel in our situation it helps. Brooke writes faster which pushes Natalya to write more. Brooke tends to get attached to one character and has some difficulty brining out the other characters as much as the one she’s attached to. Natalya has an easier time seeing all the characters. Brooke is good at getting a basic story going where Natalya is good at adding details and making the story stronger. We have come to the conclusion that having two people write two different characters makes it easier to ensure the personalities of the characters are stronger and more realistic. Brooke does not enjoy editing. Natalya actually kind of enjoys it. We feel we make a very good team.
STRW: Why go with teenagers to begin with? Do you intend to “age” them through the series?
Brooke and Natalya:Actually they’re young adults. Ben is 20 at the beginning of the story and turns 21. Ryder is 19 and turns 20. Yes we do intend to age them throughout the series.
STRW: Or will each story feature different characters?
Brooke and Natalya:The series will continue to be about Ben and Ryder. We will be bringing new characters into each book and characters will be leaving.
Book Name: The Need to Touch
Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/21455376-the-need-to-touch?ac=1
Author Name: Brooke Johnson & Natalya Parks
Brooke Johnson lives in Louisiana with her five girls, wonderful boyfriend, and many pets. When she is not working on finishing her current degree, she can be found fishing, coloring, or blowing bubbles with her kids. Just over a year ago, Brooke decided she wasn’t going to back down from her dreams, and started writing full time. With the encouragement of her family she is proud to be publishing her books for the world to read.
Brooke started reading later in life. Unlike many authors who have always had a special love for reading, Brooke didn’t pick up a book until she was in her late teens. She remembers wanting to find something to do with her mom, who has always been her best friend. One day her mom was talking about a romance novel that she just read. Not being interested in it all, Brooke gave in and read the book. She’s been her mom’s reading partner ever since. They can now sit and talk, laugh and even cry about all the books they have read over the years.
So, with great pride and honor, Brooke is happy to thank her mother for encouraging her to not only read, but to follow her heart, and write her own books. What started as simple poetry on scrap paper, at the age of seven, is now a dream come true. Brooke started writing but felt something was missing. When she started writing with Natalya Parks, everything seemed to fall into place, and now here they are. Launching books, and writing more. This may be the first you see of them, but Brooke is determined that this won’t be last. Brooke is excited for you to meet their characters, and fall in love with the men that they have spent many hours with over the last year, just for you!!
Natalya parks lives is Louisiana with her beloved dog, Napoleon. Natalya enjoys spending as much time as possible with her children and grandchildren.
Natalya has had an ongoing passionate love affair with books since she was four years old. While her friends were getting in trouble for not reading she was getting in trouble for reading. She was late for dinner, forgot to do her chores, stayed up past her bedtime, forgot about homework and was late for the school bus on many occasions; because she couldn’t put the book down. Her most embarrassing moment caused by reading a book occurred when she was in seventh grade. The school bus pulled up to her stop and of course she couldn’t possibly stop reading. The story was just too good. So with her nose still in her book she slowly made her way down the aisle of the bus. She as she got to the top of the stairs she tripped over an instrument case that was jutting out just a bit into the aisle. Where she promptly fell head first down the stairs landing in a heap in the dirt, her feet resting on the bottom step. Natalya was wearing a dress that day.
She has wanted to be a writer since she was a teenager but never thought she could write anything good enough for someone else to want to read. Her dear friend Brooke convinced her otherwise and literally dragged her into the world of writing. Something she will be forever grateful. Now, not only does she get to love and enjoy works by other authors but also those that she has contributed to as well. Her mind still goes tilt, tilt when she thinks about the fact that she is a published author. Dreams really can come true.
The Need to Touch Blurb:
You can only win someone’s heart once you’ve captured it.
Nineteen year old Ryder Harrison grew up near a small town in Montana, working on the family’s ranch and in love with his best friend, Landon Pennington. That was until his Grandfather decided he needed to go to college in California. Ryder promised his Mom before she died that he would finish his education. Staying true to his word, Ryder packs his clothes, and heads to California, confident that it would all be one big disaster. The only thing he hadn’t planned on was meeting Bentley Carter.
Twenty year old Bentley Carter has enough emotional issues to write his own ‘How to Cope’ manual. Surviving an abusive childhood, he made a personal promise to always stay true to himself, and never let emotions overrule his common sense. Content with his current life and friend with ‘benefits’, Ben is determined to not let his new roommate affect him.
Uncertain about their places in the world, and with each other, Ryder and Ben struggle to understand the person who is not what they thought they wanted, yet who they are unable to live without. Living in a sometimes cruel and unforgiving world they are determined to embrace the reality of falling in love and the challenges that follow.
The Need to Touch Excerpt:
Two days since meeting Ryder and I was considering changing majors.
It’s been thirty minutes since this lecture began, and I couldn’t remember one word the professor said. The cause of my distraction was chewing on his pen, two rows down from me. I groaned, and then tried to cover it with a cough. My face felt hot as the girl next to me glared in my direction. Why did he have to do that with his pen? It wasn’t until everyone closed their books that I realized I had stared ay Ryder through the entire lecture.
I continually found reasons to spend time with him. So I shoved my stuff in my bag and rushed out of the classroom. I was eager to run into him in the hallway, maybe then I’d get him to talk to me.
I rushed past a bundle of people gathered in the hallway. It wasn’t as though he was hard to find. Ryder was tall and solid muscle; I bet he looked even better naked. Ryder smiled as I fell into step next to him.
“So, what did you think?” I asked as we took the stairs to our dorm room.
“It was okay. I could swear someone was watching me the whole time.” Ryder said.
8/25: MM Good Book Reviews
8/26: Andrew Q. Gordon
8/27: Elisa – My Reviews and Ramblings
8/28: Jade Crystal
8/29: Amanda C. Stone, EE Montgomery
9/1: Parker Williams
9/2: LeAnn’s Book Reviews, Iyana Jenna
9/3: The Hat Party
9/4: Love Bytes
9/8: Cate Ashwood
9/9: Prism Book Alliance
9/10: Hearts on Fire
9/11: Fallen Angel Reviews
9/12: Foxylutely Book Reviews
9/15: Love of Bookends
9/16: Wake Up Your Wild Side
9/17: Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words
9/18: Hearts on Fire
9/19: My Fiction Nook
Rafflecopter Code: Rafflecopter Prize: One of two signed paperbacks. Must be 18 years of age or older to enter. Please use the link below for the entry form and for all contest details.