I want to welcome Judy Walker to my blog today. I had the pleasure of getting to critique her thriller romance, A SAFE PLACE, and enjoyed it so much, I invited her to stop by so that you could meet her. She has an unusual heroine, a female drug dealer, whom I found myself rooting for, hoping she could leave her past behind her and start a new life.
Questions for Judy Walker—A SAFE PLACE
- How did Alexa get sucked into dealing drugs?
Alexa had a difficult childhood. Her father died in the Gulf War, then her mother, stricken with grief, committed suicide. At the age of six, she and her older brother, Marcus, went to live with their grandmother in a rough area of Chicago. Dealing drugs was the norm in the neighborhood where she grew up.
Years later after she’d moved to Florida and graduated from college, the economy tanked. Tens of thousands of dollars in debt from student loans and no available jobs, she resorted to the only thing she knew how to do to survive – sell drugs.
- How did she end up in Florida, competing with ruthless drug lords?
Alexa and her high school sweetheart, Andre, vowed to escape to Florida upon graduation and leave their oppressive past behind them. They were determined to attend college and start a new future together. Several months before they graduated, Andre was killed. She ended up going to Florida alone.
One of the ruthless drug lords in Florida, Devon Jordan, was a gang leader in Chicago. She suspected him of murdering Marcus and Andre. Working for him was not an option; therefore, she became his competition.
- You’ve written several other books and all of your female protagonists are smart and strong. What draws you to them?
My female protagonists don’t begin their lives smart and strong. Their difficult circumstances force them to become resilient and savvy in order to survive. I enjoy taking a woman from the depths of hell and watch her evolve throughout the story to become successful and self-fulfilled.
I think I’m drawn to them because I, too, have been through some difficult times in my youth and feel I’ve had to fight my way through them. Doing so has made me more confident and able to achieve my goals.
- What made you decide to write about a woman on the WRONG side of the law for this story?
I like to begin my stories with a woman in an extremely difficult situation. What could be worse than not only being on the wrong side of the law, but the wrong side of the outlaws as well? Alexa had to outsmart both to survive.
I must admit that I thought it would be challenging to see if I could take a character who was despicable, scum of the earth, and bring her back in touch with her own humanity – to an extent that the reader actually begins to root for her success and wellbeing. Hopefully, I accomplished that in A Safe Place.
- What types of books do you like to read? Do you have a favorite author?
I don’t have a favorite author, but I do feel that Ken Follett and Daniel Silva inspired me to develop a ‘bad-ass’ female character like Alexa Knight. Both have written historical fiction about women spies in World War II. I’ve found those types of plots especially intriguing.
From a romantic aspect, I enjoy reading Nicholas Sparks, Nora Roberts, and Danielle Steel.
- When you’re not writing, what do you like to do?
When the weather is nice, I enjoy bike riding through the country roads in DeKalb County. It’s exhilarating! I also like to take walks and read. I’ve also been known to do an occasional cat puzzle.
- You had a few different careers before you began writing, didn’t you? Have you used any in your novels?
Absolutely! I believe writers are ‘jacks of all trades, masters of none’. I worked in Human Resources at a major company for fourteen years, was a realtor for thirteen years, attended nursing school, and worked for the United Way of Dekalb County for four years. I’ve tapped into experiences from all these endeavors to write my stories. However, I’ve never sold drugs!
Thanks for joining me today. And good luck with your book!
Alexa Knight is running for her life. After a meeting with the head of a large drug ring in Florida turns deadly, she flees the state, changes her identity, and seeks refuge from the drug lords and the law in a small cabin in the far reaches of northern Michigan.
Her attempt to build a new life quickly becomes plagued with remorse and paranoia as she struggles to break free from her dark past.
Just when she’s about to uproot herself again to stay one step ahead of the people who want her dead, she finds herself in the arms of a man who can potentially save her…or put her behind bars.
You can find JL Walker on twitter: @Willowwriter201 or visit her website at judywalker.net.
Here’s an interview she did on The Insider’s Perspective: https://theinsidersperspective.weebly.com/spotlights/judy-walker-author-fiction-novelist?fbclid=IwAR0ZcDYJ4JQFoE7kOpxDdDT4nIXiAw301Pgc_7UNgoQEFCz87aMrIouAWhc