Prism Book Alliance would like to thank Brooke Johnson & Natalya Parks for taking the time to talk with us today. There is also a Giveaway, so don’t miss that.
Title: Need to Touch
Author: Brooke Johnson & Natalya Parks
Publisher: Cool Beans Publishing & Editing
Cover Artist: Aj Corza
Brooke interviews Natalya
You’ve stated multiple times that you’ve always wanted to be a writer, but didn’t start writing until Brooke asked you to co-write with her. Why?
I started writing several different times, but I was afraid that it wasn’t good enough so I’d set it aside. Then months later I’d try again. Brooke has encouraged me to write, and pushed me to write more.
Do you plan on writing any individual books, or just co-writing with Brooke?
Some of both. Brooke and I have several books planned. I have one book planned so far that I think will be an individual project. I have an idea for a series, but I’m not sure if it will be an individual or joint project.
What are your long term goals with writing, and what genres do you plan on writing the most?
I would like to make writing my full time job. I like writing romance novels. The ones that I write by myself will be m/f and the ones that I co-write with Brooke will probably be m/m. I would LOVE to write a fantasy novel.
Ben and Ryder where originally thought up before you came in on the project of ‘The Need to Touch’, who is your favorite and why?
I love Ben’s flamboyant personality. However, I really like Ryder’s grounded personality. Ryder is a strong person and he stands up for himself and the people that he cares about.
Which character out of all the characters in the book do you think you are more alike? Why?
I feel that I’m more like Ryder. Family is important to me, but I stand up for my passions and what I love. The opinion of my kids means the world to me, but sometimes I have to stand my ground if we don’t always agree or see eye-to-eye on something.
Since this series is now both yours and Brookes, which character do you think you are going to write the most, and help develop? Again, I would have to say Ryder. Even though I love Ben and think he is awesome, Ben is Brooke’s special project. She is more connected to him, so in turn I’ve become very attached to Ryder.
Writing m/m books is something that you have never thought about going before, how do you feel about it now that you have multiple books lined up to write? Not just the Stay True Series. I think love is love, romance is romance. I don’t think that there should be this huge distinction between m/m, m/f, and f/f. I’ve fallen in love with the characters and I want to see the happy ending for them. I’m wrapped up in the book the same as I would be if I were to write any other genre.
Do you think Brooke supports your ups and downs with writing this genre and any future plans of different genre books? Yes, I do think she supports me. I don’t have as much time to write as Brooke and I get frustrated with that. I think she gets frustrated with my frustration. I wouldn’t be writing without her, and I’m very grateful to her for bringing me into this.
Natalya Interviews Brooke
Why did you wait so long to write ‘The Need to Touch’?
To be honest…I didn’t think the book would sell. I have been playing with the idea for a long time. My last semester in school, I became friends with one of my professors that happened to be for a Creative Writing class. She looked it over and told me that I should just try. If not for anything else, do it for myself and for the story behind the story. So I did, and here it is. Not only done, but published!
Why are you writing this genre for all your books and not just the one that is in memory of your friend?
I’m writing this genre because it comes easy to me. At first I didn’t think I would even like it, or be able to do it. Now that I’ve done it, I can’t imagine writing anything else, even though I’m play with a few ideas in other genres. We will see how that goes.
Do you plan on writing any other genre besides this one?
Thinking about it and doing it are two different things. It’s defiantly stepping outside my comfort zone saying that I will. We will just have to see what happens and if any of those plans come to light.
If Ben is so much like your friend from High School, where did the idea of Ryder come from?
I really didn’t have any ideas for Ryder until I started working on the book and not just playing with the outline. I guess I just knew I wanted someone that was completely different than Ben. With the mindset that I wanted Ben to be remembered, because his character is so important to me. I had no idea at the time that I would fall in love with Ryder as much as I love Ben, but I have. I couldn’t be happier with the way that it all turned out.
What was the hardest part about writing this book for you?
Emotionally, not professionally. Oh my goodness! I would have to say the memories. Losing my friend in high school so tragically was a hard pill to swallow, and I didn’t ever think I would be able to look at the situation as something positive. I just took his life…who he was, and how he was with his personal life and put it into my character, and Ben appeared. From there it was bitter sweet. Some parts where easy and fun, and made me really think about all the good things that I remembered. Others were really hard to relive.
If any of your children came to you and told you that they were gay, how would you treat them compared to the way the adults in the book treated Ben and Ryder? I wouldn’t say anything negative. I would support them any way I could, and most importantly through acceptance. So many people think that it’s okay to judge something that they don’t understand or have no knowledge of. I feel that it’s not my place to judge anything or anyone. They are still my kids, and that will never change.
Have you ever read m/m books, and how do you think they compare to your book?
All I read is m/m romance novels. I used to read other romances in the past and now I can’t do it. I still try every once in awhile. Like Lorelei James, but most of the time I can’t even finish those. I’m completely hooked on m/m genre.
If you could change anything about this book now that it is completely written, what would you change and why?
The only thing I would change is how long it took me to write it and to be honest I wouldn’t even change that. I think that it would be a completely different book if I wouldn’t have waited so long to write it. Writing with Natalya is what made the book what it is, and I love it just as it is. So…I guess in all honesty, I wouldn’t change anything.
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.
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.
About the Author:
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.
8/25: MM Good Book Reviews
8/26: Andrew Q. Gordon
8/28: Jade Crystal
9/1: Parker Williams
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
9/18: Hearts on Fire
9/19: My Fiction Nook
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.
Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,
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