T. R. Graves, author of the Warrior and Secrets Series, lives along the Texas coast with her husband. Together, they raise T. R.’s beta-reading daughter and their football-loving son. Besides being blessed with a supportive family, she counts her career as a registered nurse in not-for-profit hospitals high on her list of fulfilling accomplishments.
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What is your all-time favorite book and why?
I have a – very eclectic – three-way tie that includes The Mortal Instruments Series, The Tiger Saga, and the Fifty Shades Trilogy.
All three of these series have strong female leading characters, and they are written by authors who are amazing enough to write romance into the story in a way where it actually becomes tangible for the reader. I can’t help but love stories that make me fall in love with the characters or admire the authors who are talented enough to just that.
Is there an author you could be compared to or popular fictional characters your book’s characters could relate to and why?
My beta-reader claims I could be compared to Colleen Houck (separated at birth were his exact words). Our similarities may be the reason I love her and her books so much. He believes we both have the ability to turn situations that could easily be unrealistic into scenes that seem absolutely real.
Can you give us your favorite quote from one of your books and explain it?
In Grave Bound (Secrets), Levi Bryson journals. His writing is not traditional, perfect, or by-the-book, but it sweetly shows Emily how he feels about her. Something about it is charming. Below, I’ve included one of his many doodles:
sweeter than any book written, poem recited, or song recorded.
pure as the driven snow; a wholesome schoolgirl, and a naive child.
perfect as an emerald’s cut; stunning as a ruby’s color; and timeless as a diamond’s clarity.
struck me with the force of a bolt of lightning, the power of a sledgehammer, and the command of the chosen one.
engulfed my life the way the dawn’s rays swallow the darkness, the tsunami’s waves ravage the coast, and the tornado’s funnel plows its way through a forest.
– Levi Ian Bryson
What types of things/people/music inspires you and makes you want to keep writing?
Books inspire me. Not just any book. It has to have strong characters, a mission filled with action and romance, and unfathomable consequences attached to failure.
Music inspires me. There is nothing fad-like about the artists I appreciate most. The music I listen to is embedded with so much emotion that it is palpable all the way through the song(s): Kings of Leon, Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, Alanis Morissette, Adele, Diana Birch, Audra Mae & The Forest Rangers, Black Eyed Peas, Eminem,….
People inspire me: My nineteen-year-old daughter worked hard through high school, graduated with both a high school degree and an associate’s degree, and she’s now trying to get into medical school. She did all of this while working and saving almost every penny of her money so she’d have a nest egg when she went away to school. That is inspiring. My eight-year-old son practices (baseball & football) four to six days a week (depending on the time of year) and turns all of that training into winning championships. He does this while maintaining A’s & B’s on his report card and without the first complaint. I can’t help but be inspired by their dedication and commitment and work ethics.
Describe your typical writing day or week.
Monday thru Friday, I’m up at 5:30, writing/reading/socializing from 6:30 – 7:30, commuting from 7:30-8:30 (or 8:45), working from 8:30-5:30 (or 6:30 or 7:30), commuting from 5:30-6:45, supper/homework/miscellaneous from 7:00-8:30, and writing from 8:30-10:00.
On Saturday/Sunday from 5:30 a.m. to 11:00 p.m., I have family, errands, reading, writing, socializing, etc.
I put in the hours I do because I’m fortunate enough to have two jobs that I’m passionate about. First, I work within a hospital system where the patients (not their ability to pay) are our priority. The nurse in me… the humanitarian in me is thankful there are still healthcare systems where curing illnesses and saving lives are the focus. Second, I’m an author. If I’m not writing, I’m planning and plotting in my mind. My goal with each new book I write is to create a great story that is thrilling, suspenseful, and romantic enough to take the reader away from their own problems/lives for a few hours. Nothing more. Nothing less.
One thing is for sure. I’d never be able to do all of this if it weren’t for my husband. He does everything around our house I can’t do, and he never says a word. He’s supports me, loves me, and cares for me. I absolutely adore him.
Is there a food or drink do you have to have when you’re writing?
Diet Dr. Pepper (preferably) or Diet Mountain Dew. I work, write, and drive so many hours a week that caffeine is a basic necessity.
Can you tell us what you’re working on right now (& possibly provide an excerpt & cover)?
I’m working on my first adult contemporary, Grave Bound(Secrets) (tentative release date of 3/1/13). At the same time, I’m writing book four of my original young adult paranormal series Dark Angels of the Cross (Warrior, #4).
Some Secrets follow you to the grave. Others send you there.
Emily Riddle has lived her entire life inside a patriarchal commune led by her father. There are many rules, but the most important one, ‘keep it in the commune’, is the most difficult for her to follow… especially since the only people willing to champion her cause live on the outside.
When Emily learns her father has promised her to Lorenzo, a perverted man who has plans for her that extend well beyond marriage and kids, she rebels. Regardless of the consequences, she refuses to marry someone who’d rather beat her than caress her.
A day of hooky that starts out as a tiny act of defiance – sneaking out of the commune for a swim – turns into a day filled with hope. After spending time with Levi, a man camping near the lake, she finds what true romance looks like and catches a glimpse into a future that’s filled with love and admiration rather than hate and submission.
That tiny peek is enough to change the course of Emily’s existence and makes it nearly impossible for her to go back to the commune and pretend she’ll ever be able to tolerate the life chosen for her instead of the life she longs for. One that includes Levi.
Fighting to escape the commune, its leaders, and her fiancé proves to be more dangerous than Emily expected. The secrets she knows, as the leader’s daughter, will either follow her to the grave or send her – and Levi – there.
T. R. Graves’s YA Books:
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.At the hospital and surrounded by life-and-death emergencies, Allison’s inability to manage her impulse turns deadly. When it does, her mentor, Brody, rescues her from her own demise. His resuscitation ignites an exciting and tempestuous bond between them.Desperate for a cure, they join forces and embark upon a journey to uncover the origins of Allison’s lethal curse. In the midst of their adventure, Allison exposes a secret pursued by many…known by few.
Allison La Crosse discovers she has several powers, including a spiritual gift to heal the dying with her touch. With the newfound awareness, she uncovers mind-boggling truths about a world, which has been hidden her whole life, thanks to her mother’s selfless actions.The most important revelation pertains to her ordained place within The Disciples of the Cross as one of their Warriors. This position moves her even closer to her mentor, Brody Kennedy, who ends up being the only other Warrior.Just as suddenly, it catapults her into the middle of a war between The Sect and The Disciples. Allison’s appointment to Warrior—alongside Brody—exacerbates the leader of The Sect’s malicious hunt for her. As a result, everything about her existence is altered. With the modification of her life, she prepares to do anything necessary to save everyone loved by her… including Brody and Clark.
Allison La Crosse’s picture perfect world quickly becomes more of a nightmare than the fairytale she’d been expecting when she married Brody.With enemies leading and destiny in control, she embarks upon a journey of the soul where she unearths an underwater realm that is beyond believable…beyond fantastical…beyond comprehension.Deep within this undiscovered world, Allison is forced to battle a new breed of adversaries. Ones willing to do whatever necessary to capture her — dead or alive. While fighting for her life, she joins forces with an exceptional team of protectors. Because they are unconditionally loyal, she sees firsthand that they are prepared to sacrifice their lives in order to guard her existence and defend the purity of their world.Love, friendships, and unforgivable actions have Allison wondering if going home will ever be an option even if home is the only place where she can have a life with Brody.
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