Tell us a little about yourself.
|Author Denise Walker|
I live in Edmonton, Alberta where I work full-time as an Emergency Communications Officer. I take 9-1-1 calls and dispatch ambulances which can be interesting to say the least (and a great source of inspiration!) I do most of my writing in my downtime at work and the rest on my couch in my tiny downtown apartment. Writing has been a passion of mine from an early age but I'd never completed a novel until now. I've always dreamed of being a published author and now that it's happened I can't express how wonderful it feels.
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
My book is titled Cedar Valley. It all began when I was camping in the mountains with some friends. We were sitting around the campfire when my friend's boyfriend (I have no idea how it came up) said, "What if... when you turn a certain age you had to kill your parents?" And it just snowballed from there.
Introduce us to your novel's lead characters. What is it about these characters that appeal to you as a writer?
I'd never written from the view of a male character before and it was as equally challenging as it was fun. Cedar Valley follows the POV of two main characters, our protagonist - Peter, and our antagonist - Ari. Peter is a police officer who is haunted by the fact that within the year, he'll have to kill his parents. He's desperate to find a way to save them. Meanwhile, Ari begins our story by sacrificing his parents and he finds he wasn't bothered by it at all, actually he rather enjoyed it. Plagued with a bloodlust, he'll go on to be Cedar Valley's worst serial killer.
Ari's chapters were so fun to write, they're written in first person and it was quite the experience to get into the head of a killer.
Peter, on the other hand I created out of necessity. However, I ended up falling in love with him and I hope everyone else does too.
How did the book come to be titled?
Initially, I wanted to call the book The Catalyst however if you search that title, there are approximately 56,000 other books with that title and I wanted Cedar Valley to stand out. Cedar Valley is the name of the town where the story takes place.
How involved were you with creating the cover?
I was fairly involved. My best friend Lydia Stewart is a designer and created the cover for me. I think she did an excellent job portraying the tone of the book.
Tell us something about your book that isn't mentioned in the synopsis.
Peter has an awesome partner named Royal who also happens to be his best friend. I find their relationship super entertaining and Royal provides some much needed comic relief.
What are your interests outside of writing and do any of these find their way into your book?
I like to practice yoga and that plays a big part in Ari's life. Before he killed them, his parents were yoga teachers at an integral place called the Temple. He goes on to take their place.
I also enjoy nature and there are many elements of that in Cedar Valley.
What specific author influenced how or what you write today?
My favourite author is David Morrell. The first book I read by him was Creepers and it blew my mind. It was so creepy and well thought out. I began devouring every book by Morrell that I could get my hands on. He wrote a series of short horror stories that he published as collections. Each story is preceded by an introduction including the inspiration for each story. In one, Morrell goes on to describe his experience in University where he pursued a Literary professor with great tenacity. The professor dismissed his work but began to give him advice which he shared in that introduction: (and I'm paraphrasing) Find what really scares you. Not heights, not ghosts, not fire, but what truly terrifies you. The so called ferret in your psyche. So I began to think of what really scares me and it lit a fire under my writing like nothing ever had.
What is next for you?
I am celebrating Cedar Valley by having a book launch party at a local restaurant. I'm so excited for that. Also, I'm using October for outlining and prepping for NaNoWriMo 2016. I'll be dipping my toes in a sort of Supernatural/Dark Fantasy type! Should be lots of fun.
You can find Denise at the following places: