Tuesday, February 17, 2015

"DEFCON Darcy" by A. J. Lape

(The Darcy Walker Series Book 4)
by A. J. Lape

DEFCON Darcy, the fourth book in A. J. Lape's Darcy Walker Series, has just been released. Also available: Grade A Stupid (FREE), No Brainer (only $0.99), and 100 Proof Stud.

The author joins me today for an interview and to share an excerpt from the book. She is also sponsoring our exclusive giveaway for an ebook set of the first four books in The Darcy Walker Series.

Fisher Stanton, Valley High School’s Nantucket wannabe, has a cheating girlfriend. When he hires Darcy Walker to chase her to a local club, in true Darcy fashion she stumbles upon a dead body. Thing is, this body has secrets ... and Darcy’s mysterious friend, Jaws, and the reporter, Tito Westbrook, have a vested interest. Both enlist Darcy to find the person responsible who has eluded them for years, but Darcy doesn’t solve crimes for free anymore - especially where Jaws is concerned. Knowing Darcy’s Achilles heel, Jaws blackmails Darcy into working for him.
In a true test of wills, Darcy and Jaws battle head-to-head - Jaws needs Darcy to help him end a bitter grudge war; Darcy needs Jaws to divulge the mystery surrounding her mother’s death. Haunted by a past that shaped her present, Darcy will stop at nothing to get answers. Even if it means breaking the law and being disloyal to her new boyfriend, Dylan Taylor, in the process.
DEFCON Darcy gives Darcy’s demons a name and ties up loose ends that made Darcy into the verb that she is. What she thinks she knows as truth, isn’t. What she wishes wasn’t true … is.
The problem is, when your life goes DEFCON 1, not everyone lives to tell about it.

This wasn’t the way I wanted to be buried. I wanted to be buried in the DEFCON DARCY cape my mother made. I wanted the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir to sing "Amazing Grace," and street dancers to perform on the sidewalk with pants to their knees. I wanted my zits popped, my toenails done in black, my fingernails in orange, and my hair to be styled as lush and full as a hooker on Main Street. I wanted a boob job. I wanted to die with a perfect C-cup showcased in a low-cut black velvet dress. After all of those wishes had been fulfilled, I wanted a Frank Sinatra impersonator to sing "My Way" as I was lowered into the ground. And last but not least, I did not want to die a virgin … NOPE.
I tried to cork the tears, but they wouldn’t cooperate. I’d met a slew of crazy people in my life, but he brought a whole new level of psycho to the playing field. Calm yourself, Darcy, I said. Relax. Breathe deep. But he was so bad, I knew I’d have to endure something heinous before he’d get in touch with what form of conscience he had, if any. I almost said, Forgive me, God for him, but instead muttered, I hope he rots in Hell and closed my eyes.

Praise for the Book
"Freaking loved it!" ~ Elienora the Sensation on Goodreads
"A. J. Lape has just destroyed me. Seriously, hands down, the BEST writing I have read in the last YEAR. There is not a word to describe how of one swoop, she has touched on every emotion. In one night, I was hysterical with both laughter and devastation. And I was not even finished yet. A. J.'s books are ALWAYS good, but I actually choked on my spit gasping and giggling at the same time. Utterly amazing writing." ~ Justine of Bex 'n' Books
"This series is truly one of the best series I have read in my lifetime. The author seems to have poured her heart and soul into this book and after every book I always wonder how she could top the last. This book was no exception. Honestly I am sitting here now, after reading it, and wondering what to do next. Darcy's world is truly a place you want to be part of. You can easily get lost in her world. Thank you A. J. Lape for this fantastic series. I series that I don't want to end and a series I would love to see as a movie." ~ Lavinia Urban

Interview with the Author
Hi A. J., thanks for joining me today to discuss The Darcy Walker Series.
For what age group do you recommend your books?
Grade A Stupid is categorized as teen fiction simply because of the age of the protagonist, Darcy Walker. Readers, however, span all ages, thankfully. Plus Darcy ages as the series progresses, so the reader will get to eventually see her graduate, get a job, and experience all those other wonderful things we get to as adults … insert some sarcasm J Plus her normal shenanigans where she finds dead bodies and outruns the Grim Reaper.
What sparked the idea for this series?
I think Darcy was always in the back of my mind wanting to burst out … LOL. She’s a very loud character. But to answer your question, I have two daughters and love rooting for them and the underdog. Darcy comes wired a little differently than other girls and carries around a lot of demons that surface as the series progresses. Hopefully, I’ve created a character that everyone can identify with.
So, which comes first? The character's story or the idea for the novels?
For me, it most usually is the character’s story. The Darcy Walker Series has always been more about the journey than the mystery … it’s been peeling her back like an onion so the reader understands what makes her into the "verb" that she is in a world full of nouns. DEFCON Darcy, book four, finally gives all of Darcy’s demons a name.
What was the hardest part to write in these books?
I think it was allowing Darcy to be the everyday teenager. As a mom, you want to protect your kids, keep them away from bullies, definitely away from danger, but Darcy gravitates to that like a moth on a flame. In Grade A Stupid, I had to relinquish control and allow her to tell me what happened … even if I didn’t like it.
How do you hope this series affects its readers?
I hope Darcy is an inspiration that you can find success no matter what hand life dealt you, and that you can accomplish anything if you put your mind to it. She never gives up … I admire that in her. And I hope it reminds people to look for beauty in everyone. Sometimes life tries to shove someone’s square-peg mind through society’s round hole … that’s wrong. I don’t like it when someone’s spirit is killed just because they are different.
How long did it take you to write the first book?
Grade A Stupid was written in 2008 but it literally took me about three years before I got courage to show someone what I’d written. Yeah, we writers suffer insecurity at times. Our characters are like our children and you feel for them and just want people to understand them. That being said, my youngest who had just turned nine at the time encouraged me to put myself out there … so glad I did! The Darcy Walker Series has remained in the Top 100 teens mysteries and thrillers since its debut … I still pinch myself.
That's fantastic! What is your writing routine?
I usually plan my day the night before, believe it or not. Then I get up in the morning, take my youngest to the bus stop, and then come home, crack open a can of Coke, and hit the ground running. Sometimes I write with music in the background, sometimes the TV, sometimes it's just silence with my listening to my dog snore and hamster run on her wheel. All depends on how I’m feeling that day.
How did you get your book published?
I indie published which means I did it all myself and hired promo companies to help me.
What advice do you have for someone who would like to become a published writer?
I used CreateSpace (owned by Amazon) for my paperbacks, which is a service where you just pay for printing on demand. All you do is have someone format your book to their specifications and then upload a pdf. Then when someone buys your book, Amazon takes their cut and you take yours. Books are discounted for authors if you want to buy them yourself for author shows.
What do you like to do when you're not writing?
Read and chase after my daughters … plus I’m a Netflix junkie. I like to just veg with my remote when I have the time … when I can steal it away from my husband, that is.
What does your family think of your writing?
Totally supportive and even though they think it’s probably weird, they let me talk about the characters like they are real. I’m sure one of my daughters will probably tell a therapist that some day but you do what you gotta do J
[*Laughs*] Please tell us a bit about your childhood.
I come from a really small town called Garrison, Kentucky, in the USA. Garrison is a place you go through when you are basically trying to get somewhere else … LOL. Population is less than a thousand. But I wouldn’t trade my childhood for anything. My sister and I had great parents who supported us in whatever we attempted. There weren’t a lot of opportunities growing up in a small town, but they instilled in us the value of hard work and perseverance.
Did you like reading when you were a child?
Oddly, my sister was the bookworm growing up. I was just too hyper, had to be moving, or playing sports outside with my cousin.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
When I started writing about Darcy Walker I didn’t set out to be a writer. She just wouldn’t stop talking in my head. It drove me insane until I brought her to life. [Um ... therapist, anyone?] I came from a writing background having majored in English and Journalism in college, so that transition wasn’t hard, but it by far, wasn’t what I wanted to do "when I grew up". Life sometimes dictates where you land in life … but I have no complaints.
Did your childhood experiences influence your writing?
Absolutely. The experiences Darcy goes through are influenced by things that happened to me or others I know.
Which writers have influenced you the most?
I absolutely adore Janet Evanovich, J. R. Ward, Karen Marie Moning, Liliana Hart, Lara Adrian, Tina Folsom, and Gemma Halliday. They’ve totally got it going on, and I can’t wait to read their books when they are released.
Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?
I have such great readers!!! I have a fan club/street team on Facebook and I get to talk to them daily. It’s been the biggest blessing to find out that Darcy and her world are touching people in a positive way. They tell me that she encourages them, that she’s a good role model for not quitting, and they like the fact that she makes them laugh. Yeah, that’s a great feeling when you can make someone laugh. My number one goal.
What can we look forward to from you in the future?
I’m currently trying to wrap my head around a plot for book five and gearing up for the release of DEFCON Darcy, which hit online retailers today (17 February)!
Well, congratulations on your new release, A. J., and thank you for taking the time to stop by today. Best of luck with your future projects.

About the Author
A. J. Lape is the author of The Darcy Walker Series which has stayed on Amazon's teen's mysteries and thrillers bestseller's lists since its debut in 2012. She lives in Cincinnati with her husband, two daughters, an ADD dog, a spoiled hamster, and an unapologetic and unrepentant addiction to Coca-Cola - plus a lifelong love affair with bacon she has no plans to sever. A graduate of Morehead State University with a Master's degree in Communications, she's a PI wannabe and recently joined the Citizen's Police Academy in her hometown but daily stops crime through the fictional ADHD character of Darcy Walker. If the FBI ever checks her computer, she'll be wearing prison-orange due to the graphic and disgusting "wiki" articles she looks up ... all in the name of career research, of course.

Enter our exclusive giveaway for a chance to win an ebook set of the first four books in The Darcy Walker Series by A. J. Lape. And don't forget, everyone can download a FREE copy of the first book in the series, Grade A Stupid.