D.J.Wilson was raised in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains of East Tennessee. He graduated from Cumberland University, located in a small town in Kentucky quite a few years ago. We had the pleasure of chatting with D.J. about his book, Ride to Redemption.
AW: Tell us a little bit about your book.
D.J.: Righting another’s wrong landed D in the witness protection program and cost him family, friends, and everything of substance in his life. Loneliness is his constant companion until he meets Candi, the girl of his dreams. He and Candi embark on a three-week ride to redemption where they deal with mind-numbing deceit, perilous treachery, their overpowering lust for each other and their personal demons.
Nevertheless, new opportunities bring a chance to begin again. And, it doesn’t hurt that he’s got 200 pounds of illicit diamonds to use to ease the pain of those wronged. He will continue the redemption process by way of a well thought out plan involving a 5,000-mile adventure through the Western United States and Canada.
When D meets Candice, aka Candi, she captures his heart, mind and soul the instant she ‘inadvertently’ almost runs him down in the Starbucks drive-thru. Candi joins him on his three-week, two-wheeled ride to redemption, where they’re forced to face their personal demons, while dealing with wanton lust, mind-numbing deceit and perilous treachery.
Spectacular scenery and a cast of unforgettable characters they meet along the way makes the journey memorable, but nothing prepares them for the sacrifices they must eventually make midway in the ride.
“The more things change, the more they stay the same,” sadly, does not ring true for Candice and D throughout this first of a two part series. Lust and greed are forever game-changers, even for those who desperately seek redemption.
AW: Who is your intended audience and why should they read your book?
D.J.: I wrote Ride to Redemption to appeal both to women and men, weaving a geographical adventure into a life altering, lust filled romance, between two very flawed people.
Life happens. Sometimes for the good, sometimes not. Regardless of circumstance, we choose how we embrace its next chapter, either building on the good as it comes or redeeming the bad, as it goes. In that is our hope, for those of us in the throes of life.How did you come up with the title for your book/series?
Redemption comes through second chances. The ride, via a motorcycle across the West and Canada, was used as an inconspicuous tool, to right a grievous wrong that affected thousands.
AW: Tell us a bit about your cover design? Who designed it and did you have a lot of input into the design?
D.J.: My cover projects the heart and soul of my novel, without a single word being spoken. The beautiful body conveys the girl of D’s dreams, while the diamonds convey power through restitution. I was fortunate to find the perfect picture, in less than than four hours and with the help of my publisher, create the cover from there.
AW: How long did it take to complete your novel?
D.J.: Forever it seems like, looking back. I spent the first three months, writing and rewriting the first half of the book and two months writing the second half.
AW: Did you ever experience writer’s block? If so, what did you do to get out of the funk?
D.J.: Writer’s block was never an issue, as much as, life constantly getting in my way. Long, solitary walks each day, helped me more than anything, to see the beginning of the end.
AW: Tell us about the challenges of getting your first novel published? About how long did it take?
I was fortunate to have a friend and fellow author, who saw in me a work in progress. Through his inspiration and direction, we were able to e-publish Ride to Redemption in less than thirty days. The book goes to print mid March.
AW: Who is your favorite character from your book and why?
D.J.: Great question, but not one I’m able to answer at this time. Once the sequel finishes up, I can probably tell you who my favorite will be. Remember, life happens, the book is living proof of that. It’s fluid, as are the characters in my daily circus, aka life.
AW: Who is your least favorite character and what makes them less appealing to you?
D.J.: That’s a question, I can answer. Joseph, Candi’s Ex, who happens to be an Ivy League lawyer with an outstanding pedigree, whose mission in life is to ruin other’s, while continually enhancing his own.
AW: If you could change only one thing about your novel, what would it be?
D.J.: Thank you for the question. I’ve second guessed myself many times regarding the steaminess of the book. Only our readers will answer that question for me. Stay tuned for the answer, via the reviews, which through today have been ‘5 star’ kind.
AW: Give us an interesting or fun fact about your book/series.
D.J.: Easy, it’s sprinkled with truth, lot’s of it. It’s up to our audience to separate the facts from the fiction. To live with us in the moment or to embrace in aghast, our past.
AW: What other books are similar to your own? What makes them alike? Did they inspire you?
D.J.: Books by John Grisham inspired me, as well as the novels of John Sanford and James Patterson. None, however, wove a chance encounter love interest, so integrally into the read.
AW: What made you decide to become an author?
D.J.: Life happens, remember? We’ve a story to tell, even while it continues to be written. Successful, that’s me, catastrophic failure, that’s me too. We’ve been there, done that and have the life changing scars to prove it.
Our writings reflect real life through the throes of heartache and loss, as well as through the joys redemption brings.
“Life is not waiting for the Storms to Pass, It’s Learning to Dance in the Rain.”
AW: What is the toughest criticism that you have received as an author?
D.J.: Those closest to me, tell me I’m the World’s Worst Proofreader, to which I must confess, guilty as charged.
AW: What is the best compliment?
D.J.: I’m thankful you asked. Paying it forward is a personal choice that pays priceless dividends, regardless of the chaos in our own lives. Ride to Redemption conveys that message, without it wearing thin.
AW: Do you have another job or are you a full-time author?
D.J.: I’ve been blessed beyond measure to succeed in many wonderful things, and humbled by failing in a few. Currently our passion is writing and that’s what I’m committed to do.
AW: What can we expect from you in the future? Do you have a new novel or project that you are working on?
D.J.: The sequel, “Ride to Restoration” is well underway. I hope to publish in late April or May 2014. Visit my website:www.dalehollowlakelover.com to discover my next project, which will depend entirely on our readers and their nominations of the unsung hero’s in their lives.
AW: Do you have any tips for readers or advice for other writers trying to get published?
D.J.: If you are passionate about something, share it, be it through the written word or music. There is someone waiting to hear what you have to say. It’s in that passion, you will rise above the crowds, your voice will be heard, the message you convey, will be received. Settle for nothing less than your very best. Because of self publishing, the World is your marketplace.
AW: How do you market your book?
D.J.: We’ve explored many avenues, all of which require quite a bit of time. Time away from writing. Thankfully, I’m working with some amazing people who are steering me in the right direction, offering to promote me, as little, or as much as I want, while allowing me to focus on our book.
I would be honored if you’d visit my website: www.ridetoredemption.com and say hello. You can follow us on Twitter: @dhlakelover and find our blogs scattered about The Huffington Post.