Friday, 12 August 2022

I Interviews

Interview: Natalie Walters

Living Lies is your debut novel. Can you please provide a brief description of your book?

Living Lies is more than a romantic suspense story. It’s a story that reveals the internal struggles of one woman’s battle with depression and realization that her diagnosis doesn’t define her. Lane searches for purpose in her life even as she can’t escape or ignore the diagnosis that makes her believe she is somehow flawed. Living Lies exposes the stigma Natalie Walters Headshotsurrounding mental health and the reality that sometimes it only takes one person looking into the heart of another, beyond what the rest of the world sees, to understand that God makes no mistakes and there is purpose in every life.


In addition to being a military wife, you also come from a long line of military and law enforcement veterans. How do you feel your background helped you write your new novel?

It gives me a unique perspective that’s personal to the lifestyle. I wasn’t just an author researching the military or law enforcement livelihood. I was the wife, daughter, granddaughter, sister, and niece drawing details from personal history that have shaped me as a person. It also helped to have instant access to family members who have served in these fields for decades.


What type of research was required for writing Living Lies?

Police procedure was a must. I would have family members to answer to if I got that wrong. I have three uncles who fought in the Vietnam War. One was injured and one is still haunted by memories. It’s not a war that I see often written about, and I used my character, Miguel Roa, to shed light on some of the more tragic effects of the war that I discovered through articles, documentaries, and family history. We’ve been blessed in our military career to meet friends from almost all the government agencies, so my research regarding the drug-smuggling plot happened because of dear friends in the DEA who allowed me to interrupt many dinner conversations with my questions and what-if scenarios.


Your series is set in the small town of Walton, Georgia. Why did you choose this location?

Lane Kent’s story actually started in Northern Virginia, where our family was living when I first began writing her story. It wasn’t until our family was reassigned to Coastal Georgia that I really began to see the setting for Living Lies come to life. We lived in a small town where Southern hospitality was at its best and was often served with a glass of sweet tea and a whisper of gossip. It was easy to imagine the struggle Lane would face living in a town where everyone knows her (or thinks they do) and having to keep a secret that could damage not only her reputation but also her family’s reputation. The natural elements of the location were also a huge draw. The live oaks and dripping boughs of Spanish moss were haunting but beautiful and reflected perfectly both Lane’s and Miguel’s stories.


In Living Lies, the heroine struggles with more than just a physical enemy. She also wrestles with an emotional and personal enemy. Can you expand on this?

Lane’s struggle is with depression. It’s an illness that affects people without bias and has such a stigma surrounding it Living Lies Book Coverthat many people suffer in silence. Her family’s lack of understanding isolates her further, making it harder for her to overcome the belief that she is flawed beyond hope and her life has no value. It’s a battle that often occurs daily and can be triggered unexpectedly, leaving Lane teetering on the edge of life-altering choices.


Is there one character you particularly resonate with?

One of the things I loved most about writing Living Lies was creating characters I can connect with personally. Lane is one such character. I started writing Lane’s character because I had seen the tragic effects of what a mental health diagnosis can do to not only the family but also the patient. The lack of understanding brings questions, blame, and often the loss of family and friends who are unable to understand that a mental health diagnosis isn’t any different from a physical diagnosis of any other disease. Writing Lane allowed me to respond to those reactions in a way that I hope brings light to the battle someone with mental health faces. Lane can’t do it on her own. She needs the life-affirming support from family and friends who can speak truth, love, and purpose to her when the storm of her illness makes her believe anything less.


Living Lies is the first book in the Harbored Secrets series. How will the other books in the series be similar or different from your debut novel?

I truly love the community in Walton and am excited to bring my readers back! Readers will see some familiar faces, but I’ve got a great cast of new characters that I’m anxious to introduce along with some deadly secrets that will turn their lives upside down.


What do you hope readers gain from reading your book?

Hope. I want to remind those who might be suffering from depression or anxiety that they are not alone. They are seen and have purpose, a reason to fight and live. I also want to create a good story with a quaint town and lovable characters that readers will want to come back and visit. A story that will stay with the reader long after they close the book.


How can readers connect with you? 

Readers can connect with me through:

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