#ReleaseTour — Haven's War (Safe Haven #2) Parker Williams + Interview & Giveaway

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I'm thrilled to have author Parker Williams joining us today on the release tour stop for Haven's War. We have a fantastic interview, plus an excerpt, book trailer, and a giveaway you don't want to miss. 

Welcome, Parker!

When did you write your first story and what was the inspiration for it?

  • My very first story was called ‘Free At Last’. I wrote it when I was around 13, and coming to the realization that I was gay. Back then role models didn’t exist. Being gay was played for sympathy or humor or as someone to be the victim of a crime. I wanted a gay boy to meet a gay boy and fall in love, knowing that their lives would be spent together.


Do you have a writing schedule or do you just write when you can find the time?

  • I used to have to find time. Now it’s my job, so I write when I can. My favorite time is when Paul goes shopping on the weekends. I tag along and sit in the car to write. And also to watch as the firemen come walking down the sidewalk to do their shopping. Oh, many thoughts go into those days.


Briefly describe the writing process. Do you create an outline first? Do you seek out inspirational pictures, videos or music? Do you just let the words flow and then go back and try and make some sense out it?

  • Believe it or not, a lot of my stories have their seed planted in a dream. When I wrote Haven’s Creed (the first book), it was a dream about a person at work who threatened coworkers, was constantly rude, and just miserable to work with. I may have dreamed about an assassin and the number of ways he could take her out.


Where did the desire to write LGBTQIA+ stories come from?

  • Being a gay kid in the 70s and 80s with no one to look up to. There was no ‘it gets better’. Back then it was ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’. You could have sex with people, but you really couldn’t get together for much beyond that. (At least that was how I saw it. Now I read about couples in their nineties who were together sixty years, and realize that they did exist, you just never heard it.)


How much research do you do when writing a story and what are the best sources you’ve found for giving an authentic voice to your characters?

  • Now that’s a tough question. It really depends on the story. When I write with K.C. Wells, we do our best to make the BDSM scenes believable. But with a book like Haven, it’s just a matter of finding memorable ways for people to die. (Yeah, don’t look at my search history.)


What’s harder, naming your characters, creating the title for your book or the cover design process?

  • I’ve got a problem with naming characters. In my current WIP, I named a woman Gina Torres. Of course, a friend points out to me that she’s someone famous. I named Haven Michael Phelps. Never gave thought to the swimmer.


How do you answer the question “Oh, you’re an author…what do you write?”

  • This is where my husband comes in handy. When someone asks, he’s quick to say, ‘’Gay Romance and Suspense”.


What does your family think of your writing?

  • My mom and aunt love it. They’ve both read my books. (Admittedly, Mom wasn’t a fan of Haven because of the violence.) My father? Who cares what he thinks? I let him get to me when I was a kid, telling me I was wasting my time with writing because, in his words, it wasn’t going to amount to shit. Yeah, I had enough self-doubt from him to last a lifetime.


Tell us about your current work in process and what you’ve got planned for the future.

  • My current work in progress? Unfortunately, I have a few vying for time. Right now one of the characters from Haven’s War is doing his best to get his story in there before everyone else. When they squawk, he reminds them he kills people for a living.

I have a book coming from Dreamspinner Press in July. It’s called ‘Runner’, and it’s the story of Matt who had his life turned upside down when he was sixteen by a person he should have been able to trust. It left him with PTSD and OCD, and the need to be away from people. That all worked out, until the day someone he didn’t know began jogging down his road. Eventually Matt begins to accept this stranger’s presence, and even forms a tentative connection.

Then one day, the runner doesn’t show up, and Matt has to make an impossible decision.


Do you have any advice for all the aspiring writers out there?

  • Write. Do NOT listen to anyone else. Write. Hone your voice. Write. Get those words down. Write. Love what you do. Write. Find a crit group. Write. Make friends in the community. Write.

Oh, and for goodness sake, WRITE!


If you could travel forward or backward in time, where would you go and why?

  • I’d go forward in time. I want to see if we ever evolve past petty bigotries and prejudices.


We’ve all got a little voyeurism in us right? If you could be a fly on the wall during an intimate encounter (does not need to be sexual) between two characters, not your own, who would they be?

  • Wes and Tristan from Silvia Violet’s Wild R Farm series. Wes is this untamed horse shifter. At least he is until he meets Wes, who ropes that stallion in. I’ve seen them in sex scenes, and they’re HOT together. My favorite scene with them? A Christmas scene, where Tristan’s jubilance over the holiday clashes with Wes’s desire for peace and calm.


If I were snooping around your kitchen and looked in your refrigerator right now, what would I find?

  • Fair warning: DO NOT DO THAT! Just…don’t. Not that there’s a body in there or anything. But I would strongly advise you not to open the refrigerator. Strongly.


If you could be a superhero, what would you want your superpowers to be?

  • When I was a kid, I came up with a superhero that had the ability to turn prejudices against a person. Hated gay people? You became gay until you learned empathy. Hated minorities? You had to live their lives until you figured out how ignorant you were being.


If you could trade places with one of your characters, who would it be and why?

  • Matt from Runner! Not because I want to deal with his abuse and subsequent problems, but because from it he gets Charlie who is the sweetest, most patient man ever.


If you could sequester yourself for a week somewhere and just focus on your writing, where would you go and what would the environment be like?

  • I’d love to go to a cabin in the woods (as long as it had WiFi.) Peace and quiet? Hell yes.


What’s the one thing, you can’t live without?

  • As much as I tease him, I can’t live without my husband. When I’m feeling like I ought to be back in an office setting, he reminds me that I’m a good writer.


What internet site do you surf to the most?

  • Mostly Facebook and Joe My God (he posts news about gays and politics). On occasion I’ll venture over to Democratic Underground, too.


If you had your own talk show, who would your first three author guests be and why?

  • Ooh, I love this question!

KC Wells, because she’s my cowriter.

Mary Calmes because she’s fucking Mary Calmes!

And Cate Ashwood because she’d bring her babies with her and I’d get to meet them!


When you got your very first manuscript acceptance letter, what was your initial reaction and who was the first person you told?

  • My very first acceptance letter was for 500 Miles. The first person I told was Paul. I called him up, all excited. His reply? “That’s good.” And yet I keep him.


Thank you, Parker.

Readers, be sure to check the great book content below for Haven's War—Available now!

Title: Haven's War
Series: Safe Haven #2
Author: Parker Williams
Genre: M/M Dark Romantic Elements
Release Date: June 26, 2017 Buy Now: Universal Link 
With Haven on an extended honeymoon with Sammy, bad guys around the world are breathing a lot easier. No one is better at permanently removing these lowlifes who target children—and the brutal murder of two teenage girls makes clear it’s past time to return to work. Haven’s first assignment back results in a new family member and a renewed sense of urgency to protect and avenge the innocent. There is nothing ‘usual’ about the business of hunting predators, but when several of Haven’s fellow agents are killed, a pattern emerges. The hunters have become the prey, tools in a bitter vendetta for a perceived wrong. Despite years of working alone, when the target shifts to someone unexpected, Haven calls in reinforcements—a friend to stand between the family he loves and a ruthless killer. Teamwork may be the only way to win this fight—unless it’s already too little, too late. Haven tries to approach this as he would any other assignment. Find your enemy and make sure they suffer before you eliminate them. But when a member of his team goes off-book and ends up dead, everything changes. It’s no longer a battle. Now it’s war.
He glanced up at the evening sky. A haze enveloped the quarter moon, giving everything an ethereal glow. Though the night would be considered sultry, it lent itself to romance, walking hand in hand with someone you cared for, sharing whispered words, promises that might last an evening or be the foundation for a lifetime commitment. These people had no idea how quickly something like love could be ripped away, how those things said to one another would be worth less than the air you spent on saying them.
He shook his head. Now he needed to focus, not lose himself in memories of what might have been if things had been different. God, how he wished things could have been different.
The street could only be described as quaint. Small houses, each nearly identical to the next, but with a few tweaks that marked them as individual. The place he focused on had a small flowerbed, bursting with a variety of a flower he knew, but couldn’t recall the name. Tulips, maybe?
The slate gray siding, the maroon shutters on the windows, and the solar-powered pathway to the door that lit up in beautiful colors at night. The overall effect could only be described as charming. A lot of love went into making the house something special. It reminded him of what he’d lost.
He’d taken refuge in a house across from the home for six days, getting the lay of the land, taking note of the occupants’ arrival and departure schedule. Then every night, he drifted off, thinking about the place. It had been a dream of theirs, to own a little farm of their own, where no one would send them off to the corners of the world to handle problems. And for one very brief instant, they’d achieved it. But that dream had died in more ways than one. One day it was there, the next it was gone, as ephemeral as if it had never existed.
He tugged the collar of his black jacket and wished for a cool breeze. The earlier rain had sent the humidity soaring, and sweat was building up under his bulletproof vest, matting the sparse hairs. What he wouldn’t give for a tall glass of iced tea about now. He tried again, lifting the bottom of the vest up, hoping to let a little air in to cool him down, but nothing helped. He glanced at his watch. He’d need to make his move tonight. No way could he stand to be in this place any longer. The memories and wistful dreams alone threatened to drown him, but this heat had him sweating to the point where even he could smell himself. When he grabbed a coffee at the convenience store down the street while his target was out, the man behind the counter had a hand on the phone. Probably thought he was a vagrant. He sure as hell looked like one. He hadn’t showered in days, and his dark blond hair felt greasy to the touch. The beard he’d grown over the last year hadn’t seen a razor either. He looked like shit.
When he heard the hum of an engine on the quiet street, he crouched down. Though his patience had long ago come to an end, he needed to see this through. He would wait as he’d been trained, even if every fiber of his being rebelled against the idea. Still, he was an assassin, and he had a job to do.
The woman—Sarah, according facts he’d assembled—slid from the driver’s seat, her blond hair pulled back into a ponytail. She laughed at something the other occupant shouted, then opened the rear door of the van. It took several minutes for her to get set, then she stepped away as a ramp slid down to allow the man in the back to wheel out and be lowered to the ground. She bent over and kissed him, then walked to the passenger side where she took a baby from the car seat. She held the child up, and then blew a raspberry on his belly, which caused the kid to laugh and wiggle. Regret tore through him. He wished there could be another way, but two months ago he’d approached the man—Daniel Tollifson—there had been angry words exchanged, as well as the threat of police involvement. He couldn’t allow that, because there would be no one else to take down his ultimate target.
He forced himself to focus on the here and now. He needed to remain detached. Better to not let facts like these intrude on his mission—a few weeks ago, he’d gone to Daniel, begging for information. He’d been rebuffed. That wouldn’t be the case today.
If the man wouldn’t help him when he asked, then he’d have to find another way to get his message across. He reached into his pocket and pulled out a photo of a man whose smile had never wavered. Terry had been his whole world, and then had been ripped away from him in a matter of moments. All he wanted had been the name of the person responsible. Why couldn’t Daniel see he wasn’t asking for much? How would he feel if it had been his wife? Or his child?
Daniel disengaged himself from the ramp, and Sarah started to come around to the other side. It had to be now.
He’d run out of tears a lifetime ago, but again he wished he had another alternative. He didn’t. He raised the rifle and peered through the sights. The woman and baby had gotten too near the man, and he refused to hurt the innocent. Not like Terry had been. He lowered his weapon.
He waited while the two were engaged in conversation. She touched her husband’s face, then bent down to blow a raspberry on his cheek, which had them both laughing. She held out the baby to him and gestured to the chair. He frowned, shook his head, and waved her off. She laughed and stuck out her tongue, dodging the swat he attempted to lay on her ass, then strode to the house, singing something loud and only slightly off-key. Her husband yelled something about the neighbors, and she merely laughed. He could see the obvious love the two of them shared, and that made what he had to do even more difficult.
Regret tore through him. “I’m sorry,” he whispered, no longer sure who the sympathy was for.
She opened the front door, and her husband began to roll toward the house. Now would be his chance. Despite his misgivings, he had to take it. He again raised the rifle, closed one eye, and locked in on his target. The wheelchair stopped at the curb, and the man tried unsuccessfully to move it. He called out to Sarah, an edge of frustration in his voice. She laughed and took eight steps toward him when the trigger of the M24 he held in slightly trembling hands depressed, and a loud bang split the quiet suburban street. Less than a second passed before Daniel’s head exploded, blood and other materials spattering his wife and child. For a moment, she stood there, eyes wide. She gripped the baby close to her chest, and then screamed.
Before the echo died away, he had already scurried off into the night.
It wasn’t a perfect shot. He could hear Terry cursing at him, making him do it again and again until he got it right. But Terry had died, and though two years had passed, he would finally be avenged.
Daniel Tollifson had been the first, but there was no doubt he wouldn’t be the last. Though he didn’t want to kill anyone, there had to be a penalty for those who refused to help him get justice for Terry. He needed to track down and eliminate the person who’d been responsible.
No matter who had to die in the process.
(Warning: This may be considered a trigger for some people. The images used in the video are stock photos and not real pictures of violence against children.)
Parker Williams believes that true love exists, but it always comes with a price. No happily ever after can ever be had without work, sweat, and tears that come with melding lives together.
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