The Bones of Who We Are: Aesthetic

I love Gabe. He’s the moody, brooding hero, and his story explores the why of his emotional journey. But his story needs a trigger warning. He’s dealing with some dark stuff (with support), so in the forward, I’ve provided an escape hatch for readers in case they aren’t in the head space to read it.

As I’ve been writing In The Wait: A Companion to Swimming Sideways and The Ugly Truth, (published to Wattpad or look for a new installment each Wednesday here) I’ve had more clarity about Gabe’s journey which I hope readers will be able to see as well.

I created this aesthetic to provide a visual reflection of Gabe’s story.

The Bones of Who We Are Mood Board

The Bones of Who We Are Mood Board

Happy Book Birthday: A Character Interview

Interview with Adam Kāne and Alexandra James from…

The Letters She Left Behind

May 6, 2019

New romantic suspense book by CL Walters available May 7, 2019

New romantic suspense book by CL Walters available May 7, 2019

Tomorrow is the book birthday for my new adult romantic suspense The Letters She Left Behind. In celebration, I thought I would commemorate the event with an interview of the main characters, Adam Kāne and Dr. Alex James.  Born on the page in 2004, these characters have waited patiently for this author to rediscover them in 2019.

Some context for your reader imaginations:

Adam Kāne is a successful Hawaii business man at 47. He’s hard working, and loves his children. He misses his late wife and is in the late stages of grief at the opening of this story; he’s complex and definitely not perfect. Of course, he’s perfectly handsome - a gorgeous Hawaiian man (does Hugh Jackman with Hawaiian features help to picture him?).

Alex James - Adam’s counterpart - is an independent and smart woman. A forty-six year old college professor who’s bread and butter is Women’s Studies, she’s bright. But she also a fallible human woman who has secretly loved Adam for her entire adult life. She’s a beautiful, engaging, loyal, and funny. When I think of Alex - the beautiful Lauren Graham comes to mind.

So now, fifteen years after their creation … without further ado:  

Welcome, Adam and Alex. I know that living in my head has probably been a bit stifling. Was it worth the wait?

Adam: Definitely. I’m a patient guy.

Alex: Sure, though it’s difficult sitting around and waiting for you to get your act together.

Hahaha! Wow. Okay. Why do I feel like there’s more in those answers than meets the eye.

Alex: I’m not one for being passive aggressive, CL, but you did write the story. You know.

Adam: (chuckles and shakes his head): Patience is a virtue. So is biting one’s tongue when necessary.

Moving on then. Without giving any spoilers, what do you like best about your story?

Alex:  Megan. While she doesn’t make a huge appearance in the story, her part in the journey is equally important to the entire narrative on so many levels. I love that about her starring role. The way it all comes together.

Adam: Me too. I also like how there is the sense of time. The way life works sometimes to bend and twist in order to get you where you need to go when the timing is just right. It’s like as much as you might want something right now, it isn’t the right time for it.

Kind of like this story. Fifteen years ago, when I wrote it, I was in my late twenties - early thirties and here I was writing about grief and second chances. Perhaps I needed additional time and world view to draw the story together. On another note, there’s this point in the narrative when both of you see yourself - or the truth of who you are - outside of the fear. Can you comment on how that moment or moments like that are impactful.

Adam: I know exactly the moment you’re referencing, though I would say I had more than one of these sort of ah ha moments. It’s like that one step forward, two steps back paradigm. A person discovers a truth about themselves. Moves forward and then regresses until another discovery occurs. I think most times, for me anyway, those self-discoveries or facing those honest truths can be painful, which is why we regress.

Alex: I think so too, which is why sometimes we don’t face them. It’s easier just to stay in one place because the threat of change might be more than we can accept.  I know that for my part in the story, this fear of things being different was paralyzing.

I love that scene - when you walk into the ocean, Alex. It was pivotal for your character.

Alex: Yes. Truly makes the difference in the overall movement of my journey.

What about you, Adam? Is there a pivotal scene for your character?

Adam: There are a few, but I don’t want to give anything away by sharing them. I can say at the beginning of the story, I’ve been in a tailspin of grief for nearly a year. I’m raw at the opening, at the precipice of either burying myself in it completely, or doing something different. Megan’s journals were pivotal for me. Without them - well, there wouldn’t be a story.

Let’s talk a little bit about place and culture. As a Hawaiian, Adam, do you think your ethnicity is relevant to the story?

Adam: Not so much. I think I represent a Hawaiian male, but I don’t necessarily embody the cultural values of being Hawaiian, if that makes sense. In all fairness, I would add that who I am is on the edge of understanding my own Hawaiian identity. With the loss of language and culture, how does one rediscover those losses when you’re disconnected from them?

Alex: Do you think that lack of culture then misrepresents you in the story?

Adam: No. I feel like it accurately represents that it is a missing piece in my life, but more could be done to explore that. Maybe not in this story, but perhaps in others. But I think place is explored and the usage of  ʻOlelo Hawaii vocabulary which add depth to an understanding that Hawaii is more than a tourist destination.

Funny you mention stories to explore that. I’m working on a story for Trey. I don’t know if it will be a short story or longer - beginning stages - but that idea of cultural rediscovery is a theme I’m noticing as I work on it. Speaking of secondary characters, who do you think will be a fan favorite?

Adam: The kids.

Alex: The kids.

Neither of you are partial… Why the kids?

Alex: Each of them are unique and bring a whole different dimension to the story. Without them, I think the story wouldn’t be as layered.

Adam: I agree. I’d like to see them all with their own stories.

What are you hoping happens with your story?

Alex: I hope that a reader can close the book and feel like “Wow, I don’t need to worry about that thing anymore.” I think it’s easy to get caught up in the minutia of our lives and forget the big picture, the what’s really important.

Adam: That! Yes. And to remember that life is a journey. It doesn’t stop. It moves forward and we move along the timeline with it. Sometimes we’re blindsided, sometimes we’re broken, but always the timeline continues. Something else I hope people remember - we can’t live it alone. Along the way, we need those special people to share it with in some capacity.

Thank you for hanging out in my head for a bit. Happy Book Birthday tomorrow to The Letter She Left Behind!

Order here.

The Letters She Left Behind PLAYLIST


This Spotify playlist is a labor of love for two characters I’m so excited to share with you: Adam and Alexandra in The Letters She Left Behind (Available on Amazon May 7, 2019).


Each of the songs selected is a part of the journey of rewriting this story to share with you. The order of the Spotify playlist tells Adam’s and Alex’s story like a soundtrack, and as I wrote supported the emotional connection to their experience. I sincerely hope listening to this soundtrack will help you fall in love with them like I have; I adore this love story. All the feels. I hope the music will enhance your reading of the novel when you do.

  1. Motion by Khalid

  2. Bed by SYML

  3. Naive by RKCB

  4. Gravity by Sara Bareilles

  5. Forgiven by Vancouver Sleep Clinic

  6. 1000 Times by Sara Bareilles

  7. Josephine by RITUAL

  8. Under You by Nick Jonas

  9. This Ain’t Love by Andy Grammer

  10. Breathe Again by Sara Bareilles

  11. Better by Khalid

  12. Hurt Somebody by Noah Kahn & Julia Michaels

  13. Fuel on Fire by Bear’s Den

  14. Hurt Nobody by Andrew Belle

  15. Closure by Vancouver Sleep Clinic

  16. Far Out Dust by Talos

  17. Can’t Help Falling In Love with You by Kina Grannis

  18. Crystalline by Jome

  19. I Choose You by Sara Bareilles

  20. As Long as I have You I’m Home by Imaginary Future

YA Author Series Launch: CL Walters

Over the next seven weeks, this blog will feature seven different authors who write Young Adult Stories.

Each Monday in April (and into May), a new author (published and unpublished) will be featured along with a 500-1000 words selection of her work (sorry, guys - no men submitted! What the heck!?!? Your assignment is to go read any or all of these authors: Marcus Zusak, Jeff Zentner and John Green).

Today, I will launch the format using my own work so you’ll get a sense of what to look for in the coming weeks. I hope this series is beneficial for you as readers (maybe you’ll find your next favorite author in the coming weeks), as well as for the author as a growth opportunity to share their voices.


Be sure to provide the guest authors some CONSTRUCTIVE FEEDBACK! Either in the comments section or in some capacity on their social media platforms. As writers - constructive feedback fuels us.

Drum roll please . . .

CL Walters


Tell us three things about who you are and why you write . . . I write because I can’t not write (please forgive the double negative). When I don’t, I turn into a bitch and that isn’t healthy for my family or my marriage. Writing is like breathing, so without it, I’m not living. Second, I adore stories - reading them, studying them, writing them - it all blends together. Finally, I write stories which I categorize as “young adult” but I hope they are just human stories that anyone at any age can enjoy.

Tell us about the story we’re going to read (your elevator pitch). . . Gabe is faced with a choice between life and death; the question is, what will he discover about himself to help him make the decision.

What are three things you want us to know as we read? This story is the third act of a trilogy. The first two books explore Abby’s and Seth’s stories in Swimming Sideways and The Ugly Truth. Gabe’s story The Bones of Who We Are has been challenging to write but not only because of the writing, but because of the content which swirls around bullying, victimization and depression.

Where can we find this story? Where can we find you (IG, Twitter, FB, website). The Bones of Who We Are is slated to be published this coming October (2019). In the meantime, you can catch up with Swimming Sideways and The Ugly Truth which are on Amazon (Kindle and Print). I can be found on IG (@cl.walters) and Twitter (@peeledandcored), my website ( and FB (CLWalters).

From… The Bones of Who We Are:

(YA Contemporary - Language Warning…)

I hate walking through the Quad. It’s a necessity twice a day unless I want to take the long way around the outside of the school. The deciding factor is always which one has the potential for more problems. Outside, I run the risk of an actual fight. In the Quad, I run the risk of mocking, maybe shit thrown at me, or something else to make me feel less than human. The first one means physical harm. The second one emotional and mental, but I can usually block it out with my headphones.

When I turn the corner from the stairwell into the opening of the Quad, it’s full. This time of the school day - lunch - it usually is. People are either in the cafeteria or there, especially as the weather turns rainy and cold. They sit on or around a myriad of red and black tables, congregate by the vending machines in red and black metal cages, and flirt with someone they crush on moving like honey bees from table to table. Some industrious students use the space to study, but not very often at lunch. It’s a space with very little adult supervision. This is for several reasons. First, the school office is across the way which adults must assume is a deterrent for teen bullshit (it isn’t) and, second, it’s lunch time. Teachers are either in the cafeteria, eating lunch with their work friends, or in their classrooms making space for those industrious students needing a place to escape the teen bullshit in the Quad.

I hesitate for a moment, consider walking around the outside or cutting through the offices, but then am annoyed for even thinking about it. I have every right to walk through the Quad. I shouldn’t have to feel worried to do it. But then that’s the problem of positivity, of allowing in layers of hope. It crumbles without a proper foundation, and just like I’d told Doc it would happen, the mouth of the escape route collapses burying me inside. It was, after all, only a matter of time.

I’m halfway across the space when I’m yanked backward. I keep my feet, but my hoodie cuts into my throat choking me. I rock backward and then forward.


“What the fuck!” I turn.

Tommy Pilner, his hands raised in mock surrender and smiling like he’s just caught a mouse, says, “Yo. Daniels. You don’t have to go all HAM, dude.”

I’ve known Tommy since coming to Cantos and he’s always been the same; he loves the Freak Challenge. He’s taken full advantage of the fact I don’t throw hands. Seth used to say his dad described Tommy as a younger version of his old man. I think: aren’t we all, which doesn’t bode well for any of us. “Fuck off,” I tell him, and turn away.

He grabs my hood again, but this time pulls with so much force I’m yanked off my feet. I slam against the floor on my back.


“Jesus, Daniels. What the fuck? You really should be more careful. You could get hurt.” Tommy laughs looking at his friends. “You all see him slip?”

They are laughing.

I’m on my feet.

Here’s another thing about hope - besides the risk of losing it - it begins to warm the cold and melt away the perceptions of what you’ve come to think you deserve into something more golden. You look outside the clear window, feel that sunshine, and think: Yeah. I could go out there and play. When the storm comes in, you remember what that sun felt like, and you want the fucking sun.

So, maybe I wouldn’t have a few weeks ago, but I take a step toward Tommy.

His smile falters.

The Bones of Who We Are… Coming October 2019

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