The Novel Approach is pleased to welcome author K. Vale today, on the Crossed Hearts blog tour. For her visit with us, I asked K to chat a bit about the difference between this book and the books in her Shooting Stars series, more specifically, how she came up with the idea for such a weighty plot and why she decided to dig a little deeper, emotionally, with this book, and how it differed for her in the writing of this book in comparison to the others. (*And P.S. – I’ve also paid her off for the lovely compliment* ::g::)
Enjoy K’s answer, then be sure to click on the Rafflecopter widget below to enter for the chance to win a $20 Amazon Gift Card.
Can I just start out by saying that you, Lisa, are an absolute doll? Thank you so much for hosting me and for the fantastic post prompt. I’ve already scrapped one attempt to do it justice. Let me try again.
Okay. Deep breath.
I have a new book out. Yay! And, yes, it does differ somewhat from my Shooting Stars books in theme and tone. I can honestly say that I panicked a few times while writing it, wondering what the hell I was thinking. Some spots were tough to push through, and it took me longer to complete than any of my other books. I worried I was writing something that was too dark to be a good romance…
But here’s the thing: Are there heavier themes in this book? Yes. But there are also lighthearted moments and honest to goodness romance. Did I worry I hadn’t balanced them well enough? Yeah, I did. I was nervous sending Crossed Hearts out to beta readers. I was afraid they’d say it was depressing, or morbid. But they didn’t. They said it wasn’t either of those things. People I trust to tell me the truth said it was a fast, engaging read, and that they loved Kory and Will’s love. They told me they absolutely loathed my bad guy. They told me they cried, and laughed, and chewed their nails. I have reason to believe they approved of the sexy times. Best of all, they still had my characters walking around with them long after they’d finished reading.
I counted it as a win.
As to my initial inspiration? It’s hard to nail down what came first. I had the idea for someone with a heart transplant to have a love story because I’d once read something about people having alterations in their personality and tastes following organ transplant—cellular memory it’s called. I was drawn to the idea of a transplant changing the person who got the secondhand organ. Of course, any changes in Kory came from his own guilt, but that was the first spark.
I love hanging out in cemeteries, and liked the idea of writing a funeral director just for the challenge of making him sexy and appealing. My dad worked as a mortician long ago, soI got to pick his brain. I even wrote a scene while sitting in the cemetery across from my library (the ants made it a one-time deal, unfortunately).
Early on, I felt like Will needed more meat to him, and my sounding board buddy suggested he either be obsessed with Parkour, or be a paramedic. I went with paramedic, much to her disappointment. It ended up being a perfect way to tie a number of plot threads together, and a chance for me to dust off my nursing skills and put them to paper. I happened to take a BLS course while writing Crossed Hearts, and even asked the instructor specific questions for my book (disguised as professional interest, of course).
Anyway, yes, Crossed Hearts is different from my Shooting Stars books in some ways, but I think readers who enjoyed those will like this one, too. I really hope they’ll give it a chance. Hey, when in doubt, download the sample on Amazon and see if I can rope you in. 😉
Kory Vansant doesn’t deserve to be alive.
As time sucks him dry of energy, sapping the final ounces of strength from his congenitally enlarged heart, he’s forced to end his career as Kory Kent, porn star. Staring down death, he questions his life choices and prays for a miracle. For another chance at life, he vows to change who he is at his core.
His prayers are answered. A perfect heart now beats in his chest, but it comes at a heavy price. The donor is an innocent young man cut down far too prematurely.
Kory’s blemished history and his donor’s spotless past are far from ideal matches.
As his debts skyrocket, Kory can’t help but think his resolve to walk the high road is being tested. After he meets the adorable Will Squire at the gravesite they both visit, he’s doubly damned because there’s no way he can keep up his end of the bargain. What happens when a man breaks a deal with a higher power?
Will often prefers the company of the dead to that of the living. Following a bad breakup, he pours himself into his two jobs—funeral director at his uncle’s mortuary and part-time paramedic. He’s drawn ever closer to Kory, as if fate sticks her fickle hand in and pushes them together like two unlikely puzzle pieces. But sometimes history can’t be buried, and maybe divine intervention isn’t always right. Will discovers everyone is imperfect, no matter how pretty the outer package, and opening one’s heart is never easy, but can be oh, so worth the pain.
About the Author: K. Vale writes erotic romance of all stripes, from hot hetero to mouthwatering manlove. Find her MF work published under Kimber Vale. Come for the sex. Stay for the story. Stalk Kimber on Facebook and Twitter @KimberVale, and check her site for updates, new releases, and freebies at authorkimbervale.com.