Friday, August 20, 2010

Trust with Hearts: An Inside Look

Hi folks,

Today I’m sharing an inside look at my 10th Amber Heat romance. Trust with Hearts was released on April 25 and received a 4.5 star review from singletitle.com:

“Trust with Hearts is beautifully written. You struggle with Sherrie as she tries to regain her footing, and Curtis’s charm is intoxicating as it flows off the pages.” http://singletitles.com/?p=4087

People ask me, how did this book come about? Trust with Hearts is different from my other Amber Heat romances in that it has a more “traditional” romance novel feel – but still plenty of heat! Although Sherrie & Curtis are attracted to each other, they’re total strangers and are hesitant about getting involved in a relationship. Trust with Hearts gives them the whole summer to get to know each other. Readers are given a look into their pasts and follow along as Curtis & Sherrie heal their hearts, love, and learn to trust again.

The idea for the book came to me before a country music concert. I was sitting in the front row before the show started, when all of a sudden the whole plot and all the characters jumped into my head. Naturally, I started scribbling down notes before the house lights went down.

Although inspired by real-life, the character of Curtis isn’t based on that one particular country music singer – rather he’s a blend of three or four cowboy-hat-wearing singer/songwriters. Elements of the “inspirational” singer are there, but I used my imagination to fill in background details and invented whatever else I needed to make the story work.

The subplot of the book – Sherrie’s devotion to save Kitty Corner – was crucial because I wanted to give her a purpose, something to build her self-esteem. Sherrie’s cat adoption project lets her help unfortunate cats who need rescuing and good homes. It parallels how Dave takes Sherrie in (aka “rescues” her) and gives her a second chance at a new life. And, on a more personal note, giving Sherrie the “job” of helping cats allowed me to make a social/personal statement. I’m a “cat person” and I’ve written three cat care books. I always advocate adopting pets (of all kinds) from shelters and giving them a real home. (Would you want to live out the rest of your life in a wire cage?)

Back on topic: Knowing how I often write sequels, a reader asked if there will be another book following up Trust with Hearts. Will Dave get his own story?

I do have an idea for a sequel in mind. What if Curtis’s cousin Jen suddenly had to move in with Dave? Hmmm… I already have a plot brewing in the back of my mind, so if readers would like to see another book (or novella) let me know!

And here’s a little-known fact: Once upon a time, Trust with Hearts had a different ending that picked up right after the funeral. Curtis & Sherrie were driving back to Dave’s house when they got into a car accident. The Ventura was demolished, Sherrie was thrown clear, but had to go back into the burning car and rescue Curtis. I’m happy to say that despite their injuries, everyone lived happily-ever-after. The “car wreck” chapters were deleted after several people (contest judges, among others) told me it felt too “tacked on” and was depressing. Maybe. Maybe not. But I opted to delete it for the final version.

I hope you'll check it out! It's available in ebook format and paperback (on Amazon.com) or directly from Amber Quill Press. The book link is: http://amberquill.com/AmberHeat/TrustWithHearts.html

Happy Reading!
Kelli

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