March 2, I was invited as a guest to Brittany’ Book Rambles. Brittany asked me a lot of really interesting questions. including my favorite scene from This Heart of Mine. So, I wanted to share this interview with you. Enjoy!
1.What is your writing process like? Are you a plotter or a pantser?
I write most every day. I’m the type of writer who works best in my office and not at a coffee shop. I call myself a pantser. My agent argues with me, saying I always know what’s going to happen in the book. And yes, I may know the end and a few plot points, but I never write an outline. I just sit down and start writing. I love discovering the story as I write.
2. What are the hardest and easiest types of scenes for you to write?
Sad scenes are hard to write. I tend to cry. I love writing the scenes with a lot of dialogue. I love it when my characters are sparring with their words.
3. What is the first book that ever made you cry?
I’m dyslexic and it took me a while to learn to read. I think I was in fourth grade when I finally completed my first chapter book. It was Charlotte’s Web. It took me weeks to read it. I cried when Charlotte died. I was so mad.
4. Do you have a favorite scene or quote from This Heart of Mine? Do tell!
It’s the first kiss scene. Leah has an artificial heart and it’s in a backpack with a tube connected to her. No one has lived longer than four years with the artificial heart. Since she’s been sick, for over a year, she hasn’t gone to school. But she’s decided to try to graduate. As a result, her teachers tutor her at home. When one teacher can’t make it, she sends Matt, her prize student, instead. He is an identical twin and Leah’s not sure which twin has come to tutor her. At first she doesn’t want it, but then well…
He looks up at the clock. “I guess I should be going.”
I want to tell him he doesn’t have to rush off. How sad is it that this is the most fun and the most alive I’ve felt all year?
He stands up. I do the same, then slip on the backpack, always hiding the tube that goes into my side.
He moves down the hall. I follow. I’m staring at his hair, the way it tips up. Again hoping he’s Matt. I’m so into his hair, I don’t notice him swing around.
We run smack-dab into each other.
“Shit.” He grabs me by my shoulders and pulls me against him. “Are you okay?”
His hands are on my upper arms. My breasts are against his chest.
Then bam! I feel something I haven’t felt in a long time. Excitement. My very own I’m-a-girl-and-you’re-a-boy excitement. Not the borrowed thrill I get from reading romances.
I can smell him. Like men’s soap, or deodorant; a little spicy, a lot masculine. The desire to lean in and bury my nose in his shoulder is so strong I have to clinch my hands.
“I’m fine,” I say. Don’t pull away. Don’t pull away. Please don’t pull away.
He doesn’t pull away. He gazes down at me. This close I can see he has gold and green specks in his brown eyes. A voice inside of me says I should step back, but you couldn’t pay me to move. I’m dying. Is it wrong of me to want this?
“I . . . I forgot my books.” The words fall from his lips in an uncertain tone. The pads of his thumbs rubs the insides of my arm. Just the tiniest, softest friction that feels so damn good.
I run my tongue over my bottom lip. “Oh, I . . . I thought you were going to kiss me.” I hear my own words and wonder where I got the balls to say that.
His eyes widen. Not in an oh-crap way, but in a surprised kind of way. “Do you want me to kiss you?”
I grin. “If you’re Matt, I’ve wanted you to kiss me since seventh grade.”
His gaze lowers to my mouth and lingers. “Is your heart strong enough?”
I burst out laughing. “Are you that good of a kisser?”
“Maybe.” A smile crinkles the corners of his eyes. He leans down. His lips are against mine, soft and sweet. I slip into sensory overload. I lean in and open my mouth and ease my tongue between his lips. Yeah, it’s bold, but it’s not like I’ll live long enough to regret it.
His tongue brushes against mine. One hand moves to my waist, the other slides back behind my neck. He gently angles my face to deepen the kiss. I feel it, every contact that is his skin against mine. I feel awesome. So freaking alive.
I get even ballsier and reach up and run my fingers through his hair. It’s even softer than I thought it’d be.
When he pulls back, we’re breathing hard, and we stare at each other. The dazed look in his eyes tells me that this wasn’t a pity kiss. We start inching closer. His lips are almost on mine again when the sound of the front door opening shatters the moment.
5. How much of your real life experiences do you incorporate into your writing? For example, do you base characters on real people?
I always pull from real life. For example in my Shadow Falls books, every time I killed a villain, it was always my ex. LOL. Truthfully, there has been no other book of mine that I’ve put more personal experience into than in This Heart of Mine. The book is about an organ transplant recipient, and my husband had a kidney transplant four years ago. So much of the hurt, the facing death, and then having a life saved because of a transplant, all came from my husband’s experience. Even the mystical thread that goes through the book when Leah starts having dreams that feel like they are from the donor came from his experience.
6. Which authors and books have influenced you the most?
I love romance. I love stories that spark that feeling of falling in love all over again, but I also love a little mystery. When I first started writing, I read Susan E. Phillips. Then I started really enjoying stories with a touch of mystery or suspense.
7. What is one material possession you can’t live without?
I hate to admit it, but it’s my phone. I’m not on it at all times, but if I accidentally leave it at the house, I panic.
8. What fictional character (that is not your own) do you identify with most, and why? Could be from a book, TV show, movie, etc.
There are two that I sort of identify with. Melinda Gordon (Jennifer Love Hewitt in Ghost Whisperer), who has the ability to see and communicate with ghosts. Yes, I’m always sensing someone is trying to communicate with me. That’s why most of my work has some sixth sense in them. And then I really loved Kristen Bell in Veronica Mars. Like her, I’m always looking at life trying to find a mystery to solve.
9. What’s next for you? What are you working on now?
I’m actually working on two new young adult books right now. One is the second book in my The Mortician’s Daughter series, Two Feet Under and one I have tentatively titled In Another Life. It’s a story about a girl who discovers an age progression photo that looks just like her. The girl was supposedly kidnapped as a toddler. What if everything you thought you knew about your family was a lie? It has sold to Wednesday Books, but we don’t have pub. date on it yet.
Have you read This Heart of Mine? Who is your favorite character?