Recently, I sat down with my friend and fellow author, Laura Drake, to chat about This Heat of Mine for Readers Coffeehouse Facebook Chat. I wanted to share our chat with you.
What emotion/human condition did you explore with this book?
That’s a big question. And it comes with a big answer. The story was inspired by a personal experience. My husband needed a kidney. Fast. The five-year bout of dialysis was killing his heart. Killing him. I watched him lose almost sixty pounds. I knew he was dying. He knew he was, too. By a miracle we got a call that there was a kidney available. After the surgery, he started having a reoccurring dream. Normally, he never remembered his dreams, so this was odd. His dream was that he’d wake up and find an old man staring him right his face. He had that dream about fifteen times during the first three days. It gave us chills when we learned it was a sixty-five-year-old man who had given him the kidney. Afterwards, it was still an uphill climb. My husband said to me once, that it was odd to know that someone had to die to give him life.
I borrowed everything he went through, even the dream, when I wrote about seventeen-year-old Leah, who needs a new heart. When she gets it, she’s starts having dreams. Dreams that don’t belong to her. Eventually, she connects with the identical twin of the donor, only to learn he’s having the same dreams. The police say the donor’s death was a suicide, but the dreams tell another story. These two young adults reach out to each other and try to find the truth, while they find love, hope, and joy in the midst of grief and survivor’s guilt.
What authors (living or dead) would you love to invite over for coffee?
E.B. White, the author of Charlotte’s Web. And I’d kick his butt for killing off Charlotte. I cried so hard, and I hate spiders.
If you didn’t have writing ability, what other artistic talent would you want?
I’d be a stand up comic. As Christie Craig I’ve written fifteen humorous, romantic suspense novels. Humor shows up in all my books. I love making people laugh. Yes, I won’t lie, This Heart of Mine will also make you cry, probably more than once, but I promise you some chuckles along the way, and an ending you can live with. I don’t want anyone calling me back from the dead for coffee and giving me heck. LOL.
How would you describe your book? Upmarket? Beach Read? Is there romance?
This is a hard one. First, everything I write has a romance in it. But even in my humorous romance novels, it’s always more than just about the romance. I like to write about relationships. Relationships between friends, parents, and siblings. I always add humor to my work and for some, that tends to make it fit the beach read category. However, This Heart of Mine is the closest thing I’ve ever written that would fit in the upmarket genre. There are so many themes about love—holding on to it, and learning to let it go. About moving past grief, living your life to the fullest, and about following your heart—even if that heart hasn’t always belonged to you.
What were your top 3 reads of the past year?
Letters to the Lost by Bridget Kemmerer. I loved it. I’m reading one now that I can hardly put down, it’s Twelve Steps to Normal by Farrah Pen. Both of those are issue themed young adult books that also have a touch of romance. Then I read and loved All The Dead Girls by Rita Herron. It’s a romantic suspense. I read all over the place. I love Susan E. Phillips, Lori Wilde. I love stores that make me care, that make me laugh, that make me fall in love. Stories that make me believe life is journey worth taking.