For today's stop on the Dangerous Love blog tour, we have an interview with the authors. Be sure to read through to the bottom for an excerpt and giveaway as well.
Dangerous Love by Kara Leigh Miller and Jody Holford
He’s fighting to forget his past while she struggles to remember hers…
Doctor Josh Parker lives with guilt about his wife’s death every day.
He believes himself incapable of ever loving again, but when a
mysterious woman arrives in the Emergency Room, brutally beaten and left for dead, he starts to feel something he hasn’t felt in far too long:
Alessandra Matthews has no memory of the events that led to her being hospitalized. Worse, she has no idea who hurt her or why. Although she’s uncertain of who she is, she is fully aware of one thing—she’s falling for her doctor.
Sometimes, what you don’t know can kill you…
As Josh and Alessa work to solve the mystery surrounding her past, she soon realizes just how much danger she’s really in, but Josh refuses to let her face the darkness of her memories alone. With each of them struggling to put their pasts behind them, theirs is a DANGEROUS LOVE.
April 14, 2015
1. Where/how did you come up with the idea for your story? Did it suddenly pop into your head or were you brainstorming?
KARA: Oh, man. lol. I’m honestly not sure where or how this idea came to me. Like most of my other ideas, I probably heard something or saw something that stuck with me and it just morphed into something else. That happens to me a lot.
JODY:Kara had the idea for the story and, with Anaiah, held a co-author contest. Once we got started, the ideas stemmed from her big picture idea. We spent a lot of time chatting back and forth through google, Facebook, and email. When ideas do pop into our head, we share them with each other and build them into the writing.
2. Did you start with the main character, the world or the overarching concept?
KARA: For me, Dangerous Love started with the concept of a man dealing with the loss of his wife. Distraught and unable to really move on, he was just going through the motions. Until a woman came into his ER, beaten and barely alive. His inexplicable concern for her brought him back from a very dark place. Jody and I built upon that idea to create what DL is now.
JODY:When I read the first couple chapters that Kara had started, it was clear that Josh Parker was driving the story. The pain of losing his wife, blaming himself, and finding a way to move forward became Dangerous Love.
3. Panster or Plotter? Or in between?
KARA: I used to be a die hard panster, but writing with a partner required a certain level of plotting. Otherwise, we probably would’ve had two distinct stories happening within the confines of one book. Now, like Jody, I do a bit of both. I generally just start writing until I get stuck, then I go back and plot, which helps me work through the block.
JODY:I can’t pick a side. I don’t know, now that I’ve done both, if there’s any way not to be a little bit of the two. I’m a plantser. Or a plonster.
4. Are you a fan of writing contests?
KARA: Yes! It’s how I ultimately found and signed with my agent. I’m also a mentor for PitchWars, so I’ve had the pleasure of being on both sides of the contests. They can be a major rush, pitching your work, having someone else say they like it, but as Jody says, the connections and friendships you make are much more valuable than anything else. While they are a great avenue for reaching your goals, they are not the end all be all of publishing. Just because you don’t make it into a contest or don’t grab an agent’s attention, that doesn’t mean your book isn’t good. Don’t ever forget that.
JODY: I have to say yes here because that is exactly what brought us together. The Anaiah co-author contest was a really cool one and not just because I won but because it was an amazing opportunity for a new author. Though I am definitely a fan, I think that it’s important that beginning writers realize that one of the best things about the contests, aside from getting your work out there, is the connections and friendships that you establish. There is a fabulous support group in the writing community and a lot of the people I’ve connected with, I’ve met through contests or pitch events.
5. How did you find your agent? How many query letters did you send?
KARA: Collectively, Jody and I are unagented. Personally, I’m agented by Dawn Dowdle of The Blue Ridge Literary Agency. She found me during #Pitchmas and quickly rejected me. lol. Then, a month later, she found me during #Pitmad (same book) and I resent my query with a note she’d already rejected. She very politely said she’d look again considering she’d been the one to request -- twice. And the second time was the charm! I’d been querying agents for almost 3 years before I signed with Dawn, and this was my third book, so it certainly didn’t happen quickly.
JODY:As Kara said, together, we are unagented. I was agented in 2012/2013 for picture books but when I decided to branch out in genres, my agent and I amicably parted ways. Every step of this journey is a learning curve. The writing, querying, connecting with authors and agents-- all of it. I am currently querying agents for my work outside of Anaiah. When we start out, it’s hard to know the multitude of ways that you can be a published author.
6. What's the best marketing tool you've found so far?
KARA: I’m still searching for this. If you happen to find the magical answer, please let me know ;-) lol. On a serious note, I’ve found just being out there and interacting with readers is the best marketing tool. Being a “real” person on social media, engaging with your audience, letting them know you’re human is so effective. I know I love it when my favorite authors genuinely interact with me, so I strive to do the same in my career.
JODY:I agree with Kara. I have been overwhelmed by the support of other authors, bloggers, and reviewers. Everything you read says to create a platform, connect with your readers. But in trying to do that, I’ve found this group of people that have celebrated my successes, helped me through trouble spots, and become allies and friends. I don’t know if it works for marketing but with our books and my online interactions, I try to use the same approach as I do IRL-- treat others as you want to be treated.
7. What do you like best about your mc?
KARA: Our hero is a doctor. What’s not to like about that? Ha! But more than that, he’s kind and compassionate and a true gentleman. Despite all of his past heartbreaks, he still has the ability to see the good in the world, and I think that’s a rare thing to find in human beings nowadays. As for our heroine, she’s a truly strong woman. She’s been knocked down so much, but she keeps fighting back, and I think that makes her a real inspiration to readers.
JODY:I think the best thing about both of our main characters is that they are real and they are flawed. They have to face their pasts and still move forward. In life, we have to do that. We have to accept who we are and find someone who sees that, and loves us anyway. Josh and Alessa do that for each other.
8. What do you like best about your main antagonist?
KARA: Honestly, not much. lol. He’s not a very nice guy. But it was fun writing him for the simple fact he challenged me as a writer. When you’re a “good girl” in real life, it can be hard to write a bad guy. It stretched my skills to be able to get into his mind and make him feel real to readers. And, he does have a couple of humorous lines -- he’s very arrogant -- so that was cool.
JODY:That’s a tough question. He’s not very likable. I guess I like that he gives us another view of Alessa. Even though he found her stronger characteristics a threat, it gives the audience a view of who Alessa was without Josh. As Kara said, it stretches you as a writer because we had to create a character that was worth Alessa’s fear.
9. Anything else you like to share about your journey or your upcoming launch, including links to giveaways or ways people can help spread the word?
KARA: Writing this book with Jody has been a true rollercoaster -- in the best sense of the way, and the journey has been amazing. I wouldn’t trade a single moment of it for anything. We’re very excited for the world to meet Josh and Alessa, and we hope they enjoy Dangerous Love as much as we do! For up-to-date information about Dangerous Love and the complete Mending Hearts Series, you can visit our Facebook page: www.facebook.com/MendingHeartsSeries
JODY:The journey, in general, is completely unpredictable. Working with Kara has given me confidence and helped me improve as a writer. It’s been fun, even when it’s stressful. I am so excited that we get to share Dangerous Love with others. We have quite a few ideas planned for giveaways. Each Tuesday until release, we’re giving away an Amazon gift card. You can also find other promotions and updates on our page or on our individual websites. www.facebook.com/MendingHeartsSeries Word of mouth about books you enjoy is one of the best ways for people to help and share. Thank you everyone for your support.
The long, drawn out beep of the heart monitor silenced the room. “Call it,” Dr. Parker said, his voice strained and low with defeat.
“Time of death, eleven twenty-four p.m.” Nurse Renee pulled the sheet over the patient’s head.
Dr. Parker walked out of the room. Once in the hallway, he leaned against the wall and lowered his head. Losing a patient sucked, but knowing he had to go tell a waiting room full of friends and family that their loved one was dead made it much harder. He rubbed his hands over his face and blew out a long breath. The smell of antiseptic and blood still permeated his senses.
“You did everything you could, Josh,” Renee said, joining him in the hallway and patting him on the back.
“Thanks.” He smiled weakly. “I’m going to go tell the family.” Dr. Parker headed down the hall toward the bank of elevators, the sound of his dress shoes clapping the linoleum. He hated this part of his job. Working in the ER was good to keep his mind busy, but it was taking its toll. It was physically and emotionally exhausting. Not to mention, it always seemed when he was on duty, there was at least one death. He couldn’t handle much more.
Josh pushed the down button and waited for the elevator to arrive. The idea of opening his own practice was becoming more and more appealing. The doors slid open,
and he stepped inside, forcing himself to breathe deeply. Pushing the button for the lobby, he made a decision to take a short break and grab some coffee, maybe a sandwich from the deli across the street.
The elevator dinged, the doors slid open, and because he had no other choice, he stepped out. As soon as he came into view, the boy’s parents stood. The patient was a twenty-year-old college student who’d been out partying with his friends, drinking, and was in a car accident that left two of his friends in critical condition and him dead. It was such a senseless waste of life and a prime example of why drinking and driving, in any amount, is harmful.
“Doctor, how is our son?” the mom asked.
Josh’s stomach lurched, making the words catch in his throat for a moment. “I’m sorry, Mr. and Mrs. Sutton, but Jackson didn’t make it. There was a lot of internal bleeding. We did everything we could.” Mrs. Sutton shook her head, denying what Josh said. Her husband’s face crumpled as he reached for his wife, pulling her into his arms. She let herself fall into him, and Josh looked away in an effort to give them some privacy. After a few moments, Josh said, “I’m very sorry for your loss. The hospital has grief counselors on staff if you’d like to meet with one of them.” His words did nothing to ease their pain, and he knew it. He knew firsthand just how empty they were, how daft and cold they sounded, but they were protocol.
With a sad nod, Josh left the family to grieve. He needed some air that didn’t taste like the hospital. Stopping at the nurses’ station, he said, “Renee, I’m going to go out for a bit. Page me if you need me.”
She looked up from the chart she read and gave him a weak smile. Concern shone from her dark, quiet eyes. She knew him well, had worked beside him many times.
“You look tired. Try to sneak in a nap.”
“Thanks.” He smiled, but there was no emotion behind it. He often wondered if he had the ability to feel emotions anymore. Ever since Laura . . . He shook her name from his mind. Thinking of her would only bring his mood down even more than it already was.
He stepped out into the cool, evening air and took a deep breath, letting his eyes close momentarily. His stomach had been in knots all night, and he didn’t know why. There was a sense of unease, restlessness coursing through his body. It was wreaking havoc on his ability to concentrate, and he couldn’t help but wonder if his lack of concentration led to a mistake in the ER—a mistake that had cost that boy his life.
“I did everything I could,” he muttered to himself, not finding any solace in the words. Josh took several steps toward the road, toward the deli when his beeper went off. “Shoot.” He jogged back inside and met the EMTs as they wheeled a stretcher into the ER. “What do we got?” he asked.
“Young woman, early thirties, beaten unconscious, trauma to the head, stomach, and chest,” the EMT ticked off the woman’s injuries. “Possible broken ribs, too. Breathing is shallow.”
Josh pulled a tiny flashlight from his pocket and checked her eyes. They were reacting to light. That was a good sign. Unhooking his stethoscope from around his neck, he checked her heart. Slow, but steady. “Do we know her name?”
“Okay, Alessandra,” Josh said in a soft voice. “My name is Dr. Parker. You’re at Metro General Hospital. Can you hear me?”
On the stretcher, she groaned in pain. Tears fell from her bruised and swollen eyes. Dried blood coated her face. Dear God, she looked horrible, so scared and weak.
“We’re going to take care of you now. You’re safe.” Josh put his hand on her shoulder in an attempt to soothe her. It unsettled him to see this woman so shaken, perhaps more than it should. He kept his hand light on her but with enough pressure for her to register that he was there, that she wasn’t alone. “Okay, let’s get her into room four. Renee,” he motioned for her to follow, “we need to get her into a gown and cleaned up.”
At the count of three, the EMTs lifted her from the stretcher and onto the bed. Josh went about checking her from head to toe. There were several deep lacerations on her face and neck that would require stitches. There were also defensive wounds on her hands and arms. Who would do this to her? And why? The depravity of mankind would never cease to disgust him.
“Laceration above her left eye needs sutures. Abrasions on her lips, along her jaw, on her cheek.” Josh lifted her eyelids, checking her pupils against the light again. “Possible concussion.” He moved down her body, inspecting for further injury. “Ribs don’t appear to be broken, but we’ll need an X-ray to be sure.”
Renee efficiently scribbled each one of them down, nodding to confirm she’d heard and noted them.
“A rape kit will need to be done.” He hated having to even think that let alone say it, but in this type of situation, it was a bleak reality. “And get a tech up here with a portable X-ray, STAT.”
He would not lose another patient tonight. He couldn’t.
Kara Leigh Miller: Kara lives in Upstate New York with her husband, three kids, three dogs, and three cats. When she's not busy writing romance novels that leave readers swooning, she's spending time with her family or attending one of her many writers groups. An active member of The Romance Writers of America and the CNY Writers Haven, Kara is also Managing Editor for Anaiah Press' Surge and Romance Imprints. She absolutely loves to hear from her fans and fellow authors, so feel free to drop her a line anytime!
Jody Holford: Jody lives in British Columbia with her husband and two daughters. She is a fan of Nora Roberts, Jill Shalvis, Rachel Gibson, and Rainbow Rowell. In reading and writing, she likes characters who are flawed, but driven toward the pursuit of love and happiness. In November 2013, she published A Not So Lonely Christmas with Foreward Literary. In December 2014, she published Forever Christmas through Kindle Direct.
Kara Leigh Miller
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