Today, romance author, Celia Yeary, is back to talk about her latest release, Heart of a Hero.
AUTHOR: Celia Yeary
BOOK TITLE: HEART OF A HERO
PUBLISHER: Whimsical Publications
1) Tell me a little about your book.
Heart of a Hero tells the story of wealthy Matt Carrington, a decorated soldier/ hero who comes home to Dallas to resume his life. But he's not sure he wants the life his fiancée, his mother, and his overbearing father are planning for him. To escape, he drives south to the small town of Bonner, Texas to stay with his grandmother for a while. There he meets pretty Lauren Delaney, girl- next-door type, and uh-oh—he falls in love with her.
2) What gave you the idea for this particular story?
Hmmm, I have no idea. I didn't have this story planned—I only began writing about him entering an old-fashioned café-on-the-square, and meeting a very lovely young woman. From there, it just evolved.
3) Are you a full-time writer or part-time, and how do you organize your writing time?
Since I'm retired and my grandchildren live halfway across the country, my husband and I just do as we please. This means I can spend all day writing/promoting if I want to, or I can go visiting, shopping, eating out with him, or a little bit of traveling. In other words, I have as much time as I want—most of the time.
4) When did you first know you wanted to be a writer?
In 2004 when I wrote my first manuscript! Honestly, I had no desire ever in my life to write. But one day I began out of boredom, and I did not stop.
5) What do you hope readers will take from your writing?
I never knew until readers began to tell me what THEY took away from my writing. I heard: Your characters are so vivid, I feel as though I know them. Or: I can smell the clean breeze, or the hot dusty air, or see the vistas of the Texas landscape. That makes me very happy.
6) Which genres do you write, which do you prefer, and why?
At first, I only wrote Western Historical Romance, everything set in Texas. Then I dabbled with writing a contemporary, and liked it. Now I have four WH romances, and four contemporaries, with two more soon to be released—one of each! I thought I was a strict Western Historical author, but my readers are beginning to tell me they really enjoy my contemporaries a little more. Why? Because they seem more like real people. That's interesting to me, so now I'm in a period of change, I think.
7) What is the toughest part about being a writer and how do you get past it?
I find it very difficult to follow publisher's guidelines, such as the strict formula for a romance. My stories become more than about two people and involve subplots. I think they tend to be "sagas." Well, romance publishers don't like that, and I prefer not to do much rewriting—unless I really want to. As a result, I get past that problem by putting one ms aside and writing something else. I've learned that eventually I'll run across a publisher who likes my story pretty much as it is.
8) Is there anything in your story based upon a real life event? If so, tell me about it.
Nothing much, except the flooding from a hurricane. Even here in Central Texas, a Gulf hurricane can settle over us, dumping rain until all our rivers and lakes overflow. So, I included a long section about the hurricane hitting Bonner, using my memories of those times. Matt and Lauren help save the residents of the town.
9) How much is your protagonist like you? How different?
Very interesting question. Probably a little like me—so-so hair (not flashy blond or black as night), average size, nice-looking but not beautiful, lives simply even though she doesn't have to, and becomes a teacher—for a while.
10) What kind of research did you do for this type of story?
This one was easy—very little research needed. I did have to find the name of a world hunger organization for Lauren's parents. Other than that, I drew on my town, the river that runs through it, what happens when it floods and the interstate becomes a river, and swimming and tubin' down the river.
11) Do writing violent or highly sexual scenes bother you? Why or why not?
Well, this made me laugh, and then cringe. If two men are fighting, I can let them just beat the h___ out of each other. If one is bad, I have no qualms about my hero smashing his face and kicking his backside.
Highly charged sexual scenes? I don't write them as a matter of course. The story is the thing for me, and I know there's a huge group of readers out there who don't care to read it. But….I confess, Matt and Lauren get carried away a little. (Psst—between you and me—they had sex in the shower, and when I finished writing it, I had to go back and edit and remove quite a lot. I don't know what came over me. It even embarrassed me!)
12) What about your book makes it special?
That's it's about a Texas boy who becomes a hero by saving his buddies from captivity. They'd lost their commander, and Matt was no higher in rank than the other four. But during the weeks of almost total darkness in one room, he found a way to get out. In doing so, he pushed them out in front, because the enemy came running behind them. Matt took the bullet while the others got away. But…you'll have to read to learn how he was saved, too.
I consider this a perfect Fourth of July novel. I asked that an American flag be on the cover somewhere—I just love it.
13) What is your marketing plan?
My plan is rather hit or miss—my blog, my group blog, guest blogs, the Yahoo loops, FB, LinkdIn, Book Blogs (ning group), all those things. I do have a following here in town, and the majority want prints. So I order for them—if they want—and get the book to them. I like to make these people happy. I think three of them have graduated to an eBook! I'm very proud of them. Still, I prefer prints myself.
14) Where can people learn more about you and your work?
Also, all my books are on Amazon—prints and the Kindle Store—and on B&N.
I'm easy to find.
15) Any tips for new writers hoping to write in the genre of your book?
Contrary to the advice most of us hear (just write a good book that you like), I advise an author to study the publishers she admires. That's targeting a publisher, but it worked for me. If you don't follow the publisher's guidelines, then you'll only frustrate yourself with failure.
16) What’s in the future for you?
I'm writing another historical romance, this time set in North Texas in 1919, just as WWI ends. I begin with characters that have suffered tragedy and heartache and loneliness and loss. Both need a direction, someone to cling to, and they form a close bond.
I do have two releases July 4—one from Whimsical—Heart of a Hero, and one from Desert Breeze—The Stars at Night. Two contemporaries! Both set in Texas, of course.
Synopsis for HEART OF A HERO.
Matt Carrington escapes a terrorists’ prison while in the Army, but he has difficulty escaping the trappings of a demanding fiancé and his own parents. To get away to think, he meets pretty, girl-next-door Lauren Delaney, the kind of woman he desires. But his fiancé and his parents have other plans, and they determine to have their way—no matter what Matt wants.
Lauren Delaney is an independent young woman who quickly befriends the soldier hero who comes to town. Knowing he has another life in Dallas, she holds a secret, too. But she pretends neither have a problem in order to have the summer with him.
During the long hot months, a hurricane almost destroys the town. Matt and Lauren work with a team to save as many residents as they can, and in the process fall deeply in love. When the danger is past, the two lovers suffer from their own lies and misunderstandings. Can they find peace and happiness without hurting others?
Thank you, Penny.