Today Kensington debut author Lori Brighton makes her first visit to the Lair. Lori’s first book, a Victorian paranormal called Wild Heart, is out now. Welcome, Lori! We love Call stories in the Lair. Would you like to share yours?
I’d been writing for over 6 years with lots and lots of rejections. As a last resort, I entered Wild Heart in a few writing contests. In one contest the final judge was Hilary Sares, formally at Kensington. She ended up not only giving me first place, but also requesting the full. Almost four months went by and I hadn’t heard a word. I figured the request would be yet another rejection and moved on, attempting to figure out where I wanted to go in my writing career. Then the phone rang. The caller I.D. said New York, but I knew no one and so didn’t answer. It was only later after listening to my messages that I realized it was Hilary and she wanted to buy my book!
That's a great story! Would it be fair to call Wild Heart a Beauty and the Beast story? Tell us about the hero and heroine of Wild Heart.
Ah, the fairytales! I love Beauty and the Beast, it’s probably my favorite. I’d always thought of Wild Heart more as a Tarzan/Jungle Book sort of story, but actually you’re right. In Beauty and the Beast, Belle ‘saves’ the Beast and that’s sort of how it is in my book.
Leo is very alpha male. I tried to keep him true to life; what a real person would be like if they’d experienced what he has. On a trip to India, his parents were murdered. He was forced to stay in hiding in a country he knew nothing about. Much like The Count of Monte Cristo (one of my favorite books), vengeance has kept him going. He’s very determined and blunt, but he’s also very honest and loyal. He definitely doesn’t let people push him around.
Ella is the opposite. She’s very sweet and caring. She’s always been told what to do because she’s a woman and she’s poor. She’s almost too caring at times. She also has an underlying sense of guilt because of her powers. A tiny part of her thinks that perhaps her abilities are evil.
When she meets Leo, he teaches her to believe in herself, and she teaches him to let go of the past and see the beauty around him.
What’s the biggest problem these two characters have?
Internally, Ella has to learn to accept her abilities and realize that her gift is not a sin, but a blessing. Leo, on the other hand, has to learn to accept love and the beauty around him, while letting go of his need for revenge.
Externally, there is a plot that involves secret societies and power hungry people intent on getting rid of Leo and using Ella’s abilities for their own greedy purposes. It’s definitely a life or death situation kind of book.
Did you have particular inspiration for this story?
This is going to sound odd, but the Disney Cartoon Tarzan. My son was watching the movie a few years back. Around the same time, I saw a documentary on Discovery or some equally educational channel about feral children. I’d seen them both rather close together and thought, hmm, what it would it be like if my hero had been lost in the wild during his childhood? I also tend to like more alpha males and you couldn’t get a male more alpha than one who had survived on his own in a foreign country.
Can we have a peek inside the book?
Definitely! Here’s an excerpt:
“I’m safer with you.”
She held his gaze even though she couldn’t make out his emotions. They hadn’t been alone in days. The silly thing was, she missed him.
“Do you trust me?” he asked her again.
Warmth settled around her chest, squeezing her heart, and suddenly she knew and she could no longer deny her feelings. “I do.”
He didn’t smile, he didn’t smirk, and she was left wondering how her words made him feel.
“Come here, Ella.”
She stiffened in surprise. “Where? What do you mean?”
He patted the seat next to him. “Here.”
His gaze burned into her, a predatory amber in the dim light of the carriage, and she couldn’t quite seem to catch her breath. He reeked of danger, yet mesmerized by the glint in his eyes, she crossed the small area to sit beside him. Why, she couldn’t say. Perhaps, she merely wanted to see what he’d do next.
And then he surprised her. Leo reached out and trailed his finger down the side of her face. A delicate touch that sent shivers over her skin. “In India hands are very important,” he said softly. To stress his point, his fingers trailed down her arms. Slowly, he pulled the white gloves from her fingers, one by one. When her hands were naked and exposed, he stroked the sensitive skin of her palm. That familiar ache grew in the pit of her belly, swirling, tightening, lower…lower.
“They paint beautiful, intricate designs over their hands.” His thumb stroked her wrist, melting her muscles and she sank into the plush cushion of the seat.
Wow! When you’re not writing, what do you enjoy doing?
I’m always writing! Seriously, I’ll be buried with my laptop. lol. But when my husband and son can get me away from the computer, I like to hike and travel. We go to state parks a lot. I also like to draw and paint, but haven’t done that much lately.
What’s next for you?
I have a lot of ideas for some new books and can’t wait to get started, just have to decide which to do! I might even try some Young Adult.
But the next book that will be out is my second Kensington book, not slated until the beginning of 2011! It will be a spinoff of Wild Heart. It’s an action/adventure romance that takes place in India and still has that paranormal element. The hero is Colin, a secondary character in Wild Heart. I had a lot of fun writing this book and can’t wait for it to hit shelves. I’m hoping to put an excerpt on my website soon.
Thanks so much Romance Bandits, for letting me blog! It’s been great fun! Since I’m a debut author and I’m in favor of supporting debut authors, let’s share! Besides my own AMAZING book, tell us about a debut author/book you’ve discovered this year! Leave a comment or just say hello, three people will win a copy of my debut book Wild Heart!
For more about Lori and her work, visit her website. Thanks for joining us, Lori!