Thursday, August 21, 2014
Blog Tour: The Achilles Heel
Welcome to my stop on the Achilles Heel tour. Check out an interview with the author, an excerpt, and my review!
tell me about yourself, and your writing.
-The first part of my life was spent in the South, and the last fifteen years have played out in the Midwest, but I’m still holding on to a shred of my Southern roots. I’m a wife, mother, daughter, and sister who has made it my mission in life to carve out a career for myself, while keeping the husband and the children happy.
I’m an emerging Romantic-Suspense author. My debut novel, The Achilles Heel was released in May 2014. I’m a member of the Romance Writers of America, and the Columbia Chapter of the Missouri Writers Guild. I reside in Missouri with my husband, son, daughter, and chocolate lab- Augusta Mae.
How long have you been writing? How many published books do you have, and what genrea?
-I’ve written poems and short stories since I can remember. My debut romantic suspense novel, The Achilles Heel is my first attempt at writing a book.
Do you write in multiple genres or just one? If just one, do you ever consider straying outside your genre?
-The romantic suspense series entitled, Achilles has two books so far and I’m in the middle of writing the second book. I have the material to do a third, but haven’t decided if I’m going forward yet. I’ve always loved mystery novels, and I absolutely love the idea of adding some to my collection.
Are you a plotter or do you write from the seat of your pants?
-With my first book, The Achilles Heel, I had a beginning and an ending with no structure in-between. I just wrote. Before I started my second book, The Achilles Heart, I sat down and wrote an outline. I wanted to try both ways to see which one was more efficient. The outline is definitely part of my process now.
What is a typical writing day like for you?
-Right now, I have a seven year old and a four year old on summer break, so unfortunately, there is no typical day. I cram in writing wherever and whenever I can. I firmly believe that everything is a learning experience. Training myself to write in all different scenarios will only help me to become a better author and that’s the main goal anyway.
Who do you love to read? Favorite authors, favorite books?
-I don’t really get sucked into the hype of an author. I focus on each story and how tightly the synopsis grabs me. I’m a total scroller on Amazon, and thank God for Goodreads, because the website helps me to remember my ever growing list of “to read” books. The books I truly love are all over the place: Little Women, White Fang, Auntie Mame, A Walk in the Woods, To Kill a Mockingbird, Into Thin Air, Dark Places, Lord of the Flies and a recent read, The Weight of Blood.
What is something you'd like to accomplish in your writing career next year?
-My main focus right now is getting my second book finished and out for publication, but I’m also very excited to attend the Killer Nashville and RWA conferences next summer.
If you could have one paranormal ability, what would it be?
-I would never need sleep. My God, do you realize how much I could get done? I’m salivating just thinking about the possibilities.
If you could keep a mythical/ paranormal creature as a pet, what would you have?
-I had to research this question. It seems as though all of these creatures need some form of care. With a husband, two kids, a big dog and a new career, I don’t have the energy or time for a new creature in my life.
Tell us a little about your latest release.
-The Achilles Heel is a fast-paced, romantic suspense novel. After the sudden death of her husband, Annie Whitman finds a lockbox in her basement, and opening this box also opens her eyes to the possibility that Jack Whitman wasn’t the honest and doting man she married. The story is told from two different POV’s and sometimes those POV’s overlap. It’s a fun story that takes place in Kansas City, MO and St. Croix in the Virgin Islands. The twists and turns keep coming until the very last page.
What is something that you absolutely can't live without? (Other than family members)
-Sadly, my laptop. I feel so shallow and broken admitting this, but my novels are written on there and it’s also my outside link to the world.
Could you ever co author a book with someone? If so, who would you choose, and what would you write?
-I’ll never say never, so yes, I would consider co-authoring. I would love to write a true crime novel about the sickest serial killer. Disturbed people fascinate me. Not so much what they do, but why they do it.
If you could spend a day with anyone from history, dead or alive, who would it be, and what would you do? What would you ask them?
-Benjamin Franklin, no contest. He was a pioneer of so many things, and even back when life was much more serious, he had a progressively sharp wit. I would love to spend the day visiting his workshops, reading his journal, listening to his views on public behavior and close down the local pub with some drinks. I don’t know if I would ask him anything. I’d spend the day listening.
What are some of your other hobbies outside of writing?
I’m obsessed with home renovation. I can’t walk into anyone’s house without mentally changing the furniture, paint colors or tearing down walls. I love the thought of taking a malfunctioning space, giving it love, and sending it out into the world with a fresh face. It’s a sickness. I’m sick.
If you were on the staff to have a book adapted to movie, what would you pick?
Probably the last novel I read, The Weight of Blood by Laura McHugh. The setting is in my stomping grounds of the Ozark Mountains. It has blue-collar, back-woods characters that are much smarter than you think. The story is told in two different POV’s and there is even a twist to that. I really loved the novel and thought about it for days after I finished.
What is a talent you wish you had, but don't?
I don’t know if intelligence is a talent, but I could use more of it.
It frequently changes, but right now, I love all kinds of blues.
Weather: Hot or cold?
-I get fidgety if either season is too prolonged. I love to snow ski, and nothing is comparable to mountain air, but I could spend days upon days writing at the beach. That’s a terrible answer, but I like the shining qualities of both.
Favorite place to read?
Hands down Mexican. I could eat it everyday for a year and still never tire.
Favorite non-alcoholic drink.
-Sweet Tea. Three fourths a cup of sugar has to be dumped in when the tea is still hot, otherwise it’s just brown water.
If you could travel anywhere and do anything, no limits or money holding you back, where would you go?
-I would spend a month (I would start to miss my kids any longer than that) traveling across Europe. Skiing in the Alps, swimming in the Mediterranean Ocean, shopping in Milan, touring every piece of architecture I could, while eating my way through the continent.
Annie Whitman’s ordinary Midwest life is shattered with the sudden death of her husband Jack. Thirty-five and failing at life as a widow, she turns to the comforts of vodka in an attempt to camouflage the cold sheets of an empty bed. The necessary inebriation helps her to cope with Jack’s death, but proves to be a deterrent in recovering any sense of normalcy. After spending several months at the bottom of a bottle, Annie stumbles upon a lockbox in the crawl space of her basement. Opening this box also opens her eyes to the likelihood that Jack Whitman might not have been the honest and doting man she married.
Annie embarks on a mission to the Virgin Islands to uncover the truth about her husband’s past and seek safety from her brother-in-law, who seems to be the captain of his own sinking ship. While settling into paradise, she meets the wickedly handsome, but surprisingly reserved Kessler Carlisle, who is struggling with his retirement from country music superstardom. With Kessler’s help, Annie discovers the heart’s uncanny ability to heal, and the possibility that dead men don’t always keep their secrets-even if they’re buried in the Caribbean waters of St. Croix.
The Achilles Heel delves into the formidable fact that everyone harbors darkness, and some will go to the depths of the ocean to keep their secrets hidden.
We stood underneath the stage feeling the ground shake- the floors pulsing and vibrating in a rhythmic, stomping pattern. The noise was deafening, like a freight train rolling at full steam right over our heads. This was the final concert of a six month long, twenty-two city tour. The band huddled together backstage for what, unbeknownst to them, was going to be my final show- ever. Drew, my drummer, gave the pep talk tonight about living in the moment and doing our best, like our lives depended on it.
“Those people out there worked all week and spent their hard earned money to come see us play here tonight, so don’t any of you fuck it up for ‘em!” he yelled over the crowd screaming in the stadium. “It’s the last show of the tour, so let’s blow their fuckin’ minds! All right? Now, everybody get your hands in and let me hear it on three.”
Six hairy, snarled, middle-aged, yet talented hands stacked one upon the other as we all screamed “boo-yah,” while throwing them up in the air.
I had to laugh. Drew was never much of a poet, but he could give one hell of a pep talk. Our usual routine for this tour was to have the band already set up and out on the stage before I made my grand entrance, but for the finale we’re making a change. Tonight we’re all taking the stage together; one family, one band of brothers, one last time. We crowded onto the pitch-black elevator, collectively took in a deep breath, and then I flipped the switch. As soon as the crowd saw us rising up from the floor, it was on, for all of us.
We always start out with a few favorites to get the crowd pumped up. They responded exactly how we had hoped; everyone went ape shit. Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City is one of the best places to do a show; Midwestern folk who love country music and know how to throw one hell of a party. Fans started arriving in the stadium parking lot at nine o’clock in the morning, and the opener wasn’t set to go on until six in the evening. People who love to spend an entire summer day baking on the black asphalt in the scorching sun, fishing out beer cans from the truck bed cooler, and smoking BBQ, just waiting to hear some live music, are my kind of people. I’m glad this is the spot for the final show- my final show.
During the first set as I looked out into the audience, I could see about ten rows in front of me from anywhere on the stage. I used to always look for the most beautiful girls, and inevitably, I would spot a couple in every city. I’d send my roadie out to the seats to ask them if they wanted to come backstage to meet me and the boys, have some drinks, and party for a while. This was an extremely useful tactic in no-strings attached one-nighters, and there were many, many one-nighters. When I was younger I was so proud of myself, thought I was the shit, a real big deal that all these girls wanted to sleep with me. A few years ago, I finally realized our night together was just a story to tell their friends or an article to sell to the tabloids. I don’t regret the girls or mistakes I’ve made because they’re part of my journey that’s led me to this point, but I’m ready to move on now.
Tonight there’s a group of six women having a ball together. I’d say they were mid-twenties, sitting in the third row, all of them singing along and cheers’sing each other after every song. I sent Randy out to schmoose on them during the set break and ask them if they’d like to come backstage after the show. That invite certainly revved up their engines, because I got all kinds of “fuck me” eyes during the second set.
A sixty foot screen flanks each side of the stage allowing a front row view from any seat in the stadium. This only amplifies my seduction of the crowd when Lacy, my camera girl, fills it full with images of just my ass- sixty feet (one-hundred and twenty if you count both screens) of my ass over and over again. I get it though, whatever sells tickets. My schedule over the last five years had become less about the music and more about the money my image brings in. Singer/songwriters, authors, actors, and anyone in “the business” have been bitching about this for decades. I went to Nashville to be a songwriter, and fifteen years later I’ve become sixty feet of ass in tight white jeans.
I always told myself, that when this dream of mine became too mechanical and I couldn’t give every part of myself to the fans, I’d hang it up. It’s been a great ride and only a handful of people have been with me from the very beginning. Those are the people who deserve all of me; they’ve earned it, but I can’t give one hundred and twenty percent anymore. Don’t I deserve a normal life again? I’ve earned that, too.
As the last song of the encore performance wrapped up, the spotlights put on a magnitude of a show and the fireworks shot up into the sky like rockets in flight. The crowd howled with gratitude for a job well done. Anyone who has ever had major success in business, particularly in finance, says, “Buy low and sell high,” and that’s exactly what I’m doing here tonight. I worked my ass off playing dive bars and LSU frat parties for years, eating at Taco Bell and Popeye’s Chicken whenever I could afford it, and excited I had made the money to do so. Now, I’m playing in a sold out arena with fans screaming my name, singing my songs, and girls still wanting to come back stage to meet me.
Yeah, I’d definitely say I’m high.
I have to admit, The Achilles Heel blew me away. It sucked me in and made me forget about real life for awhile. Twists, turns, the works. This book really had it all. Every time I thought I had it figured out, nope, I was thrown another curve ball.
The writing is fast paced, the characters really complex and well thought out. There's great suspense, and a lot of realistic aspects about it too. Now, I just have to wait for more! Karyn Rae is on my author watch list. I'm curious to see what comes next!
Karyn Rae is an emerging Romantic-Suspense author. Her debut novel, The Achilles Heel was released in May 2014. She is a member of the Romance Writers of America, and the Columbia Chapter of the Missouri Writers Guild. Karyn resides in Missouri with her husband, son, daughter, and chocolate lab- Augusta Mae.
The first part of Karyn's life was spent in the South, and the last fifteen years have played out in the Midwest, but she's still holding on to a shred of her Southern roots. She is a wife, mother, daughter, and sister who has made it her mission in life to carve out a career for herself, while keeping the husband and the children happy.
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