Where did the idea come from for Black Heart, Red Ruby?
I wish I could say it came to me in a dream, but I usually have to hunt down my ideas and whip them into shape like a lion tamer.
I wanted to write YA Raiders of the Lost Ark with the love/hate romantic chemistry found in Pride and Prejudice.
Following the Indiana Jones route, I needed my MacGuffin or ‘the object all the characters desire and are willing to plot, manipulate, kill, and die for.’
Think the Ark of the Covenant, the glowing briefcase in Pulp Fiction, and the ring in Lord of the Rings.
In high school, I wrote a short story about a cursed ruby.
I recycled said ruby and gave it resurrection powers. BAM! MacGuffin in the house!
The plot was inspired by Aguirre, Wrath of God, a 70’s German flick about conquistadors searching for the lost city of El Dorado.
Aguirre, the antagonist, gets a little gold-obsessed, offs the commander and pushes the expedition deeper into the Amazon until the crew mutinies.
If I want the birds to drop dead from the trees…then the birds will drop dead from the trees. I AM THE WRATH OF GOD!
As you can tell, I have a fondness for villains and Aguirre is the blueprint for Ava.
Speaking of Ava Nolan, I turned her into Captain Ahab and made the ruby her white whale.
She gets a little intense.
Somewhere during my master planning, I read that ‘no one could hurt you more than your family’ so I gave those closest to her secret evil.
They are the snakes in the pit.
It’s all very premeditated. I might have a PowerPoint presentation of this book floating around my hard drive.
I would be happy to give you a lecture after I locate my laser pointer and um, get a life.
What genre does your book fall under?
There’s been a heated debate whether it falls under YA vs. NA.
I’m inclined to call it NA, except for a sad drought in the man chest department.
Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
British actors who can do American accents.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
I give you the Goldilocks answer: long enough but not too long.
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
If you take the gothic vibes and sinister secrets of Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca and crossbreed it with the shenanigans of Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series you’ll get this wonderful concoction of a book.
How did you come up with the title?
I brainstormed a list of fifty or so titles and conducted a vote.
During my first query round, the novel was titled Arabella’s Curse.
Other titles I’ve seriously considered include:
Reap the Ruby.
Rubies are Forever.
Black Heart, Red Ruby won out.
You like it, right?
Who is your favorite character?
She is the spiteful little engine that could.
Truth be told, if I met her in real life, I think we might have words.
I’m also strangely drawn to Uncle Tav.
He is like a walking Esquire photoshoot and I get a little giddy thinking about his perfectly tailored wardrobe, his expensive watches and Italian sports cars.
Sometimes I wonder how great the world would be if every man dresses like Uncle Tav.
Of course, he does have his flaws… like murder and that’s probably a bad trait, I suppose.
Will there be a sequel?
And neglect writing the Jim/Waverley book I’ve been promising Love in a Time of Monsters fans for the past year?
Do I value my life?
That being said, there were plans for a BHRR sequel and now those plans have been buried but do not discount a resurrection.
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