So, this is a pretty BIG deal!
Those of you who follow, my blog know that I do NOT participate in blog tours….like, EVER! I think, in the last year and a half, I have done 2 and that’s all. The reason for my lack of participation isn’t to go against the flow intentionally, because obviously, that leaves Lisa’s Reads in the baby pool where most of the other blogs are off swimming in the Olympic size pools. My reason is and has always been, I like to read and LOVE the books I post on my page. If I don’t LOVE them, I won’t post them. (Come on, by now you know this…right?!) I also will not rate books. Once again, I just can’t do that in a public forum. Sure, I read books everyday that make me scratch my head and ask out loud, “What? How the heck did this book make it to the top 100 on Amazon’s list…it sucks!!!” That being said, I could never, would never, express those opinions to my readers. So I have chosen to keep Lisa’s Reads as I originally intended, a place where I can share the books I love with anybody looking for book suggestions.
That being said, there are very, very few people who I will bend my rules for. These people have stolen my heart both on and off the pages of the books they have written. And for them, I will go above and beyond to help with their success in any way I can. (Following my review, there is a short interview with L.B. Simmons and information on a Raffelcopter. So Keep on reading!)
In January 2013, I posted about a book that I fell in love with. The story was fresh, the characters were witty, charming, and endearing, and the journey was captivating. The book was called, “Running on Empty” and it was written by the new author L.B. Simmons. Here is a link to that post – http://lisasreads.com/running-on-empty-by-l-b-simmons/ . While the story ended quite nicely, and I felt my “friends” were happy and taken care of (which is always super important to me) I knew there was going to be more stories – The Mending Hearts series attached to the title was kind of a give away..lol. What I wasn’t expecting was a novella that would allow us to spend more time with Alex, Blake and the three little girls that stole my heart. But that was exactly what Ms. Simmons gave us in the novella, “Recovery.” To me, this is the story of what happens after the Happily Ever After. This is what happens after Cinderella moves into the castle with Prince Charming…when life moves forward and the storybook closes.
In “Recovery” we see life for Alex and Blake and the girls as they are learning to blend together into a family unit, and just like in real life, it isn’t easy. Ms. Simmons takes us through the ups and downs of a couple who has spent their most of their adult lives separated now trying to figure out how to lean on one another. We watch as Alex, who has lived through pain and suffering and shut down her heart and her emotions, now has to learn how to open back up and give in order to receive.
Even though the story is short, the reader will never miss the extra words because the feelings provoked by Ms. Simmons are so profound. If you enjoyed, “Running on Empty,” than “Recovery” is a story that you cannot/ should not miss!
I had the opportunity to interview Ms. Simmons this week. Below are her answers to the questions I asked her:
1. I loved Running on Empty! The story ended, and I felt content with where you left the characters. What made you decide to write Recovery?
Well, I know that a lot of readers wanted more of their story. My initial plan was to incorporate a wedding, etc into the storyline of Running in Place, and kind of carry Alex and Blake’s progression that way. But the more I thought about it, I started to feel as though doing it that way was robbing the reader of some very important aspects of Alex and Blake’s lives in their points of view. So I started Recovery as really just a blog post for the readers, but then, it turned into a beautiful novella in which I could try to reach out to the readers and show them some of the mistakes I’ve made in my life and my marriage in various lessons have in the story.
2. I loved the relationship you created between Blake and Alex’s girls. Was it hard to come up with those scenes?
No, not at all. I tend to take everything my kiddos do and use them in the stories. Often, I’ll be sitting at the computer, writing, when my daughter will start going off on a tangent and I find myself trying to type as fast as I can to catch it as she speaks. Now, obviously, there were some situations that the characters had to face that I had to write off the cuff, but I know my daughters and I know how they would react in certain situations. So, with that knowledge I worked the scenes the way I felt they would handle them I and think they turned out very well and believable.
3. You got a little steamier in Recovery (wink), what made you decide to take that step?
LOL! Well, Running on Empty was dedicated to my daughters, and I just didn’t feel comfortable putting a massive love scene in there. And to me, that story wasn’t about their sexual relationship. It was about personal growth for Alex. But this story, the love scene is actually very important to the story line. Because it’s not about Alex as a mom and Blake as a dad, it’s about two lovers struggling to hold on to their relationship and about them coming together out of love for fear of losing each other. So, I felt it was relevant and even necessary for this story.
4. It seems as though women are craving sexier, more descriptive stories these days – with Running on Empty you wrote a clean but still very passionate story. In Recovery, as I stated above, you got a little steamier, but you still keep the stories pg-13. Is there a reason why you haven’t traveled up the well-worn erotic romance path?
Trust me when I say this, I love erotic stories. I crave them. Do I write them? No. I tend to migrate towards authoring stories that I feel I can write in an effective way, to engage readers from beginning to end. I want to write stories that are identifiable to readers, especially mothers, and honestly I feel like if I attempted to write an erotic romance, it would end up an unreadable mess. There are so many types of writing and ways authors communicate to their readers. Some do it with very vivid, sexually based stories (which again, I absolutely adore), but I tend to write more PG-13, as you stated, with less of a sexual premise and more of a light-hearted feel. I think variety for readers is important. Because, there are also sometimes when I’m “sexed-out” and I’ll pick a book with absolutely no sex because I need a sex-break.
5. Do you have any plans for Harlow? I’m thinking that woman needs a book of her own!! Is there any chance that she will be the next book?
Ah! I get this question a lot. I have to have a storyline in my head and worked out before I start writing. Tatum’s and Noah’s story hit me hard, and in a couple of days, I had the basic plot in my head. Which is why I chose to proceed with their story and put Harlow’s on the back burner. Will she have a story, most definitely. Do I know what that is yet? No, but I will. I have thoughts and ideas, and when the right one strikes for her, I’ll know and start writing notes in my journal, just as I did with Running on Empty, Recovery, and Running in Place.
6. How many books to see anticipate there being in the Mending Hearts series?
As of now, Alex, Tatum, and Harlow’s stories will comprise the Mending Hearts series. But who knows? I might find a character in one of the next two books that really calls to me and decide to write another one. That’s the best part about writing – you just never know where it will lead and what story you will tell.
About the Author:
L.B. Simmons is a graduate of Texas A&M University and holds a degree in Biomedical Science. She has been a practicing Chemist for the last 11 years. She lives with her husband and three daughters in Texas and writes every chance she gets.