I kind of fangirled mega hard with Danielle when we realized that Tammara Webber was kind enough to join us as part of Summer of Series because her debut, Easy, is one of my favorite new adults ever. Check it out!
third in the Contours of the Heart series, but can be read before the first two books
Published April 27th 2015 by Bloomsbury
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He’s the love of her life, but he doesn’t know it.
She’s his one moment of sacrifice in a lifetime of survival.
He was damaged and wild, but resilient.
She’s always been obedient. Now she’s restless.
Home for the summer between college and med school, Pearl Torres Frank knows two things: Boyce Wynn is the embodiment of everything she should run from, and everything she wants to run to. Rebellious and loud. Unconcerned with society’s opinion of him. Passionate. Strong. Dangerous.
And one more trait he hides from everyone but her:
Opposites on the surface, soulmates at their cores.
Speaking of which, how did you come up with that series name?
It comes from the last few words of Lucas’s poem tattoo:
Love is not the absence of logic
but logic examined and recalculated
heated and curved to fit
Inside the contours of the heart
In August 2010, I woke up with those words in my head in prose form. I keep a pen and paper next to my bed, so I sat up and scribbled it down before I forgot it. After I got up, I typed it out and used it for my blog post of the day (laziness FTW!). You can search my blog for “absence” – which is what I titled it – to find the original structure.
I didn’t think of it again until I wrote Easy. All of Lucas’s tattoos have meaning to him, and I wanted a particularly important poem on his ribcage – one of the more painful tattoo placements. I searched published poems from Dickinson to Billy Collins but couldn’t find what I wanted. And then I thought of the short piece I’d written over a year before, did a quick site search on my blog and found it. I knew that was it the moment I reread it, and I especially loved the fact that since I wrote it, I could have it be something penned by his mother for his father.
What has been your favorite part of writing Contours of the Heart?
The response from readers. My primary emotion when I published Easy was fear. It was such a departure from what I’d written before, and all I’d heard from agents and editors for years was, “There’s no audience for college-set stories.” But I worked on a university campus as an undergrad advisor, my husband was an adjunct finance professor, and two of my kids were in college. I knew Jacqueline’s story required a university setting. I’d also given my hero long hair and a lip ring to make him off-putting to Jacqueline, who never dreamed she could be attracted to a guy who looked like that – he was a Kennedy opposite on the surface. I didn’t imagine her attracted to him until she was drawn to his kind, protective heart. Until she began to trust him.
I know you didn’t always plan for this to be a series because, at first, Easy was a standalone. So can you describe the evolution of creating this series?
Lucas didn’t speak to me when I was writing Easy. That was odd for me after writing the BTL series, which features five MCs (two guys, three girls), each of whom had a say by the fourth book. Lucas was so quiet that I didn’t even know what traumatic thing had happened to him until I was more than halfway into writing the book. I woke up with that scene in my head (a theme for me, I guess!). My husband was getting ready for work when I came in and blurted, “I know what happened to Lucas.” I told him and he was horrified. Even then, I didn’t feel like I was hearing from Lucas, so I knew the story wouldn’t come from him - it had to be shown through Jacqueline’s eyes. It became a news article – very cut and dried but tragic, followed by Dr. Heller’s more personal account.
I self-published Easy in May 2012, and then spent the next year writing the last book in the BTL series (which I’d interrupted to write Easy). I’d actually planned to write Carter Moore’s story next. (Kennedy’s little brother.) I had sketched out ideas and had written a few scenes but wasn’t deep into it yet. That was when I began to hear from Landon. Even though I knew the bare bones of his story, the details that came to me once he started telling them were too compelling to ignore. I knew lots of readers wanted more Lucas, but I wanted to tell Landon’s story. I compromised by doing both. From a technical standpoint, Breakable was the most difficult thing I’ve ever written, but I’m glad I did it. I’m also glad Easy didn’t emerge in a dual POV. Lucas’s story would have overshadowed Jacqueline’s, and that would have been a shame. Easy is the most important thing I’ll ever write and despite its faults, I wouldn’t rewrite it any other way.
You also have a really unique approach to the series in the sense that book 3, Sweet, can be read without having read the two prior books. In fact, you even encourage it so that readers can have a unique introduction to the world. What is it about Sweet that allows it to stand apart from its predecessors?
When people ask me which book of mine to read, I still say Easy. I’ve grown as a writer since I wrote it, but the story is important, and if someone might only read one thing from me, I want it to be Easy. That said, Sweet is a standalone story and it’s new; many readers would rather read something that just released than start with a series that began three years ago, and I want them to know they can. My editor for Sweet was new to my work. When I found that out I asked her not to read anything else of mine before we finished edits – I wanted her input with making Sweet stand on its own. She had no idea Lucas and Jacqueline had a story of their own until we were done (at which point she read Easy and loved it – so reading Sweet first didn’t ruin it for her). Sweet is dual POV and is a self-contained story – no prequel or sequel or alternate POV needed.
Sweet is the first book in this series that does not focus on Landon Lucas Maxfield and Jacqueline Wallace. So, what can you tell us about Boyce and Pearl?
These two grew up in the same tiny Gulf Coast town and have known each other all their lives. At five and seven, they formed a friendship they kept secret and later an affection neither knew the other felt. Thanks to her mother’s advantageous marriage, Pearl moved a year up and into a higher social circle in high school while Boyce masked his life of hell with an abusive father with drinking, sex, and irreverent behavior. He sees her as desirable but impossible; she thinks his flirting is playful, not serious. Despite their differences, their friendship (and attraction) endures high school and four years of her absence when she goes to college.
Many YA and NA stories focus on a heroine who must break away from home, parents, her past, etc. (like Jacqueline, for example). Few stories focus on women who decide – not out of fear but self-realization – that where they came from is where they want to be. All her life, Pearl planned to become a doctor, but once she begins applying to medical schools, she realizes her future is marine biology, not medicine. Meanwhile, Boyce’s abusive father has died, and Boyce has the one thing he wants besides Pearl – Wynn’s Garage. Boyce is not the reason for her return home, but he’s there, and so is their shared history of friendship and secret attraction.
Can you share your favorite line from the series?
I usually leave that sort of choice to readers – they often surprise me by finding things I didn’t even remember writing. If I had to choose something, it would be that poem. I identify with Rosemary Maxfield – her artistic nature, her sass with her very logical husband, her love of their son. My husband has always been very analytical, and over thirty years ago, he fell for someone who responds to the world emotionally. Despite how different we are, we fit. He protects my heart like no one else ever has, and trusts me to protect his – which no one sees but me. That poem is the definition of love as I know it because it’s what he does for me.
What is the most interesting thing you have Googled in the name of research?
You probably don’t want to know that! I’m pretty sure I’m on some sort of watch list at this point.
What is one series you would recommend to readers?
The Ivy League series by Sarina Bowen. Each book is a standalone story, and I’ve loved every one of them.
Thor, Iron Man, or Captain America? GO!
This is waaaay too easy - Iron Man. When RDJ is onscreen, I don’t see anyone else. My husband keeps his grumbling to a minimum because (1) thanks to him I happily go see action movies based on comic books, and (2) RDJ is his Hollywood doppelganger – “with more hair” (his words, haha). Also, RDJ and I both turned 50 this year, and it isn’t stopping either of us. ;)
Tammara is providing one signed copy of Sweet that can be read after the two books in the series, but also before you even pick them up!
All entrants must be 13 years or older and this giveaway is open internationally.
It is not too late to join the fun as we celebrate our favorite series and welcome new ones! Sign up for Summer of Series and knock down that TBR!
And, of course, be sure to stop by Danielle's blog! She has an interview and a great giveaway for author Mary Weber.