Last year I released my book, Shards of My Heart, but as great a book as it was, it kinda got tossed out there on its own without a lot of fanfare. I was behind deadline on Catching Christmas and drowning in marketing work. I did an inital bunch of posts about Shards, but I never really put the heart of it out there. Which is a shame, because that book has a lot of heart.
Much like Set to Simmer, Shards of My Heart isn't my typical clean romance novel. It was one that came to me when I was going through a hard time. Let me tell you, when authors hurt, they write really well. I'm not asking for heaven to rain down trials and tribulations, but as long as they're coming I might as well use it, right?
I had this thought that while many books had been written about substance abuse during the fact and well after the fact, I hadn't seen many books about starting to put a life back together soon after recovery. We either see a person who is in over their head and struggling while still using or we see them fully recovered and doing well with addiction being something of the past. But it felt like there was a story in that middle ground, the tenuous steps of succeeding but knowing it could fall apart at any second. It felt raw and real, and I wanted to write it.
Then I thought about broken hearts and the pain that causes those inital cracks. We talk about broken hearts that are able to be mended, but do we see those scars? What fixes them? How does a person pull themselves together again... and again... and again... because that can be the true nature of trauma. While it may occur once or twice or exists as a chunk of time that is behind us, there are triggers built into the world that keep relauching that pain into our heart, stressing old wounds, and testing the bonds that keep that heart together. Is there a point where it will crack? Is there a point where it can't be fixed?
The song Burning Man by Dierks Bentley came out whiel I was writing this one. Oh my gosh, it was like he knew Zane Alexander and wrote a song about him. Caught somewhere between light and dark, good and bad decisions, Zane is trying to put his life back together while the world tells him who he should be. Even though it's not written with his voice, this book belongs to Zane just as much as it belongs to Finley. This section of Burning Man still gets me.
Half your life you struggle
Half your life you fly
Half your life making trouble
Half your life making it right
One day I'm the exception
Most days I'm just like most
Some days I'm headed in the right direction
And some days I ain't even closeI'm a little bit steady but still little bit rolling stone
I'm a little bit heaven but still a little bit flesh andbone
Little found, little don't know where I am
I'm a little bit holy water but still a little bit burning man
I'm sometimes too cynical to be a true romance writer. I reject the trope of a man or a woman fixing someone else with their love or completing them. I know, that's the gig, right? But is it realistic? Is that a true fix? Or is it more that someone comes into our life who has walked our path and survived, and now they have a road map through to guide us? Or maybe, they recognize the pain in our own eyes because they've felt it. One set of broken pieces reaches out for the other, hoping to help rebuild. I'm still not sure. I think that's why it is a reoccuring theme in my books, damaged characters tryingt o find wasy to heal and become whole again. ANyway around it, I always believe that is a strength we find within ourselves that enables us to heal. That strength may be built from faith in Christ and his enabling power, or maybe someone crosses your path that gives you the wisdom to finally find that peace you've been searching for, but it's not because of a kiss. I believe in the will of a human soul to find what it needs to heal. And that's what this book is about.
For as serious as the subject matter appears, it was also a lot of fun to write these characters together. Finn with her anxiety and rambling. Zane with his endless patience and quick wit. From joking about the bag ban in California, to quirky texts and a Finley's son, Oliver who never stops being adorable. This one has a ton of heart and even more love and healing.
I hope you enjoy it, because I loved writing it.
"Mercy" Bretty Young
"Get to you" Micheal Ray
"Burning Man" Dierks Bentley
"Fix" Chris Lane
Read Shards of My Heart on Kindle or Kindle Unlimited.