Wednesday, December 7, 2011
I am honored to host a friend and multi-published author.
LK Hunsaker wrote a string of novels centered around the arts and societal issues, combined with strong romantic elements. As spouse of a decorated career soldier, she traveled widely, moved several times, and held down the home front. She was honored with meeting some of Washington D.C.'s top names and a prized possession is her first novel signed by a former first lady. Having received inspiration and instruction from her family of recognized artists, Hunsaker also holds arts and psychology degrees heavy with English and creative writing emphasis. She is now settled in western Pennsylvania with her husband and two children.
LK has been labeled a master storyteller by reviewers and peers, and has won several peer awards and commendations. Several of her short stories, poems, and articles have been published in literary ezines and print magazines.
Please welcome LK Hunsaker.
Hi Mona, thanks for having me here today to talk about my newest release, MOONDROPS & THISTLES! I look forward to chatting with your readers, so questions are very welcome.
1. What inspired you to write this story? What is the story behind the story?
Moondrops & Thistles was basically a fan request. Daws, my hero, is a secondary character from my 2009 release, Off The Moon. In it, he plays a hard-nosed, gentle-hearted bodyguard to a young pop star. One of the most commented thing about that novel was how readers just loved Daws and wanted more of his story. So when Nanowrimo 2010 came about and I needed a story idea, I grabbed Daws and the basic knowledge that he used to be military, and I built a story around him.
It’s also a story I’ve wanted to do for years and wasn’t sure how to approach until Daws came along. I was an Army wife for 17 years, my husband is a Desert Storm vet, and I wanted not only soldiers’ voices heard from all of those years of experience, but also their spouses’ voices.
2- Are your characters inspired by people you know?
Absolutely. Daws has a few of my husband’s traits and I pulled plenty of things I saw and heard from other soldiers and spouses to include. I had fun writing the parts of Daws’s men because honestly, soldiers are maybe the most fun group of people you’ll ever find. They work hard and they play hard and they learn what to truly value and what it takes to hold onto those things. And you have to have a good sense of humor to do what they do and still come through it back into the real world.
There are also a couple (at least) of true personal experiences thrown in, such as the bath drain and the vacuum cleaner.
3- Why did you choose that setting? Tell us why you like it?The story bounces between New York City, Fort Drum NY, and Bennington VT. NYC is where Ryan, Off The Moon’s hero, lives and Bennington is where his family is. Moondrops is set 9 years earlier than Off The Moon and so Ryan, my young pop star who is pivotal to this story as well, is still living at home. I used Fort Drum mainly because of its placement in regard to both Bennington and NYC. It worked for the story. Unfortunately I haven’t been there but some friendly soldiers and wives who were stationed there during the writing of it helped with a bit of detail.
4- Is there a message behind your story? What kind of audience will particularly enjoy your book?
All of my books have messages. They are very society oriented, as well as relationship studies. The main message behind Moondrops is just the truth behind military life and who soldiers really are and what their loved ones have to deal with on a regular basis. There are bits and pieces of other messages, as well.
Audience: Anyone who is truly interested in that separate but connected part of society that is the world of the U.S. Military and who loves fiction with substance, plus a nice growing romance, should enjoy Moondrops & Thistles. It is lightly sensual with a bare touch of adult language and situations. Nothing too graphic, either with love scenes or war drama. It does have some emotionally charged spots and readers have already let me know they cried through parts of it. But it’s upbeat overall, with some humor and an ending that is both an end and a beginning.
There is also the slightly spicier version with less military action and societal dealings and more focus on the romance. That one is available as ebook only. The full version is both trade paperback and ebook. This is the first time I’ve done a shorter and spicier edition and so am anxious to hear readers’ thoughts!
5- At what point are you in your writing career? Have you achieved your goals? What more would you like to do?
By now I have six novels published and a children’s book inspired by my Rehearsal series. I feel like I’m just getting on a roll, although I’ve been at it since 1996. There is a huge learning curve that you can’t get any way except doing it. I’m not at the top of the curve yet, but I can start to see the top and I think it may be reachable.
I’ve only started to fulfill my goals. I have several books in progress and am branching out in more directions. My main path is with my literary romances. It’s an odd mix and can be a hard sell, since literary fiction readers and romance readers tend to be two whole different audiences, but I think it can work and I’d like to see that extend. There are now literary thrillers and literary sci fi books, and I think that’s incredible. I love the genre mixing. I’d like to help encourage that. And I’d love to help advance the idea of independent authors writing stories they feel the need to write without the restrictions of fitting a specific genre or whatever the market wants at the moment.
I’m also working on a straight literary novel and have the rough start of a couple of young adult books. I want to stretch while still staying true to my own voice. I also hope to keep growing as a writer as far as craft and technique.
BLURB for MOONDROPS & THISTLES
Daws, aka Sergeant Fred Dawson, U.S. Army, is a determined and highly respected leader. Called to serve in Desert Storm, he performs two impromptu rescue missions and manages to bring his men back home. While still haunted by the cost of his actions, he loses the most important person in his life, in an accident for which he feels partly responsible.
Deanna Meyers has had it with men. As far as she's concerned, there isn't a true loyal and honest gentleman left in New York City. In the midst of trying to advance in the world of advertising where the men in charge are more interested in her other attributes than in her skills, she finds herself in another destructive relationship, this time to the possible detriment of her career.
When they run into each other at a bus stop in the pouring rain after midnight, Daws and Deanna recognize the spark of a connection that draws them to each other the way they are both drawn to the city lights at night.
“So?” She was an adventure seeker. It was in her eyes, her gaze, the way she was daring him to spend more time together.
Daws gave himself a second to regain his composure before he answered. “You don’t understand how hard it can be to even hold a friendship together, much less anything else...”
“You think I don’t?” She raised a hand to his neck, let her eyes follow her fingers. “Try being a female professional in New York where men are in charge and intend to stay that way. They want you to bring their coffee and warm their beds. They don’t want you to be competition. And there are more of them. How many friendships do you think I have under the circumstances? Most of the women I know are the wives and girlfriends and mistresses and receptionists. The ones who are professionals or trying to become that see me as competition. They don’t want that, either. I know how hard it is to hold a relationship together. Trust me; that I know. I’ve yet been able to do it. But I keep trying. Does that make me naive?” She shrugged. “Maybe. But it also means I’m strong enough to keep trying. It means I want it enough to keep trying. I’m not a quitter. I’m not afraid of failure. And I’m not afraid to be on my own.”
The fire he saw drew him in, despite how hard he tried not to be drawn in. The warmth, the energy, was hard to resist. He brushed wet strands of hair from her face. “What would you say to breakfast before you start apartment hunting?”
Her expression was half amused, half wary. “You expect me to ask you up tonight?”
“No.” He lowered his hand. “I meant I’ll come back in the morning. There’s a little place I always go for pancakes when I’m here. Wouldn’t mind company.”
“You are an actual gentleman. What do you know? I didn’t realize there were any left.”
“Don’t jump to conclusions. You don’t know what’s going through my head right now.”
Deanna laughed. “Well, Fred Dawson, at least it’s not coming out through your fingers. That’s close enough.” She touched his hand but didn’t quite grasp it. “I would love to meet you for breakfast. But I don’t plan to be up early. I plan to linger and lounge and make full use of this too-extravagant room while I have it.”
Thanks again, Mona! I’d love to give away a copy of the shorter, spicier edition to one of your readers wo comments on this post. I’ll be here now and then through the day to take questions and answer comments. I also have a separate contest posted on my blog in relation to this blog tour. Be sure to check it out for the chance to win a personally signed copy of the full version plus a transforming mug and a Support Our Troops bracelet!
Here’s where you’ll find me:
Blog: http://lkhunsaker.blogspot.com/ (for contest and buy links)
Moondrops Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/MoondropsAndThistles