About the Novel: This Heart of Mine is about seventeen-year-old Leah, who receives a heart transplant. The new heart saves her life, but puts her on a journey to find out what happened to its donor — a boy from her school that supposedly committed suicide. Leah connects with her donor’s twin brother, Matt, and learns that they are sharing the same dreams. Sparks fly as they spend time together and life takes on new meaning as they risk everything to find out answers. Will they discover what really happened to Matt’s twin?
Hi CC, it’s so great to chat with you again! I just finished This Heart of Mine yesterday and it was amazing. The novel is filled with such a roller coaster ride of emotions! The mystery woven into the plot kept me turning pages late into the night and got me thinking about life, death, and love in new ways. Congrats on such a beautiful book!
1) You mention on your blog that This Heart of Mine was inspired by your husband’s experience as a transplant recipient. You’re well known for writing paranormal stories and This Heart of Mine has a thread of the paranormal based on the connection a donor and a recipient share. In thinking about this, did you research other real-life donors and recipients stories?
Thank you for having me, Jennifer! The whole experience was inspired by my husband’s dream. He had a reoccurring dream where he would wake up and there would be an old man staring him right in the face. Now this was more amazing because he never remembers his dreams. And this one occured for about three days. I really got chills when I learned his donor was a sixty-five year old man.
When I got home, I did do some research on the Internet to learn that about ten percent of transplant patients have something like this happen. Some suddenly acquire a different set of taste buds. Other find themselves calling the name of someone they don’t know. There was just enough truth to all of these that made me wonder. While I was looking things up, I wasn’t thinking about a book. It was almost two years later before I decided to write This Heart of Mine.
2) How is writing a stand-alone novel different from the series format that you are so well known for? Was it harder to tie up loose threads?
In some ways it’s easier. I know I only need enough story to fill one book. But in another way it’s harder. I will find all sorts of things I feel the reader needs to know about the character and I want to put them in there. Tying up loose threads is easier in a short book. But deciding what threads go in and what to leave out is difficult. I had a thread in This Heart of Mine that I had to cut. It was just a scene or two, but it was hard.
3) This Heart of Mine is “a haunting, poignant tale about living and dying, surviving grief, guilt, and heartache, while discovering love and hope.” What do you hope YA readers learns from this story?
In so many ways this book is about love and learning to spread your wings and fly. Love, not only between a girl and boy, but between a teen and her parents. Love between friends. Love between siblings. I want my readers to learn how precious time is with those you love.
I want them to put themselves in Leah’s place. Imagine knowing you are going to die. Imagine knowing your parents know you are going to die. Imagine seeing the pain in their eyes and feeling like you are letting them down. Imagine thinking you aren’t going to know real love between you and a boy. Imagine getting that second chance and that boy you’re falling for is the brother of the heart donor.
And I want the readers to take a moment to appreciate time. To appreciate the fact that they have tomorrow and they should start doing things they love now. I want them to fall in love with Leah and Matt.
Thank you, CC! I truly did fall in love with your characters and the story. This Heart of Mine truly stole my heart 🙂
Thank you so much for sharing This Heart of Mine with your readers. Here’s to next time! And I have sold another young adult novel, and I’ll be talking about it soon.