Today is a treat for me — and you — because I’ve got Wild Rose Press sistah, Kristal Harris with me and she’s talking about her newly released book RISE FOR ME and her inspiration behind the story.
Kristal…take it away……
There are two points of inspiration for the book. First, I want to talk a bit about one of the reasons I chose to give my heroine the infirmity she was afflicted with, and how self-conscious things like this can make a person.
My mother was born with a half-dollar-sized, pink, hairy birthmark in the center of her forehead. Her parents couldn’t afford to have it removed, so to hide it, she wore bangs and used cosmetics. It wasn’t until she was in her mid-thirties, that a cosmetic surgeon finally removed the birthmark. It left a scar, but she was much happier and actually started wearing her hair different.
In today’s society beauty is everywhere. Magazine covers, movies, social media, and every commercial caters to the idea that we are born perfect or should strive to be perfect. What bothers me is most of what we see has been heavily photoshopped. Humans come in every shape imaginable, and many of us are born with what the world considers defects.
I watched my mother hide from the world, buy numerous beauty products to try to cover or fade her birthmark, but nothing worked. The cost of her surgery was out-of-pocket because it was considered cosmetic. Think of what something like that would cost nowadays? The expense was worth it for her, but it was a shame she was so self-conscious because of what people thought, said, or the stares.
I’m not saying we shouldn’t try to appear our best, but I am saying there are things we are born with that are not a defect. Those things make us unique. In the book, Rise for Me, I gave the heroine a hairy birthmark under her eye. A vampire heals her, but in the end she realizes it wasn’t as important as she once thought. If you’re a person with something the world considers abnormal on your body, don’t hide it. I know we live in a world where everything appears perfect, but remember it’s mostly an illusion.
Rise for Me releases February 1st, but I wanted to give readers the reason why I wrote the story the way I did. I think many authors pull something from their life to use in the stories they create, and I’m no exception. As a young girl, I didn’t truly understand what my mother experienced, but as a grown woman I do. As an aging, disabled woman, I empathize even more. I wear drop-foot braces in order to walk because of nerve damage from Guillain-Barre Syndrome. The stares used to bother me and I have felt insecure more than once, but that doesn’t happen much anymore. Maybe I just don’t pay attention or have developed thicker skin, or maybe I realized my disability makes me unique.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but it’s what’s on the inside that matters. I’ve heard it all my life, but it’s true. Remember that!
The second reason behind Rise for Me comes from answering another author’s writing prompt. The question he posted on social media went something like this: Create a fictional story about where we met.
That is temptation incarnate for a writer. I was playing around when I answered the prompt and created a short, one paragraph story about how and where we met. I wrote, “We met at the carnival. You were the creepy clown who snuck up behind me. I was so mad, I threw my corndog at you and got mustard in your hair. We wrestled into the duck-pond booth, tore it all to pieces, both got wet, but ended up laughing. We are friends again. Everything is good.”
Haha…not the best writing, but that little paragraph sparked my imagination. The story went in a different direction, but had I not answered the writing prompt, I don’t know that I would’ve come up with the idea for Rise for Me, so many thanks to my friend and fellow author, Alistair Cross. He’s a horror writer if any of you love to be scared! You can find him @Alistair Cross.
Tagline: “I’d come back to you a thousand times.”
Vampire and warlock, Roman Lee, spent centuries alone as ringmaster of the carnival. After befriending and healing a scarred, young woman, Roman realizes Mariah is his mate. He waits for her, but when she departs from his life, his torture knows no bounds. Now he’s risen, unforgiving and angry, forced from his grave by the one woman who captured his heart, but will another secret and the call of his mate change everything?
The steady call of Roman’s blood and the promise of peace brings Mariah Stone home to the carnival and the vampire she left behind. He ignores her until she forces him from the grave with her blood. His anger crushes her already broken spirit, but she is determined to win Roman’s forgiveness and free him from their bond. Denied passion leads them down a path of magic and desire, while a devastating secret threatens eternal love.
Roman studied the perfection before him with something akin to regret filling his spirit. It should have been different between them. He momentarily questioned his decision before setting the ruby stone on her bedside table. In a whisper, he began to chant the words that would strengthen their connection and seal Mariah’s healing so it couldn’t be undone by anyone, ever.
Blood exchanged will seal my gift
The flesh will stay, no spell will lift
Let the night be filled with dreams
So she won’t remember it was me
Roman lifted his hands, palms up, to begin the next part of the spell using the stone, but when Mariah moved in her sleep and threw one leg out from under the covers, he didn’t know if he could do it. Bare flesh, creamy and soft, slid along the quilt as Mariah moaned in her sleep and spoke his name. A dull light formed inside the ruby stone, strengthening with Mariah’s moans. Roman closed his eyes against the onslaught of desire brushing against his body and soul. It sought entrance, control, and a response. She must be dreaming of him. It was the only explanation. His eyes snapped open when the bed creaked. Heavy-lidded, sleepy eyes opened with a reddish glow lighting their dark depths.
“Mariah?” Roman spoke her name as a question, not fully understanding what was happening, but the stone did. Brilliant red light shot from the ruby’s rough edges, saturating the walls, the floors, and everything in between in its glow. Roman tilted his face as Mariah rose from her reclined position to sit on the side of the bed. A trickle of unease sped down his spine. This wasn’t supposed to happen. Mariah was using the stone against him, and her desire magnified his own, fed off it, and seduced in strong waves. Roman groaned as his cock swelled painfully and his body clenched with need.
“Do you come to me as a warlock, vampire, or as man?”
The question was asked so softly Roman wasn’t sure he heard her voice. Mariah’s eyes blazed with color. She was a temptress, a woman bent on crushing what remained of his heart, and he hated her for it. Roman pinched the bridge of his nose when the truth reared its ugly head, forcing him to accept what was meant to be. He craved her like no other. This would be the one and only night they ever spent together. The spell was cast, and she shouldn’t remember anything, so for once, he let the caged passion soar. “I come to you as all three.”
Buy Link: Universal Link
Kristal Dawn Harris is an award-winning, Rone nominated, American romance author. She has been married for 27 years and has two children. Kristal finished a degree from Miami University in Accounting Technology, but quickly realized she preferred words over numbers. She is an avid reader and, in particular, loves darker paranormal romance. Her hobbies include coin collecting, physical fitness, stained-glass art (beginner), poetry, and songwriting.
Kristal primarily writes for her publisher, The Wild Rose Press, although it should be noted she has self-released several books. She writes paranormal, fantasy, erotic, as well as contemporary romance in different lengths.
You can find out more about Kristal and her books at www.kristalharris.com.
A little more fun stuff about Kristal….
Favorite color: Red
Favorite Movie: Under the Tuscan Sun
Favorite Paranormal Author: Christine Feehan
Favorite ice cream: Butter Pecan or Mint Choc Chip
Favorite Chocolate: Dark chocolate
Favorite Candy: Sea Salt Caramel Chocolate
Favorite Vacation: Badlands, South Dakota
Favorite Genre Romance: Historical romance
Favorite female actor: Kate Winslet
Favorite male actor: Alexander Skarsgard
Favorite TV shows: Ancient Aliens, What on Earth, UFO files, The Abandoned, The Unexplained. (I’m a true nerd, and embrace it fully…lol)
Peggy here – Kristal, thanks so much for being here today and good luck with the amazeballs book!