Monday, April 11, 2011

Interview with Romance Author LK Hunsaker

LK Hunsaker grew up in the Midwest. She holds a degree in psychology with an emphasis in art and literature. A detour took her to Texas before graduation with her new Army spouse, and then to Germany. During the 4 years overseas, she and her husband had their first child and did some traveling, setting foot in Berlin just after the Wall came down. She is the mother of two children and the author of five books.

Hello Loraine. This novel is a “sweet” romance. Please tell us about your new book and what time period it’s set in.

Hi Linda! Thank you for having me on your blog. I look forward to talking with your readers. Protect The Heart is the story of Abraham Luchner, a farm boy who is the only family his beloved father still has, and an artist. He’s been raised to believe you stand up and do what is right, whatever the consequences, and so he enlists to help in the war cause. His sometimes overzealous friend, Cameron Terry, who comes from an “outsider” family of wealth, joins with him looking for a grand adventure. The main focus, however, is Maura Laerty. She’s also new in the small town and has some ideas that don’t quite mesh with the community. Cameron has claimed her as his betrothed, but Maura isn’t so sure. When Cameron and Abraham leave, she commences writing letters first to one, then to both. The story bounces between the war front and the home front.

The time period is actually undetermined. I wanted an historical feel, with old-fashioned sensibilities and deportment and sometimes stifling restrictions, but I also wanted to pull in some more modern day issues. So it’s a bit of both, and it’s meant to show a timelessness and a rotation of events throughout history. Times may change, but inside, people are the same in each generation. 

I like that idea. I’m from Idaho, so the picture on the book and in your video bring back beautiful memories of my home state. Since my ancestors settled there, my first 5 historical romance novels are set in Idaho. Since you were raised in the Midwest and lived in several eastern states with your husband, why did you choose Idaho for your setting?

Idaho is stunning, with its mountains and rivers and canyons, especially to someone who grew up in the middle of flat land and cornfields! I first went to visit back in 1987 with my new husband, who was born and raised in southern Idaho’s Snake River valley. I’m a bit of a photo bug so every time we visited, I had my camera along. The cover photos are ones I took on some of those earliest visits. It never ceased to amaze me that I could look out the back window of his parents’ house and see mountains in the distance.

His family moved, so we no longer take those canyon and mountain visits. I look forward to checking out your books and revisiting the state through your stories. 

Thanks, Loraine. Idaho is very dear to me. Where did you get your inspiration for this novel?

Protect The Heart is very much a family-inspired book. My husband is a farm boy turned veteran. Also, I grew up hearing about my great uncles who fought in WW2, and those who joined after the war as soon as they were old enough. One of them is very highly decorated. The other was shot down and didn’t come home. I often thought about his mother who struggled through the loss of her child and the brother who came home when the other didn’t, so there is some of that in the story. I’ve also heard how overzealous my uncles could be. By the time I knew them, they were gray-haired or nearly so the stories brought them back as younger men. Part of that seeped into Cameron as I wrote.

Maura is very much drawn from real experience. She’s not a military spouse in the story, but she is the main support for the two soldiers away from home, as well as for several people who need her at home. Being alone in a new town is reminiscent of how, as an Army wife, I was often the new person in town without family or friends to support me during the rough times. It shows a strength she learns to have that can’t be learned any other way. There’s also an incident that is a take-off of an actual personal event where Maura feels hugely betrayed. 

Your book sounds wonderful: full of emotion, love, and sorrow. It sort of reminds me of what our soldiers and families are going through today. What does your family think about your writing?

I have to say at first it was rough going. Writing takes an incredible amount of time, and back when I became serious about putting a story on paper that had been in planning stages since my teen years, my kids were still young and my husband still active Army. So to suddenly pick up pencil and paper and spend every free minute I could grab with this story they didn’t even know was swirling in my head was confusing to them, at best.

Now though, I’m very lucky they’re fully supportive. My daughter often grabs each new chapter I print while it’s still warm and badgers me for the next if I’m not fast enough. My son tells his tons of friends about my books and hands out bookmarks and pencils. And my husband, bless his heart, tells me this is what I should be doing now that I can.

After years of taking care of everyone else and working part time jobs, I’m in a place now to give my stories more attention and the life they’ve been searching for throughout the years. That is a wonderful gift for a writer. I would have a hard time doing this without their support, which also means having quick and easy meals so I can get back to the current book, and overlooking the fact that I have several plots and a bunch of characters in my head and forget to pick up the milk when I force myself to go to the store because a story line or bit of dialogue took over my thoughts. I do feel sorry for a writer’s family, because everywhere you go, your story is right there with you. 

I understand completely. Now it’s time to tell us something about the real you that we’ll never forget.

This is hard! What do I want to tell that’s memorable but also open to the public? Hm.... Well, when I was in grade school, I was often one of the top finishers in the spelling bee. One year I went on to county level after winning the school bee. The year after that, when everyone was expecting I’d win again or at least be one of the top three, I knocked myself out early. It was quite a humbling experience, since it was a very easy word and I’m such a horrible chocolate addict, so much so that Mom often called me that when I was little, but I missed the word “chocolate”! I’ve never lived that one down, and I’ve never misspelled it since.

That is hilarious. What a great story! So now we know the real you, the chocolate eating author who will never again misspell “chocolate.”

30 comments:

LK Hunsaker said...

Good morning, Linda! I'm glad to be with you and your readers today.

One point I should clarify from above: when I said I was out in new places without the support of family and friends, that was physically. My extended family and friends have been incredible long-distance support. ;-)

I'll be in and out through the day to answer questions!

Celia Yeary said...

Good morning, Loraine...and Linda.
As usual,Loraine, your interview answers are great. I've been to Idaho and the Snake River, and yes, the area has stunning vistas. I remember your talking about this book...quite a different departure from your Rehearsal Series. I like the sound of it--especially since I love novels with a bit of history.
I, too, was a spelling bee champ, but the teachers were the contestants. I won...even beat our the English teacher.
Very nicely done, Loraine and Linda. Celia

LK Hunsaker said...

Celia, what a great story - beating the English teacher at spelling! Thanks for coming by. :-)

Maggie Toussaint said...

What a wonderful interview, Loraine. Enjoyed it

Maggie

Mona Risk said...

Hi Loraine, your trailer is gorgeous with its old pictures and hazy brownish colors. It has a feel of the past that talks to the heart. Great interview. I will look for your book, Protect The Heart.

LK Hunsaker said...

Maggie, thank you. :-)

Mona, glad to know the trailer touched you. The photos are my own and my family's.

My ebooks are at Smashwords.com, as well as BN.com, Kobo, Sony, and Diesel. My prints are at BN.com, Indiebound.com (by order from your local store), and most major online retailers.

Linda Banche said...

Hi Loraine. Congrats on your latest book.

Sometimes it's the simplest things that catch us! Oh, well.

apple blossom said...

nice interview. thanks I'd love to win this giveaway.


ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

LK Hunsaker said...

Hi Linda, thank you. Isn't it usually? ;-)

Apple blossom, thanks for coming by!

Gayle said...

This sounds like a great book! Would you classify it as historical fiction since it is set in an undetermined time period? I imagine your years as an army wife gave you a lot of insight for this story.
bgh@byu.net

michelle130 said...

Love the interview sounds like a great book.
msuck27@hotmail.co.uk

LK Hunsaker said...

Hi Gayle, I don't tend to call it historical, since it is undetermined, but I say it has an historical feel and historical issues. I have a music series that is 20th century historical (set in the 1970s), so I'm a touch historical and I'm a touch contemporary. I read a lot of historicals and love history. Thanks for asking! Yes, my Army wife years did feed this book, and my next. :-)

LK Hunsaker said...

Hi Michelle, thanks for coming by!

My Hyer Space said...

Enjoyed your interview. Your book sounds great. I would love to read it. agent3547ataoldotcom

~Enamored Soul~ said...

Dear Linda,

Thank you for having author Hunsaker over on your blog. And thank you LK Hunsaker for such insightful answers to the questions, and for taking the time to reply to all us readers/followers! :)

I absolutely LOVE historical fiction, and this book seems to provide more than one unique perspective on another era, and war-time difficulties, which I think, would make for fine reading! Thank you for sharing this book with us! :)

~Hira~
Email: Enamoredsoul(at)gmail(dot)com
Twitter: @inluvwithbookz

LK Hunsaker said...

Hello My Hyer Space, and thanks for coming by!

Hira, I always enjoy chatting with readers/book lovers! Thank you for your thoughtful comment. :-)

Gail Pallotta said...

Hi Linda and Loraine,
What an interesting interview. And your book sounds like a page turner romance with the love triangle. What an interesting and different concept with the time period. Best wishes for success.

LK Hunsaker said...

Hi Gail, should I admit my readers say it is? ;-)

Thanks for the wishes!

Anonymous said...

This story sounds wonderful! I love stories that are around the times of war. It seems to show what people are made of and what they hold dear. It shows the true nature of people and how fragile we truly are. Best of Luck to you with this novel!

Margaret
singitm@hotmail.com

LK Hunsaker said...

Margaret, thank you, and I agree. Adversity does bring out either our best or worst. It's always interesting to see that balance of strength and fragility.

Jennifer said...

It was great to learn how your family supports your writing and that you now have more time to devote to it.
Best wishes!
Jen
jryder416 at yahoo dot com

Kat said...

I love historical fiction! Sounds like I would love this book! Thanks, Kat

katsaddress AT gmail DOT com

SweetShenanigans said...

Beautiful interview; thanks so much
girl23rocks at hotmail dot com

LK Hunsaker said...

Jennifer, Kat, and SS, thanks for coming by and good luck!

lilypad98010 said...

This sounds like a wonderful book. Just the kind I love to read. Sweet!
Thank you!
Mical
lilypad98010 @comcast.net

LK Hunsaker said...

Hi Mica, if you read it, I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Maureen said...

I would love to read this book. Idaho is one of the few states I've never been to. Loved the video.



alekee02[at]yahoo[dot]com

LK Hunsaker said...

Hi Maureen, hope you get the chance to go someday! Thank you. :-)

Linda Weaver Clarke said...

Congratulations, Hira! You are the winner of this great book. I read it and really enjoyed it. Thanks, everyone, for stopping by. Don't forget to visit my blog each week and see what new giveaway I'll be having.

LK Hunsaker said...

Thank you Linda for hosting me and to everyone who came to read and comment. In honor of spring, if you'd like to read my children's picture book free (with Adobe) dedicated to military children, it's on my publisher site: http://www.elucidatepublishing.net/children.html