Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Desert Breeze author K Dawn Byrd pops in to talk about her upcoming release, Queen of Hearts

Today we welcome K Dawn Byrd with us, who has a release in April, "Queen of Hearts."

STEPH: Can you tell us a little about "Queen of Hearts"

K DAWN: Daphne Dean is proud to be serving her country stateside during WWII as a reporter and an Office of Strategic Services operative. When the photograph she takes of the crowd at a murder scene places her on the mob's hit list, she's forced into hiding in a vacant mental asylum in the middle of nowhere with terrifying secrets of its own.

Daphne believed herself to still be in love with her ex-fiancée, Kenneth, until she spends several days locked away in the asylum with Vito, the mob boss' son. Can she put the terrifying events that occurred there behind her and allow herself to pursue a relationship with Vito? Or, will she return to Kenneth who has turned his back on his country by becoming a draft dodger and a black market racketeer? One thing's for sure, it won't matter if she can't escape the mental institution alive.

STEPH - The story is set in the United States during World War II. What kind of research did you have to do?

K DAWN: Actually, I didn't have to do much research at all. I've been a WWII buff for years and have read many WWII books. I like stories about what happened to real people back in the day. I found it very interesting to see how the war changed our country and the people who lived here.

STEPH - Where did you get the inspiration for your story?

K DAWN: Like I said, I'm a WWII buff and I thought it would be fun to write a WWII story. At the time I was plotting (October 2009), I e-mailed Gail Delaney, who is the CEO of Desert Breeze Publishing, and asked her if she had a need for a historical. I had already sold a contemporary romantic suspense to them with an August 2010 release date. She held an April release date for Queen of Hearts. All I had to do was write it and hold my breath until I heard back from her to find out if she liked it. Lucky for me, she did.

STEPH - Do you cast your characters? If so who plays Daphne? (I'm thinking actress Jennifer Ferrin) Vito? Kenneth?

K DAWN: I consider my husband to be a very handsome man. I normally start a novel picturing my hubby as the hero. This makes it much easier for me to keep up with what my hero looks like as I write. Okay, I admit it...I'm a sucker for black-haired, green eyed men! I then search through magazines until I find photos of the other characters and keep them close by while I write.

STEPH - Will Daphne get the OSS training she needs?

K DAWN: Daphne never receives the OSS training and believes herself to be the most inept spy ever. She's understandably frustrated when thrown into the midst of delivering messages to other spies with no knowledge of what she's doing. For example, she meets Scarlet (British secret intelligence) at an officer's club and when Scarlet holds out her hand, Daphne shakes it. Scarlet then rakes her over the coals, informing her that she was supposed to have passed the message at the point.

STEPH - Was this the story that came out of NaNoWriMo 2009? How was that experience?

K DAWN: Queen of Hearts was my NaNoWriMo project. It was a challenge to write 50,000 words in 30 days, but I did it. I had no choice if I wanted to meet the Desert Breeze deadline. It was due on my editors desk January 1. That gave me the moth of November to write and December to edit. The NaNoWriMo experience was wonderful. It's changed the way I write forever. I now give myself permission to write a terrible first draft. Before NaNo, I was very particular about the first draft and it took me forever to write it. I believe that the way I write now allows me to write the story much quicker.

Book trailer:

THanks so much for being with us here, K Dawn!


  1. J Dawn. I agree with you. WWII had a profound effect on our country and the people who lived through it. I have put this book at the top of my TBR list.


  2. I love WWII fiction. I think green eyed men are attractive, too, no matter what their hair color is. :) I could never do NaNoWriMo.

  3. It's amazing that you gave yourself two impossible deadlines to meet in such a short space of time and didn't find yourself staring at a blank screen.

    I'm impressed. Great job.

    Toni Noel

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  5. K., I really admire your ambition in getting this story written and edited as fast you did. That's amazing! And it sounds like a great story. Can't wait to read it!

  6. Thanks for the encouragement, guys! I enjoyed NaNo so much that I plan on doing it again this year. It's really not as much pressure as you'd think. I can write 1200-1500 words in an hour. That said, if I wrote 1667 words per day (a little over an hour), I stayed on track. Anyone could do it, but it does require some plotting ahead of time so you don't waste a lot of time at the keyboard thinking about what direction you're going in.

  7. K, I might do NaNoWriMo with you again this year. I agree that it requires the plotting ahead of time, but I was good there. If it wasn't for that, I couldn't have done it. And let me give a shout to Jen Ranieri - she was my NaNoWriMo partner last year - I had a great time meeting up with her. They were motivating sessions.

    The novel sounds great. I love War intrigue and the story is definately on my TBR