Sixteen years is a long time to wait for your true love to reappear, and, anyway, Nicki Johnson couldn’t wait for the impossible to happen. Hard life lessons have taught her that fairy tales are children’s stories, and fate is cruel. Burying her hopes, she’s spent the last sixteen years focused and driven toward her career, and it’s landed her with a job at the White House with a gem of a boyfriend. But when her high school love, Adam Kincaid, walks into the White House as a BBC reporter, Nicki’s world is thrown into turmoil as she relives their past. Adam has come back for her, but has he arrived too late?
Even before she graduated from law school, Mary knew she wasn't cut out to be a real lawyer. Drawn to politics, she's spent her career as an organizer, lobbyist, and nonprofit executive. Nothing piques her interest more than a good political scandal or romance, and when she stumbled upon writing, she put the two together. A born Midwesterner, naturalized Texan, and transient resident of Washington, D.C., Mary now lives in Northern California with her two daughters and real lawyer husband.
As part of the blog tour, I’m pleased to host in my Indie Author Interview Corner a romance author. I’m particularly happy to host her today, since I really loved her book and I can’t wait to start recommending it to everyone I know. Dear readers, please welcome Mary Whitney, author of “Disclosure of the Heart”.
Hello Mary! Welcome to Roberta’s Dreamworld and thank you for your time. First of all, tell us something about yourself, both as a writer and as a person.
Thank you so much for this opportunity! Writing has been a significant portion of all of my jobs, but my work has been a world away from romance.
How/when did you realize you wanted to become a writer?
When I started reading online fiction, I thought, “Hey, maybe I could do that.” Then I gave it a shot.
Let’s speak about your latest release, Disclosure Of The Heart. Can you tell my readers a little about the book?
As the sequel to Beside Your Heart, it’s set 16 years later in Washington, DC. Both Nicki and Adam are now adults, accomplished in their professions, and tied to other people. Is there a flame that flickers for both of them from their time together in high school?
How did you come up with the idea and how did you create the characters?
My main goal for both of these characters was that their actions be realistically flawed. I know many people want to always be able to root for their leads, but I like a more complex story. No one I know is perfect, and we all make mistakes. We all can hurt the people we love, both by what’s done and said. I want to see characters rise above those mistakes and move on with deeper relationships because of them.
Although this works well as a standalone, there’s a previous book, Beside Your Heart, which tells us about Nicki and Adam as teenagers. I know there’s a third book in the series, am I right? Can you tell us what it’ll be about and when you’re planning to release it? (I honestly can’t wait to read more about Nicki and Adam!)
Adam’s story, Forever Your Heart, comes out next spring. It’s a peek into his past, the years he was apart from Nicki, their story together, and then into their future post Disclosure of the Heart.
I’m Italian so whenever I want to use English or American slang I always have to research. Adam is from England, so I’m a little curious: Did someone help you with the British slang or were you familiar with it?
Oh you bet! I had several Brits help, including my editor who is an ex-pat living in London.
If you should describe your books in three words, what would you pick?
Nuanced, heartfelt, and smart
Do you have any favorite authors and did they influence your choice of the genre?
I love Louise Erdrich, who doesn’t write romance, but I love her complex characters.
What else do you enjoy doing, when you’re not writing?
I love to cook and garden. I name my favorite plants and refer to all my plants as “he” and “she.” I talk about how they’re doing, so I’m sort of making stories all the time.
As a writer do you get support from your family and friends?
My husband and friends are very supportive, even if they think it’s a little crazy.
What are your dreams and plans for your future as a writer?
I just want to write the stories I have in me. Hopefully, some people will like reading them.
You published through Omnific Publishing. I self-published through Amazon and Smashwords. What do you think are the pros and cons of self-publishing vs. going through a publisher, even though not a traditional one? Would you recommend it?
I have all the admiration in the world for self-published authors. I’ve done it, but I think it’s extremely difficult, especially if you’re selling places in addition to Amazon. I’ve never been a good project manager, and I think you need to have those skills in order to produce a book. Going with a publisher for me means I don’t have to worry about getting the words off my laptop and onto a book on your kindle. I also really enjoy working on a team, so it’s nice to have the support of others who are working for your book.
Would you like to say something to the readers to encourage them to read your books?
My storylines are fresh, and my characters are smart. Hopefully, they’ll make you think, laugh, and maybe cry a little.
I’ve been waiting impatiently to share my review with the world of book lovers, since I read the arc of this book a few weeks ago but was not supposed to post the review until my blog tour stop. I’m really glad the day has finally come and I don’t know if I’ll be able to put down in words how much I loved this book; if I have to be honest, I’m a little surprised myself, but this story really touched my heart and I hope I’ll be able to convey my feelings.
I started this book on a Sunday morning and I couldn’t put it down until I reached the end. It doesn’t happen often that I get so engrossed in a story I don’t want to do anything else but finish the book, but that’s what happened with this one. I guess this gives you a clue of how much I loved it, in case my review doesn’t.
Disclosure Of The Heart works well as a standalone, but it’s actually the sequel to Beside Your Heart (read my review here). It’s the story of Nicki and Adam, who are now adults and living two successful lives in two different continents, sixteen years after their break-up in high school.
Nicole works as the deputy press secretary of the newly elected president of the United States while Adam is a famous reporter for the BBC. Once he learns that Nicole will be working at the White House, he asks to be assigned to Washington as the official BBC correspondent there; he’s never really gotten over his love for Nicole and he hopes he’ll be able to win her heart back. That’s when all the drama starts because Nicole hasn’t gotten over him either and she knows she has to push him away if she wants to avoid another major heartbreak.
Like Beside Your Heart, the story is told in Nicki’s POV but I was happy to discover that the last chapter, just like in the previous book, is told in Adam’s.
Nicole has grown so much since the previous book – which is quite obvious, since sixteen years have passed – and at first it’s hard to recognize the shy, insecure girl in this new self-confident, career-oriented woman. As soon as Adam enters the scene though, the 17-year-old Nicki comes back and it’s like meeting an old friend. There she is, working at the White House for the president of the United States and still feeling giddy when Adam looks at her. But how can you blame her, when the cause of her emotional upheaval is Adam Kincaid!
I didn’t know I would ever fall for a Brit, but boy did I fall for Adam! He was a super cute character in Beside Your Heart and I really liked him back when he was a 17-year-old real English gentleman; in Disclosure Of The Heart Adam has turned into a super hot Englishman, who’s willing to put his high school sweetheart before everything else, including his successful career. It was very easy to like the 17-year-old English kid and it’s basically impossible not to LOVE 33-year-old Adam. He’s simply adorable and so sexy he made me swoon with every comment he made.
I loved that their cute banter was back, even after being apart for so long. I loved that they could still talk the way they did when they were seventeen, as if time hadn’t gone by at all. Their connection is still so strong I found my heart aching at the thought of how many years they’d lost, while they could’ve been together; but then again, the time probably wasn’t right and things wouldn’t have worked out if they’d tried too hard to make it work. Now they’re adults, they both know what they want from life and from love and guess what is it they want?
No, I won’t give away the ending, but if you know me, I guess you’ll understand from my rating that there must be a happy ending – but not without a few obstacles on their way, which made the whole book an even more compelling read.
Some of the side characters from the first book are back – YAY! :) – so we get to meet an older Sylvia (Adam’s sister) who’s still just as funny as she was in the first book, as well as Lisa (Nicki’s best friend) and David (Adam’s sexy cousin) and there are a few very entertaining scenes starring them.
There’s really no need for me to say how good the writing is; if you give this book a chance, you’ll see it yourself. The dialogues are very well written and the characters feel so real I felt as if they were old friends of mine. I felt a real connection with them and it’s not often that this happens when I read a book so, well, kudos to the author for that.
I know I may have found a new favorite author in Mary Whitney and I can’t wait to read more from her.