Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Kimmery Martin Author Interview

Photo Content from Kimmery Martin

Kimmery Martin won her first short story contest in the first grade, and was awarded a red stuffed elephant and publication in the school newspaper. Her writing career then suffered an unfortunate dry spell, finally broken with the publication of the enthralling journal article Lymphatic Mapping and Sentinel Lymph Node Biopsy in the Staging of Melanoma, followed by the equally riveting sequel Sentinel Lymph Node Biopsy for Pelvic Malignancies, both during medical school.

Conscious readers remained elusive, however, prompting her to wait another decade or so before trying again. This time, spurred on by a supportive husband and three constantly interfering children, she produced an entire novel. The Queen of Hearts, exploring the startling secrets in a friendship between a cardiologist and a trauma surgeon, became an instantly beloved classic amongst three of her friends. It will be published by Penguin Random House in 2018.

When not working on her next novel, Kimmery spends her time mothering her slew of perfect children. She’s also occupied with poorly executed household chores, working as a physician, and serving on various non-profit boards in Charlotte, North Carolina. She exercises grudgingly, cooks inventively, reads voraciously, offers helpful book recommendations, interviews authors, publishes travel articles, and edits her son's middle grade book reviews. Finally, she is a world-class Boggle champion, which most people find to be sexy beyond all description.


What advice would you give to someone who wanted to have a life in writing?
Read! The more you read the more you hone your sense of what constitutes good writing. Also—train yourself to think like a writer. In the midst of conversation with someone, I’ll find my mental narrator piping up with an analysis of her face, or the scenery, or the crazy thing happening in the background. The world becomes more vivid when you describe it to yourself.

What were your inspirations for the character development?

The concept of my characters was inspired by a real-life group of girlfriends in medical school. There are seven of us and we love each other fiercely. That being said, my two protagonists are wholly fictional, as are the major events in the book—none of my girlfriends is represented as an actual character. But the camaraderie and the work-hard/play-hard ethos of med school and the intense closeness of those friendships—that’s all real.

Was there a particular event or time that you recognized that writing was not just a hobby.
I’m a late bloomer! I didn’t realize how much I enjoyed writing until I started this novel. It wasn’t the easiest time: I was a busy ER doctor, and I had three little kids, and my life was just insane, but something about the act of sitting down and producing words that turned into a story that turned into a novel was compelling to me. I loved it.

What was your unforgettable moment while writing THE QUEEN OF HEARTS?
I’m not a plotter so I didn’t have a clue where the story was going when I started. And I knew very little about the mechanics of writing, which was fortunate because if I had, I’d have been too daunted to try. Still, I became aware quickly that the central component to all good fiction is tension—there has to be an obstacle, or a question to be answered, or there’s nothing to keep a reader engaged.

The Queen of Hearts is told from dual perspectives—Zadie’s and Emma’s—and in dual timelines: the present and their shared past in medical school. The initial storyline existed only from Zadie’s POV in medical school. Emma was a peripheral character without much going on. One day while exercising, Emma popped into my mind and I had the idea to show things from her perspective in the present day. She morphed into a bit of a frenemy. Later on, she got thrown under the bus in more ways than one, and that was an evolution from the original draft too.

What part of Zadie did you enjoy writing the most?

I loved Zadie’s personality—she’s cerebral and lovable and prone to goofy disasters.

What was the most surprising thing you learned in creating Emma?
Emma is intriguing. She’s a more complex character than Zadie; she’s smart—brilliant even—and possesses an unusual talent for introspection. She’s insightful about her own behavior, even when she doesn’t control it. Zadie’s flaws are more superficial in this story, whereas Emma’s are more threatening. But to me, she was also endearing: at her core, she’s longing for acceptance and love, but she feels isolated by her differences from other people.

What are some of your current and future projects that you can share with us?
I’m working on another medical fiction novel about one of the minor characters in TQOH, Zadie and Emma’s med school friend Georgia, now a urologist. Like the first book, it’ touches on a few of my favorite themes—friendship, career, and love, especially love-gone-wrong.

There’s another project I really want to finish—a character-driven biotech thriller from a female perspective. I’m a bit of a science geek.

If you could introduce one of your characters to any character from another book, who would it be and why?
I think Zadie would get along really well with Bridget Jones. They’d have a stupid amount of fun.

Tell me about a favorite event of your childhood.

I grew up in Kentucky, which is why half of the book is set there. One of the iconic memories of my childhood was our visits to my great-grandmother’s house in the hollers of Eastern Kentucky. There was a swinging bridge to cross the river and a tobacco barn and a family cemetery where they buried our people. My great-grandmother was born in the 1880’s and raised eleven children on this farm in rural Appalachia. She lived to be 104. Her life was fascinating to me.

If you could go back in time to one point in your life, where would you go?
Med school! For sure. It was intense in every way: hard, scary, incredibly fun. Also a bit hedonistic: my friends and I had no children, no husbands, no responsibilities other than to work and learn, so we partied hard during our bits of free time. The friendships I made there changed me forever. I wouldn’t stay there—I’m more grown-up now—but I’d love to pop in and relive it from time to time.

What book would you recommend for others to read?

Here’s list of some of my favorites. I review books and read constantly so it’s hard to pin down just one!’s-AllTime-Favorite-Books-Part-1

―Landley shuddered to a dead stop, closing his eyes and flinging his hands in the air as if praising Jesus. At first I worried his brain had been entirely replaced by a sloshing fishbowl of bourbon, but then I realized the ancient jukebox was playing “Funkytown.”

―He stiffened. I could almost hear the cerebral cogs start churning as he realized what I wasn’t saying. An undefinable expression crossed his face.

“She still doesn’t know what you did,” he said. He began blinking, hard and fast. “Oh my God.”

Fury filled me. “How about what you did?” I spun around and started away from him, but his voice stopped me dead.

“What I did,” he said, “didn’t kill anyone.”

―How often in life did you meet someone whose presence caused you to blaze into an immediate erotic meltdown every single time you saw them? Every glance between us was charged; every utterance, every physical contact, no matter how slight, seemed to rearrange the very molecules of the air around us into incandescent conductors of longing. No wonder people used heat metaphors to describe passion.

―One of the reasons I love the heart so much is its immense complexity. On the surface, it’s a simple mechanical pump, taking in depleted blood and whooshing out rich, oxygenated red cells to all the nooks and crannies of the human form. But the physics underlying the pump are truly majestic. Every beat is precipitated by an electrical cascade, a subcellular chain of dominoes, alighting like fire along the fibers and muscles that bear the brunt of our bodies’ unceasing demand for fuel. When it works as it should, it’s spectacular.

―Babies are helpless but brilliant parasites who have survived the millennia by enslaving adults. They accomplish this by (a) making people think they’re cute and (b) producing a noxious noise until you do their bidding. Henry was excellent at both.

―I tend to follow the same pattern when somebody wrongs me: I stew over it obsessively, my mind churning through all the variables as I replay the incident, thinking of what I should say. I catalog their offenses. I verbally dissect them. Zingy rejoinders fly from my lips until my enemy folds into supplicating apology, humbled by her absolute wrongness. After I’ve done this several hundred times in my own head, there’s seldom a need to confront anyone in real life. I’m over my anger.

―He turned to face me. The dying sun caught him full in the face, suffusing his skin with glowing pinks and golds and transforming his hair into a soft halo. Even though his eyes were brown, they were very clear in the sunlight; I thought I could see right through them. The background noise of dogs yelping and trees rustling and the rhythmic feet of the joggers faded into stillness around us. We sat, hushed, in our pool of dimming molten light. He knows, I thought.

―The code was not going well. The patient kept getting resuscitated and then immediately dying again. To make it even more confusing, he’d had so much epinephrine it was impossible for him to flatline; the residual drug in his system showed up on the monitor as a little oscillation of activity even though no one could detect a pulse. But nobody wanted to quit. He was too young to die.

—-There is no more debilitating emotion than shame. Even grief has a redeeming clarity and purity to it: you know there is a terrible beauty in loving something so much that its loss nearly ends you. But there is no redeeming quality to shame. It’s ugly.

I think of myself as a good person. But maybe everyone does? Regardless of what I think of myself, the undeniable truth is that I’ve done some very shameful things.

―It was completely irrational to feel hatred for your best friend for something she hadn’t even done yet.

A debut novel that pulses with humor and empathy and explores the heart's capacity for forgiveness...

Zadie Anson and Emma Colley have been best friends since their early twenties, when they first began navigating serious romantic relationships amid the intensity of medical school. Now they're happily married wives and mothers with successful careers--Zadie as a pediatric cardiologist and Emma as a trauma surgeon. Their lives in Charlotte, North Carolina are chaotic but fulfilling, until the return of a former colleague unearths a secret one of them has been harboring for years.

As chief resident, Nick Xenokostas was the center of Zadie's life--both professionally and personally--throughout a tragic chain of events in her third year of medical school that she has long since put behind her. Nick's unexpected reappearance during a time of new professional crisis shocks both women into a deeper look at the difficult choices they made at the beginning of their careers. As it becomes evident that Emma must have known more than she revealed about circumstances that nearly derailed both their lives, Zadie starts to question everything she thought she knew about her closest friend.


“Fans of Grey’s Anatomy are sure to enjoy this new release, a novel about friendship, success, and secrets set amid the day-to-day drama of a hospital in Charlotte, North Carolina.” —Southern Living

“A secret from two doctors' pasts may put what they cherish most under the knife: their friendship. A book about female friendships that unapologetically wears its heart on its sleeve.” —Kirkus

“Martin’s debut novel, about pediatric cardiologist Zadie Anson and trauma surgeon Emma Colley, is a medical drama executed with just the right balance of intensity, plot twists, tragedy, and humor...A remarkably absorbing read.” —Booklist

“Whip-smart and full of heart, Martin expertly weaves the threads of friendship, love and betrayal into a story that crackles with humor and compassion. A brilliant debut.” —Lisa Duffy, author of The Salt House

“In The Queen of Hearts, debut author Kimmery Martin brings humor and insight into this exploration of friendships and secrets set in the fascinating world of practicing doctors. She effortlessly weaves the past and the present to bring you all sides of this nuanced story. Part mystery and part exploration of the human heart, Martin has a cure for what ails both her characters and their relatable problems. Sure to be a hit with fans of JoJo Moyes and Liane Moriarty.” —Catherine McKenzie, bestselling author of Hidden and The Good Liar

“In The Queen of Hearts, Kimmery Martin deftly weaves a tale of friendship and betrayal, family and lost love, the choices that define us and the secrets that keep us. Brimming with wit, intelligence, humor, and warmth, this dazzling debut teaches us about the heart’s surprising resilience. Kimmery Martin is a new voice to watch.” —Sarah Domet, author of The Guineveres

"Full of wit, subtext, and (of course) heart. Martin's writing is smart, compassionate, and just plain entertaining. I can't wait to see what she comes up with next!" —Jessica Strawser, author of Almost Missed You

“Martin’s voice is sharp and authentic in this captivating debut about two old friends and the scorching secret that nearly destroys them. Your heart will be thumping until the final page.” —Emily Liebert, author of Some Women

“Intense, vivid and sometimes surprisingly funny, The Queen of Hearts gives readers a behind-the-scenes look at the world of female physicians. Martin moves effortlessly between the women's highly relatable suburban lives and the literally cutting-edge drama of their work.” —Kim Wright, author of Last Ride to Graceland, 2017 winner of the Willie Morris Award for Southern Fiction

“Tragedy and secrets refuse to stay buried in this fast-paced and clever exploration of the storied connection between Emma and Zadie. As wives, mothers, and physicians, they are just as susceptible to life and its multicolored traumas as any of the souls they care for.” —Nadia Hashimi, international bestselling author of The Pearl that Broke Its Shell

You can purchase The Queen of Hearts at the following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you KIMMERY MARTIN for making this giveaway possible.
1 Winner will receive a Copy of The Queen of Hearts by Kimmery Martin.


  1. I love Justin Timberlake's Can't Stop the Feeling.

  2. "What song always makes you happy when you hear it?" "Daydream Believer."

  3. The song that always makes me happy when I hear it is MercyMe's Finally Home.

  4. That Happy Feeling by Bert Kaempfert and Dancing Queen by ABBA.

  5. HAPPY DOGS & CAT in AUSTRALIA - Pharrell Williams "HAPPY" song LOL, I love that video cus of the animals and when I hear the song I see that video in my mind

  6. Semi-Charmed Life - Third Eye Blind

  7. Walk the Moon's Shut Up & Dance.