Authors: L.G. Pace III & Michelle Pace
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: February 9, 2015
Cover Design: Wicked By Design
With her wedding rapidly approaching, Molly's days consist of herding Joe off to tux fittings and diaper changings times two. She misses life on the food truck, but she isn't quite ready to leave the twins. Planning for every detail to be as perfect as her groom, she hopes her instincts are wrong that it's all too good to be true.
Knowing Molly like he does, Joe can plainly see that his girl needs to decompress. She's as stubborn as always, and talking her into a honeymoon without the babies proves easier said than done. Molly's on edge about every little thing, from the nosey next door neighbor to cars speeding down their quiet street. While Joe revels in their otherwise blissful existence, he worries that Molly's paranoia may be a symptom of something bigger.
Come back to Austin one last time for the wedding of Molly Elizabeth Hildebrandt and Joseph Samuel Jensen. Raise a glass in celebration alongside their family and closest friends. Wave goodbye as they ride off into the sunset toward a dark fork in the road that could destroy their happily ever after. Will they finally get their fairytale ending? Find out in Heartwood, the explosive conclusion to the Carved Hearts series.
Purchase The Carved Hearts Series
Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/1r3LDoL
MollyWood (Carved Hearts #2)
Amazon US: http://amzn.to/1sm7rfo
Amazon UK : http://amzn.to/1oGOk50
Heartwood (Carved Hearts #3)
What inspired you to write the Carved Hearts series?
Les - Bad sales.
Michelle - He was raving about how he was going to write an erotic book about the perfect man who gets completely wrecked. He said “He’s going to be a carpenter like Jesus with six pack abs and I’m going to name it Good Wood.” He proceeded to ramble out the general idea for Joe’s back story and how some cute baker was going to open a cupcake shop next door and rescue him from his self-destructive ways. After he finally spun down from his ravings, I said “You know…that’s not half bad. But the heroine sucks. Let me help you with that.” Needless to say, we scrapped the cupcake shop thing. I tried to get him to change the title, but he was hell-bent on Good Wood.
Can you tell us a little bit about your main characters Molly and Joe?
Les - Joe has what he thinks is the perfect life. In one night his entire life is destroyed, seemingly beyond repair. This is our prequel in book one, and it seems to take people a bit off guard. Chapter one is three years later where we meet Molly Hildebrandt, and we see what’s left of Joe through her eyes. He’s her childhood crush, and the best friend of her older brothers, Mac and Mason. Joe and the twins (Mac and Mason) are 5 years older, and her crush was unrequited. She hasn’t seen Joe in years and knows nothing about the tragedy that befell him.
Michelle - Molly went off to culinary school on the west coast to escape her overbearing family and have some adventure. After a messy divorce, she sells her half of her business to her sous chef and flees back home to Austin and start up a food truck. Her brothers clue her into a great location, the construction site they are working at restoring a historic hotel. Molly and her employees are cooking for the construction workers when she crosses paths with Joe. He’s hotter than ever, but the charismatic guy she used to adore seems to have left the building.
I love the idea of her food truck business. What sparked the idea and how did you work this into your story?
Michelle - We were both wrapping up other novels and took the kids to a food truck park in Ft. Worth for a break. We dig the Food Network shows and had always wanted to visit one. I saw this beautiful blue truck with a Betty Page-looking pin up mural of a tattooed chef gripping a spatula Rosie the Riveter-style and winking. She had a tattoo of Texas and crossed spatulas on her arm, and I turned to Les and said “that’s Molly.” Not long after, I approached the owner of the truck (her name is Lee and she is fantastic) and I explained we wanted our heroine to be a food truck owner and asked if I could pick her brain. She was very accommodating and gave me many ideas I incorporated into Mollywood (book 2) and Heartwood (book 3). Ironically, she has since changed her truck completely (long gone is my Molly-esque mural), and she moved her truck to Austin and started making wraps (like Molly)! Art imitates life and vice versa.
You have some cool muses. Tell us about your experience in finding your cover model, the photo shoot for the series, and of course, what led to your meeting of Jensen Ackles. Les may have a different take on muses for Molly and Joe – would love to know what his are for writing this series.
Michelle - lol. Everyone assumes that I had some Jensen fetish and that’s how he became our Joe. In actuality, we picked him long before our trip to the food park and our Molly idea solidified. Les forced me to watch Supernatural while I was finishing my novel, Crazy Love. Since that time I have not only become a fan of the show, I have converted many others.
About three seasons into Supernatural, I looked up at the screen during one of Jensen’s dramatic scenes and said, “You know, he’d make a great Joe.” Les replied, “Yeah, he would.”
So we googled him to see what his name was. We were surprised and delighted to see that he was originally from Dallas since we live just outside of Ft. Worth. We first met him together in Dallas. It was pretty uneventful and he seemed much more concerned about appeasing Les than interacting with me (Les can be scary). Later that night I got a second chance to be photographed with him. I was determined to interact with him, so I pranced up and basically eye-raped him (I was trying to see if his eyes were really that green). He called me sweetheart and I was struck speechless and things after that were just all manner of awkward. He tolerated me with a great deal of patience and class.
I got the chance to meet up with her after The Holiday with the Belles Author Event, and she is fabulous! Smart, sassy, dry, funny. She’s a total stunner in person. She loves to cook, and I didn’t even realize until much later (after I purchased pictures from her) how may of her tattoos revolve around cooking and food. She doesn’t know this yet, but I plan to take her with me the next time I see Jensen next fall so we can get a photo of them together! I may have to photobomb it.
What inspired you to co-author with each other? Did you find the process easier or harder than you expected?
Michelle - I found it easier than any of my other co-author experiences. Obviously we live together, so that made it convenient. We’ve also known one another for over twenty-five years, so we tap about story ideas like Seth Rogen and Adam Sandler talk about jokes in the movie Funny People. To the casual observer it might sound clinical and not romantic, but we know what we mean and it works well on the page. I love the rotating point of view and how strong it binds the reader to our characters. Though it can be restrictive in the sense that we rotate chapters, the betas grew very attached to Molly and Joe very quickly. We were surprised to see how the reviews from the general public reflected the same sentiment.
Les - Michelle co-authored with a few other people and it took a lot of her time. I decided I was going to selfishly monopolize her time. We both have different processes which I think compliment each other. Having never coauthored with anyone I found it the experience unique.
What’s your writing process like?
Michelle - We started out with him writing Joe and me writing Molly, but that quickly went out the window. I create a planning document, cast everyone, name them, give them dossiers and write down any random lines or scenes I see happening (many of them far into the book). Most of it does get used, those I do look back on some of the discarded ideas later and laugh. I usually have purses full of stapled Post-Its and lined paper with random ideas or lines that come to me as well as notes on my phone.
Les - I’m much more of a storyteller than a writer. I turn the ideas over in my head until I get the next part ready to go. I could be sitting in a room telling the story to a group as easily as I am writing it down. So I often had ideas that sprang from something she wrote or I would flesh out what she needed to write the next part. Again, I think our styles compliment each other nicely.
What are your “must haves” when writing?
Michelle - Coffee, Shiner, and preferably my laptop. I’m not hard to please and have trouble turning off the “writing fever,” not turning it on.
Les - I have to be in the mood. I know a lot of people who say they have to write so much a day and then edit it down. I take my hat off to them. For me, if the feeling isn't there I just do something else. Then, when the mood strikes me I have been known to write chapters at a time. I miss writing in Starbucks. There is something magical about being in a place that I am not responsible for cleaning that will give me coffee and food if I give them a plastic rectangle. It’s like Narnia and Willy Wonka wrapped into one.
Is there anything you wish someone would have told you before you started to write?
Michelle - I wish I had been able to pick Lee’s (Sauzy’s Food Truck and Royal Roots) brain before we finished Good Wood. She read it before we met and was incredibly positive about it, but I would love to have incorporated more of the details and flavor from our chats into book one.
Les - Take the time to find the support people necessary to do this easily. My first book, I tried to do almost everything myself and it damn near killed me. And remember that language is beautiful but it has to be functional as well. My first novel sounds like an English teacher exploded inside of it.
The Sound Waves Series, Crazy Love, The Perpetual Quest for the Perfect Life, and now Carved Hearts … Michelle, you’ve written some diverse characters. Do you have a favorite character? Is there one you find the most difficult to write?
My favorite character besides everyone from Carved Hearts is Cedric from The Sound Wave series. He was a last minute addition after we’d signed contracts with the publisher and he is the heart of those books to me. I can’t imagine them without him.
I found Perpetual Quest hard to write from the standpoint of how emotional the subject matter was personally for me, but some of the things we did to Molly and Joe in Carved Hearts (especially the last book, Heartwood) easily rival that. There were times when I questioned how much our readers might tolerate, but in the end, we are the god and goddess of their universe, and frankly, this is what happened.
Prior to Carved Hearts, Les, you wrote The Lost One and Vigilance. Do you have a favorite character? Is there one you find the most difficult to write?
Les - Hmmm…There are a lot of characters in Vigilance that I freaking love. And Eric in The Lost One is no slouch. But if I had to pick, it would be Joe. He is also the one I tortured the most and that is from a guy that also wrote a zombie book.
Also Les – you’ve written in the paranormal genre prior to this. Did you find it easier or harder to write in the contemporary romance genre?
Les - The Lost One was contemporary paranormal so there are a lot of similarities. But it is harder to write because instead of just talking about the world there are parts of it you have to create.
Are there any books or authors that have influenced you in your writing? What are you reading right now?
Michelle - I am a big fan of Stephen King, John Irving, Rebecca Wells, Jeff Lindsay, and Amy Tan. I love gut-wrenching life experiences and the golden nugget truisms that they pan out. I appreciate well-developed characters that live and breathe and who I’m so invested in that I bite my nails to the quick when they are put into harrowing circumstances. I love books about ensembles of characters, not just one point of view and everyone else painted as “concerned onlooker number one”. I feel like you learn a lot about a character through the eyes of other characters. I also appreciate well-timed humor and books that know when not to take themselves too seriously.
I am currently listening to the 6th Dexter book on audio and reading La Luxure by CD Hussey.
Les - Stephen King, Harry Harrison, Issac Asimov, R.A. Salvatore, Ed Greenwood, Robert Jordan, Arthur C. Clark, and so many others I can’t list them. Growing up I lived in the country, no cable and my nearest neighbor was a half hour away. I read a lot. We bought books at auction and garage sales by the box. One of the greatest gifts I think a parent can give their children is a love for reading. I just finished rereading the five Game of Thrones books. I love to reread good books. Next I think I am going to work through some of the unread books on my Kindle.
What new projects are on the horizon? Do you see yourself writing in different genres? Co-authoring again?
Michelle - We plan to co-author a paranormal romance series together soon. We’re in the planning/researching phase. We both have several independent projects in the works as well.
Les - I’m working on the sequel to The Lost One now.
About the Authors
He dwells in the great state of Texas with his wife, novelist Michelle Pace, and their children.
Michelle - I love villains like Loki from The Avengers and Ben from Lost. I want a villain you love to hate, but you can’t help but empathize with.
Les - Evil villain. Because just because you have good reasons for what you do doesn’t mean you aren’t a black-hearted bastard.
You’re trapped in an elevator -- which of your characters would you choose as company and why?
Michelle - Joe (Carved Hearts). The view would be amazing and he’d most likely be able to get us out.
Les - Eric from The Lost One because he has a way with machines. One might even say it’s like magic. He would have us the hell out of the elevator in about two seconds.
What TV or book character did you have a crush on growing up?
Michelle - Rhett Butler
Les - Daisy Duke.
Favorite hobby that isn’t reading or writing?
Michelle - Movies and TV. I would love to write screenplays, and I treat my books as if I am writing them to be adapted as such. I also sing and I used to be a stage actress.
Les - Movies, TV and video games. The newer video games are like living a movie. I had a dream that by this time in our history we would have a working Holodeck. Pity…
Traffic. I'm a mile away.
She didn't respond. I was about to call her, when my phone chimed.
I glanced down at the picture message. No accompanying words, but I didn't need any. The top of her garter belt jutted out from her skirt. It was visibly pinned to black stockings. I licked my lips, ready to park and sprint the remaining blocks to the restaurant. Taking a deep breath, I soldiered on.
When I finally entered Bess Bistro, I scanned the place eagerly. It didn't take me long to find her in the dimly lit restaurant. She sat at the bar facing away from me sipping a martini. I watched as she placed her glass carefully on the surface in front of her. Her upswept hair accentuated her long, lovely neck which begged to be tasted. Seeing those stockings in the flesh made my temperature rise, and the way her midnight blue dress hugged her heart-shaped ass had me salivating.
Some old dude with graying temples and a droopy porn mustache was giving her the full court press. He was turned sideways on his stool, leaning into her personal space and talking to her cleavage. She nodded politely in response to whatever nonsense he was spewing, as his lustful eyes continued to violate every inch of her exposed skin.
A couple of years back, I might have punched him right in the 'stache, but this was the new and improved me. The guy that didn't fly into jealous rages or break irritating people into itty bitty bits. However, when he reached out and stroked her dangling earring, 'Old Joe' reared his ugly head. I was tempted to rip him off of his stool and toss him out the front door by the seat of his Depends. Instead, I took a moment and another deep breath. I had kids to think about now. Everything I did (or didn't do) set an example for them. True, they were far too little to know what I might do here, but their blabbermouth aunts would be more than happy to fill them in later in life. As I stood contemplating the pros and cons of my next action, a far more civilized strategy occurred to me. I felt a devilish grin bloom on my face and I sauntered to the bar.
I slid onto the empty barstool next to her. Reaching out, I picked up her drink and took a sip. “Is this martini dirty?”
“Well, if it wasn't before, it certainly is now.” Her stunning eyes took in my tailored suit, and the corners of her mouth curled coyly as she reached out and reclaimed her drink from me. Her full sleeve of tattoos somehow meshed perfectly with the silky dark material she wore. She was dazzling, and I was glad I'd decided to wear her favorite tie.
“What's a woman like you doing sitting at a bar alone?” My greedy eyes devoured her plunging neckline and her glossy, full lips. She giggled quietly, and the way her fingertips trailed along the stem of her glass made me heady with anticipation. Mustache Rides shot me a dirty look and turned reluctantly back to his scotch.
“Waiting on my fiancé.” She looked up at me from under her sultry lashes.
“He made you wait?” I asked. She nodded, and the bartender who'd been hovering nearby approached.Johnnie Blue. Make it a double.”
“He's a busy man.” Molly sighed dramatically, lifting her speared olives to her lips. She tugged one off showily with her teeth, her eyes fixed on mine.
Oh...it was definitely on now.
“ He's a fool, ” I shot back.
The bartender barely stifled a chuckle as he poured my whiskey. It was clear he thought I was trying to pick her up, and of course, I was. Though we owned a house and had children together, and it was my ring on that pretty finger of hers, these facts were all irrelevant.
Tonight Molly planned to make me work for it.
She glanced at the bartender, and then back at me. She was well aware we had an audience. Her amusement was thinly veiled, but she kept a straight face and stayed in character.
“How late is he?” I continued, my voice sounding wanton and thick.
“Very.” Her decisive response reeked of promiscuity and I could feel the bartender assessing us curiously.
“I can keep you company while you wait if you like.” I leaned my elbows onto the bar and looked her over casually. She turned toward me and crossed her long legs. She was purposely drawing my attention to one of her best features, and I allowed my eyes to drop. My gaze trailed from the black straps at her ankles all the way up to her risqué hemline that ended far above the knee.
“Buy me another drink and maybe I'll let you buy me dinner.” With that, she downed the last swallow of her martini. With a wicked smile, I turned back to the bartender who shook his head in blatant admiration.
“Oh, she definitely needs another one of those,” I stated.
Mustache Man muttered something and abandoned his drink on the bar. The bartender glanced at Molly, and the gentle curl of her lips made him blush so profusely that his bald head looked sunburnt.