Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Shot Through the Heart, and We’re Not Talking Bon Jovi

by Diane Benefiel

Nothing against Bon Jovi, but I was never a fan and truly didn’t know the book title was also the name of a hit song for him. It took my eighteen-year-old son to clue me in to that. (How does a teenager know an eighties song that I don’t know, anyway?) And of course people now make the connection all the time.
In fact, the idea for Shot Through the Heart came from a TV show. Sexual tension between the two cops was simmering hot, but I was really getting tired of the love triangles. I wanted to write a romance where the hero and heroine are drawn to each other, and though they butt heads, basic chemistry keeps bringing them back together. NO LOVE TRIANGLES! Don’t you hate wanting to clobber a TV character over the head for not seeing what’s right under her nose?

In Shot Through the Heart, John Garretson is a tough cop who is instantly drawn to Rane Smith, the only problem is she may be mixed up with a nasty drug operation. John’s pretty singleminded, and he doesn’t allow Rane out of his sights for long. I initially started off with Rane as a cop, but quickly decided I wanted her to have a career separate from John’s, so she is an emergency room nurse. This idea evolved and Rane’s work plays a larger role in the story than I had initially envisioned.
As with the TV show, I like my characters to have best buds they can bounce ideas off of, rely on, and confide in. For Rane, her BFF is fellow nurse Lily. Lily is going through her own relationship issues, but she’s there for Rane and we can see their characters grow throughout the story. John’s best bud is, without argument, his brother Nathan. Nathan is a rougher version of his brother, but as their boss says, they stick together like glue, even crossing the line here and there to achieve their goals. Assigned to the same task force, John and Nathan know each other’s moves, have each other’s backs, and share the same desire to get the bad guy.
Rane’s relationship with her dad is another focal point of the novel. Having lived the experience of a parent with a degenerative brain disease, I was able to relate to Rane’s anguish over the decision to place her father in a facility, as well as the difficulty of balancing the demands of work and family.

The city of Seattle plays an integral role in Shot Through the Heart. I spent several days there for a conference, and a friend and I devoted a day to a tour of that beautiful city. This was in late November, and for that one day the sky remained crystal clear and we got to appreciate what makes people fall in love with Seattle. As you read Shot Through the Heart, I hope you’ll share my experience of the city with its proximity to Puget Sound, its vibrant neighborhoods and people, and its ever-changing weather.

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