Book Title: Sweet Hart
Author: Rae Marks
Publisher: Pride Publishing
Cover Artist: Erin Dameron-Hill
Release Date: May 11, 2021
Genre/s: Contemporary M/M Romance (Action/Adventure)
Trope/s: Fake boyfriend
Themes: Finding belonging, Moving on from the past
Heat Rating: 4 flames
Length: 79 900 words/ approx. 300 pages
This is the first book in The Hart Consulting Series, but can stand alone.
First for Romance | Barnes & Noble
In order to stay alive, Bray and Sam must appear to be lovers.
What happens when pretending becomes too real?
When Brayden stumbles into a covert operation, Sam has to keep him alive. Together they navigate their unexpected attraction and the world of the Ukrainian mafia.
Brayden Hart needs to find his older brother Mason and time is running out. Mason disappeared after being discharged from the military two years before. While on leave from the army, Bray follows a lead his friend has been able to find. When he knocks on the door of a dingy apartment outside Miami, the last person he expects to meet is the gorgeous but grumpy Sam Wheeler.
Sam denies knowing Bray's brother and turns him away. But Sam is Bray's only lead. Luckily, Bray's childhood friend is one of the best hackers in the country and helps Bray follow Sam to Ukraine.
In Kiev, Bray falls blindly into the fray of a covert operation and Sam steps in to keep him alive. While navigating the choppy waters of the Ukrainian mafia, Bray and Sam fall into the bedroom. But what happens when the mission ends?
When did you first realize that you wanted to be a writer?
In high school. I had an English teacher who would give us writing prompts and have us journal in class. I got lost in spinning stories even then.
How long does it usually take you to write a book?
This varies greatly. Some books flow like water and my fingers fly across the keyboard. Other stories are like trying to take a road trip but you keep getting stuck in traffic jams in each city you pass through.
How did you come up with the idea for your book?
For me, it starts as dialogue. The conversation that started all this was between Mase and his father, so it won’t come to light until book three. Next came Bray’s conversation with their father and much of that will be in Sweet Hart.
Who are your favorite authors?
That depends entirely on the genre my tastes are eclectic (you may be sorry you asked). I love Amy Tan, Isabel Allende, Maya Angelou, Alice Walker, Ilona Andrews, Susan Andersen, Vicki Lewis Thompson, Tara Janzen, Sue Monk Kidd, Jane Austen, Charlotte Brontë, Fannie Flagg, Rebecca Wells, Mitch Albom, Stephen King (non horror books like Green Mile, Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption, Dark Tower series, etc), Patrick Rothfuss… the list goes on.
If you’re talking about M/M romance, I like Sloane Kennedy, Eden Finley, Lily Morton, K.M. Neuhold, R.G. Alexander, A.E. Via...
When you develop characters do you already know who they are before you begin writing or do you let them develop as you go?
I know my characters intimately before I start writing their story. I have hundreds or thousands of words of their back story written. That’s not to say that they don’t surprise me sometimes.
Do you aim for a set number of words/pages per day?
Yes. I aim for a certain number of words every day. I’m a little flexible with that because I get almost no writing done when I’m revising.
What is the hardest thing about writing?
Revisions. After I finish a draft, I want to move on to the next story that’s waiting to be told. But multiple revisions are necessary and the story improves with each one.
What is the easiest thing about writing?
Dreaming up new stories. I have a list of story ideas that’s constantly growing. Sometimes I get really excited about an idea and that makes it hard to stay on task with my current work in progress. I’ve been known to jump around a little and work on more than one thing at a time because of this.
Do you use images to develop your character’s looks?
Oh yes. Sam and Bray’s physical characteristics are based on a real couple I follow on Instagram (@justinanderson @rhodesaustin). They are adorable. Total #couplegoals
Are your characters based on people you know?
Not my characters specifically (though a few traits are borrowed from friends). Many of the things my characters have to overcome are things I take from people I know. It’s heartbreaking, but common for LGBTQ+ youth to be turned away by their family. It’s something I’ve seen time and again and that’s a major theme in this book and in other books in the Hart Consulting Series.
What do you do when you’re not writing?
The last year has been different than normal and we’ve spent a lot of time on the beaches near Half Moon Bay because it’s been somewhere we can go and have room to walk and play when a lot of things in California have been closed.
Do you like music or silence when your write? Do you outline or do you just write?
I love music and I love to sing, so if I listened to music I’d probably end up typing the lyrics. I do get inspired by music. The first novel I ever wrote (that’s still sitting in my cloud drive somewhere) was based on a song.
Do you write as routine or do you write when you feel like it?
I’m not a full-time writer. I still have a job, so I have to make time to write every day or it will fall by the wayside.
What do you love best about your current book?
I love that both characters in Sweet Hart help the other. Sam keeps Bray alive, but he also helps Bray discover a new side of himself. Bray deduces things about Sam’s past and accepts them in stride, surprising Sam.
What is your next project?
Book two of the Hart Consulting Series (Nick’s story) is with my editor so I’m working on book three (Mase’s story). Mase has been in love with the same man for a long time, but there are secrets that keep them apart. It’s time for those secrets to be revealed, so that hearts can heal and possibly be open to love.
About the Author
Rae has been secretly penning romances since high school. It started with short stories that grew into full-length novels. When she received her first Kindle and had thousands of books at her fingertips, she became a little distracted from writing. Then one day she read a book that she would have written a different way. She began writing again and hasn't stopped since.
When she's not writing, Rae can usually be found reading, walking along the beaches of Half Moon Bay, or taking her geriatric dog to the vet, yet again.
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