Monday, December 4, 2023

Book Tour + #Giveaway: Heart Stealer by Melody Wiklund @MelodyWiklund @RABTBookTours


Date Published: 12-08-2023



Without a heart, death and love are equally impossible.

James's heart has been stolen. He knows because he got stabbed in the chest and didn't even bleed. On the plus side, he isn't dead! On the minus side, whoever has his heart can control him, and until he gets the heart back, he is incapable of feeling love for anyone but the thief. Whoever that may be.

He has to get the heart back, and quickly. But with an assassin in the mix, and a vengeful ex-lover, and a suspicious fiancée, and no idea who to trust or where to look, the task won't be easy. Especially when, with a stolen heart, he can't even really trust himself.


Interview with Melody Wiklund

    How many books have you written and which is your favorite?

    I’ve lost count of the books I’ve written in rough draft form, but Heart Stealer is the third I’ve polished enough to count it finished. Of the three, my favorite is probably A Wound Like Lapis Lazuli, the middle book. I spent the most time on it, and it went through the most dramatic changes in editing. For that reason, I feel the closest to its characters. But I love all three books <3

    If you’re planning a sequel, can you share a tiny bit about your plans for it?

    I don’t currently have plans for a sequel. Sometimes I daydream about writing a bit more about Natty and what becomes of her in the future—at the end of the book it’s a little ambiguous. Of course there would have to be murder. But as of now I don’t have any concrete plans to write a sequel, because I’m involved in other projects.

    Do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?

    I think my books tend to have some similar themes. I write a lot of queer characters, a lot of complicated or dysfunctional family relationships, a lot of characters you root for who do bad things. But I don’t really set out to build those connections, and all my books take place in different worlds with different characters. I hope that people who enjoy one of my books would enjoy the others, but they’re definitely standalones.

    How did you come up with the title for your book?

    The title of my book is pretty basic; a heart gets stolen (physically) in the book, so I called it Heart Stealer. I came up with this title pretty early on.

    How long did it take you to write this book?

    The first draft of this book took me about five months to write. Edits, when I got to them, took about three more months. For me, that’s really quick. A book usually takes me more than a year.

    What does the title mean?

    As I said, this title is a reference to the crime central to the book. Someone has used magic to steal James’s heart, and the book focuses on recovering it. There’s a play on words here since “heart stealer” would usually be a romantic term, and there’s certainly some romantic conflict brewing in the book too. But mostly the title is very literal.

    What did you learn when writing the book?

    One thing I learned was how to play around more with POV. Usually I tend to write from one or two POVs consistently throughout a book. Heart Stealer, in contrast, has six POV characters. At a certain point, you accept that POV sections don’t necessarily have to be balanced—you can use a POV only once or twice, or focus on one POV character for long sections and then abandon them for a while. That doesn’t come naturally to me because when you have only two POV characters, you usually try to alternate chapters and keep things even. But by the time you’re up to six, you start using whatever POV will be the most impactful for a scene or deliver the most relevant information. It was interesting trying a different approach like this.

    What surprised you the most?

    One thing that always surprises me is which minor characters I get attached to. In this case, I fell in love with Iris, a character originally intended mostly for exposition and helping with magical shenanigans. I’m not alone in this—one of my beta readers told me her scenes are their favorite part of the book. It’s fun to discover things like this as I write, and just play around a bit.

    Have you ever killed off a character your readers loved?

    I have! There are some people mad at me over a certain death in A Wound Like Lapis Lazuli. Not a major character, but people seemed to enjoy them… Well, I enjoyed them too, but I also enjoyed killing them off!

    What do you do to get inside your character’s heads?

    When you have six POV characters, this becomes a bit of a critical issue. Some characters are easy to slip into. I find it easiest to slip into characters with more extreme personalities—if they’re violent, or if they’re annoyed, or if they’re very fixated on one particular thing, then those traits can become a focal point for how I write their thoughts and make them different from those of other characters.

    It's harder to make a character’s POV distinct when they’re basically pretty normal. Too easy to slip and make a character like that sound generic. At that point, I focus in on the character’s desires and anxieties. When something happens, I try not just to think about what happened, but how the character feels about it in a way distinct from other characters. For example, if the room catches on fire, everyone’s going to freak out. But maybe one character will think, “Oh no, my friend is in the room and in danger, I have to protect them” while another is more focused on how the fire is destroying their beautiful tapestries. Both of these are normal reactions, but they’re not the same reaction. Once I know a character’s priorities, they become easier to write.


About the Author

Melody Wiklund is a writer of fantasy and occasionally romance. In her free time, she loves knitting and watching Chinese dramas. And she’s never summoned a spirit or an assassin… or at least so she claims.


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Melody said...

Thanks so much for posting about my book! I enjoyed doing this interview <3 :D

Damaris Maidana said...

What a nice book, I love reading this genre this season!