The Story Behind the Story: Desperate Hearts

May 3, 2011

Desperate Hearts coverThe original title for this story was Achy Breaky Hearts…which tells you how old the basic story is. LOL And if you’re not old enough to remember the country song Achy Breaky Heart, just know it was a smash hit for Miley Cyrus’s father Billy Ray Cyrus back in the day. It was such a smash that it became one of my all-time favorite songs, and I don’t like country music on the whole. There are exceptions, and this was one.

According to Wikipedia, Achy Breaky Heart was released in March, 1992. So I wrote the three or four major scenes sometime later that year. I didn’t set out to write a story with that title. I came up with the story idea set in Montana, wrote the major scenes, then called it Achy Breaky Hearts–making it plural because it’s a love triangle and all three main characters have aching, breaking hearts as they try to find their happily-ever-afters. I then set it aside. I did that in those days. (Still do, sometimes.) I’d write the exciting, emotionally intense scenes first then not bother to finish patching it together into a finished story. Back then, I wrote for my eyes only. I knew how the story went so I didn’t have to write the less intense connecting scenes.

Fast forward to 1999. I had most of Starkissed written. (It took me two years to write Starkissed…but that’s another story behind the story.) I think I needed a break from Starkissed, and I pulled out those Achy Break Hearts scenes. Over the long Thanksgiving weekend, four days from Thursday to Sunday, I re-wrote the scenes and finished up most of the connecting scenes. I’m not sure if I made the decision that weekend or later, but finally decided to set the story in Tennessee instead of Montana. I’ve never been to Montana, and I’ve spent most of my life in Tennessee. Also, Nashville, Country Music Capitol, would be closer and make it more realistic for the music dreams of one of the main characters to come true. So sometime later, another re-write changed the setting and then I finished it up.

I also changed the name to Desperate Hearts. I knew the original title dated the story too much. And then I could use that as the title of the breakout song for the main character to hit it big with. Also, each of the love triangle was desperate in his or her own way–desperate for acceptance, desperate for love, desperate for some unknown thing to put life back in order and find meaning again. This book is the most realistic of all my stories. The main characters are regular folks. The heroine Talley lives in a mobile home and works at a small country bar. I had grown tired of millionaire heroes, and fancy, sophisticated heroines almost to the point I quit reading romance for a long time. I wanted to read romances about people I could really relate to, that were struggling with life and relationships like me and most of the people I know. I did throw a little unrealism into the ending with the country singer making it big with a smash hit song, but this is escapism reading, after all.

Desperate Hearts was first published in mid-2000 under the name Lanette Curington. That e-pub went away in early 2001. Through a couple of twists and turns, Desperate Hearts finally landed at Ellora’s Cave. Since erotic romance was getting a foothold in the online romance market at that time, I re-tooled DH with more explicit language and came up with the pen name, Lani Aames. It was released at Ellora’s Cave in July, 2001.

July of this year, 2011, will mark Desperate Hearts’s ten-year anniversary with Ellora’s Cave. Wow!

I hope you enjoyed this story behind the story. It’s been fun taking a trip down Memory Lane and recalling how this book came to be. With the new, low price of 99 cents on Desperate Hearts at the Ellora’s Cave website, I hope more readers can share in the heartbreaks and joys of this story that is very dear to my heart.

You can check out an excerpt by clicking the title on the right sidebar. Desperate Hearts can be purchased at Ellora’s Cave for 99 cents. (It will be available for the MSRP of $1.49 at the retailers soon.)


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