Wednesday, December 31, 2014

***Review and Interview*** Change of Hart by M.E. Carter

My name is Jason Hart.

As the best defensive lineman in the country, I eat, sleep and breathe football. And I like it that way. I’ve only got a few more years before I’ll have to retire, so expending energy on anything other than football seems like a waste of time.

That is, until I have a random meeting with a little boy who just lost his father. We have more in common than you might think and it creates an unlikely bond. As our friendship grows, so do my feelings for his mother.

I know Addison, as a recent widow, isn’t ready to date again. But I want to get to know her better, in spite of all her rejections.

Is it possible that I, a self-proclaimed bachelor, could be having a Change of Hart?

Sandy B's Review

M.E. Carter is a newbie author which is my favorite kind.  It’s a kick to “read” as they grow and mature in their writing. 
Jason Hart is a nice guy.  A nice guy that lives and breathes football. 
“I have a very small window of time to be a professional football player.  Especially since my job was to tackle people. Regularly.” “That left me with about six more years playing the game I loved.”
So when this adorable little boy named Jaxon and his curvy, gorgeous mom (Addison) with a mega watt smile comes into Jason’s life – he’s knocked for a loop.  The attraction is there, unfortunately, Addison is a recent widow, so the timing couldn’t be worse. 
“That perfect woman I had not been looking for had indeed fallen right into my lap.”
Suddenly, the solitary life doesn’t seem so appealing to Jason.  The attraction is there and these two are torn for various reason about how to move forward.  Addison doesn’t want to get hurt and more importantly she doesn’t want her son broken hearted.  Jason cares for Jaxon deeply and by this point, Addison invades his thoughts all the time.  Ultimately, they decide to tread lightly and attempt to have a relationship.  The media is voracious about wanting to find out everything they can about Addison. Truth is she’s not exactly the grieving widow.  Is she willing to put everything on the line?  Can she trust Jason with her heart?  Jason is sure about what he feels for Addison but can he convince her?   
If you’re looking for a heavy erotica where every other word starts with F – then this is not the book for you.  Change of Hart is more along the lines of Nicholas Sparks and I love Nicholas Sparks.  Or the perfect beach read.  It is sexy, it is sweet and it is angsty.  Jason and Addison’s story made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside, in the best way possible.  It is perfect?  No, but perfection is subjective, right? Different strokes…..  In my humble opinion, it was a very pleasant way for me to sit back, put up my feet and spend the afternoon.

What made you decide to write a book?  Was it always something you wanted to do?
I actually never wanted to write a book before.  It wasn't necessarily out of the question.  It's just never been a dream of mine.  My brain runs on hyper drive all the time, so I guess I just assumed I wouldn't have the patience to sit down and write an entire book.  And I was kind of right.  It was the hardest thing I've ever done!  I wouldn't even be finished typing out one chapter and my brain would already be thinking about the next one.  It was quite the challenge to stay focused in the moment and trust myself to remember where the story was going.

Are you surprised by the success of your debut effort?
That is the understatement of my lifetime.  When I sat down and started typing, my goal was to write at a 3-star book that made people happy and I could give my mom for Christmas.  Maybe, just maybe, I'd get lucky and be able to reimburse myself for my expenses.  I never, ever expected it to get all the way to #83 on Amazon!!  Especially as a complete unknown!  But I can't take all the credit.  Sure, the book is making people smile, but I had a FABULOUS team working with me and making sure it was as good as it could be.  Their support and ideas and banter is what got us to this point.  I am so, so blessed and I never want to forget that.

Have you read a bad review yet?  What did you think?
I have to be in a certain mindset when I get criticism because I tend to be on the sensitive side if I'm blindsided.  A couple days after CoH released, I was in the correct mindset and decided to finally venture onto a certain site that shall remain nameless.  There were a couple negative reviews which bothered me when I first saw them.  Until I read what they had to say.  They were actually really interesting and gave me some ideas on how to do things better next time.  One of them in particular, though, was questioning the validity of the football in the book and saying how unrealistic it was.  I wanted so bad to reply because every single thing that happens on the football field in CoH happened while I was watching football this year on TV.  I don't know football well enough to make up stats and plays on my own.  Of course I had to use real games as "inspiration"!

Are the names of the characters in your novels important?
Not necessarily.  Addison and Lindsay were both names we were toying with when I was pregnant with my youngest daughter.  But other than that, most of the last names are random names that popped up on my Facebook feed while I was writing.  So if you're friends with me on Facebook and your name is in my book, chances are you were online at the right time!

Your inspiration for Change of Hart?
I'm not sure inspiration is the right word.  It was more like a couple of seeds that were planted in my brain that spiraled into a story in my head.  This isn't actually unusual for me.  Stories spin in my head all the time.  Anyway, a local pro football player visited an elementary school a couple years ago and the media found out about it before he showed up.  Being that it was supposed to be a surprise appearance, he was pretty ticked.  It was all over the news.  Around the same time, I was working with our local PTA to try and get some professional soccer players to come visit our elementary school for a pep rally.  That got me thinking about how our kids would react and what would happen if that kid didn't have a dad, etc, etc.  So at first the storywas a soccer story.  But THEN a friend of mine went to a football game where she had 50 yard line tickets on the field.  She took a video of the above mentioned local football player as he stood just 10 feet away from her during warm ups.  I saw it when she posted it on Facebook and for whatever reason, it was one of the sexiest things I had ever seen in my life.  At that point, the story that was already spinning turned into a story about a football player and took on a life of its own!

What’s next?
I have a couple of different stories in progress.  But I think we're going back to the Hart family again.  I'm excited to see how their story continues, but I'm a little nervous, too.  Things are going to be rough for a while and I know it's going to make some readers mad!  (Don't worry.  It's not a cheating story.  That would just crush me.)

Lastly, can you give me a one line philosophy that resonates with you? 
I'm not sure I have any particular philosophy or quote that helps me out.  However, I was raised in an extremely devote Christian family and one verse I learned at church camp stuck with me.  It's Phillipians 4:13, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."  Whenever I'm going through a hard time, that verse runs through my head.  It gives me that extra boost to get through whatever is going on and reminds me that I can get the finish line...wherever that finish line may be for me.

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