Wednesday, February 4, 2015

PUYB Virtual Book Club Chats with Kevin Symmons, author of 'Solo'

Kevin Symmons has a BS and an MBA. He has attended the prestigious New England Conservatory of Music and studied in France. After a successful career in business management and consulting, he returned to his first love: writing. His first novel, a spell-binding paranormal romance titled "Rite of Passage" is set in the chaotic period after World War II. It's received dozens of great reviews and was a RomCon Reader's Crown Finalist for 2013. His second effort is a contemporary romantic thriller set near his Cape Cod home, titled "Out of the Storm." Like his first novel, it is an Amazon Best-Seller and received many 5-star reviews. "Solo", an intense and ambitious women's fiction work, has been released from The Wild Rose Press, his award-winning publisher. It explores the devastating effects of privation and domestic violence on the beautiful and extraordinarily talented young heroine.
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About the Book:

Title: Solo
Author: Kevin V. Symmons
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Pages: 353
Genre: Contemporary Women’s Fiction
Format: Paperback/Kindle

Jessica Long has the voice of an angel. But Jesse's cold beauty masks a brutal past filled with privation and cruelty. As the talented soprano approaches her final year at New England Conservatory, she is faced with a choice: stay with her striking young lover or accept the offer of a successful Broadway producer. She chooses the latter only to discover that fame can exact a cruel price. After years of yearning, the lovers meet again - at Jesse's ragged homestead on the Maine Coast.

Matt will reveal the benefactor who's followed and protected Jesse as the lovers face a confrontation with the jealous pursuer who's tried to destroy her. One final choice awaits that may cost Jesse both Matt and her life. The Broadway impresario, a mysterious crime lord, and Matt's stunning literary agent head a cast of absorbing secondary characters. Filled with unexpected plot twists, Solo is a classic, leading the reader over a bittersweet tapestry spanning fifteen years.

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Thanks for joining us at the book club today, Kevin!  Can we start out by having you tell us if it’s hard writing women’s fiction from a man’s perspective?

Kevin: Great question and one I hear often. My answer is always the same. I didn't start out writing romantic thrillers and women's fiction. I outlined and work shopped several different genres but my real writing mentor taught at Brown, had 100 novels under her belt and... had been the National President of Romance Writers of America (the largest professional writing organization BTW). She stressed evoking emotion from your readers in you work. We became good friends and she continued to support my work. I tried it and found it not only worked but I enjoyed it and BTW my novels are not pure romances. Most are what I call romantic thrillers involving equal parts romantic tension, mystery and suspense. I did get some good-natured teasing from my poker group but so far I'm enjoying myself.

Tell us a little about Jessica Long, the heroine in your new book, Solo?

Kevin: Jessica Long appears to have the world at her fingertips. She's strikingly beautiful, has the kind of pure lyric soprano voice that her coaches and fellow students are sure will send her to La Scala or the Met and has just enough grant and scholarship money to finish her vocal performance at Boston's prestigious New England Conservatory. But Jesse is far from the cool confident person she appears. She's been the victim of savage abuse and lived through an upbringing of desperate privation and the arrival of her sick mother and 4-yearold daughter means she must supplement her meager income. And suddenly her ambition and drive have met an unexpected and unwanted detour... love! A handsome young grad student and aspiring author has entered her life and despite her hormonal urges it's the last thing she wants or needs... let's leave the rest to my readers!

What do you believe are her strengths and what are her weaknesses?

Kevin: She has the kind of voice that comes to few in a generation and the ambition and drive to propel her to the top of her chosen profession. And Jesse may be the most beautiful young woman to ever come from Portland, Maine. But her life has been a desperate struggle. Jesse's suffered abuse and lived through an upbringing of misery and poverty. She has built a wall around herself to keep anyone from invading the fortress she's erected to keep focused on her goal: that of being the best lyric soprano in the world! And that may be her undoing... recall the tag line borrowed from Oscar Wilde: "When the gods want to punish us they let our dreams come true!"

Is this the first women’s fiction you’ve ever written? 

Kevin: Women's fiction specifically yes. WF is more a mainstream subgenre. But I have published romantic thrillers in both the paranormal and suspense areas. And my new novel to be published later in 2015 is a YA romantic thriller. Hope that answers your question.

Your book touches on the sad subject of domestic violence.  What happens if that doesn’t give too much away?

Kevin: Not sure I understand your question? Yes, one of the main themes and purposes behind the novel is to expose the havoc and damage that DV can wreak on a person's life. Jesse has been the victim of DV and sexual assault, both of which contribute to the cold aloof individual she is as the novel begins.

They say that all books of fiction have at least one pivotal point where the reader just can’t put the book down.  What’s one of yours?

Kevin: THE pivotal point in the novel occurs when Jesse faces a difficult choice: A famous Broadway producer has heard her sing at an NEC recital. He's in desperate need of someone new, a fresh face and voice for a major musical he's working on. He offers Jesse a tryout. When she accepts and he offers her the chance to star in the production she must chose... leave her chance to finish her classical training at NEC, the man she loves and her small struggling family in favor of the opportunity for quick success. Her decision will create the emotional tension that propels the remainder of the novel. It's the classic story of temptation vs. duty...

What’s next for you, Kevin?

Kevin: My publisher has contracted to publish my new manuscript with a working title of Chrysalis. It's a complex YA romantic thriller that takes place over the summer and fall of 9-11. We begin edits on February 1st. It should be available in the late spring or early summer. And I'm already working on a new novel (about 110 pages into it) which I hope to have ready for publication in 2016.

Now’s your chance.  What would you like to say to your readers and fans?

Kevin: I'd like to thank all those who have bought and read my novels, attended my events and the thousands who have followed my social media pages. I hope everyone has a glorious and healthy new year! 

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