Today it’s my pleasure to welcome Kourtney Heintz, author of Highway Thirteen to Manhattan, Book Two in The Six Train to Wisconsin Series.
Genre: Paranormal and Suspense
Publisher: Aurea Blue Press
Date of Publication: 11/1/2016
Number of pages: 420
Word Count: 94,000
Cover Artist: Creative Paramita
His secrets almost killed her. Her secrets may destroy them both.
Kai is recovering from a near-death experience when she realizes something isn’t right. Her body is healing, but her mind no longer feels quite like her own. Her telepathic powers are changing, too. She can’t trust herself. The darkness growing inside of her pushes her to use her telepathy as a weapon.
Oliver clings to the hope that he can save their marriage, even though he was the one who put her life in jeopardy. As his wife slips further and further away from him, he becomes increasingly obsessed with bringing the man who ruined his life to justice.
The sequel to The Six Train to Wisconsin is a genre-defying tale of love and consequences. Once again, award-winning author Kourtney Heintz seamlessly weaves suspense and paranormal intrigue into a real-world setting, creating characters rich in emotional and psychological complexity.
"Family secrets, paranormal suspense, and romance collide in Heintz's fascinatingly original tale. A compelling read that will keep you guessing and haunt you long after the last page is turned." -Gretchen Archer, USA Today Bestselling author of the Davis Way Crime Capers
Tour Giveaway! 5 signed copies shipping to anywhere in the world AND Kourtney’s Giveaway open from October 1-December 1 - prizes include naming a character in her next book, Butternut gift basket, and a $50 Amazon gift card. Enter on her Facebook page: http://gvwy.io/bwh02f9
Grab Book One for Free October 1- December 1
The Six Train to Wisconsin
How did you come up with the title?
For me, love is a journey, never a destination. So my title is meant to be thematic and hint at the difficult journey my characters will take.
Since this is a sequel, I tried to build off of the initial title in terms of style and theme. In the first book, The Six Train to Wisconsin, my characters live in Manhattan near the 6 subway line and use it to get to work every day. Obviously, that subway line doesn’t run to Wisconsin so the title was meant to convey how difficult their journey was.
In Highway Thirteen to Manhattan, Kai and Oliver are dealing with the aftermath of everything that happened at the end of the first book. Highway 13 is a state highway that runs through Butternut, but does not leave the state of Wisconsin. However, in this book, circumstances cause both Oliver and Kai to return to Manhattan. It isn’t an easy journey for either of them.
What made you choose the main setting for your book?
When I was picking the location for my story, I wanted to give my characters a “fish out of water” experience. Since they were city dwellers, moving to another city wouldn’t do it. Plus that wouldn’t help Kai’s telepathic issues, which are caused by too many people being too close to her. I decided on a small town in the Midwest. I searched my atlas and I found Butternut. It fit all the requirements of my story and I adored the name. When I went to visit, I fell in love with the town and its people.
If you had to sell your book based on one run of dialogue (start quote to end quote), which would it be?
Right now, it felt like we were wandering through the graveyard of our love and neither of us was courageous enough to admit it.
Tell us about your book cover and how it relates to your story.
The book cover features my main characters, Kai and Oliver. There is a huge disconnect between them in this story, which is why they aren’t facing each other. Oliver and Kai must deal with the aftermath of her abduction and his lies. And they’re forced to confront the consequences of Kai’s own sins of omission. There is incredible tension and uncertainty between them. My cover designer came up with this concept based off the back cover summary and my notes on the emotions and conflict in the book. I think she nailed it!
Did you enjoy writing one scene above all the rest? If so, share.
There is a scene at Brennan’s Green Brier with Oliver and his high school sweetheart Michaela. I spent a night at the bar, trying to capture all the details of what it was like there, so I could write this scene. I repeatedly peppered Terry Brennan, whose family owns the bar, with questions to make sure I got it right. I really love all the details about the bar’s history and I wanted to give Oliver a tie to that bar, so I worked that into the opening with Oliver and Dan reminiscing about old times there. It’s just one of my favorite scenes in the book—I smile every time I read it.
What genre/genres do you prefer to write? Are there other genres you’d like to write in the future?
I’m a big fan of mystery and suspense. I’ve never written a story that didn’t contain elements of both. I’ve always been fascinated by the paranormal. I can’t seem to write fiction without something paranormal at its core. But it’s not about genre for me. I always set out to tell a good story. I love to get inside my characters’ minds and explore their true motives and deepest emotions, which contributes a more literary flavor to my writing in this series. I tend to cross genres so there’s not much I wouldn’t try. I have an idea for a paranormal romance and a sci-fi suspense both milling about in my head.
Do you write books in series? If so, share a bit about the series you currently have published or are coming soon.
I do. This is the second book in a limited series, The Six Train to Wisconsin Series. I see it as four books to tell Oliver and Kai’s story, so there are two more on the horizon.
I also have a YA time travel mystery series, The Unbelievables, written under my pen name K.C. Tansley. The first book was about a girl who accidentally time traveled to solve a murder and break a curse. The second book continues her adventures and will be out next summer. I see it as a 6-7 book series.
Like most daughters, I loved my parents, but right now, I wanted them anywhere but here. Hospitals are always hard, but my parents managed to make it harder. My head was already pounding from all the thoughts and emotions coming at me. Not just from the patients and their families and the doctors and the nurses, but also from my mother and father. Instead of shielding their thoughts and trying to make it better for me, they let their emotions crash into me.
My mind wasn’t strong enough for all this. Neither was my body. Tubes eviscerated my right hand. A giant bruise blossomed beside the newest IV line. A cast wrapped around my left wrist. My broken pinky finger had been set and taped to my ring finger. The back of my head was held together with stitches. Beneath the blanket, my body was covered in bruises.
I didn’t feel any physical pain because of the medications the doctors pumped into me. They said I needed it to recover, but it made my body feel like it wasn’t mine. And the steady drip of opiates didn’t just steal my physical pain; it left me unable to form the psychic shield I needed to protect myself from the misery swirling around me.
Mom sat in the chair closest to my bed. She wore one of her flowing peasant blouses and faded jeans. Her hair was pulled back in a messy bun, and light brown strands slipped loose to hang around her face. The corners of her hazel eyes were pinched with worry.
Her hand hovered over my arm, unsure where to touch me—if she should touch me. Finally, she laid her hand gently on my thigh. “You just need to rest here for a few more days.”
She was wrong. I needed to get out of here. Away from all these thoughts as soon as possible. “I want to go home.”
Mom shook her head. “You need to let the doctors help you.” Like they did last time.
Her thoughts slammed into my brain. She thought hospitalization was the solution to everything.
“Please. Look at what’s happened to you. You can’t go home until you’re better,” she said. I can’t lose you. I won’t let that happen.
I didn’t know how to reassure her. Yes, I’d almost died, but being here was hurting me more than it was healing me. I swallowed all the words I wanted to say and hoped for Caleb to come back soon. My brother would know how to talk to Mom, how to make her understand.
The doctor came in to check on me and Mom’s agonizing fear rose up. Don’t let her have brain damage.
Dad patted Mom’s shoulder. He looked like an older, surfer version of Caleb. Both were tall and muscular with curly blond hair. Dad’s hair was a darker blond streaked with platinum from decades in the sun and salt water. His eyes were greener than Caleb’s, but like Caleb’s, they were rimmed with purple bruises. When Dad smiled, sun lines radiated from his eyes and cut across his cheeks. But I hadn’t seen them since he’d arrived at my bedside. Instead, waves of exhaustion rolled off him and rippled over me, right before I heard his thoughts. I can’t go through this again, watching you slip away.
My younger sister Naomi lounged in the chair in the corner as far from me as she could get. She had Mom’s light brown hair and thin frame and Dad’s green eyes and height. She looked nothing like me and only distantly related to Caleb. Her long legs looped over the armrest as she flipped through a magazine. Thanks for ruining Christmas break. I’d rather be anywhere but here.
I felt the same way.
At least Oliver was gone for the moment. Mom had convinced him to go home, take a shower, maybe even sleep. I couldn’t bear his guilt; it was so thick it choked me.
Oliver. My husband. God. I’d never loved and hated someone so much at the same time. I still couldn’t believe he’d called my parents. He knew how bad they were at handling me. How could he have thought that having my family here would be good for me?
Bitterness frosted my thoughts. I was in a hospital, bruised and battered. I’d almost died. That’s what Caleb had said. He was the only one willing to tell me the truth. Oliver had said it was bad, but he wouldn’t say how bad. He couldn’t bear to admit what happened to me.
About the Author
Kourtney Heintz is the award-winning and bestselling author of The Six Train to Wisconsin (2013), the first book in The Six Train to Wisconsin series. She also writes bestselling young adult novels under the pseudonym K.C. Tansley. Heintz is a member of the Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, Romance Writers of America, and Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. Heintz has given writing workshops and author talks at libraries, museums, universities, high schools, conventions, wineries, non-profits organizations, and writing conferences. She has been featured in the Republican American of Waterbury, Connecticut; on WTNH’s CT Style; and on the radio show, Everything Internet.
Kourtney resides in Connecticut with her warrior lapdog, Emerson, and three quirky golden retrievers. Years of working on Wall Street provided the perfect backdrop for her imagination to run amok at night, envisioning a world where out-of-control telepathy and buried secrets collide.
You can find out more about Kourtney and her books at: http://kourtneyheintz.com