Book Review of What If sponsored by Bewitching Book Tours
Look at the interview from Kelly Rae who visited us today. A glimpse into her life is fascinating.
By Kelly Rae
One fateful night during high school Katie Wright loses everything: her father, the first man she ever loved, dies in a car accident and Chris Staller, the first boy she’s ever loved, breaks her heart. Fast-forward ten years and Katie is a beautiful, successful woman who has spent the past decade doing her best to make her life all about work, keeping everyone at arms length—friends and lovers alike. But she’s lonely and beginning to awaken to the fact that pretending to be happy and content doesn’t mean she actually is. Working through her emotional challenges while maintaining a stellar career reputation has been tricky, but she’s always determined to come out on top.
Paying a visit to her old high school, Katie runs into Chris, now a dedicated PE teacher who pines for the one he let get away: her. An upstanding member of the community and a much better man than he was a boy, Chris is determined to win Katie back at all cost. But Katie is less than receptive to the idea, and when he lays down a challenge, she is determined to come out on top again.
Learning to follow the heart is a lesson everyone must learn and Kelly Rae’s sweet love story is a powerful reminder of the healing power of forgiveness in that journey. Delivered with unadorned prose, extraordinary grace, and warmth, What If…will fill your life with hope and the positive force of life.
Back Cover Text
Can once in a lifetime happen twice?
On one fateful night during high school Katie Wright loses everything: her father, the first man she ever loved, dies in a car accident and Chris Staller, the first boy she’s ever loved, breaks her heart. Fast-forward ten years and Katie is a beautiful, successful woman who has spent the past decade doing her best to make her life all about work and to keep everyone at arms length—friends and lovers alike. But she’s lonely and beginning to awaken to the fact that she is only pretending to be happy and content. Working through her emotional challenges while maintaining a stellar career reputation is tricky, but she’s a fighter and always determined to come out on top.
When Katie pays a visit to her old high school, however, she runs into Chris, now a dedicated PE teacher who pines for the one he let get away. An upstanding member of the community and a much better man than he was a boy, Chris is determined to win Katie back at all cost. But Katie is less than receptive to the idea, and when he lays down a challenge, she is determined to come out on top again.
“Katie, are you listening to me?” Chris demanded with a stomp of his feet, like a child.
“Chris, I don’t believe you, I know what I saw. Don’t treat me like a fool I’m… ” Just then a mixed color of lights were projected onto the house and Katie turned to see a Sheriff car pulling into the driveway, headlights on with red and white lights flashing but no sound. When the Deputy got out of the car, her knees gave out and she just about hit the deck. He was here for her, she could feel it down the pit of her stomach. Chris had been right behind her and caught Katie before she fell to the ground. Katie was screaming stop, go away, and in her head but nothing was coming out of her mouth. She closed her eyes, willing the scene to be different when she opened them again. She felt like a small child hiding from the boogieman, if she couldn’t see the Deputy then he couldn’t see her, right? She would open her eyes to find him gone in five, four, three, two…
“Katie, are you ok?” Chris was yelling at her, for how long she couldn’t be sure. She opened her eyes and there was the Deputy, almost right in front of her now. Her mouth wasn’t working; her throat felt dry and closed up, swollen like a bad sore throat but with no pain. Numb.
Sometimes in life we know things. Instantly. A sound, a smell, or just a feeling in the pit of our stomachs alert us to changes in life’s vibrations that we cannot understand on an intellectual level: they are intuitions. For Katie, this means she knows exactly what’s happened to her father before the Deputy tells her, knows he’s been in an accident, and knows it’s not okay. In fact, she knows it’s far from okay. After her visit to his bedside at the hospital that night, she will never see him alive again—the first man she ever loved. And after her father’s funeral she is determined to never again see Chris Staller either—the first boy she ever loved.
Fast-forward ten years and Katie is now a beautiful, successful, and driven woman in her late-twenties. But her father’s death and Chris’ betrayal have clouded every relationship she has had since that night. From potential romantic partners to her closest friends, she has kept everyone around her from getting too close. Working through these intimacy issues while maintaining a stellar career reputation, however, has been a challenge—but challenges are Katie’s lifeblood. She rises to every occasion and always comes out on top.
When Katie pays a visit to her old high school, however, she runs into Chris, now a dedicated PE teacher who pines for the one he let get away: her. An upstanding member of the community and a much better man than he was a boy, Chris is determined to win Katie back at all cost. But Katie is less than receptive to the idea, and when he lays down a challenge, she is determined to come out on top again.
A fun, funny, and poignant journey from first love through finding life’s path, Kelly Rae’s debut is a sweet love story that serves as a reminder to the healing power of forgiveness. Learning to follow the heart is a lesson everyone must learn, and her unadorned prose underscores the emotional terrain of that passage with powerful simplicity. Full of extraordinary grace and warmth, What If…will fill your life with hope and an inner knowing of life’s positive force.
Kelly Rae is a native of California, currently residing in a mountain of snow in Central Oregon, covertly planning her escape to get back to her Golden State roots. Kelly has a nine year-old son named Triton, who is her inspiration in all things, and a passion for writing, reading, and traveling.
@kellyraebooks twitter handle
I appreciate your taking the time to visit with us today.
Thank you so much for having me, I am really excited to meet your readers and share What If… with them, today.
1. What inspired this particular novel/book?
This was a book I started years ago as a YA novel about high school sweethearts and how they deal with a tragic situation. But, I couldn’t stop writing about their story and it became a two parts novel starting in their teen life and ending in their adult life. Its initial inspiration was actually my own life, in which I married my elementary school sweetheart. However, when I went to whittle it down I wanted to focus on the adult half of the book.
2. What character was your favorite to write for in this story? Why?
Sarah, who is a secondary character, is probably my favorite. She is meddling to a small extent, but she means well. Every time Katie calls her all upset about Chris, she tells it like it is, and tries very hard to get Katie to see that she is the problem, not Chris. I like her because she has spunk and there is a decent possibility I will end up writing more about her someday.
3. Which was your favorite scene to write?
My favorite scene to write was when Chris and Katie are in the kitchen and he has her at his mercy, he has her begging him to take her and he walks away. I could imagine how frustrating that would be from Katie’s perspective, of course. But, I also think it was a very smart move on Chris’ part to leave her wanting. It was fun because of the action in the scene and it was fun to be a part of teasing Katie. Anticipation is so often more exciting than anything that comes after!
4. What was the hardest thing about writing this story?
Letting go of the story was probably the hardest part for me, it had been such a labor of love and meant so much to me that I was a bit afraid to release it out into the open to be reviewed and consumed. The response has been overwhelmingly positive and people really seem to love Katie, Chris, and their connection. It has been a very rewarding experience overall.
5. What Are Your Writing Quirks & Must-Haves To Write?
My writing quirk actually has to do with the way I read. I naturally speed read and this means that I do not read every word. So, if there is a long bit of text about scenery, chances are I will skip most of it as I already have an idea in my head of what the scene (write in me?). When you are writing a novel, you cannot skip text about scenery, because most people do read every word and they want to read about the daisies in the yard or the bronzed bell atop of the church. I have to remind myself to write bits and pieces that I wouldn’t actually read myself. This would be a good time to apologize to my editors. J. My must-have is MUSIC!
6. What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I don’t think I have an interesting quirk writing or otherwise, lol! That is not to say I don’t have quirks, they just aren’t very interesting ones. J
7. Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
Writing full time is the dream, of course. For now, I also work in the Interior Design business. Between doing that on a part time basis and raising a nine-year as a single mom, it can be challenging to find time. But, I love to write so it doesn’t usually feel like work, this makes it easy to do it on my days off, in the evenings and sometimes I stay up writing late into the night the way I used to read late into the night. As soon as my books are doing well enough that I can write full time, I will be a very happy lady.
8. As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be a lawyer, family law. Then I took some criminal justice classes and realized I would be crying all of the time and probably not very effective if I was a sobbing mess. It was painful to read about cases and I just couldn’t imagine all day every day dealing with those same issues in person and with emotional connections to the victims. Now I can have characters, like Katie, live out my lawyering dreams anytime I want, without the emotional break downs I was sure to have.
9. When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
I won an award, in 5th or 6th grade, for a story I entered into a school district contest. This was the beginning of me thinking I could be good at writing. I always did very well in English and Literature courses and enjoyed reading. To me writing papers were fun and I preferred essay questions to most others throughout school. However, my fiction writing was something I did for me and the idea of sharing it was scary. It didn’t really occur to me until my mid 20’s that it might be something I could do for other people to enjoy. I have always been a writer, is the short answer. It’s just that now I do it for a wider audience.
10. Where do you find your Inspirations?
Everywhere, I tell friends they had better be careful because they just might end up in a book. J When you write about love and relationships, it’s easy to find inspiration. I honestly believe that personal connections are the best and most important part of life. Everything else is just the stuff that happens around you, but the love I have for my son or the love between a man and a woman who have been married for 42 years, that is the real stuff. Take people as they break up and grow apart, those emotions and the way life tugs and pulls at your heart, and it’s all important and inspiring. The good and bad of love, hope, and faith can be seen everywhere.
11. What do you like to read? Who is your favorite author?
I love to read historical romances; those are my absolute favorite reads. In this genre, my favorites are numerous but a small list would be Julia Quinn, Jude Deveraux, Loretta Chase, and Johanna Lindsey. I also usually enjoy anything by Jodi Picoult and as cliché as it may be these days I am just a sad, sad sucker for Nicholas Sparks (the older books, like A Walk to Remember and The Notebook - book was way better than the movie). Hopeless romantic? Perhaps!
12. Please let readers know where they can connect with you and purchase your books...
What If… is currently for sale in eBook and Paperback on Amazon and Barnes&Noble It’s also available strictly in eBook format on Smashwords, KOBO, and Diesel.
I love to connect with readers, so please do locate me at one of the following links below and let’s chat some more.
13. Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
I would just like to say thank you for the opportunity to introduce myself to you all today. I really enjoyed the thoughtful questions and hope my answers did them justice. Wishing you all a very wonderful day, it’s been a pleasure stopping by!
Thank you so much for chatting with us today.
So have you ever wondered “what if…?” Like what if you had the courage to tell that boy you liked that you liked him, or what if you hadn’t broken up with that great girl? Songs are written about this, pithy sayings also, “you never forget your first love…” ect. Well in “What if” the leading man and leading lady find out what happens when they meet again years in the future.
Yes, it’s a ‘typical’ romance, with a twist. In this instance Katie’s dad died the night she saw Chris, her high school love, kissing another girl because of a dare. This and her father’s death remain locked together in her mind and never get dealt with, so of course you know they have to meet again later.
Chris has gotten hotter and Katie more beautiful, and more distant. Can the hunky Chris melt her icy heart? You’ll have to read the book to find out.
I give this book 3.5 clouds out of 5 and a chili pepper rating of 6, not for children but not too graphic… like I said romance novel.
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