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Take Five: Cathy Yardley and Game of Hearts

You may know Cathy Yardley from all the wisdom she has imparted here at WU with her usual grace, humor, and wit. Today, Cathy joins us to celebrate the launch of her third book in her geektastic Fandom Hearts series, Game of Hearts [1], available for your reading pleasure on January 30th.

Cathy Yardley needs to get out more. When not writing, she’s usually lurking on social media, playing Elder Scrolls Online, or watching D-list movies and adding to her unnatural mental store of character-actor trivia. She’s a fangirl of Supernatural, Doctor Who, Sherlock, LOTR, and too many others to name. She lives with her family in Seattle. They are considering performing an intervention for her addiction to pop culture.

Q1: What’s the premise of your new book?

I think the blurb describes it best:

“Kyla Summers has been offered the opportunity of a lifetime to get her cosplay business off the ground, and only one thing stands in her way. She needs someone to take over the auto shop, and there’s only one person she can think of to call…

Jericho Salomon hasn’t been back in his home town since he joined a biker gang and rode off nine years ago. When his best friend’s kid sister calls begging for help, he knows that he owes the family a debt and he intends to pay. This is easier said than done once he finds that the kid is all grown up…

She needs a pair of skillful hands. He needs to keep his hands off. When sparks begin to fly, can they keep things strictly business, or will their hearts get hopelessly tangled? No more games, it’s time to play for keeps.”

Q2: What would you like people to know about the story itself?

The story itself is a short romance, with what anyone who reads the genre knows is a typical trope: the brother’s best friend. (I don’t know what it is, but there’s always something about that guy!) This book is the third in a series of geeky love stories with feminist and diverse sensibilities. Kyla is a plus-sized heroine, but it isn’t a central aspect of the story, and it is neither vilified nor fetishized, which tend to be the two depictions of heavier heroines in romance. Jericho is biracial Native American. This makes sense because the story is set in a real town — my town — which is named after a nearby Native American tribe. Writing a “classic” romance but incorporating geeky features like comic conventions and cosplay, as well as diverse representation, was a challenge and a blast.

Q3: What do your characters have to overcome in this story? What challenge do you set before them?

Kyla has to overcome being taken advantage of — she’s seen as sweet and passive so often, especially by her brother, who sees her dream as a hobby and who uses guilt to get her to cover for him. Kyla needs to make sacrifices and gain confidence in order to truly pursue her dream. Jericho, on the other hand, needs to face his past, as well as a potentially problematic present in the form of changes in the biker club he’s joined as a surrogate family.

Q4: What unique challenges did this book pose for you, if any?

Making sure that the diverse elements were representative and authentic was certainly a challenge. Talking to the nearby tribe, getting their help, and getting a sensitivity reader were my steps towards ensuring that authenticity.

Q5: What has been the most rewarding aspect of having written this book?

The most rewarding aspect of having written this book is fleshing out more of the world of this series. This series is so close to my heart, it’s ridiculous. I love the bookstore that acts as the central hub for the group of girlfriends (including Kyla) whom the stories showcase. I love the geeky fun elements. I love the town. It’s like living in another place, and it’s been wonderfully immersive!

Thank you for joining us today, Cathy!
You can learn more about Cathy and her books at cathyyardley.com [2]



About [3]

Writer Unboxed began as a collaboration between Therese Walsh [4] and Kathleen Bolton [5] in 2006. Since then the site has grown to include ~50 regular contributors--including bestselling authors and industry leaders--and frequent guests. In 2014, the first Writer Unboxed UnConference (part UNtraditional conference, part intensive craft event, part networking affair) [6] was held in Salem, MA. Learn more about our 2019 event, ESCAPE TO WuNDERLAND, on Eventbrite. [7] In 2016, the Writer Unboxed team published a book with Writer's Digest. AUTHOR IN PROGRESS: A No-Holds-Barred Guide to What It Really Takes to Get Published [8] has been well-received by readers who seek help in overcoming the hurdles faced at every step of the novel-writing process--from setting goals, researching, and drafting to giving and receiving critiques, polishing prose, and seeking publication. James Scott Bell has said of the guide, "Nourishment for the writer's soul and motivation for the writer's heart." You can follow Writer Unboxed on Twitter [9], and join our thriving Facebook community [10].