The Queen Of Hearts by Kimmery Martin delves into relationships within the medical profession. This debut novel is set against a background of hospital rounds with life-or-death decisions. It is a story of betrayal and forgiveness as the two best friends, Emma Colley and Zadie Anson navigate their friendship through stormy waters.
The story alternates between 1999 and the present day where they now live in North Carolina, raising a family, and have a successful medical practice. Everything turns topsy-turvy when Nick Xenokostas decides to join Emma’s surgery group. The two friends must face the secrets of their past, including how Nick broke Zadie’s heart. Nick’s unexpected reappearance during a time of new professional crisis shocks both women into a deeper look at the difficult choices they made at the beginning of their careers. The story has intrigue, drama, and turmoil that combine for a good story.
Elise Cooper: How did you get the idea for the story?
Kimmery Martin: I followed the maxim to write what you know, since my day job is an ER doctor. I wanted to write about a group of medical school friends.
EC: You have many scenes with precise medical detail and jargon. Why?
KM: I hope I presented it in such a manner that it is easy to understand so that readers could see the ins and outs of the medical profession. I also like reading books set in a particular industry, where I can get a ‘fly on the wall experience.’ Readers could see what it is like to be a doctor on a day to day basis.
EC: Rumor has it you married your chief resident. Are there any similarities to Nick?
KM: I drew on his sense of humor. We met in the hospital, which is not that unusual, because that is the center of students’ medical lives. We wound up being married after three years because he was finishing up his residency and I had to move away to do mine at Vanderbilt University.
EC: Zadie’s 3-year-old Delaney stole the show?
KM: She is directly based on my daughter who was that age when I wrote the story. My children are early talkers, really chatty. She would imitate me by putting these strings of endearment words together. This is where I got the phrase, ‘Hi, beloved dear!’
EC: How would you describe Zadie?
KM: Competent, caring, intelligent, warm, and trustworthy. She is also goofy, funny, and fun-loving. People are asking me if she is patterned after myself, but I have to say she is much more charismatic. I think she is not by nature a grudge holder.
EC: How would you describe Emma?
KM: In many ways, she is unapproachable. She stews over what has happened to her and fixates on things. Although physically beautiful she is socially awkward, cerebral. I like and empathize with her.
EC: How would you describe Nick?
KM: He represents that ‘bad guy’ who you know you should not be attracted to but are. Very intelligent with a lot of integrity professionally; yet in his personal interactions he is not honorable, basically a cad.
EC: Can you explain this powerful book quote, “If a child dies it’s not because she’s needed in heaven, or because there was some cosmic plan for her to die so another child could be born”?
KM: This was stated by Emma who wants everything to make sense. She wants the world to function according to the laws of logic, less likely to have her personality ruled by emotion. She never rationalizes that things happen for the greater good. As I started writing, I thought, ‘try it; what is the worst that could go wrong.’ But in medicine the worst that can go wrong is that you can kill someone. It is a cloud hanging over doctors’ heads.
EC: How has becoming a doctor changed you?
KM: Since I have gone into medicine I have more of an awareness of life/death. As an ER physician, I see everything: the highs and lows, the good and bad, the wonder and anguish of life. All of this gives me a fuller appreciation of how people live.
EC: Why did you decide to try writing?
KM: I am a really big reader and constantly gave out book recommendations. I even set up my own website where I reviewed books. I read a lot of women’s fiction, psychological suspense, and science books. You name it and I have probably read something in the genre.
EC: Can you give a shout out about your next book?
KM: It will feature Georgia, who is a minor character in this novel. She will get fired from her medical practice and have to face a life-threatening illness.
The Queen of Hearts
A debut novel set against a background of hospital rounds and life-or-death decisions that pulses with humor and empathy and explores the heart’s capacity for forgiveness…
Zadie Anson and Emma Colley have been best friends since their early twenties, when they first began navigating serious romantic relationships amid the intensity of medical school. Now they’re happily married wives and mothers with successful careers–Zadie as a pediatric cardiologist and Emma as a trauma surgeon. Their lives in Charlotte, North Carolina are chaotic but fulfilling, until the return of a former colleague unearths a secret one of them has been harboring for years.
As chief resident, Nick Xenokostas was the center of Zadie’s life–both professionally and personally–throughout a tragic chain of events in her third year of medical school that she has long since put behind her. Nick’s unexpected reappearance during a time of new professional crisis shocks both women into a deeper look at the difficult choices they made at the beginning of their careers. As it becomes evident that Emma must have known more than she revealed about circumstances that nearly derailed both their lives, Zadie starts to question everything she thought she knew about her closest friend. (less)
Published February 13th 2018 by Berkley