Hello lovely readers and thank you for stopping by on our tour stop for HEARTS & OTHER BODY PARTS hosted by Rock Star Book Tours. We are always on the prowl for a book that makes our heart jump with excitement and this novel by Ira Bloom did just that. Please check out our author interview and make sure to enter the giveaway at the end of the post. Good Luck!!
About the Book:
Title: HEARTS & OTHER BODY PARTS
Author: Ira Bloom
Pub. Date: March 28, 2017
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Formats: Hardcover, eBook, audiobook
A novel of love and monsters.
Sisters Esme, Katy, and Ronnie are smart, talented, and gorgeous, and better yet . . . all three are witches. They have high school wired until the arrival of two new students. The first is Norman, who is almost eight feet tall and appears to be constructed of bolts and mismatched body parts. Despite his intimidating looks, Esme finds herself strangely — almost romantically — drawn to both his oversized brain and oversized heart.
The second new arrival is Zack, an impossibly handsome late transfer from the UK who has the girls at school instantly mesmerized. Soon even sensible Esme has forgotten Norman, and all three sisters are in a flat-out hex war to win Zack. But while the magic is flying, only Norman seems to notice that students who wander off alone with Zack end up with crushed bones and memory loss. Or worse, missing entirely.
Hearts & Other Body Parts is a wickedly addictive novel about love, monsters, and loyalty. And oh yeah, a Japanese corpse-eating demon cat.
I grew up in Annapolis Maryland. My mother is an artist and my father was a judge on the Maryland Court of Special Appeals.
I studied English Literature at the University of Maryland, College Park. I also have some background in Eastern religions. After college I moved to Japan, where I taught ESL. I married a beautiful Japanese woman named Yasuko, moved to LA and taught junior high school English, ESL, and Japanese for the Los Angeles Unified School district. I am conversational in Japanese, but by no means consider myself fluent. After serving my debt to society in LA Unified, I went into the fashion business with my wife, who is a very talented fashion designer and is likely to read this, so I can’t say enough good things about her. We eventually branched into the vintage kimono business. I probably know more about Japanese textiles than any straight white man you’re likely to encounter. I’ve been writing humor for FUNNY TIMES since 2010. I currently live in West Sonoma County with my family and an assortment of furry beasts.
1. We are always in search of an intriguing read to share that with our readers, and once we realized that your novel had a Japanese corpse-eating demon cat we were couldn’t wait to read it. What can you tell our readers about Hearts & Other Body Parts?
Hearts & Other Body Parts is the story of three sisters, Esme, Katy, and Veronica, who are smart, talented and beautiful, in that precise order. They are all three witches, and they love each other, and they go to high school in the town of Middleton. Not the Middleton most people think of; the other one. There they meet a new student, Norman Franklin Stein, who bears an uncanny and entirely coincidental resemblance to Frankenstein’s monster. Esme’s sisters and her familiar, Kasha the Japanese corpse-eating demon cat, all think Norm is perfect for her, as he’s smart and funny and kind, but Esme isn’t so sure she has time to date, what with her 4.5 GPA and dreams of Stanford, and maybe also because Norman is almost eight feet tall and has bolts in his neck.
And then the vampires come to town. Enter Zack, smoking hot with a British accent, exuding love pheromones and mesmerizing every girl he meets. All three sisters lose every vestige of common sense when they fall for Zack hard. Soon they’re in an all-out hex war, undermining each other, casting spells and brewing potions in desperation for the boy they each believe they can’t live without.
Only Norman sees Zack for what he is, and understands that the winner of the competition for Zack will be the first sister to die.
2. You seem to have an extensive knowledge of plants, herbs, spells, science, medicine and so much more. It was very much appreciated because it made for a better book. How much research went into writing Hearts & Other Body Parts and how did you keep track of it all?
I did a fair amount of research for Hearts & Other Body Parts. Keeping track of it all is not so hard once it’s written down. I don’t like to delve too deep, because sometimes too much knowledge of a subject can ruin the story. A list of herbs for a love potion can add verisimilitude, but a long list of herbs will put the reader in a coma. And I especially avoid research that might ultimately disprove a premise, or make a plot angle impossible. I write the truth as far as I know, but sometimes it’s better not to know too much.
I spent over a month writing one scene featuring Drake and Zack, the vampire antagonists of Hearts. It was set in Warsaw, and some of the dialogue was in Polish, which I don’t speak. I pored over maps and researched neighborhoods. There was a lot of backstory about vampire society and a brutal, heartbreaking murder. And then my editor suggested we cut it. She was right of course, the book is better without it. But it was a painful cut. Oh well. To jest życie.
3. Your novel seems to have so many different characters. Which one is your favorite and why?
I don’t like to play favorites because the other characters might feel dissed, so let me put in a plug for Veronica, who is not only beautiful but also extremely tenacious. And then there’s Norman, who is smart and funny and loyal and sweet, and a great friend to have around if you ever need to fight your way into a vampire’s lair to rescue your sisters. But my heart belongs to Kasha, the Japanese corpse-eating demon cat, because we have so much in common: we both rail against the heartless bureaucracies that control our destinies, we’re both as old as hell, and we both like to eat gophers and puke them up on the carpet.
4. There were moments while reading Hearts & Other Body Parts that we could not contain our laughter. What are some of your favorite funny quotes from the book?
My editor really liked this exchange, between Esme and her kid sister Ronnie after discussing a spate of missing girls in town:
Esme: “If a weird-looking guy offers you candy and wants you to get in his car, you know what to do, right?”
Veronica: “Get you a Snickers?”
And I like this one-liner Kasha came up with: “You are so dense it’s a wonder your head doesn’t implode from the gravitational force of your own stupidity.”
5. What are you working on next and can you share them with us?
I have so many irons in the fire, the fire went out. I put my sci-fi multiverse book (about 1/3 done) on the back burner because it’s not a good candidate for a second book, though it might make a fine third or fourth. I have great enthusiasm for a book I’m researching about a boy who is an incarnate Buddha but doesn’t know it, but it’s a very difficult POV to get my head into. I might just end up writing this farcical demonic possession idea. I think it could be very funny, and it’s the kind of thing that would be easy to write. There are also about eight other books I’m constantly scribbling scenes for, and bits of dialogue. In any event, I’m a bit preoccupied with the release of my debut novel Hearts & Other Body parts. I’m hoping to get focused again when things settle down, maybe in April.
Thank you for answering our questions and spending time with us!
3 winners will receive a finished copy of HEARTS & OTHER BODY PARTS, US Only.
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