Kimmery Martin’s debut novel, Queen of Hearts has been described as Greys Anatomy meets Big Little Lies. As a long time watcher of Grey’s Anatomy, I was immediately on board, and if I had needed anymore inducement to read the novel the fact that Kimmery Martin lives here in Charlotte was all the encouragement I would have needed.
Queen of Hearts centers around two women who have been best friends since their medical residency, Zadie and Emma. Both have become very successful doctors, and one of them is harboring a secret from their past that could very well end their friendship for good.
As soon as I read the first chapters I knew that I wanted to interview Kimmery about her inspiration for the novel, and with each new page, my list of questions grew.
Kimmery Martin is an emergency medicine doctor, born and raised in the mountains of Eastern Kentucky. A lifelong literary nerd, she reviews books, interviews authors, and works extensively with the library foundation in Charlotte, North Carolina, where she resides with her husband and three young children. The Queen of Hearts is her first novel.
When did you first come up with the ‘idea’ for Queen of Hearts?
About five years ago. It started in my mind as very character-driven, about a group of friends in medical school. I didn’t have any background in writing, and I learned as I went along that to be intriguing, a story has to have clear conflicts and tensions that drive the plot. At first, it was almost a collections of essays!
Like yourself both Zadie & Emma are doctors who originally hailed from Kentucky and moved to Charlotte. How much of Queen of Hearts is inspired by true events?
The scenes and settings are all inspired by my own experiences. Which is to say there isn’t a tremendous amount of creative license in the plot— the actions of the characters are almost all invented, but I put them into situations and places I knew to be realistic. (I’ll just add: the book gets compared to Grey’s Anatomy all the time, which is excellent, because people love that show. But I’m not much of a TV person and I have never seen it.)
Is the character of Nick based on a real person or is he purely fictional?
He’s an amalgam of several jackasses I’ve dated, with my husband’s sense of humor thrown in, plus some wholly fictional traits.
As a Charlottean, I love that you set the story in your current hometown of Charlotte. What did you enjoy most about sharing about our city with your readers?
The glimpses of Charlotte were so much fun to write! It’s a beautiful, vibrant, engaging town, and I loved portraying its scenery and its vibes from the Epicenter uptown, to a swanky party, to Selwyn Pub.
I love the titles of your chapters. They sound like they could be titles of television episodes. What inspired the titles?
I love those titles too! For most of them, I just pulled a fragment out of my favorite sentence in the chapter. You get a glimpse of my weird sense of humor from those chapter titles, I think.
Was there a particular part of Queen of Hearts that you either enjoyed or struggled with writing the most?
I’m not a good plotter—I’m more driven by words and sentences and paragraphs than I am the big picture. So pulling it all together into a coherent narrative was hard for me.
When you find yourself in need of a little inspiration, is there a particular place or places that you like to go?
When I’m stuck, I open up my favorite books at random and read until I am fired up!
Where is your favorite place to write?
I have a pretty home office with lots of light and I usually write there. But I spend a good bit of time at the kitchen table of one of my writing partner’s—Tracy Curtis. And sometimes I write at Whole Foods—I love their coffee bar.
You are currently on your first book tour, what have you enjoyed most about the experience?
Meeting people! Also I am learning to be a better public speaker and while at first I was terrified, now I enjoy it.
Will your next book be a sequel or an entirely new cast of characters?
A spin-off; it’s about Georgia, the friend from medical school who became a urologist.