Thank you for having me on your blog today. I’m thrilled to be able to talk about Kissed. This journey has been so amazing. Today I want to talk about something that readers have told me they’ve really enjoyed about the book. The roses.
I consider myself a lifelong learner. I love learning new things. And I love books that teach me about new things or places. One of the first things I often do when I finish a book is Google the setting, a hobby a character had or something else interesting I found in the book. My favorite books are ones that not only captured me up in the story but one that taught me something I never knew before. For example, in North of Beautiful by Justina Chen her main character loves maps and learns how to geocache. I’d never heard of the concept before that book. Now, it’s a hobby that I enjoy.
I wanted to capture that spirit in Kissed. My main character, Naomi, is obsessed with roses. From a young age she learned how to garden with her grandmother and by the time we meet her at sixteen, she has a greenhouse filled with exotic rose blends and a garden out back.
I start every chapter with something she knows about roses or how she applies those roses to her life. Here’s the one from chapter four.
Seven roses contain the name of the day of rest. My favorite is Sunday Lemonade. Its pale pink blooms give off a scent of lazy summer nights visiting with friends. Just the opposite of the many Sabbaths I spend with my father. His Sundays smell like famine and pestilence.
Many readers have asked how I know so much about roses. The truth is, I didn’t know much until I started writing Kissed. I’d always loved roses. My grandpa grew them and I loved watching him trim them when I was a child. He always picked a few roses for me and cut off all the thorns. But I’d never grown my own before.
When I knew Naomi needed this, I checked out every book on roses my small community library contained. (Five books, in case you were wondering). I began reading everything I could online. I found out there are literally thousands of different roses. It was so fun finding roses to fit each situation. But I needed more than that.
I drove out to my local Lowes and picked out a few plants. I only chose ones that smelled good and would bloom all season. A lot of rose bushes will only bloom once a year and while Naomi was content with that, I wasn’t.
I’ve always had a black thumb. I killed everything I grew. Everything I read said that roses were hard to grow. To my surprise, not only did they live, but they flourished. I loved those roses. Honestly, I think that was the key. We’ve moved since then, but for a couple of years I had gorgeous smelly roses. Not only that, I was able to really get a feel for the roses and add an authenticity that research alone doesn’t give you.
If you are interested in trying to grow your own roses, I would recommend Oklahoma, Tiffany, or Granada roses. They seem to do well in most climates and have dreamy smells. Also, Miracle Grow Roses does wonders.
I hope you will enjoy Kissed. You can buy it on Amazon.
Trapped in a dark cult, sixteen-year-old Naomi Aren has lived a quiet, albeit unhappy, life nestled deep in the hills of the Ozarks. With uncut hair, denim skirts, and only roses for friends, Naomi seldom questions why her life is different from other kids at school. Until the day her abusive father, who is also the cult’s leader, announces her wedding. Naomi must marry Dwayne Yerdin, a bully who reeks of sweat and manure and is the only one person who scares her worse than her father.
Then she meets Kai, the mysterious boy who brings her exotic new roses and stolen midnight kisses. Kisses that bring her a supernatural strength she never knew she had. As the big day approaches, Naomi unearths more secrets of about her father’s cult. She learns she has power of her own and while Kai may have awakened that power, Naomi must find a way to use it to escape Dwayne and her father—without destroying herself.
About Kimberly Loth:
Kimberly Loth can’t decide where she wants to settle down. She’s lived in Michigan, Illinois, Missouri, Utah, California, Oregon, and South Carolina. She finally decided to make the leap and leave the U.S. behind for a few years. Currently, she lives in Cairo, Egypt with her husband and two kids.
She is a high school math teacher by day (please don’t hold that against her) and YA author by night. She loves romantic movies, chocolate, roses, and crazy adventures. Kissed is her first novel.