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An Interview with Kimmery Martin, Author of The Queen of Hearts

The tagline on Kimmery Martin’s website reads “Writer, Book Reviewer, Professional Literary Nerd,” but she is also an emergency medicine doctor, a library advocate, and a mom of three. Her debut novel, The Queen of Hearts (Berkley/Penguin Random House; 978-0-39958-505-0; $26), will be published in February 2018.

In the book, the longstanding friendship between Zadie, and pediatric cardiologist, and Emma, a trauma surgeon, is challenged when they are forced to confront devastating events from their med school days. The Queen of Hearts delves into the demands of being a doctor, a parent, and a woman in a male dominated profession, but is also a funny and real examination of female friendships and modern parenthood.

How did a career as a physician turn into a career as a writer for Martin? The love of books came first, from when she was growing up in rural Kentucky and visited the library often, dragging her red wagon full of books home behind her. When her mother went back to school to get a master’s degree in children’s literature at the University of Kentucky, Martin accompanied her to the university library, tackling first the children’s section there and then moving onto books for adults.

“I would not be the person I am today without the library,” says Martin. “It shaped me in every possible way. I am a huge supporter of libraries and the opportunities they bring to communities, the education they provide, and the resources they share with everyone.”

Martin now lives in Charlotte, N.C., where she is active in the literary community and working with the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library Foundation. “One of the super exciting things that we are doing right now is working on the redesign of the main library in Charlotte,” she says. “It’s going to be phenomenal. They have reached out to me as a representative of the writing community to give input for a design of the building that will include writer spaces and author areas. They are integrating all kinds of things, from the physical structure of building but also the mission statement and the plans, to really weave together the literary community with readers. There are going to be lots of opportunities for writers and readers to connect.”

On Martin’s website, KimmeryMartin.com, she serves as a connection between writers and readers herself, writing book reviews, doing author interviews, and maintaining a blog about what she’s reading. She participates in both writers groups as well as book clubs, and in fact The Queen of Hearts will be an ideal fit for book clubs looking to discuss difficult issues such as forgiveness and failure, but also be drawn into a page-turner with plenty of romance and drama.

The fact that book clubs will be discussing her book is thrilling to Martin. “Being such a passionate reader myself, I’m excited to meet passionate readers,” she says. “It’s weird to think of the words coming out of my head finally being read by people.”

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