Nightmusic Trilogy Book 1
by Heather McKenzie Genre: YA Romance, Thriller, Suspense
Kidnapped and held hostage in the Rockies, a teenage heiress falls for her abductor while her corrupt father and devoted bodyguard fight to get her back. The discovery of true love and dark family secrets turns deadly in this epic coming of age adventure.
Kaya Lowen dreams of living like a normal eighteen-year old, but being heiress to a billion-dollar company has put her life in constant danger. Fiercely guarded by her powerful and corrupt father, she develops close bonds with those who protect her, especially Oliver – a bodyguard who has proven his devotion to her time and again. He wins her heart - until a chance encounter with a mysterious stranger has her questioning everything she believes in. Haunted by true love and reeling from a guilty conscience, Kaya's world unravels when she's kidnapped. Held captive in a rugged wilderness fraught with raging storms, mystical caves and deadly predators, Kaya's father scours the forest and her bodyguard fights to get her back. But, the discovery of a dark family secret makes Kaya wonder if staying in the arms of her blue-eyed abductor—a captivating stranger with dark secrets of his own – is a safer place to be. At least, that's what her heart is telling her, her head is saying run...
An epic adventure centered on a smoldering love-triangle, Serenade sings a timeless tale of courage, self-discovery, and life-or-death love that will leave you breathless.
This was it, now or never.
I gathered every single ounce of energy I had and steadied my mind to ignore the pain in my foot and the dizziness in my head. Then, with everything I had, I turned and bolted toward the dense forest. The darkness instantly enveloped me. I could see well enough not to run into tree trunks, but branches caught me at every turn. My head felt as if it was spinning like a top, but I forced my legs to keep going. I could hear the men’s voices yelling at each other in an organized manner.
I tripped and found myself on all fours. Get up, girl. There’s nothing wrong with you—get up…
I made it a few more steps before my head connected with a blue spruce, and then I collapsed in a pathetic heap. My arms were so wobbly I could barely wipe at the gash across my forehead. My body was completely failing me. I prayed to God that the dog would just snap my neck and get it over with quickly…
Human footsteps approached. I gulped in some air and tried to push myself up, but the world tipped on its side and I fell with it. Within moments, large hands had my wrists pinned to the ground. I struggled and fought with everything I had left, which wasn’t much.
“Stop fighting,” he said.
His voice created such confusion inside me. I kicked harder.
“Stop… please,” he begged.
His body pinned mine to the ground. I could feel tears welling up in my eyes.
“Please, Kaya, trust me. I won’t let anyone hurt you, I promise.” He leaned forward and pressed his sleeve to my bleeding forehead, dabbing and inspecting it closely while I had no choice but to gaze up him. How could this beautiful man be a kidnapper? It just didn’t fit.
“It’s just a scratch; no stitches required,” he said, voice trailing off as his eyes met mine.
We stayed like that for a while: me on the ground, him kneeling over me, and our line of sight only on each other—until an unmistakable sound broke through the tree tops.
“They’ll find me,” I said softly, wondering if Oliver was in the helicopter circling over our heads.
He positioned his arms under my body, and, in one graceful motion, he picked me up and into his arms. “Just don’t run. Promise me that, please. I’ll keep you safe. You have my word. Okay?”
He held me tightly—protectively—waiting eagerly for my reply with turmoil in his blue eyes. My whole body hurt, and admittedly, I couldn’t have walked another inch. The wolves or that beast would have got to me long before Oliver would have. I was at my kidnapper’s mercy, laying helplessly in his arms and falling harder for him by the second.
“I promise,” I said.
Heather McKenzie is the Canadian author of Serenade, book one of The Nightmusic Trilogy. Also a professional singer/songwriter with five albums to date, she has been telling stories through music for years and pulls from her extraordinary experiences as a musician to fuel her passion for creating Young Adult fiction. A rocker at heart, a mom of three, an aspiring painter and a lover of animals, she is kept grounded by her husband at their home in Edmonton.
Interview with Heather McKenzie, by Dwight Bueckert
What genre/category is SERENADE?
YOUNG ADULT FICTION / Romance Thriller and Suspense
April 17, 2017
Please describe what the story is about in one sentence.
When the teenage daughter of a corrupt billionaire falls in love with her kidnapper, she fights to stay alive in the Rocky Mountains while her devoted bodyguard vows to stop at nothing to get her back.
Briefly, what led up to this book?
SERENADE is my first novel. Leading up to it was a career in music.
What was the time frame for writing this book? Tell me an interesting detail or two.
Writing SERENADE took about four years. I had a good idea of what I wanted to write, but I had no idea how to write it. I researched writing tips and advice from other authors, and wrote and re-wrote the manuscript at least twenty times– the first draft was 210,000 words! I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. I was absolutely determined to get this story out as best as I could, so I kept at it, and in the end I just had to go with what felt right to me. I think that worked.
What was your biggest learning experience and/or surprise throughout the publishing process?
The most incredible experience was working with the editors. I got a massive dose of education during the process and they were kind enough to explain their reasons for the edits. I was in class every time I sat down at the computer and was in awe over the wealth of information they shared with me. My biggest surprise was the dedication from my publisher to assist me with anything I needed. I had been used to trudging it out alone in the music business for years, and their desire to help make SERENADE a success, and answering all my crazy questions and offering such great advice, was amazing. I couldn’t believe that I wasn’t doing this all on my own.
What inspired you to write SERENADE?
I was in my local bookstore one afternoon with my daughter and watched as she searched the Teen/Young Adult section in frustration. She didn’t want vampires, or witches, or dystopian worlds, she wanted a modern day adventure with characters that felt real. So, being the doting mother that I am, I started writing her a book. One month into the process, I was quitting my day job and focusing entirely on learning how to write. I fell head over heels in love with this avenue of storytelling. Being a musician gave me many life experiences to pull from, and my love of Stephanie Meyer’s work fueled the passion to forge ahead and get the story on paper. A love triangle, the romantic setting of the rocky mountains, the art of survival and a character whose strength builds with each page... it all began to come to life every time I sat down to write. I realized when I completed the first manuscript, that what I was essentially trying to get across to my daughter –through the magic of reading– was the understanding of true love; what it feels like and how you know when you’ve found it. And, I am happy to say, that my knowledge of that is born of my own, real, experience.
How did you come up with the title?
I wanted to keep the books in the trilogy with music related names, as it is called The Nightmusic Trilogy. A serenade is a piece of music played at night. It is romantic and supposed to woo a prospective lover... in the book the main character rests her head against the chest of the man she is falling for and his heart beat is music to her ears. It is her own, perfectly written, SERENADE
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
I have tried to touch lightly on the effects of chemicals on our bodies and bring to light the correlation between what we do to the earth, and how it ends up affecting us. I also want show readers what is true love, real and healthy and how you know when you’ve found it – which is based off my own experience.
How much of the book is realistic?
I tried to make the book feel like it could actually happen. The characters are completely fictional, but the setting is not. Caves and underground hot springs and the castle in the mountains? All real. The Death Race that takes place every August in Grande Cache? Real.
What book are you reading now? A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness. It’s fantastic!!
What are your current projects?
I have just finished book one of a new series of adult fiction that I am very excited about. It is about to enter the editing process. I am also close to finishing NOCTURNE, the second book in the Nightmusic Trilogy. Next up, book three!
Where are you from?
Edmonton, Alberta, CANADA! I was born in the city, then moved to an acreage just outside it and lived an absolute fairy tale childhood in my own ‘castle’ until I left to join a rock band and play professionally. Eventually I moved back, got married there, and got to watch my children have the same amount of happiness as I did in my childhood home.
Where do you write from?
I tiny little bedroom I claimed as an office when my kids moved out, with books galore, guitars, a piano, countless empty coffee cups, and three dogs sleeping at my feet.
What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Sitting for countless hours every day. I gained about fifty pounds and think I broke my butt at one point. But it was worth it.
Did you learn anything from writing your book, and what was it?
Apparently I am obsessed with smells...?!?!
Do you have any advice for other writers?
If you love it, it’s good. Take opinions with a grain of salt–trust your gutt.
What do you do when you aren’t writing?
I am still actively involved in music, writing and being loud and aggressive with my band on weekends and recording whenever I can. It is my first love, and I can’t let go! I also teach classical piano and voice to youngsters one day a week, which is an incredibly rewarding experience. When I need peace and quiet– which is often– I paint.
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