One of the hallmarks of a really good writer is the ability to take a classic tale, and give it a unique, creative spin. That is what debut author Renee Lovins has done with her first novel, Ink Deep, a re-imagined, contemporary homage to “Beauty and the Beast”. This story packs an emotional punch, and has garnered several five-star reviews in the short time since its release. Here’s the Blurb:
Tattoo artist Corbin Franklin has everything, including a tumor that will kill him. Determined to not let his art die with him, he seeks someone to be his living legacy, wearing his art on their body.
Briony Carmichael has lived the majority of her life as a recluse. She hides in her apartment, reluctant to face the world because of her looks. Burned over 87% of her body as a child, the scars make her a monster. The idea of art covering her body, and having something beautiful on her, pulls her out of her seclusion. In a moment of recklessness she offers up her body to Corbin as his canvas.
Intrigued by this woman, who looks like a monster, Corbin agrees to use her as his canvas. With each tattoo the relationship between them alters, forcing both of them to explore the meaning of beauty. Through Briony, Corbin learns about life in a burn unit, and his selfish heart starts to grow. Briony’s outlook changes as Corbin’s business partners pull her into the world she avoided for so long. When their first sexual encounter goes badly, Corbin takes steps to repair the damage he caused, treating her like a beautiful woman he is falling in love with.
Just when they get to the point when they think they might make it, Briony’s parents interfere, desperate to stop the relationship and the tattoos. The chain of events that follows might cost them everything; even each other.
Warning: This is a romance, but there is no magic pill, and Corbin doesn’t get better at the last minute. But he does get the greatest gift any one can ask for, he dies loving and being loved.
Here’s what Renee had to say when we sat down and talked about this amazing debut novel:
Congratulations on the release of your debut novel, “Ink Deep.” This is such a moving, and unique story. What inspired you to write Corbin and Briony’s story?
The idea evolved during a panel at the 2013 Authors After Dark convention in Savannah. Two authors (Leanne Renee Hiber & Lia Habel) talking about how Beauty and the Beast was ruined when he turned into the cute guy rather than the monster the heroine had fallen in love with. That sparked an idea of how could you have a monster that wouldn’t change. Then I thought about twisting it, so the visual monster was the beauty, and the visual beauty was the monster. That led to burn scars. So how do you make someone covered in scars beautiful? That led to tattoos, and at that point I couldn’t jot ideas down fast enough to keep up with the plot that was evolving.
Did your subject matter require a lot of research?
Yes and no. I actually knew a lot about burns scars from some pretty explicit OSHA videos, and an acquaintance who had survived a bad fire. The tattoo’s required more work, so I had to ask James R Tuck for assistance. And he was great, very patient with my newbie questions. Believe it or not I’ve never had a tattoo, so that made the subject even more interesting to write about.
Why did you choose such a non-traditional heroine?
I am not skinny, or pretty, or graceful in any way. So reading romances where the heroine was always gorgeous, or super talented, or rich, just reinforced the idea that I could never have that magical “love”. Now I have been very lucky and happened to marry a man who thinks I am gorgeous and sexy, but I had many years of people reinforcing that I didn’t meet the definition of traditional beauty. So I wanted to take someone who wasn’t beautiful and show that beauty isn’t what you look like, but who you are.
Have readers had the response you hoped to evoke with this story?
I think so. I’ve gotten lots of comments about it being “thought provoking” and “moving”. But mostly I have people excited about having read it, and that is a wonderful feeling.
What other projects are you working on?
Gah, what aren’t I working on. Ink Deep is first in a series of Twisted Fairytales, that take real people with real problems and create a romance based on a fairytale. However, I also have a much simpler series I’m working on called Geek Love, where all the characters are geeks, gamers, nerds, etc. Those should be fast easy romances without the heavy emotional stuff that the Twisted Fairytales will have. I also have a 5 book sci-fi series I’ve been working on for years. Those I probably won’t publish until at least three of them are done and ready to go, but they are longer, about 150,000 words, and more in depth than my Geek Love series. And we won’t even talk about all the other plot ideas I have.
Where can readers reach you, and how can they purchase Ink Deep?
I’m on Twitter under @nycorson my fanfic name. Yes I write fan fiction probably always will, as it is a lot of fun to play in other people’s worlds. But I’m also available at firstname.lastname@example.org or my blog www.nycorson.com. I’d love for people to stop by and say hello.
Thank you, Renee! I for one can’t wait to read more of your work. Interested readers can purchase Ink Deep here: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00M7KRVRG