Tuesday, July 28, 2015

The First Lines of The Ones We Trust by Kimberly Belle + Giveaway! (US/Can only)

It's a total honor here at Books à la Mode to be kicking off the tour for Kimberly Belle's sophomore novel, The Ones We Trust, out today from Mira Books. The author has been kind enough to stop by to share the first lines of her new release, as well as give away a print copy of the book!

The Ones We Trust
Kimberly Belle

A moving and evocative exploration of grief and guilt in the wake of one family's devastating loss—and the relentless pursuit of truth

When former DC journalist Abigail Wolff attempts to rehabilitate her career, she finds herself at the heart of a US army cover-up involving the death of a soldier in Afghanistan—with unspeakable emotional consequences for one family. As the story of what happened comes to light, Abigail will do anything to write it.

The more evidence she stumbles upon in the case, the fewer people it seems she can trust, including her own father, a retired army general. And she certainly never expected to fall in love with the slain soldier's brother, Gabe, a bitter man struggling to hold his family together. The investigation eventually leads her to an impossible choice, one of unrelenting sacrifice to protect those she loves.

Beyond the buried truths and betrayals, questions of family loyalty and redemption, Abigail's search is, most of all, a desperate grasp at carrying on and coping—and seeking hope in the impossible.

The First Lines of The Ones We Trust

There’s a thin, fragile line that separates us all from misfortune. A place where life teeters on a razor’s edge, and everything boils down to one single, solitary second. Where you will either whiz past the Mack truck blissfully unaware, or you will slam into it head-on. Where there’s a before, and then without warning or apology, there’s an after.
Those are the first few lines from my newest novel, The Ones We Trust. It’s my second novel to be published, but the first story I ever wrote. That paragraph up there? It came about on the very last rewrite—and there were many.

For writers, the first novel is considered a practice story. It’s the one where you learn as you go and make lots of mistakes along the way, the biggest thinking anyone would ever want to read it besides your mother. You’re supposed to write it, shove it in a box under your bed, and move on to the next one, one where you actually (kinda sorta) know what you’re doing. I was fully prepared to do that, too, except this story wouldn’t leave me alone. It kept whispering to me from under the bed. Fix me, it said. I have a story to tell.

So I fixed it. I rewrote it, and then I rewrote it again and again (and again). I fixed the tone and the voice, matured my main character, Abigail, deepened her backstory to intensify the conflict. I added a subplot and a whole cast of new characters. I killed my darlings and switched genres, multiple times. I lost a lot of sleep and I shed a lot of tears.

How many words did I waste? A million, at least. It took me that many to drill down to the very essence of the story—the slain soldier’s story. The Ones We Trust is built around what, exactly, happened to him on the battlefield. His family needs to know in order to move on, and Abigail is determined to help them uncover the truth. This plotline was the crux of every single rewrite, a red thread leading the way.

I guess technically, The Ones We Trust isn’t my first or my second novel. It’s somewhere around my eighty-seventh, give or take. But in the end, when I walk into a bookstore and see my baby up there on the shelves, every single one of those wasted words is worth it.

About the Author

I grew up in Eastern Tennessee, in a small town nestled in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. Back then I couldn’t find an ounce of beauty in the blue ridges and green valleys and roaring streams, couldn’t find an ounce of appeal in the winding country roads. I was slave to my wanderlust. The summer after high school, I fled to Atlanta to attend Agnes Scott College, a small liberal arts school for women and a four-year pit stop on my quest to see the world.

It was in Atlanta, I met the Dutchman, who whisked me off to the Netherlands. What was meant to be a six-month stay turned into twelve freezing but fabulous years, during which I began checking off the countries on my to-see list. Two decades later, I’ve still not seen them all.

Living abroad changed me in ways I can’t count, and though I don’t have the passport to prove it, I am in my heart and soul, half Dutch. I know the culture, I speak the language like a native, I love that country like my own.

Ten years ago, the Dutchman and I moved back to Atlanta with our two children, but every chance I get, I hop a plane to Amsterdam, so I can stick my toes in sandy Dutch soil.

And of course, wherever I go, the laptop also travels.


Books à la Mode is giving away one print copy of The Ones We Trust—yay!!

To enter, all you have to do is tell me:
What’s one thing that took you many attempts to accomplish, and how did it turn out?
Please make your comment MEANINGFUL. Comments solely consisting of stock responses or irrelevant fluff like "Thanks for the giveaway!" will not be considered for entry. Kimberly and I really want to hear from you guys! :)

Don't forget the entry eligibility terms and conditions!
Sponsored wholly by the tour publicist and publisher—a huge thank you to TLC Book Tours and Harlequin Books!
Giveaway ends August 11th at 11.59 PM (your time).
Open to US and Canada readers only—sorry, everyone else! Please check my sidebar for the list of currently running giveaways that are open worldwide. There are plenty to choose from!
Void where prohibited.
Winners have 48 hours to claim their prize once they are chosen, or else their winnings will be forfeited.
Although I do randomly select winners, I am in no way responsible for prizes, nor for shipping and handling.
As a reminder, you do not have to follow my blog to enter, though it is always very much appreciated ❤
Good luck!