When I got the email for the blog tour for Hearts & Other Body Parts by Ira Bloom, I was intrigued. I hadn’t had a chance to read the book, but I loved the synopsis and the cover, so I signed up.
Before we get to Ira’s interview, let’s check out the book!
A novel of love and monsters.
Sisters Esme, Katy, and Ronnie are smart, talented, and gorgeous, and better yet . . . all three are witches. They have high school wired until the arrival of two new students. The first is Norman, who is almost eight feet tall and appears to be constructed of bolts and mismatched body parts. Despite his intimidating looks, Esme finds herself strangely — almost romantically — drawn to both his oversized brain and oversized heart.
The second new arrival is Zack, an impossibly handsome late transfer from the UK who has the girls at school instantly mesmerized. Soon even sensible Esme has forgotten Norman, and all three sisters are in a flat-out hex war to win Zack. But while the magic is flying, only Norman seems to notice that students who wander off alone with Zack end up with crushed bones and memory loss. Or worse, missing entirely.
Hearts & Other Body Parts is a wickedly addictive novel about love, monsters, and loyalty. And oh yeah, a Japanese corpse-eating demon cat.
Sounds good, right?
1. Please give the elevator pitch for Hearts & Other Body Parts.
I get into the elevator and push all the buttons so the elevator has to stop at every floor and I have time to make this ridiculously long pitch (it’s called chutzpa):
Esme Silver is so busy with her full load of AP classes and her 4.5 GPA, she never has time for any silliness like shopping or social media or studying up on her witchcraft or trying to figure out why the hell her cat can talk. She doesn’t even have time for friends, except for her younger sisters, Veronica and Katy. But when a new boy named Norman arrives on campus, she’s intrigued. He’s funny and smart and sweet, and it hardly bothers her at all that he’s almost eight feet tall and hideously mutilated. The fact that she isn’t attracted to him is almost a plus, for a girl who has no time for any nonsense like romance.
That’s why it comes as a surprise to Esme when she meets another new student, a handsome lad from England named Zack, and infatuation knocks every lick of sense out of her love-addled head. Problem is, her sisters like him too. And it’s hard to compete for a boy against the most beautiful girl in the county, or the most talented witch east of the Mississippi.
The girls even resort to hexes and curses, to undermine each other for the boy they all love, while Norman watches helplessly from the sidelines. But the girls would be well advised to be careful what they wish for, because they are competing for a very dangerous prize, and the winner will be the first to die.
2. Where did the idea for Hearts & Other Body Parts come from?
That’s an easy one. It all started with Norman. I had an idea for a modern day Frankenstein’s monster, a brilliant, gentle giant. I’m glad you didn’t ask where the rest of the story came from, because I haven’t a clue.
3. Why do you love Esme and Norman and why should we root for them?
You have to root for Esme and Norman because he’s a really good guy, but more importantly, he’s the right guy for her. Her sisters know it; even her cat is rooting for Norm. Esme even knows it. She just can’t get over her physical revulsion.
4. There’s a pretty interesting cast of characters in Hearts & Other Body Parts. Who was the easiest and hardest to work with and why?
Esme was easy to work with because I know her so well. My daughter Isabella is a total Esme. The one who was a pain in the butt from the get-go was Kasha, the Japanese corpse-eating demon cat. I don’t even know how he got into the story. I was exploring some issues I was having with my cat, and things got out of hand. Kasha had his own agenda from the start, and I was as surprised as anyone when I found out what he was really up to.
5. Without spoilers, what was your favorite scene in Hearts & Other Body Parts to write?
Another great question. I don’t even have to think about this: the big conflict scene in the cellar at the end. It’s flat out farce, with some of the funniest lines in the book, but at the same time full-blown horror. It was also the most miserable scene to revise. Thank god for a brilliant, patient editor.
Speed [ish] round:
1. You get the call/email/letter that says you’re being published for the first time. Describe the next 5 minutes.
Two minutes of weeping like a little girl followed by three minutes hunting around for the hidden camera that was filming an obvious hoax.
2. What three things would you take to a desert island?
Sunscreen, so I don’t crisp into a dark purple/red (there’s nothing worse than getting maroon on a desert island), a giant bottle of Tabasco for choking down grubs and such, and a sailboat.
3. You can only read one book for the rest of your life. What is it?
Not Paul Rudnick’s GORGEOUS which I’ve read a dozen times and could never get tired of; probably Stephan Hawking’s A BRIEF HISTORY OF TIME, because it would take me the rest of my life to get through it.
4. What book character would you want to be your BFF?
Zaphod Beeblebrox from Douglas Adams’ THE HITCHIKER’S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY because there would never be a dull moment and also because he has two heads, so I’d get two-for-one.
5. What is the one thing about publishing you wish someone would have told you?
I wish I’d known how long everything takes. I’d have started earlier.
I grew up in Annapolis Maryland. My mother is an artist and my father was a judge on the Maryland Court of Special Appeals.
I studied English Literature at the University of Maryland, College Park. I also have some background in Eastern religions. After college I moved to Japan, where I taught ESL. I married a beautiful Japanese woman named Yasuko, moved to LA and taught junior high school English, ESL, and Japanese for the Los Angeles Unified School district. I am conversational in Japanese, but by no means consider myself fluent. After serving my debt to society in LA Unified, I went into the fashion business with my wife, who is a very talented fashion designer and is likely to read this, so I can’t say enough good things about her. We eventually branched into the vintage kimono business. I probably know more about Japanese textiles than any straight white man you’re likely to encounter. I’ve been writing humor for FUNNY TIMES since 2010. I currently live in West Sonoma County with my family and an assortment of furry beasts.
Huge thanks to Rockstar Book Tours for the invite and to Ira for taking the time. Make sure you’re checking out the rest of the blog tour for extra goodies and keep scrolling for a giveaway!!