The Breath of DawnThe Breath of Dawn
Kristen Heitzmann
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Morgan Spencer has had just about all he can take of life. Following the tragic death of his wife, Jill, he retreats to his brother's Rocky Mountain ranch to heal and focus on the care of his infant daughter, Olivia. Two years later, Morgan begins to make plans to return to his home in Santa Barbara to pick up the pieces of his life and career.

Quinn Riley has been avoiding her past for four years. Standing up for the truth has forced her into a life of fear and isolation. After a "chance" first meeting and a Thanksgiving snowstorm, Quinn is drawn into the Spencer family's warm and loving world, and she begins to believe she might find freedom in their friendship. But then the man Quinn put behind bars is released and she's afraid for everyone around her. Can she face her greatest fear or flee to find safety in anonymity?
     


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Kristen HeitzmannKristen Heitzmann's gift of crafting stories has ranked her as the award-winning and best-selling author of two historical series and more than a dozen contemporary, psychological and romantic suspense novels including The Breath of Dawn. An artist and musician, Kristen lives in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains with her husband and a continuous stream of extended family, various pets, and wildlife..

Favorite Verse: Hebrews 13:20-21: May the God of peace, who brought up from the dead the great shepherd of the sheep by the blood of the eternal covenant, Jesus our Lord, furnish you with all that is good, that you may do his will. May he carry out in you what is pleasing to him through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever.


 

 Christianbook.com Interview with Kristen Heitzmann


 

Please tell us a bit about yourself.

Wife, mom, Nonni, author. Artist. I’m girding up to create an oil painting for my mantle. Having mostly worked in miniature sculpture, maybe I should have started smaller, but a yawning arch of 9’ by 6’ calls for drama. At least I’ll have fun trying!

The Breath of Dawn has a stunning cover!

Yes. I took that photo of Santa Barbara’s bay at sunrise while researching Morgan’s place. On the whole the cover captures the suspense and works well, though it’s hard to match the characters in your mind.

Why did you select the Rocky Mountains and Santa Barbara for your settings?

Since I’m nestled up against them, I have an ongoing love affair with the Rockies. Until the recent fire, I was on the trails behind my house almost every day, wending between pines with sunrays slanting through scrub oak and stony crags. See, I can’t answer without description happening. It’s good to choose locations you’re passionate about!

I put Morgan in Santa Barbara because it has an equal sort of magic. I wanted a place that would demonstrate his difference from his brother Rick, not typical California, but more of a retreat from the world. There’s a timelessness there I wanted to capture, and soul stirring beauty for his more laid back, urbane nature.

You tend to write contemporary/suspense novels about individuals who tend to escape into anonymity…what drives your passion to explore this arena?

It’s a good motif for suspense and allows secrets to be slowly unveiled, but it also speaks to my own inward journeys. Revelation happens in anonymity. Alone on a mountain trail with your thoughts pounding in the pulse in your ears....

How much of The Breath of Dawn comes from your background and experience?

Mainly Livie, patterned after my granddaughter Everleigh. She literally leapt from the pages. The rest of the story Morgan dictated, until Quinn took form and joined him. Quite a bit of Quinn’s background matches mine in essence, if not fact. The conman who preys on churches was purely imaginary.

How much research did The Breath of Dawn take?
 
I set a lot of the foundation in the previous books A Rush of Wings and The Still of Night. Birthed on a mountain trail as I listened to Morgan’s old playlist, this story flowed like magic. Pure joy.

Some of my other novels have required exploration of things like eidetic memory, labyrinths, rock climbing, and, in my current story, fire fighting. The Breath of Dawn is more an exercise in human nature, drawn from observation and interactions of life. In other words I hung out with the characters and didn’t complicate things much.

 

What are the most interesting facts that you learned while researching and writing The Breath of Dawn?

That you can take a video tour of the Eiffel Tower on the internet.

What other new writing projects do you have on the horizon?

My current work is a wildland fire story set in my fictional town of Redford, Colorado—from Indivisible and Indelible. It has returning characters like police chief Jonah Westfall, and new leads in the incident commander Nash Crawford and Hotshot captain Eva Cruz. After the Waldo Canyon fire that devastated our neighborhoods, it’s life informing art. But tons of research on that one.

I also have a romantic comedy I’m playing with. Wow is that a departure—of the very best sort.

What message would you like your readers to take from reading The Breath of Dawn?

There’s a strong theme of fatherhood demonstrated in Morgan’s care for Livie reflecting God’s love for us. And there’s a wonderful element of restoration even after debilitating grief. And of course and always, surrender.

What are some of the challenges you face as an author?
 
Concentration. I used to get lost in the story and let magic happen. Now with so much marketing and social networking, it’s hard to keep the continuity. I love the communication aspect, but I’m deplorable at self-promotion.

Who is the person who most influences your writing?

I have several pre-readers, but the most influential is a former pastor, sheriff’s chaplain, and counselor I met at a conference I keynoted early on in my writing career. He has slogged through draft after draft with me, giving balms of encouragement and keen insight.

What aspects of being a writer do you enjoy the most?

Getting to know the people in my head.

What do you do to get away from it all?

Hike, read, create art, watch shows with lots of story and good characters.

What were your favorite stories as a child?

Heidi, The Snowstorm, Lord of the Rings, and all the millions of books from the bookmobile.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Writing’s a grand adventure I’m eternally blessed to experience. I’m so grateful to my readers and supporters who make it possible.

 


 

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