There's a new Queen in Charlotte - The Queen of Hearts author Kimmery Martin.
Her debut novel, described as a cross between Grey's Anatomy and Big Little Lies, is already generating a lot of buzz nationally even though its official launch date isn't until Feb. 13. A mix of medical drama and love gone wrong, it tells the story of pediatric cardiologist Zadie Anson and trauma surgeon Emma Colley, their friendship and a secret from their pasts.
Kimmery grew up in Eastern Kentucky. After graduating from Medical School at the University of Louisville and completing her internship and residency, she moved to Charlotte in 1998. It's where she met her husband, Dr. James Fleischli, a sports medicine surgeon at OrthoCarolina, and they are raising their three children here.
Although the two main characters are from Kentucky, Kimmery's novel takes place in Charlotte. The references to Charlotte are fun to read and her witty observations are spot-on. "It's a case of the saying write what you know," Kimmery says. "It didn't make sense to research another city when I could set it in a place that I knew well."
The book is dedicated to her mother, whom Kimmery credits with igniting her love of literature. "She got her Master's Degree at the University of Kentucky," Kimmery says. "She always took me with her to the library and I would load up on books."
Still a self-proclaimed book nerd, Kimmery loves reading so much that her website www.kimmerymartin.com is filled with her reviews of works by other writers. One of her favorite authors is Tom Wolfe; and she loves to read about science and technology, especially astrophysics. But she's also a fan of Bridget Jones's Diary. That personal literary mix is what makes her novel a success: It's well-written with a serious medical side, yet funny and soapy enough to keep it entertaining.
The grueling process of not only writing a novel but finding a publisher - especially one as coveted as Penguin Random House - is a major accomplishment. The majority of the reviews, including Publishers Weekly and Southern Living, have praised the novel, but the few less positive ones are hard for her to read. "You can't escape criticism," she says. "It took five years and I failed a lot along the way. But if you feel compelled to write a story that's in you, you will find a way to do it."
Kimmery is on hiatus from her longtime job as an ER physician at CMC-Pineville and CMC-Mercy to promote her novel. Here are upcoming opportunities to meet her and learn more about her creative process.
January 25, 6-8 p.m.: Kimmery will join fellow authors Charles Thomas and Austin Light at Final Draught, a panel discussion moderated by Queen City Forward director Amy Chiou. Presented by The Friends Council, it benefits the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library Foundation. $10 in advance; $15 at the door. Includes light bites; beer and wine may be purchased. 7th Street Public Market, 224 E. Seventh St. For tickets, click here.
11 a.m. Feb. 13: A Luncheon/Book Signing at Quail Hollow Club. Ticketed event.
6:30 p.m. Feb. 13: A Book Signing with wine and cheese at Morrison Regional Library, 7015 Morrison Boulevard. Free. To RSVP, click here.
Noon-1:30 p.m. Feb. 22: Author Luncheon at Flatiron Kitchen + Taphouse. hosted by Main Street Books in Davidson. Tickets are $30 and must be purchased by Feb. 20. For details, click here.