Torn Hearts, A Novel

CaSondra Poulsen
Torn Hearts, A Novel


Tate Publishing & Enterprises
Release Date
December 2010
Contemporary Romance

Caroline and Daniel have been drifting apart. Leaving on frequent business trips, Daniel shows little affection for his wife. When the failing marriage leads to suspicions and unfulfilled needs become a longing for more, Caroline struggles to mend Torn Hearts.

Sensing Daniel's emotional withdrawal and eager for peace, Caroline takes their nine-year-old daughter, Emily, for a summer visit to the grandmother who raised Caroline as her own. Gram provides a comforting stability and shares her own love story to Emily and her friend Rachel. Caroline's own story is just beginning. When she bumps into her high school friend Pete, his thoughtful ways soon endear him to her. Pete is everything she wants Daniel to be. He's sensitive, steady, and loves spending time with Emily. Discovering that Pete's feelings for her went beyond a high school friendship, Caroline finds herself becoming more and more attracted to him, and when it appears that Daniel's had an affair, Pete is reassuring and unwavering. But when Daniel returns to fight for their marriage, Caroline is torn between passion and obligation. Caroline must face the past she has run from and rise to meet the future before her. Can Caroline leave her daughter's father for a stronger love, or will duty bind her to a shell of a marriage? CaSondra Poulsen reveals the dawning of passion and the hidden depths of devotion in Torn Hearts.

Interview by Laura

Hi, CaSondra, and thank you for being with us this month to tell us all about your debut novel.

Q: What inspired you to write the story of TORN HEARTS?

My grandmother inspired me. TORN HEARTS is dedicated to her. I was fortunate to grow up near her and have countless memories of times spent with her. She has left a lasting impression on me and shaped who I am as a woman. I miss her dearly. She was a fabulous woman. Much of the grandmother in TORN HEARTS is based on her.

Q: I now see why Caroline was raised by her grandmother. What qualities and characteristics did Gram instill in Caroline that made her to be the person she is?

Although Caroline grew up with her grandmother, she doesn't see herself as possessing the same admirable qualities. Caroline highly esteems her grandmother but does not think she has the internal fortitude to become like her. As she triumphs over difficulties, slowly beginning to acknowledge the possession of more inner strength than originally thought, she becomes a courageous woman. A woman she is happy to live with.

Q: What must be going through Caroline as her marriage broke down?

She has failed. She's angry, confused, doubts herself, yet still longs to feel loved. Emily is her focus as she makes plans for divorce.

Q: What mark has this experience left on her soul?

Though she longs to feel loved, she believes herself to be inadequate and undeserving of the kind of love she desires. She longs to provide for Emily, giving her the kind of family she did not have growing up. Emily is the hope, the future that Caroline clings to.

Q: Tell us about Pete, and what makes him a swoon worthy hero?

He's attractive and charming, but what really makes him swoon worthy is the way he holds back his own desires for the sake of Caroline's well-being. He truly loves and cherishes her.

Q: What makes him perfect for Caroline?

In many ways, they are polar opposites. As they explore where their relationship is now and where it can go, it becomes clear he completes her.

Q: What's the most romantic thing that Pete did for Caroline?

He told her no.

I know it sounds odd, but it is true. You'll have to read it and find out what I'm talking about. Let me know if you agree.

Q: We certainly can't forget little Emily, Caroline's nine-year-old daughter. What can you tell us about her?

She is intelligent, resourceful, and pragmatic. At times she seems to understand life more than her mother. She has a heart open to love.

Q: What's your favourite scene? Why?

I have many, but if I must choose one it would have to be Caroline remembering a time from her past with Pete. It is such a sweet, innocent scene, one that causes you to think back to your own high school days and first love.

Here's a short excerpt:

Getting up from the table, I went outside to sit while the girls played. I lay back in the chaise and closed my eyes. How could I have missed how Pete felt about me? I thought about high school and the times Pete and I spent together. So many memories…

"Caroline, wait up!" Pete yelled, jumping off the stairs in front of the school. I stopped to wait for him as he ran up to me. "How's my girl doing today?" he asked, putting his arm around my shoulder.

"Late for singing lessons at the moment. What are you doing?" I started walking down the sidewalk, the leaves crunching under my feet. Pete continued next to me with his arm around my shoulder.

"Can I hang out at your place while you have lessons? We could do homework together afterwards if you want?"

"Sure, if you really want to, but it's Friday and I don't want to think about homework tonight. Can we do something else?"

A gust of cold wind blew, stirring up the leaves on the ground and reminding me I ran out this morning without a jacket; I shivered. Stopping, Pete dropped his book bag and took off his jacket.
"Here, put this on." He held up the jacket for me to put it on. It was warm and smelled like Pete.


"Anything for my best friend." He smiled, putting his arm around my shoulder again. "You know, Mom was telling me this week that she and Dad were best friends in high school before they got married."


"Yeah, she said it made the marriage better being such good friends. Maybe that will be us one day." Pete squeezed my shoulder. I looked up at him. He was grinning ear to ear. I didn't know if he was joking or being serious.

"Yeah, maybe. You're the only guy around that seems to put up with me." I elbowed him in the ribs. He stepped back and reached to hold my hand. We rounded the corner to Gram's house, and Pete started to swing our hands between us.

"You're a goof," I said as we climbed the steps to the porch. I took off his jacket and handed it back to him. "Are you sure you want to wait for me?"

"Absolutely, Mrs. Jacobs," he said, stretching out on the porch swing. He had pulled a baseball from his bag and started tossing into the air. I rolled my eyes at him just as Mom opened the door.

Q: Aw, he's so sweet! Which character was the most difficult to write? Why?

Caroline. In order to show her growth, I chose her to be a ‘runner' and afraid to be alone, both of which personally, I am not. It was a struggle at times to write from her viewpoint since it is contrary to my own. In spite of the challenge Caroline was for me, she is a loving mother, always thinking about what would be best for Emily. Those aspects of her character were quite rewarding to write. In the end, I think I grew as a writer. I hope that when others read about her they will relate with portions of her character and feel the growth she experienced.

Q: Please share with us an interesting behind the scenes fact or experience as you wrote this novel.

In researching houses in the Central West End to use as Gram's home, I found one I fell in love with and used as a foundation for Gram's house. I tried to convince Steve we needed to buy it. Of course he said no, but it did get him thinking about moving back to Missouri after the boys are grown.

Q: What did you learn as a writer in the course of writing TORN HEARTS?

Since TORN HEARTS is my first published novel I learned a great deal through the process. On a personal level, over the months spent writing, I learned I can get moody as I delve into the characters. I also came to know a deeper level of patience my husband has with me and promised myself not to test him so much on CALLING ME HOME. I failed. Now, we just accept that is part of the creative process for me. I am grateful to have a man in my life that gets me. He's definitely a keeper.

Once the manuscript was accepted, a whole new world opened up for me. There are many minds that went into getting TORN HEARTS on the bookshelves and I am grateful for their hard work.

Q: What's up for you in the coming months?

My second novel, CALLING ME HOME, will be released late summer or early fall this year. I'm excited to get it released. It is centered between Huntington Beach, California and Seward, Nebraska and it has a slightly darker tone than TORN HEARTS, making it a fun challenge to write. I am having a contest on my Facebook fan page for a free copy. All you need to do is cast your vote for which cover you like best! Check it out and let me know your thoughts. I love feedback!

Thanks a lot, CaSondra, and good luck on your new release!

I was born in St. Louis, Missouri and grew up in the little town of Fredericktown, Missouri. Currently I live in Lincoln, Nebraska with my loving husband and two teenage sons. My oldest son will be heading off to college this fall. My younger son is not so thrilled to know he will be getting all of my attention. I fully intend to enjoy doting on him since he will be graduating the following year. When I'm not writing and editing, I enjoy an array of crafty hobbies. I've tried to take up knitting, but I just end up making a mess. Maybe I'll try again when I am empty-nesting.


CaSondra Poulsen is giving away 1 paperback copy of TORN HEARTS (International)!


Simply write a comment or ask a question in the comment box below to be entered into the giveaway!

Contest ends June 30.

Winners will be announced in July.


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