Inside Look at “Things Lost In The Fire” – A Contemporary Romance by Award-Winning Author Katie Jennings

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The story…

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Things Lost In The Fire began as a desire to write a story about both L.A. and rock ‘n’ roll royalty. We always hear about the tragic tales of children born into fame and fortune, those who seem to have everything and yet end up with so little in the end. Money doesn’t buy love, and in many cases the families fall to pieces due to greed, a lust for fame, or other vices that plague those in the rock ‘n’ roll world.

With Things Lost In The Fire, the heroine, Sadie, is the product of just such a family. Her parents are infamous rock stars from a legendary group called Albatross, and their volatile relationship and subsequent divorce scarred Sadie as a young teen. That, and the traumatic event that occurred because of her mother’s wild lifestyle, drove her away from Los Angeles for over a decade, seeking solace in the forests of Lake Tahoe.

It isn’t until she learns her mother is dying of cancer that she returns home, only to find that the city has so much more to offer than just heartache. In the arms of an old friend, she finds love. In the mystery of her past, she learns the eye-opening truth. And in the fame thrust upon her as she steps into the music scene, she falls victim to a dangerous stalker with nothing to lose.

The romance…

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sadieSadie McRae is a sweet, compassionate character. I thoroughly enjoyed writing her after tackling some of my more complex heroines like Madison Vasser (When Empires Fall) and Dr. Grace Sullivan (So Fell The Sparrow). Despite her upbringing in the oppressive shadows of her rock star parents, Sadie grows into a quiet, caring woman. But beneath her seemingly calm exterior is a girl yearning to share the music in her heart with the world. Unable to resist the desire, she creates an alias, Piper Gray, to vent the emotions she’s always held inside…emotions mostly revolving around her parents, the two people she both loves and hates the most in this world. When she returns to L.A., her secret is exposed and fame comes to her doorstep despite her never wanting it. She has to force aside her greatest fears and tackle her dream, but thankfully she has people at her side who love her. Though one, of course, throws a wrench in all her well laid plans…

brodyBrody Odell quickly became one of my favorite male leads to write. He’s snarky, street-smart, wild, and more than a little damaged. The son of one of L.A.’s top defense attorneys, Brody grew up in lavish Bel Air and openly rebelled every chance he got. He attended the same prestigious school as Sadie, where they met when they were young teens. He was drawn to her open, accepting nature, while she was fascinated by his fearlessness. After Sadie left L.A., Brody got into photojournalism and became one of the best, touring the world taking photographs of war-torn countries on the brink of revolution. After one such visit results in a horrific tragedy inadvertently caused by him, he returns to California, shamed and with blood on his hands. Having lost his career, he becomes a paparazzi to pay the bills. And as a paparazzi, he is anything but good for Sadie. Nonetheless, he finds himself drawn to her just like when they were young and vows to help her learn the truth about her past.

These two have such a special romance. They began as childhood friends, were separated by tragedy, then are reunited in the place where it all started. Both of them suffer under the weight of their parents’ grandeur, and in this they form an inseparable bond. Love and trust don’t come easily at first, but these two lost souls are destined to save one another in ways neither thought were possible.

The band…

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Sadie’s parents, Valerie Ryan and Ben McRae, belonged to a rock band called Albatross. In the spirit of Fleetwood Mac, Albatross’ music is both unique and legendary, making them one of the top bands of the twentieth century. Ben and his friend, bassist Tommy Barnes, created the band in their hometown of Boston in the mid-seventies, only to be joined by Californian Valerie Ryan and her at the time boyfriend, drummer Glenn Turner, four years later. Singer and keyboard player, Georgina Harris, completed the band just before their final move to Los Angeles. The rest, after that, is history.

Valerie and Ben came together with an electrified intensity. Their lyrics were inspired by their twisted, tortuous love affair and doomed marriage. They waged war with each other, all the while completely immersed in the fires of romance. In the end, the person who suffered the most was their only child, Sadie. While she fought so hard for their love and attention, they were committed to destroying one another. Even as the years passed and the band fractured in half (Valerie and Georgina stayed behind in L.A. while Ben took Tommy and Glenn back to Boston to continue on as Albatross), their rivalry remained strong.

It will take the threats upon Sadie’s life and her sudden emergence into stardom for the two of them to realize their mistakes and attempt to make up for them, though it may be too late.

Here are the lyrics for Albatross’ most famous song, “Dying In The City.”

Ben:

Father tells his son, he says

Go back now, just run away

This place isn’t safe no more

This city, she’s become a whore

Valerie:

City begs, boy please stay

Honey, don’t let your doubts get in the way

I love you, I need you

And like hell you need me too

Chorus, sung together:

This boy can’t leave

His blood runs in these streets

Those chains they bind too tight

He’ll never win this fight

He’ll just die in this damn city

Dying in the city, dying in the city…

Ben:

The devil holds the cards for you boy

He robs this town, runs this joint

You’ll never have the upper hand

Until you jump up and make a stand

Valerie:

Darling, sweet boy

Come back now, don’t you cry

I know your name, know your heart

And we will never be apart

Chorus, sung together:

This boy can’t leave

His blood runs in these streets

Those chains they bind too tight

He’ll never win this fight

He’ll just die in this damn city

Dying in the city, dying in the city…

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The music…

Lastly, in writing this book I had to create songs that Sadie would perform throughout the story. One of them, “All These Flames,” became the main catalyst for Sadie to explain her complicated feelings for her parents. My amazing friend Alex Meyering was kind enough to both create the piano music for this song and sing the lyrics I wrote. You can listen to her beautiful rendition of this song below.

Available on Amazon…

Things Lost in the Fire by Katie Jennings

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