Updated: Aug 12, 2022
Adventure, self-discovery, and love are at the heart of award-winning author Stacy Gold’s latest book, Wild at Heart. The story revolves around Jules Martinez and Evan Davenport, who cross paths while hiking the Pacific Crest Trail in pursuit of finding themselves. Sparks fly as some sort of divine intervention continues to push the two of them together. Their relationship quickly becomes steamy, but will their bond be strong enough to last outside of the trail?
In a charming take on the damsel in distress trope, Jules saves her kind-hearted male counterpart from his lack of preparation for the arduous journey. With the characterization and witty dialogue, Gold certainly hits the mark. What distinguishes Wild at Heart is the author's undeniable skill for capturing detailed, striking scenery illustrations. The depiction of the world surrounding the main characters will have you seeking the perfect outdoor adventure.
To learn more about the story behind the story, read A Good Book To End The Day’s interview with the author below.
When did you start writing? Was it something that came to you naturally or was it developed over time?
I’ve always loved to write, but as a kid, I mostly wrote poetry and personal essays. By the time I hit college I discovered I had a real knack for organizing information and writing school papers. After graduation, I sort of fell into writing marketing copy and writing for outdoor magazines. That led to running my own marketing and copywriting firm for about 12 years. I didn’t discover I wanted to write fiction—and specifically romance—until about eight years ago after reading some great contemporary romances. Despite all my writing experience, I spent a few years learning how to write fiction and how to write steamy, contemporary romance.
Tell us a little about Wild at Heart and the story world you've created.
Wild at Heart is a steamy, contemporary adventure romance that's a modern-day flip on the usual damsel in distress story, with the heroine rescuing the hero while they’re both backpacking solo on the Pacific Crest Trail in Washington. So, it’s a world of rainforests and craggy mountains and crystal clear alpine lakes just made for skinny dipping. Because every good romance needs excuses for the main characters to end up naked…
What do you hope readers take away from your story?
Hope and joy and inspiration for living your own best life on your own terms.
I read that you enjoy character-driven stories. How do you create characters who are intriguing and relatable enough to drive a story?
Because characters form the backbone of all my stories, I spend a lot of time getting to know them. To do that, I build out a spreadsheet for every main character that includes more than sixty entries. I detail everything from their physical details, to their upbringing and family life, to things like their greatest fears and disappointments, and their biggest unfulfilled dreams. By the time I’ve done all this, they’re well on their way to becoming real people who happen to live in my head, then they get even more fleshed out on the page.
Can you give us a tease about the upcoming novels in the Wild Love series?
Since these books center around three women who are best friends, each book is one of their journeys to finding love. This first book was Jules’s. The next one will be Aly’s story—which is very much opposites attract, and the third book will be a second chance at love for Bryn.
Here’s a little taste of each of those…
Book 2 - Drive Me Wild
When opposites attract, will their differences drive them apart?
Top Realtor Aly Teller only agrees to go on her girlfriends’ hike-a-thon backpacking trip because it’s a fundraiser for her bestie’s new summer camp. Hiking with a guy she barely knows is not part of the plan. Especially one who makes her skin tingle every time they touch even though he is SO not her type.
Carpenter Noah Eisen can’t wait to enjoy a couple days of solitude during the hike-a-thon. He has zero interest in playing guide—especially to a gorgeous but clearly high-maintenance southern belle city girl. But an emergency forces their friends to hike out early, and without thinking, he offers to do exactly that.
When their hike goes horribly wrong, they realize they’ve misjudged each other, and the spiking attraction between these two opposites grows. Can what’s drawing them together prove stronger than the differences shoving them apart?
Book Three - Wild About You
Without trust, there can be no love.
Bryn Jones has finally built Teller Jones Realty into a business that can thrive without her daily presence. So, she throws herself into her passion—leading kids’ backpacking trips for Inner City Outings (ICO) and planning the annual fundraising gala. The last thing she expects is the one-time love of her life to suddenly reappear as a fellow board member and trip leader.
Climbing guide Jamie Stanton never planned on returning to Seattle, because returning means revisiting his past and the Rainier-size mountain of guilt he carries. But his boss wants to open a Washington outpost, and his Seattleite dad just had a stroke, so he’s back. He has no idea volunteering at ICO will bring him face-to-face with the most painful parts of his life—the woman he loved, the reason he left, and the damage done.
Can they move beyond their traumatic shared history and learn to trust and love each other again?
Picture this: You've been sitting at the computer for an hour and haven't accomplished anything. How do you spark your creativity?
I go for a walk or bike ride with my dogs, or hop on my bike and run errands. Getting outside and being active has always been the best ways for me to reset my brain. If I’m on a hard deadline, a lot of times simply reading the last bit of what I’ve already written will spark my creativity and I’ll be writing or editing with ease by the time I’m done.
How do you celebrate when you finish a book?
I always take a break from writing, first and foremost, and read something for fun. Typically, I’ll also plan something special with my husband, That might just be dinner out somewhere. Ideally, we’ll head into the mountain to kayak or ski or mountain bike.
What does literary success look like to you?
A long time ago I decided I’d know I’d really made it when I got to be a guest on NPR’s Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me. Since that may or may not ever happen, right now success looks like reviews that show readers got what I was trying to say and loved my books—which means I’m very successful. But earning enough to pay all the bills would be a nice symbol of success as well.
Follow The Author