The Next Big Thing Blog Hop

I’d like to thank Kim Emerson of for tagging us in the Next Big Thing Blog tour!!

The Next Big Thing Blog Hop with K.R. Hughes and T.L. Burns, authors of “What She Knew”

What is the title of your book? “What She Knew”
Where did the idea for the book come from? A few years back, while we were both still living in Amarillo, Texas, Kim (K.R.) was taking a writing class for published authors. Kim has always loved writing and journalism, and has written five historical novels set in the Regency Era of 1811. I (T.L.) was kind of dragged into the business. The author giving Kim’s class, Jodi Thomas, has over thirty historical romances and is a best-selling author herself.
Kim and I went to dinner the next evening after her first class with our spouses. She told us she really thought she was going to love the class and what her first assignment was: write about something that has never been written about. Well, after the laughter died down, because, really, what hasn’t been written about? We put our thinking caps on and started to throw around ideas in the ‘what if’ category.
At this time, Anna Nicole Smith had just died and everyone was comparing her life to Marilyn Monroe’s. So, after several minutes of banter, we came up with – what if Marilyn Monroe had lived and because of living, it changes the course of history and John F. Kennedy is saved from assassination? Kim loved the idea. Everyone knows that Marilyn has never died to the public, and neither has JFK for that matter. Here we have two iconic figures in history, never forgotten with a story just ready to be written.

What genre does your book fall under? Alternate History/Mystery (with a little bit of conspiracy thrown in!)

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition? We love this question, because we are shopping the script around right now!! Here’s our wish list for three main characters:
Marilyn Monroe ~ Scarlett Johanson or Amanda Tapping
John F Kennedy ~ Matt Damon or Matthew Perry
Frank Sinatra ~ Harry Conick Jr.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency? Book one (of the three-part series) came out in April 2012 and was published by Gator Creek Artists Entertainment. We are not sure who will be publishing book two or three. Book two is in the editing process and Kim and I are about to start on book three.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript? We had finished the first draft within seven months. Between families, jobs and volunteer work we were pretty proud of the fact that it took us less than a year to actually get it ready for publishing.
Give a one sentence synopsis of your novel: Marilyn Monroe lives; JFK plot foiled.

What other works would you compare your story to? It’s really a one of a kind. It seems that most of Alternate History works involve a time machine or black hole. Ours is simply picking up on the night of Marilyn’s death and saving her. We then put in a body double so the rest of the world believes she is dead, including her killer(s). The hero’s in the story must then find out why someone wanted her dead and who that someone was; all the while, trying to keep JFK from being assassinated.

Who or What inspired you to write this book? I’d have to say Kim’s instructor from the creative writing class she was taking at the time. Because I had helped Kim come up with the idea, she asked me to do the research and she would do the writing for this assignment that was due the following week. I said sure. I love research. We worked together that week (having a blast!), came up with what is now chapter two of the book and she presented it to the class. The class loved it along with her instructor, Jodi. Jodi told her that if she didn’t finish this and make it into a novel, she was an idiot. This had the makings to be a best seller.  This from a best-selling author no less.
Well, the rest is history as they say. She came home from class, shared what Jodi had said and promptly announced that ‘we’ were writing a book. ‘We’ says I????? I’m not a writer. “No,” she said, “but you are an excellent researcher.” Well, I’m not one to back away from a challenge. We worked together between family, jobs, volunteer work and friends and one year later had finished “What She Knew.”

What else might pique the reader’s interest?
After much thought, K.R. and I decided we would give you the pitch we have been asked to give to movie producers. We are working towards the movie being out sometime late 2013 or early 2014. She and I have already written the screen play for it, and it is being shopped around.
“What She Knew” is a fast paced novel of intrigue and mystery involving America’s favorite sex goddess, Marilyn Monroe. This book has all the elements of the next blockbuster hit. We weave a story of intrigue, mystery, and a touch of conspiracy. In this period piece; high-profile, never forgotten, iconic, historical characters are resurrected and showcased in a new light; bringing humor, depth and warmth to an all-star cast.
The fascination with Marilyn Monroe hasn’t died nor have the questions surrounding her death been fully satisfied. This August marked the 50th anniversary of her death and she is hotter than ever. She has millions of fans worldwide; over three hundred thousand Facebook fans, and nearly one hundred thousand Twitter fans – most of which are under the age of 24; which makes Marilyn more ‘alive’ today than she was in the early 1960’s.
Stars like Uma Thurman, who sang as ‘Marilyn’ during a guest appearance earlier this year on NBC’s “Smash”. Scarlett Johanson perfected the ‘Marilyn’ pout for a Dolce & Gabbana spring makeup campaign in 2010. Michelle Williams earned a Best Actress Oscar nomination for her 2011 portrayal of Marilyn in “My Week with Marilyn”. These are modern-day glamour girls who ‘got the look’ of Marilyn Monroe and made a big splash with the public.
Given the popularity and our research on Marilyn Monroe; we’ve simply utilized the events leading up to her death and added our own take on what happened. Following the historical timeline closely as well as the world events of the day, we have created a compelling novel of what if Marilyn had lived and ‘what she knew’ was enough to save John F. Kennedy from assassination.
We have fans of all ages and backgrounds that ask us all the time where is Marilyn Monroe? One of our reviewers had this to say, ‘A book that makes you wonder…”Could it really be true?”‘ Our hope is that you too have a similar reaction and have a hard time putting the book down as many other reviewers have shared.

Tag, you’re it!! Please take a moment and check out these other great authors! Next Wednesday, they will answer some of the same questions we did about the awesome books they are working on.  Thank you again Kim Emerson for inviting us to be a part of the Next Big Thing Blog Hop!

Daniel Neff:
Linda Bolton:
Kim Hughes:
Danny Kemp:
CJ West:


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