1. Tell us about your newest release.
Louisa: On the Steamy Side is the second book in my Recipe for Love series; it’s connected to my debut culinary romance, Can’t Stand the Heat, but if you haven’t read that one, don’t worry about it. On the Steamy Side can definitely be read as a stand-alone story! It’s about jaded, cynical celebrity chef Devon Sparks, whose entire life is being turned inside out. Here’s the blurb:
She’s Never Met A Man So Mouth-Watering
When Lilah Jane Tunkle fled her dull life in Virginia for the bright lights of New York City, she didn’t expect to wind up a nanny to a gorgeous celebrity chef’s ten-year-old son. Working for the delectable Devon Sparks is a sure-fire recipe for disaster, especially after Lilah gets a tantalizing taste of his perfectly seasoned kisses . . .
And He Can’t Resist Her Down-Home Spice
Devon’s not sure he can handle one more surprise ingredient in his life—he left his popular TV show, his culinary reputation is on the line, and now the son he barely knows is back for seconds. Lilah’s Southern sass is supposed to keep the boy in line, but soon enough she’s teaching Devon a thing or two about homespun food . . . and turning up the heat.
2. Can you tell us a little about your favorite scene in the story?
Louisa: Ooh, that’s a tough one! I think I’d have to go with the scene where Lilah finally confronts Devon about his reasons for having been so hands-off with his son. Devon’s answers are not at all what she wants to hear, but Devon is unflinching about casting himself as the villain of the piece, and it becomes a real turning point in their relationship. It was exciting to write, because it felt fresh and different, and I’m proud of the way it turned out.
3. When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
Louisa: I think all writers are readers first. I got addicted to romance novels at a young age, stealing Harlequins out of my grandmother’s suitcase. As I devoured stories of knights, princesses, billionaire tycoons, and cowboys, the desire to spin my own stories grew in the back of my mind. I got sidetracked for a while by becoming a junior editor at a major publishing house, which was a job I totally adored. I learned a ton and enjoyed it a lot, but when we moved away from New York, I knew the time had come for me to give writing a real try.
4. Where do you get your information or ideas for your stories?
Louisa: I get inspiration from a lot of different sources—cooking TV shows, chef memoirs, cookbooks, and my own experiences in restaurants and in the kitchen.
5. What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
Louisa: I’d say my favorite quirk is my fondness for romantic subplots—I just can’t get enough of them! They can be used to explore pairings that push the envelope of mainstream romance, a way to play with fresh, exciting stories that you might not otherwise have the chance to explore. I love to read them, and I love to write them.
6. What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
Louisa: I was surprised to learn how willful characters can be sometimes. When I was an editor, I tended toward skepticism when authors would complain about their stubborn characters who wouldn’t do what they were supposed to. I would think to myself, “You’re the writer! Just write it the way you want it to be!” Now I understand a little better. It’s not that the characters are so intractable, it’s that sometimes the author’s subconscious sees through the story plan to what the core of a character should be. If you’re open to that kind of discovery, it can be both a revelation and a complete pain in the behind.
7. What authors or friends influenced you in helping you become a writer?
Louisa: My agent, Deidre Knight, was the one who first told me to quit writing to a trend and to write a book I felt truly connected to, and it was absolutely the advice that led to selling the Recipe for Love series to St. Martin’s Press. Before I started it, I was sure no one in NY would want a culinary romance with a chef hero—but it matched my interests so perfectly, I decided to write it for myself, without worrying about hitting the market or what an editor might think. It’s important to know your genre and your market, but getting too hung up on the current trends can be very stifling, creatively.
8. What does your family think about your career as a published author?
Louisa: My husband is wonderfully supportive and one of my first readers when I finish a draft of a manuscript. My other early readers? My mother and my sister. My writing career is a family affair!
9. Besides writing, what other interests do you have?
Louisa: Well, I love to cook, and I love to try new foods, which goes well with my interest in travel. Traveling is hard on my deadlines, though, so I try to supplement by being adventurous in what I cook. Every year, I set myself a culinary goal, either to attempt an unfamiliar technique, like making a terrine, or to tackle something I’m a little afraid of, like shucking oysters or boiling a lobster. Keeps things interesting!
10. Can you tell us about what's coming up next for you writing wise?
Louisa: The third Recipe for Love novel goes on sale August 31st. Just One Taste is the final book in what I’m calling the Market Trilogy, the first three books of the series, all of which center around the kitchen crew of a Manhattan eatery called Market. My next trilogy will be out in 2011, and it follows a group of talented, passionate young cooks as they compete for the title of Best American Chef. I’m so excited about everything that’s coming up with this series, and I hope readers are, too!
You can read all my Recipe for Love novels as stand-alones—and be just fine. But I know a lot of readers like to start a series at the very beginning, so from me to one lucky commentator today: an autographed copy of Can’t Stand the Heat, my very first Recipe for Love novel!
Thanks for being our guest and giving away a terrific prize!
To learn more about Louisa Edwards, go to www.louisaedwards.com
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