Monday, March 11, 2013

Food and Romance Make a Perfect Pairing in Kimberly Kincaid's New Release, Love on the Line

Food is sexy.

Who could forget Mickey Rourke and Kim Bassinger, at the height of their hotness, feeding each other fruit and honey in 9 ½ Weeks? Jennifer Beals taking indecent liberties with a lobster tail in Flashdance? Alan Bates peeling and devouring a ripe fig at a Victorian garden party while scandalously comparing it to an intimate part of the female anatomy in Women in Love?

Few commonplace human activities stimulate all the senses to such a pleasurable degree as eating. Taste is the most obvious, but the other senses are equally involved. The vivid colors of fruits and vegetables delight the eye. The delicious aromas of savory herbs tempt the nose. The crisp sound of biting into an apple is every bit as delicious as the burst of sweet, juicy goodness that follows. The unique gritty texture of pears or the silky slide of oysters over our tongues is as much a part of the experience as the flavor.

All things considered, it’s no wonder Kensington Press recently signed the talented Kimberly Kincaid to write a series of contemporary foodie romances. The first in her Pine Mountain novels is scheduled for release in October, but that’s not the only thing cooking for Kincaid (sorry, I couldn’t resist). Her debut novella, Love on the Line, was released this week to rave reviews. She recently collaborated on a Christmas anthology, The Sugar Cookie Sweetheart Swap, with Donna Kauffman and Kate Angell. It is scheduled for release this fall and is available for pre-order on Amazon. Kincaid is a 2011 Romance Writers of America Golden Heart® finalist and an active, enthusiastic member of the Washington Romance Writers, a chapter of the RWA. She and her husband live in Northern Virginia with their three daughters.

I interviewed Kimberly this week about her blossoming career, cooking habits, and her guiding philosophy in life… food is love. Kimberly is giving away a copy of her ebook Love on the Line to one of the commenters on this blog. The winner will be chosen at random.

Kate: Why did you choose food as the connective tissue for your Pine Mountain series?
Kimberly: In the very beginning, it happened quite selfishly! I love to cook, and I love-love to eat, and I needed my heroine to do a total 180 with her career as a real estate analyst. Becoming a chef worked, but as soon as I added it to the manuscript, it took on this whole new life and snowballed from there.

Kate: How many books are planned? 
Kimberly: The Christmas anthology kicks things off with a novella (does that count as half?) then there are three books in Kensington’s lineup for 2014. I do have more characters planned for the series, but it’s down the road a bit, so I don’t know how that will shake out. I’m hoping for six. For Love On The Line, my e-novella, there will be two. I’ve been a busy lady!

Kate: Tell me about the main characters.
Kimberly: The main characters in Love On The Line are gruff, rough police detective Noah Blackwell and sexy, soulful personal chef Violet Morgan. Violet is Noah’s partner’s twin, which makes things interesting when the kitchen heats up!

Kate: Have you been telling stories since you were a child, or did you come to it as an adult?
Kimberly: Oh yeah, I’ve been a storyteller since about birth. But my first big moment was when my 7th grade English teacher chose my writing prompt to read out loud in front of our class. We were asked how we might feel if we were the main character in the book we were reading at the time. I wrote mine from first-person, pretending to be the character. It just felt right to me. From there on in, I knew I had stories to tell!

Kate: What is your best food-related memory?
Kimberly: I come from a big Italian family on both sides, so there are too many to have a favorite. But I remember cooking with my mom a lot. She always let me help, even when it got messy. And I remember my grandmother Frances’s huge Italian dinners. I have never had eggplant Parmesan quite like hers.

Kate: What was the first thing your husband cooked for you? Were you impressed? Did it turn out to be the only thing he knew how to cook?
Kimberly: True story! I married my husband for a PB and J. I’d had a horrifically bad day, and when I came home from work, he made me the best peanut butter and jelly sandwich I’d ever had. We were living on a shoestring, and it was total comfort food, and I knew right then and there I was going to marry him. And I did!

Kate: Do you remember the first romance you ever read?
Kimberly: It was Forever, by Judy Blume. I read it so many times, the binding fell apart and I had to tape the pages back in. I wish I still had that copy.

Kate: How do you research your novels?
Kimberly: It depends on what my characters are up to. For Love On The Line, I actually did more non-food research because Noah is injured and I needed medical advice. But for The Sugar Cookie Sweetheart Swap, I took a truffle-making class to play with the pastry angle. But mostly, it’s trial and error in my own kitchen.

Kate: How has writing changed your life?
Kimberly: I’ve had many jobs, and most of them I’ve loved. But being a writer is part of me like my eye color. It just…belongs. And even on those writer’s block, crazy-bad days where I end up with negative word count and things fall apart, I still wouldn’t trade it for anything.

Kate: Are you addicted to the Food Network? Which shows do your DVR?
Kimberly: Okay, yeah. I really am! I love Iron Chef America and Chopped, and I have a secret crush on Guy Fieri. I want to ride around in his Camaro and go eat burgers with him one day on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives!

Kate: That's funny! My kids love that show. We were surprised one day when my husband's uncle showed up on an episode at a diner in Georgia. Last question. Who is sexier, Anthony Bourdain, Rocco DiSpirito, Jamie Oliver, Kayne Raymond, or Eric Ripert?
Kimberly: Oi! All of the above! No, really… I think Jamie Oliver (although they’re all really good choices). Jamie has a natural outlook on food that really appeals to me. And that mischievous smile doesn’t hurt him, either!

Use the following links to connect with Kimberly.

Twitter: @KimberlyKincaid

To preorder The Sugar Cookie Sweetheart Swap:
To order Kimberly's novella, Love on the Line:

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The Promise is available at Amazon at the following links:

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

The Queen's Youngest Daughter Finds Love in Mary Hart Perry's Victorian Thriller, Seducing the Princess

Kathryn Johnson, aka Mary Hart Perry, has released another title in her series of romantic Victorian thrillers inspired by the life of Queen Victoria’s daughters. I interviewed her this week about Seducing the Princess. She has generously offered to gift the first three readers to comment on this blog with a Kindle ebook copy of Seducing the Princess.

Kate: In your first novel of the series, The Wild Princess, you featured Princess Louise, a middle sister from among Queen Victoria's nine children. Who stars in your new book?

Mary: In Seducing the Princess, readers get a glimpse into the life of Beatrice, the youngest princess, referred to as "Baby" by the royal family. Because she was the last child, born just three years before Prince Albert died suddenly, her mother sheltered her to the point of smothering the poor girl. Worse than that, the queen made it clear that she expected "Baby" to remain unmarried and stay at her side as her companion until Victoria died. So... no love life, no sex life, no man at all in her life. That was the plan.

Kate: Did Beatrice object to these demands of the queen?

Mary: Not at first. It wasn't unusual for a youngest child to be expected to care for aging parents. But to give her entire life over, never being able to find a mate, that was the unfair part.

Kate: You said, not at first. I assume something happens to change the situation?

Mary: Yes. Although Beatrice didn't know it, her mother had actively worked to keep suitors away from her youngest daughter. But one young man, Henry of Battenberg, was persistent. He fell in love with Beatrice despite her awkwardness in public and her appearance, which was less than glamorous—thanks to the queen's insistence the poor girl dress in the most drab fashions and always in black or dark colors, in honor of her father's death so many years before. Henry saw something very special in Bea, loved her deeply, and did all he could to woo her, despite the queen's resistance.

Kate: How does a love story like this become a "thriller"?

Mary: That's where the fiction comes in. While researching Queen Victoria's extended family, I discovered that she not only didn't like her first grandchild, she feared for what he might do to hurt England and his father's country of Germany when he grew up and inherited their throne. Willy was rash, unpredictable, and cruel. He threw temper tantrums as a child and when he was a young adult, both his grandfather and father died within one year of each other, leaving him as the Emperor of Germany and Prussia. Although they were blood related, Victoria considered him dangerous. I took his real character (already quite villainous) and added fictional elements, imagining what he might do to spy on his grandmother and her court.

Kate: How did this espionage scheme involve Beatrice?

Mary: We see Willy (Wilhelm II) sending a young man who is just as ruthless as he is off to try to seduce Beatrice, the only unmarried daughter. If this young man, a Scot, can convince Bea to marry him, Wilhelm will have eyes and ears permanently placed within Victoria's family and court. As it turns out, the Scot will stop at nothing to get the job done.

Kate: So it's up to Henry to come to Bea's rescue?

Mary: In part, yes, but a lot of what happens is the result of Beatrice coming of age at this rather late point in her life. She's 27 years old, and very naive. But she's smarter and stronger than most people give her credit for. Ultimately, she will have to thwart Wilhelm's plot to infiltrate her mother's court—but if she succeeds, it will be at great cost.

Kate: Thank you for visiting today, on launching this latest Mary Hart Perry book. Will there be others?

Mary: Yes. I'm working on the third novel which will feature Vicky, the Crown Princess, eldest child of the family. She'll have a lot to deal with in her story, not the least of which is Jack the Ripper, the famous serial killer who terrorized all of London. If you enjoy the BBC series Ripper Street, this should be a fun story for you. Like the other two books, it involves a love story, royalty, and rich nineteenth century setting details with a rapidly paced plot. I'm looking forward to sharing it with readers—but first I need to finish writing it!

To order Seducing the Princess from, go to:
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