You meet all kinds of people in this business and those people write every type of book, genre, angle you can imagine. Kimberly Kincaid is a RWA chapter-mate of mine (who morphed into a critique partner and bestie) who writes “foodie romance”. Honestly, I’d never heard of such a thing until I started reading her stuff and the other foodie writers she suggested. So I thought it would be a great idea to talk to her about this sub-genre and how she avoids health code violations when things heat up in the kitchen!
Robin: You write “foodie” romance – what is that? Why am I always hungry when I read your stuff?
KK: Where I come from, hungry is an occupational hazard! Essentially, foodie romance incorporates food and the food industry into the thematic elements of a love story. My stories are about chefs, caterers, restaurant managers…you get the idea. But, for me, foodie romance fits under a really broad umbrella. It can be as simple as a heroine who loves to bake cookies for her friends, or a hero who’s the king of the backyard grill. If the food plays a defining role for one of your characters, that works.
Robin: Are you a plotter or a pantser? What types of things inspire a story for you?
KK: I’m a plotter, although if my stories take me off the path, I tend to let them just to see where things go. I get inspired by lots of things! Food (no shocker there) is a biggie—I cannot watch a single cooking show without jumping up a scribbling something in a notebook for later. I’m also very inspired by music. In fact, each of my books has a theme song, and whenever I’m stuck for ideas, I drive around with the radio blasting. It’s my go-to cure for writer’s block.
Robin: Do you have rituals or things you have to do to get in the mood to write?
KK: I’m a morning person, so I must have coffee to get started, but I like to sit right down and go while my brain is fresh. I have this horrible, ancient, faux-leather desk chair that I refuse to get rid of, much to my husband’s chagrin. I find it very hard to write when I’m not planted in it. But I love to write—it doesn’t take much to get me in the mood!
Robin: I know you use food and/or the kitchen as setting in your novel – how do those things inspire the things your characters do in your story?
KK: Food is so evocative—it honestly shapes everything about how the characters come to exist and evolve in my books. On both sides of my family, food is love, nourishment for the soul. My characters all live by that mantra, and their love stories are enriched by what they put on the plate as well as what they put on the line.
Robin: The gift-giving season is upon us. What are some of your favorite romance novels that we could slip in stockings and put under the tree?
KK: There isn’t enough space for this! Of course, your book, A Night of Southern Comfort makes the list along with Tracy Brogan’s hilarious debut, Crazy Little Thing, and Avery Flynn’s super-sexy Layton Family series. I also adore Louisa Edwards, Amanda Usen and Susan Donovan, and I’m dying to get my hands on Babycakes, Donna Kauffman’s latest Cupcake Club book.
Robin: What is it like to have the most awesome critique partner in the world? (yes . . .I mean me) But, since this can’t be all about me, please talk about how being a member of a critique group helped you develop your craft.
KK: Simply put, I’m sunk without you guys! You’re my sounding board, my crisis hotline, my bar-raisers, and my cheerleaders. It’s like five voices of reason and encouragement helping to shape what goes on the page. Having that to keep me in line from concept to finish is truly one of the most valuable things about the process for me.
Robin What is next for you?
KK: I’m thrilled to be part of Kensington’s Christmas anthology in 2013 with Donna Kauffman and Kate Angell, as a kickoff for my Pine Mountain series. The title is The Sugar Cookie Sweetheart Swap. You can check out an excerpt from my novella, Sugar and Spice, below. Then the full-length novels will follow in February 2014, April 2014, and June 2014. I’m so excited to share Pine Mountain’s sexy chefs with readers!
Have you read any great foodie romances lately? Is there a particular sub-genre that you love to read and write?
On Wednesday stop by for a fabulous re-run of an amazing Sara Megibow post!
Lily looked down at the three plates of shortbread triangles, complete with satiny criss-crosses of dark chocolate, and tried with all her might not to throw up. Their competition had presented first, and although the rules dictated one team couldn’t watch the others’ presentation, their ear-to-ear smiles as they passed through the green room said enough.
She and Pete were going to have to knock this thing out of the park if they wanted to win. And like idiots, they’d bucked a perfectly good plan.
“You want to present?” The low rumble of Pete’s voice pulled her back to the competition floor. “After all, you’re better-spoken than I am. Not to mention prettier.”
“All the sweet talk in the world won’t keep me from being furious with you,” she whispered, although the involuntary smile tugging at her lips made her the world’s biggest liar. Was it really too much to ask for that cocky little half-smile to be more aggravating than hot?
“It’s not sweet talk if it’s true. And you won’t be mad when we win.” His murmur curved around her ear, and he passed the tray of shortbread to an event staffer as the judges settled at the podium.
Lily’s jangled nerves took a backseat to her quiet snort. “I’m immune to your charm.”
Pete reached out, brushing her forearm with a light touch Lily felt on every inch of her skin.
“Just make sure the judges aren’t immune to yours, okay?”
Kimberly Kincaid writes contemporary romance that splits the difference between sexy and sweet. When she’s not sitting cross-legged in an ancient desk chair known as “The Pleather Bomber”, she can be found practicing obscene amounts of yoga, whipping up anything from enchiladas to éclairs in her kitchen, or curled up with her nose in a book. Kimberly is a 2011 RWA Golden Heart® finalist who lives (and writes!) by the mantra that food is love. She resides in northern Virginia with her wildly patient husband and their three daughters.