Carol here! It’s my great pleasure to welcome guest blogger Brandy Bruce to the InspyRomance blog today! Check out her current HeartSong release! And foooooooooood! What more do you need to know?! ;)
Chunks of succulent lobster cooked to perfection and linguini—all tossed together in a thick, tart, parmesan-infused cream sauce that makes you close your eyes and say, “Mmmm!”
This happens to be one of the meals from my novel Table for Two! Needless to say, I had to keep lots of snacks on hand while I was writing my foodie-inspired series for Heartsong Presents. Let me start by saying that I love to write stories. This has been true since I was about twelve years old, and my love for writing has only increased over the years. I’ve found that it’s added fun when I blend my favorite things into my writing. For example, I’m a Food Network addict. I love watching Chopped, the Pioneer Woman, and Cupcake Wars. Amid my love for cooking shows and competitions, an idea started forming in my mind. What if a food critic met a cute Italian chef for whom she was writing a review about . . . but she didn’t know he was the chef? And voilà, a story is born!
There are some writers who stick to a “write what you know” motto. Others dive headfirst into research and write about history or any number of topics. There’s an element of research with anything (because we can’t be experts at everything!), but one thing is foundational for me: “write what interests you.” My first novel, Looks Like Love, incorporated travel elements throughout. I was inspired by Robin Gunn’s Sisterchick series. I enjoyed that series because I love travel. And while travel isn’t all that feasible at this point in my life (I have two small children), that’s one of the beautiful things about books. I can go anywhere through a novel. For my series with Heartsong Presents, I explored my love of all things delicious! All three books have a food theme woven throughout. I love writing romance because it connects with women on an emotional level; reading a good romance novel can be satisfying and uplifting. Adding in fun themes like food or travel or movies or Jane Austen (or whatever!) makes the writing process that more fun.
When incorporating culinary themes, description is important. You want the reader’s mouth to water as she reads about that cherry cassata torte or those maple-bacon breakfast sandwiches. While I was writing, I thought about specific dining experiences that have been memorable for me and then considered what it was about those nights that stood out to me. The atmosphere, the company, the details of the meal, the service—a lot goes into a fun and satisfying dining experience.
Beyond being a Food Network fan, I love to entertain. I’m not the greatest at it (thank goodness for Pinterest!), but I love having people over for dinner. Whether it’s been a crazy week and we just order pizzas and have friends over to unwind on a Friday night, or it’s a carefully planned dinner party with special place settings and a delectable meal, I love sharing life together with friends across the table. Part of the reason why I decided to make food an important element of this series was because of the way food can bring people together.
In my second book with Heartsong Presents, The Second Chance Café, I wrote about a fireman who buys a café. Restaurant ownership is something I’m somewhat familiar with because my maternal grandmother owned a very successful Mexican restaurant in Harlingen, Texas, for around thirty years. It was a large, round-the-clock, 24-hour-open restaurant. (My grandmother was and is a woman with a lot of energy to say the least!) For a time she owned two large restaurants in that same town. My aunt then opened a Mexican/American café in Houston, Texas. So a love for food and an interest in restaurant ownership is in my blood, I suppose.
An interesting tidbit about the series is that I use several names from my mother’s side of the family in the books (as a way to honor my Hispanic heritage). I write about “family dinners” in books one and two, and this stemmed from memories of sitting around the table with my own family, with the spicy smells of Mexican rice and tamales inundating our senses.
Food and books—you can’t go wrong with that, in my opinion.
*Leave a comment (include your email address so we can contact you) to enter to win a copy of Second Chance Café!
Carol again! Oh, I think I’m hungry! Thanks for joining us, Brandy! We’ll leave the contest open through 8/8/14 and will post the winner on 8/10/14.