I’m delighted to welcome author Kate Meader here today for an interview and a look at her new contemporary romance, Feel the Heat. Don’t forget to enter Kates’s blog tour giveaway for a chance to win some great prizes!
Hi, Kate. Happy release day! Tell us a little about Feel the Heat:
Feel the Heat is the first in my Chicago-set Hot in the Kitchen series centered around an Italian restaurant-owning family and the sizzling, sexy chefs who love them.
If you can’t stand the heat . . .
Photographer Lili DeLuca spends all her time managing her family’s Italian restaurant, instead of following her dream of getting an MFA. When famous British chef Jack Kilroy unexpectedly challenges her father to a cook-off, Lili decides she’s tired of playing it safe and vows to seduce the tempting Brit. But once a video of her and Jack kissing goes viral and her luscious butt starts trending on Twitter, Lili fears she’s cooked up a recipe for disaster . . .
Get into the bedroom
Jack Kilroy’s celebrity has left him feeling used and used up. While Lili’s oh-so-sexy moans when she tastes his delicious creations turn him on, he’s even more aroused by how unimpressed this beautiful, funny woman is with his fame. He knows they could be amazing together, if she could only see past his bitch fork-wielding fan base. Now, as he’s about to start a new prime time TV cooking show, can Jack convince Lili to realize her own ambitions – and turn up the heat in his kitchen?
What inspired this story?
I’m a big fan of chef memoirs, cooking shows, and culinary romance. There’s something about a strong, in-charge leader in the kitchen becoming undone by love, and any guy who knows how to seduce with food—and a few well-chosen words—just sets my heart aflutter. I also wanted to examine the perils of fame and how the anonymity of the Internet allows consumers a weird measure of ownership over people they don’t know. That all sounds very serious, but the Feel the Heat is really a funny take on a love affair played out in the public eye. With pasta.
What are you working on now? Do you have any releases scheduled for this year?
I’m working on Book 3 of the Hot in the Kitchen series about Tad DeLuca, the cousin of my heroine in Feel the Heat, and Jules Kilroy, the sister of my hero. It’s a friends-to-lovers story and I expect it will be released by the end of 2013. Before that, Feel the Heat will hit e-shelves on May 7, and All Fired Up about Cara, Lili’s sister, and Shane, a hot Irish pastry chef, will be out on August 6. So three books in one year—I’m pretty excited!
Can you share with us “the call” story?
Feel the Heat had been out on submission to publishers for about two weeks when my agent called and said we had three offers! Better yet, one of them—Grand Central—wanted to pre-empt, which means they make an offer that encourages us to take the book off submission. My husband was with me as we went back and forth with publisher negotiations, and by the time it was all hammered out it was 6:30 on a Friday evening—and I was ready for a nice, stiff drink. We headed out to my favorite French restaurant and toasted with Kir Royales. Then I started panicking about coming up with the next book because you can take as long as you like on the first one, but once you have that contract, you are a business!
Where do you start when writing? Research, plotting, character, or…?
Character, for sure. It takes me a long time to figure out plot and I need to work my way in, go down a few wrong roads (um, ditches), and learn how someone might act in a given situation. I usually write long runs of dialogue without any tags or internalizations. My characters are talkers—they like bantering and sparring. Once I have a feel for how they speak and think, then I work out the plot.
Do you have a favorite hero and/or heroine in your books and why?
My favorite hero is Jack Kilroy from Feel the Heat—he’s British, arrogant, but also what I call “happy alpha.” Sure, he has a few hang-ups but for the most past, he’s pretty well-adjusted emotionally. He’s not afraid of what he feels or of making clear his desire for Lili. One of the stereotypes I wanted to play with is the idea that the British guy is reserved and uptight, keeping his upper lip stiff, while the Italian woman is feisty and mouthy and in touch with her outsize emotions. In Feel the Heat, it’s the other way around. Jack is actually more Italian than any guy Lili has ever met which throws her because her family are not the stereotypical Italian huggers and cheek pinchers. It was a lot of fun to write.
My favorite heroine is actually Cara from Book 2, All Fired Up (out August 6). She’s a recovering anorectic who has always felt disconnected from her food-obsessed restaurant-owning Italian family. I thought the best form of torture would be to throw her in the path of a hot, young, Irish pastry chef. My heart broke a million times while I was writing her story, but for every tear there was a laugh delivered by her soul mate, Shane.
What is your favorite scene from this story and why?
My favorite scene in Feel the Heat is when Jack shows up at Lili’s apartment with a drunken Frenchman in tow, an apology on his lips, and a song in his heart. Unfortunately, his one flaw is the worst singing voice on either side of the Atlantic. Doesn’t stop him from drawing Lili to the street so he can show her one of the two things he does best—and this one ain’t cooking!
What is your favorite food to cook or eat?
Pasta! My (Irish-American) husband makes it from scratch so I’m very lucky.
What do you like to read?
I’m a big fan of contemporary romance, especially if it’s funny a la Kristan Higgins, Julie James, or SEP. I dabble in historical, too. Auto buys are Tessa Dare, Julie Ann Long, and Sherry Thomas.
What don’t most people know about you but you would like to share?
I’m a real live Irish person! I’ve lived in the United States for twenty years and my Irish accent isn’t as strong as it once was, so most people don’t pick up on my origins immediately. The brogue returns when I’m tipsy, furious, or chatting with my mother on the phone. Though she’s more likely to call me a Yank first—just to get it out of the way!
These are few of my favorite things:
1. my Kindle
2. my husband’s smile
3. Irish chocolate (sorry, American chocolate can’t compare!)
Thick black hair, green eyes flecked with gold, and a face straight out of a Renaissance painting were his most obvious assets. Lili postponed the full-body browse because she knew she was in trouble. Big trouble.
It was him.
He touched the back of his head, a not-so-subtle reminder of her transgression, and placed the pan down with all the care of someone disposing of a loaded weapon. His wave at the countertop behind her cut the music abruptly. Probably a skill he had acquired during an apprenticeship with the dark side of the Force.
“You all right, sweetheart?” he asked in the casual tone of one who doesn’t really care about the answer. He pocketed an iPod remote and made a halfhearted move toward her. She held up the okay-hand. Too late, buster.
Lowering her eyes to check the girls, she exhaled in relief. No nip slips. She jumped to her feet, surreptitiously rubbed her sore rump, then cast a glance down to her red knee-high Sandro boots for inspiration. Nothing doing.
You’re wearing a Wonder Woman costume and you just went all-out ninja on one of the most famous guys in the Western Hemisphere.
At last, she raised her eyes to his face, now creased in a frown.
“I know who you are.”
Lili figured anyone sporting a painted-on outfit like she was probably had, oh, a ten-second ogle coming her way. Her ego might have taken a shot along with her behind, but she knew she had started the evening looking pretty darn good. Hell, four out of the five flabby-muscled Supermen at the party had thought so. With her overweight teens firmly in the past, she’d since embraced her size 14 figure, and on the days she felt less than attractive—for every woman suffered days like those—she had enough friends telling her to own it, girl, revel in those curves.
So here she stood, owning and reveling, while simultaneously forging a somewhat unorthodox path for feminism with her own leering appraisal.
Jack Kilroy’s extraordinarily handsome mug was already branded into her brain. Not because she was a fan, heaven forbid, but because her sister, Cara, was constantly babbling about its perfection, usually while nagging everyone she knew to watch the cooking show she produced for him, Kilroy’s Kitchen. (Monday nights at seven on the Cooking Channel—don’t forget, Lili!) A hot-as-a-griddle Brit, he had risen to stardom in the last year, first with his TV show, then with his bestseller, French Cooking for the Rest of Us. And when not assailing the public with his chiseled good looks on food and lifestyle magazines, he could invariably be found plying his particular brand of brash foodie charm on the daytime talk-show circuit. He wasn’t just smokin’ in the kitchen, either. Recently, a contentious breakup with a soap star and a paparazzi punch-up had provided delicious fodder for the tabloids and cable news outlets alike.
The camera might add ten pounds, but in the flesh, Jack Kilroy was packing the sexy into a lean six-and-change frame. The matching set of broad shoulders didn’t surprise her, but apparently the tribal tattoo on his right bicep did, judging by the shiver dancing a jig down her spine. It seemed so not British and just a little bit dangerous. Her gaze was drawn to his Black Sabbath T-shirt, which strained to contain what looked like extremely hard, and eminently touchable, chest muscles. Sculpted by years of lugging heavy-duty stockpots, no doubt. Long legs, wrapped in a pair of blue jeans that looked like an old friend, completed the very pleasant image.
Jack Kilroy was proof there was a God—and she was a woman.
“Is that your usual MO? Frying pan first, questions later?” he asked after giving her the anticipated once-over. He had used up his ten seconds while she had stretched her assessment to fifteen. Small victories. “Should I hold still and let you use your lasso to extract the truth from me?” He gestured to the coil of gold-colored rope hanging through a loop on her hip. If he expected her to act impressed by his knowledge of the Wonder Woman mythology, he’d be a long time waiting.
Maybe she was a little impressed.
I will be doing a Rafflecopter giveaway during the Feel the Heat release tour. One grand prize winner will get a Feel the Heat Swag Bag containing a Supper Hero-Wonder Woman apron, a Feel the Heat tote bag, a Vespa-shaped pizza cutter, a “Grate Love” cheese grater, heart-shaped measuring spoons, a Feel the Heat fridge magnet, and a recipe card for goat cheese caramel gelato. I’ll also be giving away smaller swag bags of assorted kitchen utensils and more!
Enter here: a Rafflecopter giveaway
or directly at my website here: http://katemeader.com/blog
And now, a question from Kate for all of you: Even the best cooks have cooking disasters in their past – tell me about one of yours.
Kate writes contemporary romance that serves up delicious food, to-die-for heroes, and heroines with a dash of sass. Originally from Ireland, she cut her romance reader teeth on Catherine Cookson and Jilly Cooper novels, with some Mills & Boons thrown in for variety. Give her tales about brooding mill owners, oversexed equestrians, and men who can rock an apron, and she’s there. She has a bachelor’s in law (useless), a master’s in history (not as useless), and another master’s in library and information science (yay, using). When not writing about men who cook and the women who drool over them, she works in an academic library. Her stories are set in her adopted home town of Chicago, a city made for food, romance, and laughter – and where she met her own sexy hero.
You can find Kate here:
You can find Feel the Heat here: