Flirts and Ever Afters, fun romantic reads!
Thanks for having me back at Books on the House to tell you about my latest story, Table For One.
I had so much fun writing this story because it’s all about one of my favourite things: food. I love trying new foods and new combinations and discovering tastes, textures and techniques. In the book, Ward is a top Michelin-starred chef which means he’s seriously good, and I had to give him food worthy of his credentials. Sadly, my research budget didn’t run to eating out at a lot of top London restaurants, but I did do a lot of drooling as I googled menus and looked at pictures of impossibly tempting delicious food.
One of my favourite UK chefs is Heston Blumenthal and I would absolutely love to eat at his restaurant, The Fat Duck, which is consistently rated in the top five restaurants in the world. He does incredible things with liquid nitrogen and vacuum jars and other scientific techniques in order to produce food that you wouldn’t believe is possible. His signature dishes include snail porridge and bacon-and-egg ice cream! Ward doesn’t go quite that crazy but I was certainly inspired by Blumenthal as I invented unusual and delicious food for his menu.
For Ward, food is both a sensual experience and an emotional one. Cooking the right thing for the right person at the right time is how he shows he loves them, so he’s just as happy in his own kitchen, baking bread or putting together the perfect bacon sandwich. Because the best meals aren’t always in the gourmet restaurants. Often, they’re the meals we eat at home, surrounded by the people we love, enjoying the comfort of familiar recipes and old favourites.
I hope you’ll enjoy reading Table For One as much as I enjoyed writing it, but I’ll warn you now, don’t read it on an empty stomach!
♥ ♥ ♥
As a child, my favorite fairytale was Cinderella. I love the idea of the work-ridden, badly-treated girl getting the prince. After a lifetime of ill-deserved prejudice, hardships, and pain—she deserves it.
That’s probably why I love the show Once Upon a Time, on ABC. Fairytales? Check. Princes and their Princesses? Check. Happily Ever After? Uh…no. But even so, I still watch it.
One night, after watching the show with my daughter, I opened my computer. When I write, I don’t plot or plan. I just let it all come out of me, nudged along by my bossy characters—some of which are a lot bossier than others. Not knowing what I was even going to write, I began the opening scene of On One Condition where Johanna is waking up from a rare night of alcohol and fun, only to find our hero, Damon, naked in her bed.
While he isn’t a prince, he sure is her Prince Charming. He’s an English Viscount, and he’s determined to win the overly-cautious Johanna over. She’s not having any of it, and kicks him out of her bed. But, as most Prince Charming’s do, he finds her again. And what does he do upon meeting her a second time? Why, he saves the girl—of course—and sweeps her off of her feet by asking her for her hand in marriage.
Hm…sound familiar? The funny thing, though, is that I had no idea it was a fairy-tale like romance until after I was done writing it, and after all the editing was done. The moment it hit me was when my publicist asked for a short description of it. I began typing, and the words “fairytale romance” popped up on my screen.
I stopped typing and blinked at it. Why had I written it was a fairytale romance of all things? Then it hit me. It is. It really is.
On One Condition became a fairytale romance without my even realizing it. And it made all of Johanna’s dreams come true—even if she didn’t have a Fairy Godmother on her side.
Or did she?
♥ ♥ ♥
I’ve never really envisioned myself to be an author. When I was younger, I was always told I should be a doctor or a dentist or lawyer. And you know when your parents tell you to do something, you do the complete opposite…
So I would envision myself to be a rock star or an actress—definitely not a singer since I can barely croak out a few notes—or I dreamed of being a diplomat who would serve their country and build relationships all over the world while speaking a million languages. Well, I did end up studying Chinese and Korean and East Asian History until I believed maybe I was meant to be a businesswoman instead, so I started working on my Master’s for International Marketing, but then I realized…
I just wanted to be a beach bum.
That’s what I did. I picked up my life and moved across the country and landed in Hawaii. I’ve lived there for three years, and that’s where my muse blossomed. Days of walking along the harbor, taking in the swaying palm trees and oversized hibiscuses, getting drunk on the soapy ocean breezes, and soaking up sunshine, I was in love. Not only with the island, but I found myself turning back to stories I’ve penned since I was nine.
This was the break I needed. I think I grew up too fast, focused too much on responsibilities and lost the vision I wanted for myself until I actually started to live my life. The journey into publication wasn’t easy. Now that I’m back on the mainland, my muse works even harder to inspire me, make me write, give me strength to keep reaching for my dreams. Working on True Connections has tested my abilities as a writer and also opened my eyes to the many possibilities in life. Moments like these only come along so rarely that when you see it, you have to grab it before it’s gone.
Seeing my name on a cover makes my heart do belly flops each time. I’ve never envisioned myself as a writer when I was younger even though I carried a pen and notebook everywhere with me without much thought to what I was doing. I only knew I wanted to run away and experience someone else’s life. But now, I wouldn’t want to be anyone but me. And I have to dedicate my success to you all. You’re the ones that truly keep my ideas flowing, my motivation high, and my faith in my dreams strong. Without you, there wouldn’t be me.
I thank you very much for all the support, wonderful friendships I’ve made over the years, and the opportunity to share my stories with you all.