The first time Carolyn and I met at a RWA conference there was an instant connection. We were sure we had met before. Doing this interview was like talking to an old friend.
In Shut Up and Kiss Me your heroine has two sexy Italian chefs fighting for her affection. When writing this book did you draw from your real life experiences as a trained chef? Are real events or characters you encountered written into this book?
Interesting question. I think as writers, we have to pull from personal experiences, whether they are ours or someone else’s. In this case, I can say the events were real but highly embellished.
There’s one scene I’ve included in the story where my heroine is graduating from culinary school, which takes place in the James Beard House. This is written exactly as I experienced it. It was so much fun to relive it all over again–it totally had me in the moment. Going to culinary school was like a dream come true for me, and despite the 4.5 hours of traveling back and forth from New Jersey to New York during one of the worst winters, it was the greatest experience of all time.
What do you prefer, writing or cooking?
You know what? I have a deep passion for both, but cooking becomes secondary when I’m writing. And when I’m trying out recipes, it takes me to another place and makes me happy and I realize how much I miss it.
That said, my upcoming series, Romancing the Chef’s Toque about romance and food gives me the best of both worlds because I’m writing a story I love, and I’m creating new recipes and trialing them, as well as sending them out to testers for feedback. When my testers give me their enthusiastic feedback, I’m bouncing off the walls with excitement.
The first book in the series will be released in February 2012 and I’ve included over 30 recipes in the series and made them part of the story. One profession isn’t better than the other; it’s the amount of time I have to invest in each, but that’s why I entertain a lot.
Did your experience as a chef give you enough background for this story or did you have to do research? It must be hard work tasting all those delicious foods.
My background and experience is pretty solid in the field, so very little research was necessary. I do have a few scenes that take place in culinary school where the instructor is giving facts about certain things—those were the only things I researched just to make sure I remembered them correctly.
Shut Up and Kiss Me is Carolyn's second book for Avalon Books. Cupid's Web, her first book is also set in New York City.
Carolyn also writes mysteries under the pen name, K.T. Roberts.
Visit her website http://www.carolynhughey.com