Guest Kimberly Kincaid: The (Other) F-Word
Posted by Amanda Brice Mar 7 2013, 12:01 am
Today I have the great pleasure of welcoming my friend and chaptermate, the fabulous Kimberly Kincaid, to the Ruby blog. You may know her from her popular Friday Man Wars with Robin Covington and Avery Flynn. But I decided to invite her to come hang out with us today because she knows what the Rubies know (as evidenced by our freebie cookbook, Eat, Read, Love — food can be an important part of a romance novel!
Kimberly is a 2011 Golden Heart® finalist who lives (and writes!) by the mantra that food is love. Her contemporary romance 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’s debut e-novella, Love On The Line, is available now from Amazon. She is also thrilled to have collaborated on a Christmas anthology with Donna Kauffman and Kate Angell, titled The Sugar Cookie Sweetheart Swap, to kick off her Pine Mountain foodie series with Kensington this October. Her first full-length novel, Turn Up The Heat, will follow in February 2014. Kimberly resides in Northern Virginia with her wildly patient husband and their three daughters. Visit her any time at www.kimberlykincaid.com or come check her out on Facebook and Twitter.
The (Other) F-Word
Confession time: I’m a gigantic foodie (what’d you think the F stood for?!)
When I tell people I write contemporary foodie romance, their eyebrows inevitably go up. The contemporary part, they get. The romance part, self-explanatory. The foodie part? Baffles them every time.
The Reader’s Digest explanation is that all my stories revolve around characters and settings that have a direct relationship with food. Chefs in traditional restaurant settings are my go-to, but I’ve also written about caterers, wine experts, and restaurant owners. In fact, Violet, the heroine in my latest release, is a personal chef who works exclusively in her clients’ homes. But the truth is, you don’t have to write about the culinary industry to write foodie romance. In fact, even if your characters (or you!) don’t cook at all, there’s still some foodie to be had if you know where to look for it.
But before we dive into where to cultivate the yum, let’s take a second to talk about why you should do it in the first place. First (and most obviously), all characters eat. It’s a naturally occurring scenario for characters to be in, which can be appealing in that it makes them seem “regular” (read: easy to identify with). There’s a scene in my upcoming Christmas novella where my heroine is bleary-eyed and in need of a caffeine fix the morning after a long night of work. When she finally gets her coveted cup of coffee (made by the hero, of course), she’s blissfully happy. Is that a scene with which you can identify? Likely yes, even if coffee isn’t your go-to. My goal was to establish that A) my heroine was a “real” person in a familiar situation and B) the hero used food to comfort her.
Which brings me to reason #2. Food is the perfect chance to characterize your people. Picture this: A hero in a book sits down in a bar and grille and orders a burger and a beer after a long day. A different hero frequents an Italian restaurant after his work day is over, and orders chicken Piccata and a glass of Chablis. Can you “see” these heroes in your head even though the only way I’ve described them is by what they’re having for dinner? I’m willing to bet you can—and your readers will be able to do it, too (and yes, those are two of my upcoming heroes who do exactly that in each of their books!) You don’t have to know all about food to slip it into your books and let it make your characters sing.
So now that we’ve established why you should sneak food into your writing, let’s look at how you can. I’m a firm believer in going with what you know (don’t worry if that’s not a lot). As we’ve already established, everyone eats. What are some foods you like? Can you see your characters liking them too? If you can work in what you know, it’s easier to describe the smells, tastes, and even sounds the food makes. Writing about food experiences gives you an amazing opportunity to make your scenes evocative because it encompasses all five senses naturally. Use that to your advantage! Even the most surprising dishes can be sexy— it just depends on what your characters bring to the table (sorry…I couldn’t resist) So don’t be afraid to play with different types of cuisine and experiment with what works best for your characters.
I feel compelled to mention that I am not a chef, and I have no extensive formal culinary training. I do love to cook, and I definitely love food, which is why I jumped both-feet-first into writing foodie romance to begin with. But research is key. Go to your favorite restaurants. Check out the flavors that go together in your favorite dishes. Peek at recipes. I once wrote an entire scene based on a picture I saw in a cooking magazine (thank you, Rachael Ray!) Then slowly weave in an aspect or two where it suits your work. Let the perfect, lunar yellow of saffron-infused rice entice your reader. Or maybe describe the warm, dark-cinnamon scent of sticky buns as your hero hits a bakery for his morning coffee. Foodie details don’t have to run over your scenes to set the stage. But a sentence or two about the sights, smells and sounds of something as simple as a backyard barbecue can take your scenes from good to great.
Just be forewarned. Getting hungry as you write is an occupational hazard. But chances are, if you sprinkle in those food details to set the scene and characterize your cast, your readers will be hungry for more of your writing. Bon appetit, friends!
Violet Morgan puts the personal in personal chef, catering to clients who want the full cooking experience rather than a culinary drop-and-dash. But when her brother’s police detective partner is injured in the line of duty and needs help during recovery, she makes an exception. Violet lost her father to the job seven years ago, and worries for her brother’s safety every day. The last thing she wants is to get up-close with her brother’s career-cop partner…again.
For Noah Blackwell, being a detective isn’t just a lifestyle, it’s a legacy. So when he’s forced to take mandatory leave and deal with the trauma amnesia keeping him from identifying his shooter, it’s a literal case of adding insult to injury— and now he’s got to deal with an unwanted culinary caregiver on top of it. Never mind that he and Violet shared a steamy, secret kiss last New Year’s Eve. She rejects everything related to the job, and Noah’s not about to be distracted from recovering his memory and getting back to what he does best. No matter how pretty Violet is.
Despite their differences, Violet and Noah share a surprising bond in the kitchen that grows into something neither of them expect. But as Noah heals and their feelings for each other extend from the kitchen to the bedroom, Violet knows she must make an impossible choice. She may wear her heart on her sleeve when it comes to food, but can she risk it all to put love on the line?
Kimberly is giving away a free e-copy of Love On The Line to one lucky commenter. All you have to do is tell us your character’s favorite food!