Last year, I interviewed Christi Barth when Planning for Love, the wonderful first novel of her Aisle Bound series, was published. The series centers around a group of friends in Chicago who are all involved in wedding planning in some way.
I’m so happy that Christi’s come back to tell us about the second book in the series, A Fine Romance, which will be published on March 11th. She’s also tempting us by talking about some delicious-sounding desserts, and she’s giving away a digital copy of her book. Take it away, Christi!
I write contemporary romance because I’m too lazy to do research. Friends of mine write epically wonderful tomes on Roman and European history, and the months they spend compiling detail upon fact upon footnoted quote boggles my mind. But for my latest release, A Fine Romance, I found myself compelled to do oodles of research. You see, my hero is a baker/chocolatier. So first, I got to scroll through a jillion photos of beautiful cakes so I could write descriptions like this:
“We had book club last night. Snow Flower and the Secret Fan. A wonderful book, but a bit of a downer.” Helen waggled her hand back and forth in a so-so gesture. “Sam made me a divine cake, green tea flavored and lychee icing, with the most beautiful Asian fan on top, half folded. Covered with intricate characters, pictures of two women in gorgeous robes and a tall mountain in the background. All edible. The girls went wild for it.”
“You pulled out all the stops. I always envisioned book clubs as a place where you sat in a quiet circle, speaking in iambic pentameter of literary things.”
“We drink copious amounts of wine and stuff ourselves like pigs. On a good month, we’ll talk about the book for ten minutes. It’s more of a chance to get together and talk about men. Often sex. Sometimes books.”
Then, because my heroine refuses to eat chocolate (crazy, I know….but he convinces her—very sexily—to eventually change her mind), I had to come up with non-chocolate treats. Threw myself on the sword with that research, testing recipes left and right (for which my husband is insanely grateful).
Sam finally hand-fed her a piña colada cheesecake bar. The creamy swirl of pineapple and coconut transported her in one bite to a Caribbean beach.
I have to thank Cooking Light for the inspiration, and you can even check out a picture and link through to the recipe on my Pinterest site. But the real research kicked in once my hero decides to create a line of gourmet truffles.
Of course there had to be a standard dark chocolate ganache truffle, for the purists. But what else? Port-soaked figs enrobed in chocolate? Blackberry sage, or pear and honey truffles? Or maybe hazelnut praline.
I will freely admit to mixing and matching from several different chocolatiers to come up with these flavors. These people are brilliant artists, and I spent many nights drooling over my keyboard. Which is why I think my book should come with a warning label – may cause intense cravings for chocolate, cherry fritters, and chai tea scones. And that’s not even mentioning the melted chocolate drenched love scene….
But I digress. All this lip-smacking research did coalesce into one heck of a love story. A Fine Romance is the second book in the Aisle Bound series. If you like chocolate, Chicago, and/or sexy, humorous romance, this is the book for you. Here’s a peek:
They say you form your first impression of someone within thirty seconds of meeting them. Or, in Mira Parrish’s case, within thirty minutes of not meeting them, when said person is supposed to pick you up from the airport and never shows. This is not a perfect start to her new life. Her friend Ivy is depending on her to run a new romance store, and Mira can’t afford to let her down.
Sam Lyons should probably apologize. But every time he sees Mira—which is often, since his family owns the bakery next to her shop—he can’t resist antagonizing her. There’s something about the sexy, straight-laced woman that drives him crazy. He can’t get involved, though. He has too much baggage to be any good in a serious relationship.
Despite his teasing attitude, Mira finds Sam too sweet to resist. (His hot body may be a factor.) But if there’s going to be anything permanent between them, they’ll need to let go of their pasts and look to the future…
When you go into a bakery, what’s your favorite treat? Snickerdoodles? Lemon bars? Eclairs? Have you ever seen a cherry fritter (I haven’t – and I’d love to try one!).
Christi’s giving away a digital copy of A Fine Romance to one person who leaves a comment here. I’ll randomly choose the winner on Tuesday March 5th. Good luck!