Today I’m interviewing Merritt Kelly, a fellow Soul Mate Publishing author. Her debut book, Culinary Seduction, was released on February 19th. I had the pleasure of reading the book and found it fun and entertaining. I found myself hungry throughout the book as Merritt does a fantastic job of describing the food created. Merritt lives in Washington with her husband and son.
Hi Merritt. I’m glad you could join me today.
Thank you for having me.
First of all, who or what inspired you to write? I’ve been in love with words since I was a kid. I always tried to write something. At ten I tried to write my first play. I had no idea what structure of a play was like, but I tried. I am compelled. I write because I have to.
How long have you been writing? Is it something you’ve done continuously? I stopped for a long while. Life, raising a child, and paying the bills got in the way of my artistic pursuits. After a bout with breast cancer, I decided life was too short not to pursue my dreams. I spent about three years writing and trying to get something I thought was worthy of submitting to a publisher.
How do handle rejections? How do you keep from giving up? I’m still pretty sensitive. It’s very personal to me. But I do know that there are other publishers out there. So now if it get a rejection, I try to move on to the next one on my list instead of dwelling on it. I did give up for a long time. Once I found my way back to writing, I had to find someplace that would accept my work, just so I would know it was worthy. When I began to get a little praise, I took those little nuggets and held on to them. I wasn’t crazy something in my work was worthy and that was what has kept me going. Someone liked something about it, however small. It’s frustrating when you get a form rejection letter. You have no idea what to work on. When editors take the time to give you feedback, that’s helpful. Does your family support or understand your dream? My mother always believed in me. She knew. My husband is the reason I went back to writing. He convinced me I was talented enough. He supports me fully. I do have a bachelor’s degree in communications (advertising), but I write full time. He sounds like my husband. Support from our loved ones is so important.
So many times romance is looked down on by others who don’t understand. Do your family and friends know you write romance? What were their reactions when they found out? They raised an eyebrow at first, but that’s fine. Now that a few have read Culinary Seduction, they are surprised, and liked my work. It’s been great so far. So far I have received any feedback on the love scenes yet. I have to say that at age fifty-one, I should care, but we’ll see.
Where and when do you write? I write on the couch, usually in sweats and a ratty sweatshirt, with my laptop or at my desk. My handwriting is deplorable, so thank God for computers, but I’m a terrible typist. I need a bigger desk. It’s very pretty wood, but has no drawers. I tend to spread out and use the dining room table, too. It’s right behind my desk. My best time to write is in the morning when I’m the freshest. I’m the most productive between five and seven in the morning before anyone else is up. What would be your dream place to write? I’d love to have an office of my own with a big desk, a comfy chair, (mine isn’t), and lots of storage space. It would have a view of the mountains or the ocean. A space in a cabin would be great. I can’t imagine writing a 300-page book by hand.
Have you ever had a “plot bunny” where you get an idea and you can’t stop thinking about it until you write it out? Yeah. It happens all the time, but I have to stop at some point once the idea takes hold. Once I see the direction it’s going to take, it’s safe to stop. I can’t sit and write three hundred pages at a stretch. When I get a story idea, I have to write it down before I lose it. I’ve tried to outline a whole manuscript before I write it, but that doesn’t work. I write a few paragraphs so the idea takes hold. So you’re a cross between and plotter and a panster? Yes
Do you play music while you write? Yes. I’m a fool for old school soul and Motown. To me nothing is sexier than hearing Smokey Robinson croon. I’m a huge journey fan. I also have a crush on Steve Perry.
What do you like to read? I read all kinds of fiction. Some of my favorite authors are Stella Cameron, Nora Roberts, Joan Didion, and Anne Lamott.
What did you do to celebrate getting Culinary Seduction published? This last time, I had dinner with my husband. We had some sparkling wine. I’ll save the big celebration when I hit the New York Times Best Seller list. I’d have a big celebration, too.
What is your WIP (work in progress)? I’m working on a story about a romantic lifestyle consultant whose show gets canceled and her husband/manager runs off with her assistant. She returns home to eastern Washington to get her life together. She meets a widower who lost his wife in a convenience store robbery. He’s dealing with his loss as well as his daughter’s grief and nightmares. Sounds interesting. I look forward to reading it.
Blurb for Culinary Seduction:
Food is the new sex and cheftestants Andrea Claire and Danny Miller are battling it out to see who becomes the new high priest or priestess. The two face off in a contest for hosting duties of new show called Culinary Seduction.
Chef Andrea Claire is a woman who knows what she wants, and what she wants is to build her own culinary empire. Hosting the show would give her the injection of cash she needs to finally get a store front for her catering business and give her the credibility she seeks. Her food is infused with her warmth and passion.
Bad boy chef Danny Miller’s bold flavors and state-of-the-art techniques in molecular gastronomy set him apart from the pack. Hosting the show would raise the profile of his restaurant and he could pay what he owes the bank and his grandmother.
Will his talent be enough to garner him the win? Or will Andre’s seductive on camera personality and obvious passion for cooking win out? Their on air chemistry is undeniable. The test kitchens at Cuisine Channel have never been so hot!
You can contact Merritt at:
Buy link for Culinary Seduction: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00TUIAW92/