Note that this book contains mature content.
What inspired you to write Taste the Heat?
I’m from New Orleans, and I’ve always wanted to write a book set there, to introduce the world to the real heart and soul of the place I grew up—it was just a matter of finding the right story to tell.
One day, my family was sitting around watching Chopped on Food Network because we’re addicted to that show and that’s what we do, when a special episode aired with firefighter chefs. That got me thinking. Later, although I’m a love junkie and could be making this completely up, it appeared as though the female judge and one of the cute firefighters had a bit of a flirtation going on…and thus a story idea was born. What better way to show the world my New Orleans then with a sexy fire captain hero and a Cajun chef? And the bonus??? I had to eat a lot of yummy food for research (ahem, even though I grew up on it and knew how to make it anyway). Score!
If your book had a theme song, what would it be?
I always make a story soundtrack for every book I work on, so I have a whole list of songs that work…and I don’t know if I can pick just one!
Daughters by John Mayer is huge, as is Garth Brooks’ version of To Make You Feel My Love , and Miranda Lambert’s The House That Built Me.
But I also listened to Back Where I Come From by Kenny Chesney many times before sitting down to write ;)
Who or what typically gets your creative juices flowing?
I always listen to my soundtrack when I get stuck, when I’m driving, or even when I’m in the shower. I’m a huge plotter so I know in advance almost everything that’s gonna happen, and I choose my songs based on character arcs or plot points, but I’m amazed at how often I get a new scene idea, or an existing scene idea gets even better, when I listen to my soundtrack. Other than that, I reread the scenes I’d written previously and once I’m grinning at the screen, I know I’m ready to jump in.
What type of research did you do for this novel?
For this particular novel, I didn’t have to travel because I grew up there and knew everything really well, BUT my favorite bit of research involved the food. Again, I know how to cook most of these dishes but who wants to take the time to make them all when you can drive down to a favorite restaurant and have an excuse not to cook (he he).
So, anyway, there’s a certain scene in the book (one of my absolute favorites) where Jason feeds Colby blindfolded. My husband and I took the kids to a restaurant and ordered a bunch of yummy dishes, and then yes, we broke out the notebook and took turns eating with our eyes closed, taking notes on what things smelled like, tasted like, felt like in our mouths. Our daughters thought we were hilarious, the wait staff found us a little strange, and the rest of the customers found us a lot strange, but it was fun, we laughed the whole time, and even better, it worked!
Do you have an ideal writing set up? Time of day/night? Location? Snacks?
I’m a homeschooling mama, so I write wherever and whenever I can. McDonald’s playlands rock, as do hotel rooms when my husband is uber generous and gets me a room for a night or two. But most days it’s me, stealing moments of writing time in pockets throughout the day in my pajamas or yoga pants. Ideally, however, I love writing first thing in the morning and then later like late at night when the house is deathly silent and a second wind hits me.
As for snackage? It’s impossible to write without my Dt. Mt. Dew. Impossible I tell you
Worst writing distraction?
As a homeschooling mom, I tend to tune most out as best I can, but when the girls are fighting, the dog is yapping, people are ringing the doorbell attempting to sell random stuff that makes me go O.o, and I’m out of Dt. Mt. Dew, I throw up my hands and quit for the day (ha!)
What can readers look forward to from you in the future?
I have a TON in the works! TASTE THE HEAT of course is my July release and it’s adult contemporary romance. In August, A TALE OF TWO CENTURIES (my young adult companion novel to MY SUPER SWEET SIXTEENTH CENTURY) comes out.
In October, I have book two in my adult series, this time with Colby’s sexy misunderstood bad boy big brother, Cane Robicheaux, and then later this winter I have book three in my young adult series releasing. And in 2014, I have three, possibly four books releasing. It’s a crazy time!
What advice would you give to someone who wants to write and/or publish a book?
Read! Read a ton. And not just in the genre you want to write, but DEFINITELY do that, too. But I find inspiration all over the place, and you never know what may give you a great idea, where you might find a particular style that speaks to you, a snippet of a conversation that sparks something you’d never have thought of otherwise.
While you’re reading, make notes of what you like. What made you laugh aloud, what made you cringe, what had you staying up for another chapter when your eyes were protesting...and then ask yourself WHY. That’s so important. Study your favorite books, scenes, or characters for why they are your favorite. This will help you find your voice and your style. Don’t mimic those things, but use them to help you find your own unique voice and style.
And after all that, surround yourself with other authors. It can be in person at meetings, it can be online, but find other writers who understand what you are going through. Swap pages. Connect. They keep you sane!
Guilty Pleasure: Warm, fresh from the oven, gooey chocolate chip cookies
Can’t Live Without: Other than my husband and girls, it’s honestly a toss up between my Kindle and Dt. Mt. Dew!
#1 on Bucket List: Spend the week in an Irish castle.
Celebrity Crush: If I MUST pick only one, then Channing Tatum. But oh, Adam Levine, Henry Cavill, Ryan Gosling, Alex Pettyfer, Bradley Cooper, Josh Duhamel, Jonathan Rhys Meyers… the list of male hero inspiration goes on and on.
Theme Song of Your Life: Unwritten by Natasha Bedingfield
Embarrassing Turn on: I don’t know if any turn ons are embarrassing…hey, whatever floats your boat, right? But hmm, let’s see. The scent of Mt. Spring detergent?? LOL What can I say, I like the smell ;)
About the Author
Rachel Harris grew up in New Orleans, where she watched soap operas with her grandmother and stayed up late sneak reading her mama's favorite romance novels. Now a Cajun cowgirl living in Houston, she still stays up way too late reading her favorite romances, only now, she can do so openly. She firmly believes life's problems can be solved with a hot, powdered-sugar-coated beignet or a thick slice of king cake, and that screaming at strangers for cheap, plastic beads is acceptable behavior in certain situations.
When not typing furiously or flipping pages in an enthralling romance, she homeschools her two beautiful girls and watches way too much reality television with her amazing husband. She writes YA, NA, and Adult Fun & Flirty Escapes, and is the author of MY SUPER SWEET SIXTEENTH CENTURY, A TALE OF TWO CENTURIES, and her adult debut, TASTE THE HEAT. She loves talking with readers! Find her at www.RachelHarrisWrites.com
Where You Can Find Her
This has been a presentation of The Love Junkies: Authors Addicted to Romance