Marci Belle is a wonderful debut author who has written a contemporary romance that will make you hungry for more than just love. Set in the restaurant world, Delicious is a fantastic novel about enemies who find love…gotta love these ones. I was lucky enough to read Delicious as a beta reader and wanted to introduce you all to this wonderful book before its release so that you can put it in the diary. Marci has joined us for a Q&A to tell us more about her and the book…
Marci, Welcome to BrizzleLass Books and thank you for sharing a bit about yourself and your book today.
Tell us a bit about yourself and what inspired you to write Delicious…
Hello and thank you for having me, Claire. I always enjoy connecting with you and the new groups you have put together. The Fledgling Authors Facebook group has already been a massive help to me.
This is my first book I’m publishing, but I wrote one before this that is also quite a culturally distinct story. I find couples with different backgrounds intriguing.
I’m actually first generation American, with Nicaraguan parents. That means that, although I was born in San Francisco and raised in Los Angeles, I was immersed in both worlds. I had plenty of Mexican friends and friends from most cultures. California is a beautiful and diverse melting pot of humans.
We were all Americans, but when we went home after school or work, our relatives cooked the food they grew up eating along with the American dishes they also were embracing. Food was a big part of our cultural identity.
When I moved to England, that changed. All the food and cultures I grew up with were no longer a part of my life. I enthusiastically explored the native food here, but often craved the Mexican food from home. The magic was missing. I longed for Mexican food more than I did Nicaraguan or American food.
Food is a very emotional thing for me. It brings back memories of my childhood. I remember hovering around the Mexican neighbor’s kitchen because she made amazing bean burritos. I guess you could say that this is the basis for the setting of the story and the connection between the characters. Everyone can find something in common.
Tell us a bit about the book, the synopsis.
Well they say that sometimes our lives are mapped out for us. I took that nugget of wisdom and played around with it in this story.
It’s an enemies to lovers story based on two characters who come from different worlds, but are connected by a similar passion. The female protagonist is a respected Mexican-American food critic who works for one of the world’s most popular food blogs.
She hides behind a pen name to protect her identity. As you can imagine, ruining a person’s hard work and dreams with a damming food review doesn’t always shed that person in a favorable light. It can be a dangerous job.
Our male protagonist, is a sexy restaurateur from London with a few ghosts in his past. His father is a celebrity chef, and sadly one he’s never been able to please. He recently opened a chic Mexican restaurant in Mayfair that lost a huge percentage of trade after a negative food review was published by the American food critic he now claims as his mortal enemy.
The book opens on a flight to London. When you’re in mid-air there’s nowhere to hide.
Without giving it away, there’s also some very sexy scenes in the book.
I was lucky enough to beta read Delicious so I have some inside knowledge of the book.
What, if anything, inspired the characters who are all so unique and full of life?
This is true. haha. The supporting characters are an amazing bunch that keep the story interesting and are a reflection of the openness of the protagonists. It’s a modern love story.
I definitely molded them around my group of larger than life friends who were there with me in spirit throughout the book. I think readers will love them and find them entertaining.
I also ran a local culture blog that actually had a section called the Rock n’ Roll Food review. The character that inspired Nina wrote most of the articles. She’s obviously a musician. The book is filled with little treasures like that.
The main character is an American food blogger from California and you’re originally from California is there any of you in her character?
There are elements of me in her. Not physically, but the clumsiness and her temperament are borrowed from me. This is a creative, passionate and intelligent woman that embodies more than just superficial beauty. She has plenty of ingrained flaws. They can be endearing.
She has moments of both strength and weakness. That’s the part of her all women as a collective can relate to…when we’re honest with ourselves.
I would say the biggest part of myself that I contributed to the story was the way she related to food. There’s a huge nostalgia around it that comes from her childhood and family roots. I can definitely say she has a passion and respect for the culture which would translate into her reviews.
Our male character is a rich charismatic Englishman who owns restaurants and has a flea in his ear about something our main character wrote about him. His playboy stubbornness is both refreshing and amusing, is this based on anyone you know?
Yes! But I won’t say his name. There is a French celebrity chef in England who once was a bad boy himself, but his son has left him in the dust. He is a complete playboy hottie. You may know who I mean. You’ll then understand the relationship between father and son. The difference is that I added about ten years to his age. That’s ten years to grow out of his rogue ways. There’s something attractive about a man finding his true self after the storm has passed. There is a lot of character there.
Everywhere you look in this book there is food, be honest now how much did you eat writing it?
I almost choked on the cacao nibs I’m munching on from laughing so hard. I’m definitely an eater. Weirdly, I think I was making a lot of vegetarian food when I wrote this. My youngest daughter is a vegetarian so I was trying to accommodate her. I think I was dreaming about the dishes in this book extra hard because I didn’t have access to them.
You won’t find authentic Mexican ingredients readily available in UK supermarkets unless you’re in a place like London. I have to order everything online. I’ve learned to make my own tortillas.
It’s quite possible this book was also driven by the lack of a good fish taco in my life.
What was your writing process? And what would you change for future?
I spent a lot of time indoors writing this book. It probably took me longer than the average person to write because there were a series of tragic circumstances that happened along the way. It was most definitely a challenge.
I’m not sure my writing routine was predictable or is the one I will implement for the rest of my books. I did find that writing a chapter a day minimum after coffee and a bit of yoga stretches is very productive. A bit of oxygen to the body and blood to the brain and you’re ready to go. I’m no yogi but I certainly enjoy it when I do get off my bottom.
Also, I’d love to share that Jade West mentored me through the first two novellas I’ve written so far. She also shared a wealth of valuable writing information with me that I will hang on to forever. There is still so much to learn but that will come in time.
What comes next for Marci Belle?
I love writing these books and I don’t ever want to stop writing them. I plan to release the first book I wrote shortly after this one and I’m dying to write some new ones. I have five in the works in my head. But one at a time is how it works.
Each book will be different than the other. I don’t feel the need to suppress the art of writing by following a trend. I think if you love the idea you want to pen and are passionate about it, it will be the most rewarding thing you do for yourself and your readers. But then, I’ve always been a rebel.
Thank you Claire for the opportunity to share my book with the world.
About Marci Belle
California native living in the beautiful Welsh borders in England. You have to see it to believe it.This is my eleventh year in the UK, but I’m an LA Woman through and through.
I love Sexy Romantic Comedies, Contemporary Romance, Chick-lit, and when I’m feeling devious, Dark Romance.
My characters will tend towards strong, inspiring females, and the delicious Alphas who love them, or hate them. Mix that up with humor, and you have a heady cocktail of sexy romantic comedy, and steamy emotional ride.
I’ve spent the past few years as a local culture writer, many years in the fashion and beauty industry, but my very best years are being spent as a mother of two very beautiful girls. Especially, with my first daughter when I was a single mom working a million temps jobs to pay the bills. I survived and looking back, I’m quite proud of my little family.
Marci Belle Links