Posted On December 3, 2012 by Print This Post

Discussing Foodie Romance with Kimberly Kincaid

You meet all kinds of people in this business and those people write every type of book, genre, angle you can imagine.  Kimberly Kincaid is a RWA chapter-mate of mine (who morphed into a critique partner and bestie) who writes “foodie romance”. Honestly, I’d never heard of such a thing until I started reading her stuff and the other foodie writers she suggested.  So I thought it would be a great idea to talk to her about this sub-genre and how she avoids health code violations when things heat up in the kitchen!

Robin: You write “foodie” romance – what is that? Why am I always hungry when I read your stuff?

KK: Where I come from, hungry is an occupational hazard! Essentially, foodie romance incorporates food and the food industry into the thematic elements of a love story. My stories are about chefs, caterers, restaurant managers…you get the idea. But, for me, foodie romance fits under a really broad umbrella. It can be as simple as a heroine who loves to bake cookies for her friends, or a hero who’s the king of the backyard grill. If the food plays a defining role for one of your characters, that works.

Robin: Are you a plotter or a pantser? What types of things inspire a story for you?

KK: I’m a plotter, although if my stories take me off the path, I tend to let them just to see where things go. I get inspired by lots of things! Food (no shocker there) is a biggie—I cannot watch a single cooking show without jumping up a scribbling something in a notebook for later. I’m also very inspired by music. In fact, each of my books has a theme song, and whenever I’m stuck for ideas, I drive around with the radio blasting. It’s my go-to cure for writer’s block.

Robin:  Do you have rituals or things you have to do to get in the mood to write?

KK:  I’m a morning person, so I must have coffee to get started, but I like to sit right down and go while my brain is fresh. I have this horrible, ancient, faux-leather desk chair that I refuse to get rid of, much to my husband’s chagrin. I find it very hard to write when I’m not planted in it. But I love to write—it doesn’t take much to get me in the mood!

Robin: I know you use food and/or the kitchen as setting in your novel – how do those things inspire the things your characters do in your story?

KK: Food is so evocative—it honestly shapes everything about how the characters come to exist and evolve in my books. On both sides of my family, food is love, nourishment for the soul. My characters all live by that mantra, and their love stories are enriched by what they put on the plate as well as what they put on the line.

Robin:  The gift-giving season is upon us. What are some of your favorite romance novels that we could slip in stockings and put under the tree?

KK: There isn’t enough space for this! Of course, your book, A Night of Southern Comfort makes the list  along with Tracy Brogan’s hilarious debut, Crazy Little Thing, and Avery Flynn’s super-sexy Layton Family series. I also adore Louisa Edwards, Amanda Usen and Susan Donovan, and I’m dying to get my hands on Babycakes, Donna Kauffman’s latest Cupcake Club book.

Robin: What is it like to have the most awesome critique partner in the world? (yes . . .I mean me) But, since this can’t be all about me, please talk about how being a member of a critique group helped you develop your craft.

KK: Simply put, I’m sunk without you guys! You’re my sounding board, my crisis hotline, my bar-raisers, and my cheerleaders. It’s like five voices of reason and encouragement helping to shape what goes on the page. Having that to keep me in line from concept to finish is truly one of the most valuable things about the process for me.

Robin What is next for you?

KK:  I’m thrilled to be part of Kensington’s Christmas anthology in 2013 with Donna Kauffman and Kate Angell, as a kickoff for my Pine Mountain series. The title is The Sugar Cookie Sweetheart Swap. You can check out an excerpt from my novella, Sugar and Spice, below. Then the full-length novels will follow in February 2014, April 2014, and June 2014. I’m so excited to share Pine Mountain’s sexy chefs with readers!


Have you read any great foodie romances lately?  Is there a particular sub-genre that you love to read and write?

On Wednesday stop by for a fabulous re-run of an amazing Sara Megibow post!



Lily looked down at the three plates of shortbread triangles, complete with satiny criss-crosses of dark chocolate, and tried with all her might not to throw up. Their competition had presented first, and although the rules dictated one team couldn’t watch the others’ presentation, their ear-to-ear smiles as they passed through the green room said enough.

She and Pete were going to have to knock this thing out of the park if they wanted to win. And like idiots, they’d bucked a perfectly good plan.

“You want to present?” The low rumble of Pete’s voice pulled her back to the competition floor. “After all, you’re better-spoken than I am. Not to mention prettier.”

“All the sweet talk in the world won’t keep me from being furious with you,” she whispered, although the involuntary smile tugging at her lips made her the world’s biggest liar. Was it really too much to ask for that cocky little half-smile to be more aggravating than hot?

“It’s not sweet talk if it’s true. And you won’t be mad when we win.” His murmur curved around her ear, and he passed the tray of shortbread to an event staffer as the judges settled at the podium.
Lily’s jangled nerves took a backseat to her quiet snort. “I’m immune to your charm.”

Pete reached out, brushing her forearm with a light touch Lily felt on every inch of her skin.

“Just make sure the judges aren’t immune to yours, okay?”


Kimberly Kincaid writes contemporary romance that 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 is a 2011 RWA Golden Heart® finalist who lives (and writes!) by the mantra that food is love. She resides in northern Virginia with her wildly patient husband and their three daughters.


Twitter @kimberlykincaid


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32 Responses to “Discussing Foodie Romance with Kimberly Kincaid”

  1. Kimberly – Thanks for being with me today!

    What food do you suggest for romantic holiday night with our personal heroes?


    Posted by Robin Covington | December 3, 2012, 5:26 am
  2. This is a trick question, because it’s so personal! It’ll vary some depending on your tastes, but I’ve found that any food you can eat in a bite or two (think tapas) is always sexy. Stick with tried and true flavors and ingredients, because you’ll feel comfortable preparing them (and your hero will love eating them!) And if you want to go for a new wine or beer pairing, don’t be afraid to ask. Smaller wine and spirit stores usually have knowledgeable staff, as do places like Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods. When in doubt, you can also look up different wines online and read the descriptions to find one that suits you!

    Also…dessert. One. With two forks. Sharing is sexy 🙂

    Posted by Kimberly Kincaid | December 3, 2012, 5:41 am
  3. Great interview, ladies! Kimberly, your upcoming releases sound delicious! Can’t wait to read them. Congrats!

    Posted by Pintip | December 3, 2012, 6:32 am
  4. Super interview! I’m looking forward to Kimberly’s Pine Mountain series. Foodie romances appeal to me! I’m excited to be doing a novella with her and Donna in the Sugar Cookie Sweetheart Swap.

    Posted by Kate Angell | December 3, 2012, 7:18 am
  5. Kimberly –

    I love foodie books, and yours sounds perfect for the holiday reading binge I’m planning :-). Have you spent much time in commercial kitchens researching for your books?

    My next book will be about the owner of a small town cafe, and I’m thinking of asking to go behind the scenes in a restaurant in the town where I live to get a better feel for it. I waited tables in college, but that was a couple of years ago :-).


    Posted by Kelsey Browning | December 3, 2012, 7:19 am
    • I have! Most of my time for the full-length series was spent in the kitchen of a bar and grill, but for the Sugar Cookie Sweetheart Swap, I got creative. I took a truffle-making class and got to do a tour with a fabulous chocolatier in DC. It made those chocolate-tempering scenes easier to write! But I highly recommend asking someone if you can go behind the scenes– there’s really no substitute.

      A word of caution– even in winter, the kitchen is HOT. Like, sweating profusely even standing still, HOT.

      I’m happy to share any references– email me anytime if you like 🙂 Can’t wait to check out your cafe owner!

      Posted by Kimberly Kincaid | December 3, 2012, 7:27 am
  6. Great interview, Kim and Robin! Love foodie romance. There’s nothing hotter than a guy who cooks for you. Maybe if he sings while he cooks . . . Waiting with bated breath for the Pine Mountain hunks!

    Posted by Denise | December 3, 2012, 8:24 am
  7. Hi Kim and Robin,

    I have a WIP where she is a chef. My dad was a great cook. I missed that gene completely.

    Mary Jo

    Posted by Mary Jo Burke | December 3, 2012, 9:50 am
    • My first two novels feature the heroine as the chef (although the first one, Bellamy Blake, doesn’t know it yet!) and I think it’s such a wonderful characterization of who they really are deep down. Not just a career for these ladies! Can’t wait to check out your chef, too, Mary Jo 🙂

      Posted by Kimberly Kincaid | December 3, 2012, 11:11 am
  8. Hooray for foodie romance! Kimberly, I thought your books were coming out sooner. 2014? So long to wait! I use food as character in my books, too and I especially love how evocative it can be for hinting more about a character’s past. Memories of cooking and eating with family can be so revealing. And a man who cooks for his woman – yeah, that’s so hot. 🙂

    Posted by Kate Meader | December 3, 2012, 10:02 am
    • The Sugar Cookie Sweetheart Swap will be out on September 24, 2013, and the full length books will follow 🙂 So you’ll get a taste in about 10 months. Th hero I’m working on right now is a chef, and wow. It defines him. Kitchens are intense, wonderful things! Excited to see what you’re cooking up, Kate– thanks for stopping by!

      Posted by Kimberly Kincaid | December 3, 2012, 11:14 am
  9. Morning Kimberly!

    I love foodie romances! I got hooked with Susan Donovan – before that I didn’t know such a thing existed! Totally a blast to read and I love the recipes they include in the books sometimes.

    Unfortunately, like Mary Jo, I don’t have the cooking gene….=) my sister is the master of cheesecakes, my other sister soups and my parents can make anything. Me? I just manage a restaurant full time…lol…it’s as close as I get!


    Posted by Carrie Spencer | December 3, 2012, 10:15 am
    • I love Susan’s books! And even if you’re not writing about chefs, it’s still very possible to write foodie romance (all characters must eat, right?!) And the hero in my third book is the restaurant manager, so that’s foodie territory too 🙂 Can’t wait to share Pine Mountain with you, Carrie!

      Posted by Kimberly Kincaid | December 3, 2012, 11:16 am
  10. Is it crazy that I love food romances, but I hate to cook? Dinner for me usually consists of eating cereal over a garbage can. No point in getting dishes dirty, right? 😉

    So excited to pick these up, Kim!!! Thanks for sharing

    Posted by Romily Bernard | December 3, 2012, 10:34 am
  11. Hi Kimberly,

    A character’s food preferences is a way to reveal more about them. The majority of my heroines are foodies. They’re chefs or terrific home cooks. Cooking for someone shows you care, so it’s perfect for romance.

    Thanks for being with us today!

    Posted by Jennifer Tanner | December 3, 2012, 12:18 pm
    • Absolutely my pleasure! And I couldn’t agree more– for me (personally and in my writing), food is love! My couples find ways to connect through the food, whether it be through cooking together or eating together. It’s a way to nurture the spirit and the belly 🙂 Doesn’t get much better than that!

      Posted by Kimberly Kincaid | December 3, 2012, 12:51 pm
  12. Hi Kimberly! I’m looking forward to finally getting my hands on your yummy books 🙂

    Funny enough, I inadvertently made A TASTE FOR SCANDAL a Regency foodie romance. I didn’t mean to, but when your heroine is a baker who teaches the hero a thing or two in the kitchen, it just sort of happens! As a baker myself, I guess I just love baking too much not to make it an integral part of the story.

    Great interview, my dear, and best of luck with all the exciting releases in your future!

    Posted by Erin Knightley | December 3, 2012, 12:55 pm
  13. Wow. Never heard of “foodie romance” even though I have at least a half dozen stories that would qualify. I love stories that incorporate food and I too can’t watch a cooking show (my favorite reality shows) without getting a new idea.

    Posted by PatriciaW | December 3, 2012, 1:13 pm
    • I’m extra glad you stopped by, Patricia! There are so many amazing foodie authors out there– Louisa Edwards, Amanda Usen, Donna Kauffman, Susan Mallery…I can’t name them all! You and I are kindred spirits when it comes to food shows. I am all about Top Chef and Chopped. They’re so intense, the conflict is built right in. Great place to set off some sparks!

      Posted by Kimberly Kincaid | December 3, 2012, 1:38 pm
  14. Thanks for a thought-provoking interview, Kim and Robin! I’ve never thought about it that way, but it turns out I’ve read quite a bit of foodie romance over the years. What a fun post!

    Posted by Becke Martin Davis | December 3, 2012, 8:05 pm
  15. I do admit to being a fan of foodie romances and will have to check out some of your books. I am also a writer and have two still-undeveloped storylines I’m looking forward to having a lot of fun with!

    Posted by Bettye Griffin | December 3, 2012, 10:37 pm
  16. I’m late to this party but I can guarentee that Kim’s book will give you a lot of yum-yum but leave you hungry for a little somethin’ somethin’!!!!

    Posted by Tracy Brogan | December 4, 2012, 7:56 am
  17. I love romance and romance books. My favorite romance books are from Emma Rose.

    Posted by Rosa Tillman | November 10, 2013, 2:06 am

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