May 3, 2017

No Reservations about This Debut! {Review / Interview}


With a cupful of heart, sprinklings of twists and turns, and a heaping portion of a steadfast love, Tomlinson's debut leaves the reader satisfied and sweetened.

Sloane and Cooper's hearts bear unique, deep burns, cuts and bruises. And they meet at a highly inconvenient, tense time in both their lives, but bond over a shared passion for food. Cooper loves inventing and improvising in the kitchen, while Sloane prefers the exact culinary art of baking instead. And they both need each other and their talents--they don't realize it at first. Which is just a smidgen of what made this romance so dear to my heart.
My most treasured takeaway from this foodie romance?
The way that the truest of loves is depicted as someone who sees the deepest, darkest parts of you, chooses you and believes in you not in spite of, but because of your scars?
Well, it left a truly lasting impression, this tasty novel from the incredibly talented Tomlinson. So excited to read more of her work in the future!

ABOUT THE BOOK:
AMAZON | GOODREADS
There can be more than comfort in food… 
What could well-known and wealthy Graham Cooper Jr. have in common with a blogger like Sloane Bradley, a woman with secrets she's kept firmly out of the public eye? That is, besides a love of food. Sloane still can't believe Cooper's the chef at the restaurant she's been assigned to promote. But she's boiling to prove to him that her "little blog" can put his place on the map. She can also fall head over heels for the guy, who has secrets of his own, it turns out…except for one thing. She can't get past the post-traumatic stress disorder that keeps her walled up in her home studio.

And now, dear reader, settle in to get to know more about the author and this sweet debut of hers.
***

Girl! I am so thrilled to have you here today. Thank you for stopping by to share all about your debut novel and the journey it took to get to here. 
So we know this heartwarming and delicious romance is your debut. Tell us a little about yourself and how you first started writing.

Laurie: Thank YOU for hosting me! I’m a lifelong writer, beginning with David’s First Bike in kindergarten, but after high school guidance counselors said I had to list something more practical than author as my desired job, I ventured into the world of book publicity instead. I finished my first full-length novel in 2012—a story that wouldn’t get out of my head despite having an infant and full-time job from home—and pursued publication in 2013 when my author fairy godmother Kathleen Y’Barbo helped me own myself as a real writer.

And I am so darn glad she did help you own your author status those years ago! What, way back when, sparked the idea for With No Reservations? Did it ever have a former title, different character names?

Laurie: It started with Sloane’s job as a food blogger. I’d never heard of a story with a food blogger heroine, so I went with it. The manuscript was originally titled Just Breathe, but the characters have always been the same.

Aw, cool! Give us a glimpse into your process from that earliest draft, to when you got The Call.

Laurie: This is the longest story ever, so bear with me. I finished Just Breathe in 2014, and it was originally written for the inspirational market. My agent pitched it, but the market was down, and we waited as I went through maternity leave hibernation. And then one day, an editor from Harlequin Heartwarming found the book on my agency’s project portal for editors. Would I be willing to rewrite it for their line, removing the inspirational elements, trimming 11,000 words, and making a few other developmental changes? I had just gotten back from a conference at which I distinctly heard the Lord telling me to write for the general market, that He didn’t need it to be a Christian book to work in people’s lives. So I rewrote the book—and that editor almost immediately left Heartwarming for a different line. Whaaaaaat? But a few months later, after thinking I had just spent the last several months rewriting a book for nothing, my agent called. Plot twist! The senior editor had read it and wanted to buy it. Two helpful rewrites later, With No Reservations was born. 

Oh wow. What a trip! I'm so, so glad you heeded God's call. Now, tell us what you feel is the easiest/best part of writing a novel, and the hardest? Go!

Laurie: The easiest is, by far, is when you hit that groove somewhere in the middle and can coast along for several thousand words until you can’t anymore. I used to think that point was the hardest, but I later found out that editing a book one way when you’ve always pictured it or seen it another way is the hardest, though it’s usually loads better for the story.

What's one of the biggest lessons you took away from writing this novel?

Laurie: Oh man. I learned so much about the concept of healing, feeling stuck in your circumstances, and God’s intention for our lives to be rich and abundant.

Amen. Learning a lot about that myself this year. Now though, I have to ask. Any food blogging in your future? Because, ya’ll, the restaurant and food in this story are to die for almost as much as the romance!

Laurie: I used to include recipes on my blog, but now I actually just offer virtual assisting services for food bloggers. One of my favorite jobs I’ve ever had!

ABOUT LAURIE:
Laurie Tomlinson is an award-winning contemporary romance author living in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Her stories are fueled by faith, steaming mugs of tea, and her belief that life should be celebrated with cupcakes and extra sprinkles. When she’s not writing, she enjoys baking with her two little sous chefs and testing new recipes on her husband—especially if she doesn’t have to do the dishes.


Find her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/AuthorLaurieTomlinson or her website, www.laurietomlinson.com.