Author Interview: Ruby Barrett – The Romance Recipe is a grumpy sunshine F/F romance featuring a chef and a restaurant owner. It’s high on heat, tenderness and emotion. I devoured it and it is a must read! You can read my review of The Romance Recipe here.
About Ruby Barrett:
Ruby Barrett writes steamy romances about big feelings, featuring but not limited to: soft boys, angry girls who are secretly soft, and hot sex. Ruby is inspired by the intimate details of everyday life and always being the thirstiest friend in the group chat. Mutual pleasure, pining, and healing are common themes in her romances.
Before she was a romance author, Ruby worked as a groom on a horse farm, a cigarette package warning label researcher for the Canadian Cancer Society, an essayist for a millennial parenting website, and a matchmaker where she was really good at meeting new clients but terrible at creating matches.
When she’s not writing, Ruby can be found at the gym, lifting heavy things and battling toxic masculinity one gym bro at a time. And, of course, she is always reading romance. She is a bi woman who lives in Ottawa, Canada where she gets her own happily ever after with her husband and daughter.
Synopsis for The Romance Recipe by Ruby Barrett
A fiery restaurant owner falls for her enigmatic head chef in this charming, emotional romance
Amy Chambers: restaurant owner, micromanager, control freak.
Amy will do anything to revive her ailing restaurant, including hiring a former reality-show finalist with good connections and a lot to prove. But her hopes that Sophie’s skills and celebrity status would bring her restaurant back from the brink of failure are beginning to wane…
Sophie Brunet: grump in the kitchen/sunshine in the streets, took thirty years to figure out she was queer.
Sophie just wants to cook. She doesn’t want to constantly post on social media for her dead-in-the-water reality TV career, she doesn’t want to deal with Amy’s take-charge personality and she doesn’t want to think about what her attraction to her boss might mean…
Then, an opportunity: a new foodie TV show might provide the exposure they need. An uneasy truce is fine for starters, but making their dreams come true means making some personal and painful sacrifices and soon, there’s more than just the restaurant at stake.
Carina Adores is home to romantic love stories where LGBTQ+ characters find their happily-ever-afters.
Book 1: Hot Copy
Book 2: The Romance Recipe
Author Interview: Ruby Barrett
Ruby, I’m so excited to talk to you today about The Romance Recipe, out July 12th, 2022. Thank you for joining me for this author interview.
Thank you for having me on Really Into This! I’m so excited to get to chat about The Romance Recipe!
Can you tell me a little about the inspiration behind The Romance Recipe?
Some of the inspiration came from my own experience as a later in life queer. I wanted to tell a story about a person who takes a bit longer to figure themselves out because I relate to that so much.
The rest of my inspo comes from my love of food and my love of a now cancelled restaurant reality TV show, “Million Dollar Review”. Bring back Million Dollar Review!
Amy is determined to save her restaurant. She’s tough, discerning and loves to be in control. I related so much to this character. Can you tell us more about Amy?
Here are 3 fun facts about Amy:
1) Amy is very protective. She will go to the ends of the earth for the people she loves; she would never publicly condone violence, but she may or may not have beaten up her brother’s bullies when they were growing up.
2) Amy is a dedicated plant mom. She names all her plants and talks to them every day.
3) Amy’s favourite meal is breakfast because making breakfast was when she got to spend alone time with her mom.
Sophie is fresh off her reality TV stint and is trying to make a name for herself in the restaurant industry. Sophie also contends with her identity as a queer woman. Can you tell us more about Sophie?
And here are 3 fun facts about Sophie:
1) Like many Quebecers/Canadians, Sophie is fluently bilingual in both official languages: English and French.
2) Sophie’s foray into fermentation and vegan cooking is inspired by real life local Ottawa chef, Briana Kim. Briana’s cooking and restaurants are award-winning and she does it all without animal proteins. I loved the idea of Sophie adopting and excelling at this kind of cooking.
3) Sophie is a powerlifter which means she trains strength in three lifts: back squats, bench press, and deadlift. Powerlifting involves the athlete attempting a maximum weight single effort lift on a barbell and it’s a great fit to help her destress from her job. In weightlifting, you can’t think about the bad service you had last night or testing a new recipe, you can only focus on picking up the heaviest weight possible and putting it back down without hurting yourself.
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Can you tell readers what tropes and/or themes to expect from The Romance Recipe?
- Reality TV cooking show
- Only one walk-in freezer
- The grumpy one and the sunshine one (or as my friend Mae, aka. @/twiceuponabook1 more aptly put it: the hard one and the soft one)
- Cooking as foreplay
Do you have any favorite scenes in The Romance Recipe?
There’s a scene where Amy reminds Sophie that she is queer enough and I will admit that I wrote that scene 100% for myself. It’s something I needed – and still need – to hear. And I hope it’s one that resonates with other people too: that no matter what being queer looks like to you, you are queer enough and you are loved for it.
Author Interview: Ruby Barrett: Let’s Chat About Writing
I would love to know if you’re a plotter or a pantser. What seems to work best when you’re working on a new manuscript?
I used to be a pantser. After becoming a mom, when my writing time became scarce, I tried plotting, but I wasn’t very good at it. But once I entered traditional publishing, plotting has become the only way I write because a) it helps me sell books. If I’m pitching a book on spec, I need to be able to show my publisher the beginning, middle, and end of the book before I write it; and b) it helps me feel so much more prepared and capable.
Do you have any favorite snacks, music or rituals for your writing? For instance, are you blasting music or need complete silence?
I don’t eat while writing but I constantly refill my tea mug. I always create a playlist for my books, but I might only use my playlist or certain songs for certain scenes. I mostly use my playlist for brainstorming and like to listen to white noise while I work.
Your writing is filled with emotion and tenderness. I live for your writing. Do you have any advice for fellow writers?
Thank you so much! That is the most wonderful thing I could ever hear about my writing! I think my biggest piece of advice would be to write what you love and what you want to read. If I’m not writing what I love and want to read, I don’t feel passionate about it. And I hope that the emotion and tenderness in my writing comes from that passion.
Reading Recs, TV Casting & More
What started your foray into reading and loving the romance genre?
I didn’t really discover the genre for myself until I was in my twenties. I was un- or underemployed after grad school and spent a lot of time reading YA, and always gravitated toward the romantic plots/sub-plots in those stories. Then one day of browsing on my library app, I realized, “I can just read an adult romance!” so I did. The first adult romance I ever read was Bared to You by Sylvia Day. It’s high angst and high heat and I was HOOKED.
The Romance Recipe is incredible! I gobbled it up. What are some romances on your TBR and/or must read romances?
Thank you and I’m SO happy you’ve asked this question. There’s nothing I love more than screaming about my favourite reads.
If you like the reality show aspect of The Romance Recipe, please immediately read D’Vaughn and Kris Plan a Wedding by Chencia Higgins. This book has gotten great hype but honestly it deserves SO MUCH MORE. It’s a slow burn, fake dating sapphic romance and it’s got steam, too!
If you like baseball as much as Amy does, please read the Unwritten Rules series by KD Casey. I feel like I never shut up about these books and it’s starting to get weird, but I don’t care. I’ll just be weird. Unwritten Rules is the first book in the series (October 2021), Fire Season comes out July 19, and I’ve had the absolute honour of being an early reader for the third book, Diamond Ring (October 2022). If you love baseball, queer romance, emotion, and tenderness, these books will absolutely destroy you in the best possible way. Each can be read as a standalone (but they’re better when they’re together). These books have Jewish rep and you can check out KD’s website for CWs.
Diana Biller’s upcoming release, The Hotel of Secrets, has me so excited. Biller is doing things with voice I’m not sure I can quite articulate, but her books always hook me with her unique character voice and immersive historical world-building. The Hotel of Secrets comes out March 28, 2023.
I always love talking about TV and movies. If you were to cast an adaptation for The Romance Recipe, do you have anyone in mind for your characters?
I don’t usually think about my characters in terms of real-life actors or people but in this instance, one of the first people I imagined as Sophie was Elizabeth Olsen. For Amy, I think Ruby Rose would nail her personality (and they’ve already got similar haircuts).
I am such a sucker for anything with a reality TV element. I’m a huge fan of Top Chef & the Great British Bake-Off. Do you have any favorite TV shows or movie franchises?
I also love GBBO. It’s the least stressful TV watching I’ve ever done! But in terms of general TV and movie franchises: I rewatch The Office at least once a year. And despite loving romance novels, I almost never watch romantic movies. I live for action-adventure. The Fast and the Furious franchise is my favourite. I’m ride or die, baby.
Who is the ideal reader for The Romance Recipe?
Anyone who loves reality TV or foodie themes! And anyone who might enjoy “late in life” queer stories! The Romance Recipe is about giving ourselves permission to try, to fail, to do scary things, and I hope that that theme more than anything else resonates the most with readers.
What are you hoping readers understand or feel when they read your books?
Across all my books, I really hope that readers feel the truth that love is transformative. Loving someone else, being loved by others, and loving ourselves are the most powerful things we can do. I know that it might sound a little silly to some m, but the idea that when we put love out into the world, we get love back really resonates with me. I think that’s what I love about writing romance. I’m putting love out into the world, and I hope my readers feel that and I hope its powerful to them. Maybe it’s just for the time it takes to read the book, or a day, or a moment. But I hope that’s what it feels like.
Also, if they feel a little horny too that’s great because I love writing high heat for a reason!
Thank you again for taking the time to speak with me, Ruby! How can readers best connect with you?
Thank you so much for having me! Readers can find me at:
- My website: https://www.rubybarrett.com
- Twitter (where I am either being horny on main or talking about parenting, there is no in between): @RubyBarretWrite
- Instagram (where I post about books or going to the gym): @rubybarrettwrite
- TikTok (I have a love hate relationship with TikTok content creating and right now I hate it, but I hope to be back in love soon): @rubybrubes
Pick Up a Copy of Ruby’s Book Today