It’s June and that means it’s time for another year of Pride Month spotlights! I’m so excited to spotlight The Romance Recipe by Ruby Barrett and share the interview with the author!
Welcome Ruby! Thank you for allowing me to interview you! Can you start off by introducing yourself?
Thank you for having me! I’m Ruby (she/her) and I write steamy contemporary romances with big feelings. Mutual pleasure, pining, and healing are common themes you’ll find in my books. When I’m not writing, I can usually be found reading romance (of course) or lifting weights. Like one of my main characters in The Romance Recipe, Sophie, I discovered something new about myself in my thirties. I’m a queer woman who lives in Ottawa, Canada with my husband and our daughter.
How would you describe The Romance Recipe in one sentence?
Two mutual pining sapphics turn up the heat in their professional kitchen and the bedroom (and a car) as they work together to save their restaurant.
Can you introduce us to the main character(s) of The Romance Recipe?
Amy Chambers: restaurant owner, fraternal twin, top. Loves: baseball, steak, her Jetta, and the way Sophie’s hair falls out of her bandana at the end of a night in the kitchen. Hates: talking about her feelings, skipping breakfast, when men tell her things she already knows. Amy is driven and hard working. She opened her own restaurant in her twenties and she’s holding onto keeping it open by her fingernails.
Sophie Brunet: Quebecois, weight lifter, reality cooking show loser. Loves: the fermentation process, one specific blouse Amy owns, poutine, and Fifi, her cat. Hates: social media, sexual harassment in the restaurant industry, when people (especially certain people who shall not be named but it starts with A and ends with -my) make decisions for her. She’s a chef and baby queer, which is Sophie speak for saying she just realized she’s bi at the age of 30 and she kind of feels like a failure (which is categorically untrue, especially if you ask Amy).
What representation will readers find in The Romance Recipe?
Amy is a lesbian and Sophie is bi+.
Do you know from the beginning how your books will end or do you let your characters decide their journey?
I used to let my characters dictate the story but over the last few years I’ve embraced the outlining process and I really love it. However, I never let the outline become canon. As I’m writing, if the characters start to take me in a direction different from the outline I always explore where they’re going.
Do you have a favorite scene, moment, or quote from the book?
One of my favourite scenes to write was when Sophie and Amy are at a drag show at The Hideaway, a (fictional) queer bar. On a practical level, the scene flowed so easily as I wrote it and most of it hasn’t changed from the original version. It was just so fun and sexy and I loved the atmosphere. And it was also the beginning of an important moment for Amy and Sophie. Here’s a snippet:
“Welcome to the Hideaway.” She swoops her arms grandly, smiling coyly, and the crowd whistles and stomps. She struts around the stage, explaining the show through a combination of stand-up and song. More queens join her on the stage and in no time I’m sitting forward in my chair, giggling. I’m drunk on the crowd and the pageantry and the music but mostly, Amy. Every point on my body that touches hers burns, the sweet kind, like the smoothest whiskey, or ginger root and chili. The club is packed but it might as well be the two of us here with the drag queens.
It’s the way her laughter moves through me, skipping a beat on my heart, her voice that’s the loudest when we cheer. Whenever she looks over at me, I feel it, the weight of her dark gaze like a blanket I never want to throw off. I sit taller instead; let her see more of me if she’s going to look. In the dark of the club, with everyone’s attention on the show, I’m brave. There’s nothing casual about us here because there doesn’t have to be. In the dark, I’m not a chef celebrating an opportunity for my newly invested restaurant and she’s not my business partner and majority owner.
Right here, right now, she’s a beautiful girl in glitter.
What is something readers will find in The Romance Recipe that they may not realize based on the synopsis?
If readers have already read Hot Copy (which takes place in the same universe as The Romance Recipe and stars Amy’s twin brother, Wesley), you know that Amy and Wes have lost one parent to cancer and another to apathy and Wes dealt with the grief of that death. Amy’s book processes the feelings of adult children trying to reconcile with a disinterested parent. It’s a bit messy and a little sad, but ultimately, Amy feels empowered.
What’s something you hope readers will take away from The Romance Recipe?
It’s never too late. Whether it’s taking a risk on a new career, launching your dream, or finding out something new about yourself, it’s never too late – you’re never too old – to do that. And you deserve to do that, because when you let yourself take that risk, live that dream, you get to be your true self. You deserve to be whoever that is and the world needs you, too.
What are three books you would recommend if someone enjoyed The Romance Recipe?
All three books are queer and share at least one of the themes in The Romance Recipe, like reality TV, cooking/food, or a reality TV cooking show!
What’s next for you? Anything you can share?
I don’t think I can share much right now about my next projects but one thing I can say is that if I were you I’d start to look for some Ruby Barrett books in the self-publishing space… 🙂
ABOUT THE BOOK
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.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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.
Ruby is the author of: HOT COPY, out now from Carina Press; THE ROMANCE RECIPE, coming from Carina Adores, June 28, 2022; and, the short erotic fiction, “Our Fragile Mouths” featured in The Big Book of Orgasms, Vol. 2 out now from Cleis Press.