This week’s interviewee is fellow lesbian romance author Aurora Rey, who has several books out with Bold Strokes Books, among them the popular Cape End Romances series. Aurora has just published her new f/f romance, Recipe for Love, and she’s giving away two e-book copies, so don’t miss the giveaway at the end of this post!
Welcome, Aurora. Please tell us a little about your newest release, Recipe for Love.
It’s a small town, foodie romance—two of my favorite things. It features a small-production farmer and a chef from New York City who team up on a farm-to-table restaurant launch in the Finger Lakes of upstate NY. Hannah, the farmer, is suspicious of the big city chef and Drew, the chef, can’t figure out why Hannah is so uptight. But, of course, they’re irresistibly attracted to one another at the same time.
The subtitle—A Farm-to-Table Romance—caught my attention and made me grin. How did you come up with it?
Recipe for Love could go in a lot of different directions. I wanted to hint at the specific foodie angle I was going for. It’s also a nod to one of the titles suggested by a writer friend of mine—Farm to Table to Bed. No way was my publisher letting me get away with that, but I’m glad I got to channel the spirit of it.
There’s an ongoing debate in the publishing industry about whether white authors should write characters of color or not. How did you answer this question for yourself, and what do writers need to take into consideration when portraying a character outside of their own race?
It’s definitely a complicated issue. I think we have a lot of work to do on amplifying and making space for authors of color, in romance and in literature in general. Still, I don’t think writing only and all white characters does anything to help that. Improving diversity in fiction is a both/and situation. For white authors, I think we need to be mindful of how we write characters of color, do our homework, and make sure we’re going above and beyond to avoid perpetuating stereotypes.
There are four books in your Cape End Romances series now. (Wow, I have some catching up to do!) Did you plan from the start to make it a series? What connects these books?
Winter’s Harbor was my very first published novel. I didn’t intend for it to be part of a series, but the allure of Provincetown is strong. When I decided to set more books there, creating a collection tied to the seasons seemed like a fun undertaking. Each is a standalone romance, but the characters spill from one book to the next. The final three are much more intertwined, but the Winter’s Harbor characters get to cameo, too.
Summer’s Cove was one of the books I read for Book Bingo last year, and it has some pretty hot love scenes. Do you enjoy writing love scenes? Any tips for authors who find them hard to write?
I really do! That said, I find I have to be in the mood—at least willing to get into a sexy frame of mind. I find it helps to figure out what the scene needs to accomplish. Contrary to what some critics might say, in a romance, the sex is never just thrown in for the sake of being there. The other tip would be to get the mechanics right first, then go back in and layer the thoughts and feelings. You don’t have to get it all on the first pass.
A lot of your books are small-town romances. What’s the appeal of writing about small towns for you?
I grew up in a small town and I both loved and hated it. I appreciate the connections, the security of folks knowing and looking out for each other, the quiet. They can be conservative, though, and stifling for those who don’t fit in. Writing small towns lets me craft them the way I want to be—not always full-on progressive, but safe spaces teeming with queer people who are living their lives without fear or shame.
Can you tell us about one thing that is on your bucket list?
I definitely have the DIY bug, although most of my projects are pretty modest. I would love to fully rehab an old farmhouse one day. I don’t need to do all the work myself, but I want my hand in every piece of it.
Food seems to be another common theme in your novels. If you could reinvent the food pyramid without any detrimental effects to your health, what would it look like?
Bread, cheese, and wine. In that order. And then chocolate. Honestly, I adore fruits and vegetables, too, so maybe I’d just tweak the recommended daily servings.
You said reading romance novels is your preferred guilty pleasure. So, what are your top 5 favorite lesbian romances?
With so many friends and colleagues in the genre, that feels like an impossible question! I’m going to put in a plug for Maggie Cummings’s Bay West series because I think it didn’t get the attention it deserved. I recently swooned over Nell Stark’s The Princess Deception. Books I’d go back to again and again include Winds of Fortune by Radclyffe and At Her Feet by Rebekah Weatherspoon. Finally, I only recently discovered Alyssa Cole. Her Once Ghosted, Twice Shy novella is smart, funny, and I can’t wait to see how it turns out.
When’s your next book coming out, and what are you working on right now?
I’ve got one coming out in October—The Inn at Netherfield Green—and a novella in the December Hot Ice collection, both from Bold Strokes Books. The former is about an advertising executive who inherits a pub in the English countryside and the gin distiller who reluctantly helps her relaunch it. The novella is a pair of roller derby rivals who find themselves on the same team. I’m working on a small town reunion romance right now, called The Last Place You Look. I’ve been saying Recipe for Love is my favorite, but this one might just take the prize.
Where can your readers find out more about you and your books?
I post about my books and do the occasional blog at aurorarey.com. All of my book info, including the first chapter or two of every title, is available at boldstrokesbooks.com.
Thank you so much for inviting me to chat with you! It’s been a real treat!
Aurora is graciously giving away two e-book copies of her new release, Recipe for Love.
Anyone can enter. To be entered into the drawing, leave a comment on this blog post.
Entries close on Thursday, May 16, 2019, 10 a.m. CET, when I’ll draw the winners using a random numbers generator. I’ll notify winners via email. Your email address won’t be used for any other purpose.
There’ll be more author interviews, giveaways, and free books this year. If you want to make sure you don’t miss any of them, please subscribe to my blog.