Interview and #Giveaway: Gemma Brocato-Cooking Up Love


Book Title: Cooking Up Love

Author: Gemma Brocato

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Publisher: Lyrical Press

ISBN-10: 1616504277

ISBN-13: 978-16165-4272

Buy Links: Amazon | Kobo  | Barnes and Noble  | iTunes


Jemima George leads a charmed life as a personal chef and assistant to reality television’s latest darling. But that changes in a New York minute when her Aunt Caro dies under odd circumstances, bequeathing her a small restaurant. Jem plans to sell the café and continue her life in NYC, until a dramatic phone call from her cheating boyfriend convinces her to experiment with the ingredients for happiness and accept her Aunt’s legacy. Throwing herself into remodeling the restaurant with the help of the town’s delicious contractor, Jem revamps the menu and renews her faith in herself.

Jack Kerrigan considered Caro a surrogate mother and hates the idea that the café could be sold. He doesn’t need the remodeling project, but if it means Caro’s beautiful, fascinating niece will stay to run the restaurant, he’s all in. He wouldn’t mind being savory to Jem’s sweet.

Jack’s brassy ex-wife is cooking up a scheme of her own, where Jack tosses Jem like a salad and comes back to her. Fold in a creepy attorney hiding secrets of environmental mayhem, add Jem’s claustrophobia, half-pint niece and nephew twins, one mysterious lockbox, and bring to a boil–a recipe for romance.

A Lyrical Press Contemporary Romance



Why don’t you tell us a little about yourself…Something that we cannot Google about you, lol!

I asked my aunt and uncles for permission to use my nona’s name for my pen name. I’ve always thought Gemma was a special name, just like the lady herself


Tell us a little about Cooking Up Love?

I asked myself what a woman would do when her almost-fiancé cheats with a despised co-worker and she inherits a run-down cafe that comes with a twelve year-old mystery? When faced with a rapidly changing life, Jemima George does the only thing she can. She moves to a small tourist town, hires hottie contractor, Jack Kerrigan, re-vamps the menu and opens for business. But has she bitten off more than she can chew when she tries to solve the mystery?

What was your favorite part of Cooking Up Love to write?

I loved writing the family interactions for Jack’s family. The Kerrigans are good people. Cooking Up Love is the first in a series based on the five senses and knew I wanted to use the same family throughout.


You can only pick 3 words for your main characters..what would they be?

Hmm, for Jem I’d pick loyal, adventuresome (she did move from NYC to a small town) and resilient. For Jack, smart, handy and handsome.


How do you go about picking character names? Do you have to get them just right and make sure they fit with the characters personality?  

Jem named herself. And there was no changing her mind. I had a harder time with Jack because I knew I wanted a solid New England sounding name. I vacillated between Jack and Luke until Jem told me I’d better name him Jack or she’d refuse to fall in love with him.


Which was the easiest character to write and the hardest ~ and why?

There is a secondary character in the book named Avery. In spite of the fact that he is a teenage dad, I loved writing his part in the story. He’s a good kid dealing with bad circumstances. I also loved writing Jack’s adorable niece and nephew.

Avery’s mom, Elizabeth, another secondary character, was the hardest. She let her husband kick their son out of the house, but later found a spine donor.


How many books are you shooting for in this series?

 There are five books, because the series is based on the five senses. Hearts In Harmony is the next in the series and due out in May 2014. It’s based on sound. I’m working on the sight now and have outlines for the last touch and smell.

Since we’re cover hussies….what was your first impression of your cover?

 Oh my gosh—I was on vacation with my family and checked my email on my Kindle while at the pool. I was initially afraid to open the email but sucked it up and clicked the link. Since it opened on my Kindle, it looked like a real book. I promptly burst into tears.

What type of scene is your favorite to write? (Fight, love, making up..etc.)

 I love to write scenes where my hero or heroine are in jeopardy and looking for a way out. It takes all my cunning to help them escape the peril I put them in.

How much emotion does it take from you to write?

It depends on the scene I guess. Love scenes use a different kind of emotion than one where I’m trying to express humor.


What are you currently working on?

Light And Shadow, which is the third in the series. It a story based on sight and I’ve had a lot of fun researching photography.


What’s one thing that you enjoy about writing?

My favorite thing is when I write my characters into a situation and discover that I’ve already written the perfect way out of trouble much earlier in the book. It’s like a literary light bulb goes supernova in my brain. I love the sense of continuity from that.


What do you prefer ebooks or paperbacks?

Until about two years ago I’d have said paperbacks. But I find that now I love the convenience of ebooks.


Is there a genre you would like to write but are a little apprehensive to try?

Historical or Regency. I love to read books in that genre but think the research would be daunting.


Where can your fans find you? (Web site and social media links)



Twitter @gemmabrocato 


Okay…. personal time!!!! Oh yeah, I go there… Hahah…

 If you thought you were safe… Nah… Forgot it… Not a chance! We will start off slow and easy, I promise!

What is on your night stand/dresser?

My Kindle and reading glasses, and a pad of paper and pen, for those late night inspirations.

 What are you listening to you right now?

My husband and daughter discussing my daughter’s fantasy football team.

 What are you reading right now?

Only Scandal Will Do, by Jenna Jaxon, a Lyrical sister.

 What is your favorite season? Holiday?

I love fall. The colors, the scents, the pumpkin spice lattes.

 What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

 I do like to take walks around my neighborhood and to the damn near my home but my favorite thing is meeting girlfriends for lunch.

 What’s your guilty pleasure?


 Favorite TV Show?

The Walking Dead.

 Favorite color?


 What’s the last thing you Googled?

Most likely a restaurant.


Quickie Time

Dark or Milk Chocolate? Dark.

Whipped or Melted? Probably melted.

Junk or Health Food?  I’m a carb freak – so junk.

Leather or Lace?  Lace.

Soft or Hard… Bed, where was your mind?  Hard.

Cowboy or Businessman?  What’s a cowboy but a self-employed businessman?

Tattoos or piercings?  Just my ears.

Sexiest feature on a man?  His smile, especially if it’s accompanied by dimples.

Boxers, Briefs or Commando?  Briefs.

Night owl or early bird?  Both – I stay up late and get up early almost every day.

Twitter and/or Facebook?  Both.

Pinterest or not?  I’m not a good enough time manager to be on Pinterest.

Thank you Gemma for coming by the blog and answering our questions


excerpt From Cooking Up Love

Jem sighed and gestured to herself. “Look at me! Jack, I’m a mess. Suddenly, I’m living in an upside-down world. I liked my life in New York, and now I’ve willingly traded it for operating a business I have no real experience at, in a town whose entire population is roughly equivalent to the number of residents on the city block where I use to live. I don’t know anyone here, except for you. And Sam. And, I don’t know you all that well.” She folded her arms across her rib cage and gazed at the ground. “I never thought I’d be the kind of woman a man would use and cheat on. What pisses me off is how he made me feel when I ended it. Now, instead of riding into the sunset with the man I thought I’d share my life with, in the city I called home, all I’m left with is doubt.”


“I don’t trust–”

“Me?” he asked softly.

She lifted her head sharply, surprised by the hurt in his voice. How could he think that? She had more faith in him than in herself. She shook her head vehemently, eager to make him understand. “No! Me. I don’t trust me. And you don’t want that. You don’t want me.”

“As you said, you don’t know me well enough. How can you possibly know what I do or don’t want?” He stepped toward her.

She took a step back, maintaining their distance. “Let’s just say you shouldn’t want me. Wanting me comes complete with my neuroses. I hate small spaces and feeling like I’m trapped. I’m ‘freakishly’ tall–Phil’s words, not mine, built more like a boy than a woman worth touching. I no longer trust myself when it comes to making relationship decisions. Honestly, I don’t know when or if I ever will. For now, we should just stick to business. It’s safer for me. It’s safer for everyone.”

Panic clouded her vision and she wished her words back in her mouth. God, what was she doing? Was she really pushing away this wonderful, charming and sinfully gorgeous man? Shivers raced through her at the knowledge that she might be more damaged than she thought.

Her regret about her feelings had to be obvious, but she prayed the resolve she felt was as unmistakable. Phil’s infidelity and harsh words had shaken her normal self-confidence. She hadn’t lied when she told Jack she didn’t trust herself.

She dragged her eyes away from his and whispered, “You should be grateful. Hell, you should be running out the door, thanking the gods you escaped involvement with someone as messed up as me. I’m not going to change my mind. Please make this easy on both of us, Jack. Walk away.”

His challenging look told her he thought she was wrong; his grip on the kitchen chair in front of him turned his knuckles white. Looking across the barrier of the table, determination clearly readable in the set of his lips and tension in his shoulders, Jem knew she hadn’t convinced him.

He glanced away and rolled his shoulders. “Everyone has issues to deal with, Jem. I’ve found it’s easier if you share with someone, and deal with them together. As far as Phil’s ridiculous judgment that you’re too tall and built like a boy, the man’s a douchebag. I say we fit. You fit perfectly in my arms. I’ve never been attracted to any boy the way I’m attracted to you.”

He laughed. “Yeah, that didn’t come out quite the way I meant it. I can be whatever you need me to be: contractor, friend…lover, I hope. When you get to know me better, you’ll know how patient, how determined I can be.” He closed his toolbox and pulled on his jacket as he spoke. “For now, I’ll settle for business associate, and hopefully, friend. I don’t know you, but I like you. And this might be an understatement, but I’m attracted to you. More than attracted.” He glanced over his shoulder at her a last time as he walked through the kitchen door. “And this, between us, this attraction…this heat? It’s a long way from over.”



Gemma’s favorite desk accessories for many years were a circular wooden token, better known as a ’round tuit,’ and a fortune from a fortune cookie that said she was a lover of words; some day she’d write_DSC5143_AL_retouch a book. All it took was a transfer to the United Kingdom, the lovely English springtime, and a huge dose of homesickness to write her first novel. Once it was completed and sent off with a kiss even the rejections, addressed to ‘Dear Author’, were gratifying.

After returning to America, she spent a number of years as a copywriter, dedicating her skills to making insurance and the agents who sell them sound sexy. Eventually, her full-time job as a writer interfered with her desire to be a writer full-time and she left the world of financial products behind to pursue an avocation as a romance author.

Her gamble paid off when she was a 2012 Finalist in the prestigious Golden Pen contest for Romantic Suspense and she received contracts for her first and second book.

Connect with Gemma


Twitter  @gemmabrocato

or on the web at



Gemma is offering a digital copy of Cooking Up Love in any format to a randomly drawn commenter.

Just comment about the post and your email address

I’ll pick a winner on Nov 17th

Good Luck!

Leave a comment


  1. Thanks so much for having me here today. I should have spell checked better, because I like to take walks to the DAM near my house. LOL


  2. Hi Gemma, love the fact that you lived in the UK. One of my favorite places. Ever want to go back? Can’t wait to start reading your books!!


  3. What a great interview! I loved hearing about the characters. I am so curious about this book and can’t wait to start reading it. You’re definitely on my TBR list, Gemma. Congrats on the release!


  4. You’re a night owl and an early bird. Wow. How do you manage that? Nice interview. Congrats on the new release.


    • Joanne, I nap in the afternoon. When I have time, and when I’m not absorbed with some crazy plot twist or in the middle of baking/cooking something. I get as much sleep as my body tells me I need. Thanks for stopping by.


  5. Vanessa N.

     /  November 13, 2013

    You’re a new author for me and I already love Jack. Can’t wait to read how determined he is.


    • Hi Vanessa. I love meeting new readers. I’m a new author to everyone. LOL! I hope you enjoy the book. Thanks so much for stopping by to comment.


  6. Kari Kirk

     /  November 13, 2013

    I am so excited to learn of the series of five! Awesome that you built your collection around the five senses!! You are a Rockstar!


    • Thanks, Kari. I wish there were more senses so I could write more books about them. I’ve really enjoyed fitting a sense to a profession and telling stories that involve both.


  7. Jen

     /  November 14, 2013

    Great Q&A and Excerpt. I found a new author to read.


    • Hi Jen, nice to meet you. I hope you enjoy the book. I’m on Facebook and Twitter if you want to follow along on the continuing adventures of the Kerrigan family. Thanks for stopping by.



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