Thursday, August 4, 2016

Guest Post w/ Shannon McKenna: A Scorching Love Affair & Food!

Hey guys! Today we've got Shannon McKenna joining us for a fun post. Yall check it out then hit those comments and leave her some love! ~anna

A Scorching Love Affair & Food!

An odd thing happens to me as a byproduct of writing a novel. I get a stark picture of what I’ve been dreaming about/obsessing over/scared of/jonesing for during the time I’ve been writing it. There it is, right in my face, and my latest, RIGHT THROUGH ME is no exception.

It’s my usual offering of deadly danger, high-octane emotion and wildly passionate sex, with a few strange new twists, but one thing I am starting to notice about my books is that food always plays a central role in some scene or other. Often more than one.

In this book, for instance, I wrote a scene in which my characters feasted on amazing Mexican food. My editor commented, ‘you’ve been away from the U.S. for too long. Tone the Mexican food frenzy down. Way, way down.’

Well, I did, but it hurt me. I just love writing about the luminous pinkness of the plump gleaming shrimp as they float in their fragrant bath of garlic and butter, the towers of aromatic, tender, piping hot corn tortillas. The puff of steam that comes out of the corn husk wrapping of a tamale when you open it up, ahhhh (deep sniff, rapturous sigh.) Succulent barbecued pork pastor, chicken mole sauce, crisp fried tortilla chips, fresh pasta, chopped cilantro, guacamole.  Tears come to my eyes just thinking about it.

Now, I live in Italy. So I don’t get much sympathy. But I love Mexican food. Not that I’m complaining about Italian food, oh no,  never that. But there are some flavors you just cannot get there, and they are flavors that I crave.  Sushi, Thai food, Chinese food, dim sum, Indian food, and more. None of that where I live. Poor, poor me.

My editor also said that my table full of Mexican food is looking sexier than my hero. Let me just say, for the record, that statement was a gross exaggeration. NOTHING is sexier than my hero. Ahem. I made quite sure of it.

In each of my books, there is always a scene where food comes into very sharp focus. Often it’s the hero, providing some delicious, sensual and nourishing meal for the heroine, and/or showing her that he can cook. I confess, it just melts me when a guy can cook. I just go for that. My weakness for that is only surpassed by my weakness for a man’s musical abilities.

By the way, my husband can both cook and play music, superbly, and he demonstrated both those abilities very generously when we were getting to know each other and while we were engaged. However, since we were married, I have discovered that he would far rather play the music than cook. So it often happens that I listen to really beautiful music as I am cooking. Ah, well. There are worse things to complain about than listening to Bach or Villalobos masterfully played on the classical guitar while sautéing the zucchini.  But let’s go back to the marvelous world of the romance novel where we don’t have to fret about the mundane details of life like whose turn is it to load the dishwasher. Isn’t that the whole point of escapism?

I do sometimes celebrate Italian food in my books, too. In Ultimate Weapon, I ended up unexpectedly finding my characters having of those mad feasts you can only experience in Southern Italy. My heroine Tam, while trying to save her skin from the bad guys, ends up in a little pensione way out in the middle of nowhere on the Amalfi Coast, with her red-hot but problematic lover, Val Janos. Their hotelier was one of those Italian grandma types in the long black dress with the crucifix who try to kill you with amazing food. My protagonists rose to the challenge, and they prevailed. That was fun.

Then Becca, the heroine of EXTREME DANGER, once had to cook her way out of a tight spot when she finds herself in the wrong place at the wrong time encountering a vicious Ukraininan mob kingpin. Nick, my undercover cop hero, must justify her presence to the mob boss by passing her off as a cook.  Whew. Usually, the pairing is food and sex. In this case it was food and mortal peril. I do like to mix it up sometimes.

We’re all hungry for sensuality and delight—we all want to be fed and pleased and satisfied, we all love that giddy euphoric high you get from love and chocolate. I’m sure that the neural pathways lit up by passion and desire are the same as those that light up when we behold a crème brulee, or a big platter of chicken tikka masala, or a chilled lemon meringue pie, or a side of baby back ribs dripping with sauce, or a kick-ass potato salad made with new potatoes and sweet fresh onions, or fresh corn on the cob. Or a plate of Pad Thai noodles. Or a really, really good burger. Ahhh.

Hold me back. I’m losing control.

I try to indulge in all my food passions on my trips home. When I can’t, my heroes and heroines indulge in my food passions, in between their terrifying adventures evading and outsmarting and defeating arch-villains and frequent and blazing hot sexy-times.

That kind of activity burns a lot of calories. You need a lot of high-quality fuel to function at that level, so bring on the crème Chantilly and the fresh raspberries and buon appetito!

My thanks to Herding Cat and Burning Soup for having me, and may you all have a wonderful and relaxing August, full of fabulous food and juicy, mouth-watering books!

Yours warmly,

Shannon McKenna

Biotech tycoon Noah Gallagher has a deadly secret: his clandestine training as a super-soldier gives him abilities that go far beyond human. Yet he's very much a man. When Caro Bishop shows up at his Seattle headquarters with a dangerous secret agenda, his ordered life is thrown into chaos. Caro is a woman like no other—and her luminously sensual beauty cloaks a mystery he must solve.

Caro's lying low, evading a false charge of murder. She means to clear her name, and she'll do whatever it takes to survive—but seducing a man like Noah is more than she bargained for. His amber eyes have the strangest glow when he looks at her—she could swear he sees the secrets of her heart. The desire smoldering in Noah's eyes awakens her own secret hunger, but Caro has to resist his magnetic pull. Anyone close to her becomes a target. The only right thing to do is run, far and fast, but Caro can't outrun Noah's ferocious intensity—or deny the searing passion that explodes between them.

Nothing else matters—until a vicious enemy bent on the ultimate revenge puts his murderous plan into play. Noah and Caro must battle for their lives...and their love...


Shannon McKenna is the NYT and USA Today bestselling author of fifteen action packed, turbocharged romantic thrillers, among which are the stories of the wildly popular McCloud series. She’s also the author of the upcoming OBSIDIAN series, the first of which, RIGHT THROUGH ME, comes out in July of 2016. She loves tough and heroic alpha males, heroines with the brains and guts to match them, villains who challenge them to their utmost, adventure, scorching sensuality, and most of all, the redemptive power of true love. Since she was small she has loved abandoning herself to the magic of a good book, and her fond childhood fantasy was that writing would be just like that, but with the added benefit of being able to take credit for the story at the end. The alchemy of writing turned out to be messier than she'd ever dreamed, but what the hell, she loves it anyway, and hopes that readers enjoy the results of her alchemical experiments. She loves to hear from her readers.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Newsletter

No comments:

Post a Comment

I always enjoy hearing what YOU think so come on and leave a comment. Everyone's welcome :) And feel free to leave comments on old posts. I'll check in on you there too :)

Bloggers don't forget to leave your links!

The Herd Archives