Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Cooking Up Love with Candace Shaw

Hi, Lynn! Thank you so much for having me on your blog today.
Tell the readers a little about yourself.
I live in Metro-Atlanta with my husband of nine years and our pets, a parakeet and a weimaraner.  I’m originally from Florida but moved to Atlanta after I graduated from college. I write African-American contemporary romance novels. I read a variety of genres including historical and women’s fiction. I love to shop, garden and eat out.
What was the inspiration for Cooking Up Love?
Downtown Memphis, the trolley, blues clubs and barbecue. My husband and I went to Memphis in May, which is a barbecue and music festival that last the entire month of May. I fell in love with the atmosphere and the vibe. We stayed downtown in his cousin’s loft, walked or took the trolley whatever we needed to go in the downtown area and ate delicious barbecue. I didn’t want to forget the experience, so I incorporated some of it into Cooking Up Love.
Do you consider yourself to be more of a food critic or a chef?
While I do love to go to different restaurants and try new things, I’m also a picky eater so I wouldn’t be a good food critic. I’d hate everything with tomatoes! But I do love to cook new dishes, I guess I’m an amateur chef. I watch the Food Network and the Cooking Channel looking for ideas and then using my husband as a guinea pig. Plus, I come from a family of chefs. My grandfather and my uncles are chefs and own a few popular soul food restaurants in Atlanta and North Carolina. 
The tagline for my blog is 'Indulge Your Inner Romantic,' what do you do to indulge?
Like Shelbi and Justin, my husband and I love to cook together. About once a month we pick a recipe we saw on the Food Network and make it. We have jazz playing in the background, candles lit and some wine. Then we eat and cuddle on the couch…
What was your favorite part of Cooking Up Love?
Quite a few actually. But one that comes to mind is when Shelbi and Justin first meet on the trolley. She’s digging around in her purse for money to pay the trolley fare. People are behind her screaming at her to move or hurry up and then Justin appears. You can check out the excerpt below.
How did you choose the names for Shelbi and Justin?
The county of Memphis is Shelby. I’ve always thought it was a cute name in general, so it seemed appropriate to name my heroine Shelbi but with an “i.” Her last name, Arrington, is the maiden name of one my dearest friends and I’ve always liked it. My husband picked Justin’s name but no particular reason. I asked him for a name when we were driving back to Atlanta from Memphis and he said Justin Richardson. 
What's next in the Arrington Family Series?
I am currently working on Dr. Bria Arrington’s book, The Game of Seduction. She’s an allergist at the family’s private practice and prefers to incorporate naturopathic medicine with traditional. However, her father who is over the practice, is totally against it, causing Bria to make a decision to either stay or go to another practice. In the meantime, she finds herself falling for her sexy, mocha-covered friend, playboy Rasheed Vincent. I’m enjoying writing Bria and Rasheed’s book. This book has a sexy tone and there’s a lot of hot scenes including one where she blindfolds, handcuffs and places earplugs in his ears…This book will be available in fall 2012.
What happens when a suave, handsome chef meets a cute, sassy food critic?

When Shelbi Arrington accepts a position as a food critic in the hopes of burying her medical career and foregoing her residency, the last thing she’s searching for is love. However, that’s just what the doctor ordered especially when she lays eyes on the handsome chef, Justin Richardson. While sorting out her secret conflict of continuing her medical career, she falls for his mouthwatering charm, leaving her hungry for anything he has to offer.

Justin is leery of doctors because a doctor’s negligence caused his mother’s death when he was twelve. He has put his focus and energy into his restaurant, which had been a dream he and his mother shared. Justin is immediately smitten by the cute, sassy food critic that has him cooking up different ways to please her appetite. But when things start to heat up, Shelbi learns of a shocking revelation that could extinguish the flame of their relationship. Will Justin be able to forget his pain and commit to the woman who has stolen his heart?
The red trolley stopped in front of her, and the door slid open. Unfortunately, it wasn’t the trolley driver who had a crush on her and gave her free rides whether she had money or not. She hoped the driver would have pity on her.
 “Good afternoon…um…”—she glanced at his nametag—“Mike. It seems I have given all of my change as a tip to the waitress a few minutes ago. All I have are these few…” She stopped to hold out her hand. “Pennies.”
The driver tilted his head to the side and looked down at her hand. “All you gave the waitress was some change?” he asked in a harsh tone.
Stunned at his remark, as well as embarrassed at the line of people behind her groaning impatiently, Shelbi didn’t know what to say or do. She checked her wallet, hoping she had a dollar hidden somewhere.
“Move it, lady!” a man behind her shouted.
“Hurry up!” a lady with a crying baby screamed.
“I have a slice of tiramisu you can have,” Shelbi whispered. “Never mind.” She turned to go before she said something rude, or worse, cried from embarrassment.
“I’ll take care of it,” a deep, concerned voice to her left said. A whiff of intoxicating cologne floated by as the considerate stranger dropped a one-dollar bill into the trolley’s money slot. 
“Thank you.” Shelbi looked up to see a chiseled, handsome face and a sexy smile that caused her breathing to stop. When their eyes met, an immediate rush of sensual excitement washed over her skin. She glanced at his hand that had just placed the money in the slot. No wedding ring, but it didn’t mean he was single. A man as chivalrous as him probably had women chasing him all over Memphis. 
“No problem.” He placed his hand at the small of her back. “Let’s go sit down.” The warmth in his voice and his kind gesture made Shelbi forget about her embarrassing moment.
While on their walk, Shelbi assessed his at least six-foot-one muscular frame, curly yet wild black hair, and a fair complexion with a slight tan as if he had just come from the beach. He wore jeans with a rust-colored corduroy jacket and a cream T-shirt, perfect for the first day of fall. 
Shelbi was used to the take-charge kind of guy thanks to her dad and her two overprotective brothers. However, the way the stranger glanced down at her, giving her a comforting smile, made her heart skip a beat or two and was anything but brotherly. 
Once settled in their seats, Shelbi turned toward him and once again was blown away by his strikingly handsome face. Her breathing unsteady, she tried to concentrate on the woman holding a baby the next seat over. Instead, her eyes were drawn to the good-looking stranger with dark, thick eyebrows and a neatly trimmed mustache with a slight beard growing in. He was sinfully delicious. If he were dessert, she would’ve devoured him right then and there. 
Giveaway Information:
One tour follower will win a $10.00 Starbucks gift card. Follow the tour and leave a comment at each stop to give you more chances to win. Plus, if you are a subscriber on my blog, you’ll have an extra entry. The winner will be selected on and I’ll announce the winner on June 1st on my blog. All entries must be in by 11:59 PM on May 31st.
Buy Links: 
Ways to Contact Candace Shaw


Candace Shaw said...

Good morning, Lynn! Thank you so much for having me over on Decadent Decisions today!

Sherika Williams said...

It was really interesting learning all these facts about you. I really enjoyed the interview and slso loved reading Cooking Up Love. I can't wait for your next book to hit!!!!

Candace Shaw said...

Thank you, Sherika. The next book is almost done and will be out in the fall.

Sharon Cunningham Cooper said...

Great interview. I especially like the part about how you and your hubbie came up with the names for your characters.

I enjoyed reading Cooking Up Love and can't wait to read - The Game of Seduction. Love the title by the way!

W. Lynn Chantale said...

Hey Candace. It's my pleasure to have you here. Welcome to Decadent Decisions. I see Chef and Tyrell have been taking good care of you. Chef did not make anything with tomatoes so please enjoy the buffet and Tyrell makes the best drinks.

I really enjoyed Cooking Up Love and can't wait to read the next.

Candace Shaw said...

Hi Lynn! The buffet looks delish. Chef and Tyrell have been wonderful hosts. Thank you for having me over today.

Hey Sharon! Glad you like the title. I've changed it a few times but this is the one I'm sticking with.

Glad both of you enjoyed Cooking Up Love.

Catherine Lee said...

The excerpt starts out embarassingly, but turns out yummy.

Candace...I love that you and your hubby cook together. Very romantic.

Ollie said...

I am Memphian, so of course I LOVE to read anything pretaining to Memphis. Blend, Memphis, Barbeque, and The Beale Street Music fest and you got me.

Thank you,

Ollie Moss

Candace Shaw said...

Hi Catherine Lee!

Yes you are so correct and that was the whole idea but of course Justin jumps in saves the day! I enjoy cooking with my hubby. It is so much fun because we select new dishes and not just something simple like spaghetti. Good luck on the giveaway and thanks for stopping by.

Candace Shaw said...

Hi Ollie! My hubby is from Memphis and we visit about twice a year. In fact, we're going in July and I can't wait. I want to go to Rendezvous, BB Kings, the casinos and the Cheesecake Corner. I always buy a whole cheescake to bring back to Atlanta. I hope I captured the Memphis feel. My hubby did read it first and answered questions for me. Thank you for stopping by and good luck on winning the giftcard.

divavixenqueen said...

Cooking up love sounds like a real treat, the excerpt was really good. Definetely going on my TBR list.

Candace Shaw said...

Thank you Divavixenqueen! Let me know what you think. Good luck on the giveaway!