As part of the ongoing celebration of upcoming debut novels, I’ll be running highlights of interviews from a number of my fellow debuts through the end of 2019. The full interviews are available on DebutAuthors19.com.
Today, we’re continuing the series with a conversation with Felicia Grossman, author of APPETITES & VICES, a historical romance releasing from Carina Press on Feb. 18th, 2019.
About the Book:
Appetites & Vices tells the story of Ursula Nunes, the least popular Jewish heiress in 1840’s Delaware, and Jay Truitt, a recovering opium addict hiding behind his rich playboy persona. What starts as a faux engagement to help Ursula’s social standing, turns into actual love. The novel follows Jay's struggle build a new life and Ursula’s struggles to fit into both Jewish and gentile society, while discovering that everything is a little easier with a partner. The book explores of the difficulties of American Jewish identity, addiction and interfaith romance.
Where did you get the idea?
Appetites is a faux engagement story and I love that trope (romance is all about the tropes). And I really, really, really wanted to write a heroine in a historical romance that could’ve been my ancestor (there’s no British nobility in my blood, I promise), who got to have a really big character arc because why should the heroes have all the fun screwing things up?
What’s the story behind the title?
Appetites & Vices comes from my CP (critic partner) group. My original title was terrible and they would not let me query with it so, led by my writing bestie, MJ Marshall, we brainstormed and everyone else along the way loved it.
No spoilers, but tell us something we won’t find out just by reading the book jacket.
Both Appetites and its sequel, Dalliances & Devotion, are parents-and-children books in a lot of ways. The romantic relationship is primary but the biggest secondary relationships are those sort of family bonds.
What kind of research did you do for this book?
It’s historical so a ton of research. It’s set in my area of the country (Delaware and Philadelphia)—where I grew-up—just a few centuries earlier—so I kind of knew where to go, i.e., Rebecca Gratz’s letters and writings as well as Winterthur Museum and Gardens etc.
What did you remove from this book during the editing process?
Oh gosh, before querying, I removed original chapters three and four as well as the first half of chapter one, because they were cute but didn’t push the plot forward. I also added a bit of backstory to my hero after an R&R. But other than that initial stuff, I didn’t remove anything else big.
What is your favorite part of your writing process, and why?
I love editing, especially big edits. It feels like spring cleaning and because you are finally molding your clay. Drafting is throwing the clay down on the wheel, editing is where the fun begins.
Can you share your writing routine?
I’m a mom and I have a full-time day job so I write whenever I can. In hallways, when the kids go to bed, anywhere and everywhere.
Do you have any writing quirks?
I overdue any suggestion, at least the first time. Too few contractions? I make so up so I can add more. Too many adverbs? I take them all out. I have to always watch of I go to extremes.
About the Author:
Which book influenced you the most?
One? I have to pick just one? I always I’m historical romance with a bit of a Jewish humorous women’s fiction voice. Like Joanna Shupe, Alyssa Cole, Beverly Jenkins, and Elizabeth Hoyt have been huge romance influences, while Nora Ephron, Susan Isaacs and Jennifer Weiner have been huge voice inspirations. I read Heartburn when I was like ten and it was totally inappropriate but it also changed my life because I understood the tone, the humor, and the dynamics.
What are you working on right now?
Appetites & Vices has a sequel, called Dalliances & Devotion coming out in August, so there are edits there. I’m also drafting something entirely new, but still American now, and there’s a Regency I’m editing.
If you could write in another genre, what would it be?
Probably mystery/thriller. I LOVE legal thrillers. I binged read Richard North Patterson in the ‘90s when I was way too young for those books as well. But that’s a genre I still read a ton in.
Connect with Felicia: