Hey, everyone! Thanks to Contemporary Romance Café for hosting me today. Coming up with a topic for this post was hard, but after lengthy deliberation fueled by a plate of cookies, I thought it might be fun to chat about settings. It’s a truth universally acknowledged that we romance readers love small town romances. The nosy neighbors and meddling family members. The local hang outs where everybody remembers that embarrassing tater tot incident in the eighth grade. The sheriffs abusing their power by ticketing their exes for running a Stop sign (the re-meet cute). And the stranger who blows in and eventually earns the grudging respect of locals, and the love of a good man or woman. Think of the authors who rock this setting—Kristan Higgins, Jill Shalvis, Robyn Carr, to name just a few. Small towns rule romance.
Well, I have a confession to make:
I’m Kate Meader and I write (and love) big city romance!
Don’t you just love when an author manages to turn a big city into a flesh-and-blood character? Reading Cara McKenna’s Willing Victim, I felt like I was inhaling working-class Boston, and Flynn was the scary bruiser I both dreaded and craved meeting in a dark alley. No novella has described Christmas in New York and made me feel the chill (and the heat) as well as Breath on Embers by Anne Calhoun. And every Julie James book with their sassy professional women and take no guff heroes makes me wish I was sophisticated enough to hang with those sexy, witty urbanites. When an author gives us an urban setting and uses it well, it can be just as invigorating and inviting as those small towns. There’s bustle and traffic and nightclubs. There’s a little grit, a lot of tall buildings, sights you might have heard of and can say, “Oh, I’ve been there!”
My Chicago-set Hot in the Kitchen series is about a restaurant-owning family and the sexy, sizzling chefs who love them. The stories center on the love lives of a close-knit Italian clan: Lili, the loyal homebody, Cara, the seemingly perfect older sister, and their bad boy charmer of a cousin, Tad. They might live in a big city but the sense of community is strong and vibrant as these funny Italians cook, eat, and annoy the hell out of each other.
The next entry in the series, ALL FIRED UP, starts in Sin City with a marriage under the influence before picking up in Chicago. A recovering anorectic returns home, seeking to forge a bond with the food-obsessed family she’s never felt close to. An Irish pastry chef embraces the American dream while he tries to connect with the family that doesn’t know he exists. Along the way, the city lends a helping hand in making their romance both domestic and epic. There are sexy motorcycle rides along Lake Shore Drive, line dancing classes where the students are recent immigrants, and excessive hand-holding on a visit to the Bean sculpture in Millennium Park with the beautiful Chicago skyline as backdrop. The town might be bigger but the problems are the same—hot, sexy people seeking connection, love, and the perfect chocolate cake.
Time to share! What are some of your favorite big city romances?
Kate writes contemporary romance that serves up delicious food, to-die-for heroes, and heroines with a dash of sass. Originally from Ireland, she cut her romance reader teeth on Catherine Cookson and Jilly Cooper novels, with some Mills & Boons thrown in for variety. Give her tales about brooding mill owners, oversexed equestrians, and men who can rock an apron, and she’s there. When not writing about men who cook and the women who drool over them, she works in an academic library. Her stories are set in her adopted home town of Chicago, a city made for food, romance, and laughter – and where she met her own sexy hero.