Monday, April 28, 2014

Hungry Heart by Meg Benjamin | Author Interview + $50 Amazon GC Giveaway

Kinky Vanilla Romance is pleased to share Hungry Heart by Meg Benjamin with you. Hungry Heart is the eighth book in the Konigsburg series. It is a available now from Samhain Publishing. Meg Benjamin agreed to answer some interview questions for me. I hope that you enjoy her responses as much as I did.

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Meg will be awarding a $50 Amazon GC to a randomly drawn commenter during this tour and her reviews tour, here. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour. Remember, the more you comment, the better your chances to win.

Hungry Heart by Meg Benjamin 

Peace, love, and barbecue—with a big order of sexy on the side.

Sous chef Darcy Cunningham is less than entranced with small-town Konigsburg’s obsession with barbecue. But her future career as a chef de cuisine requires expanding her culinary horizons, so she talks the Barbecue King, a.k.a. Harris Temple, into taking her on as his apprentice.

However, learning Harris’s professional secrets wasn’t supposed to include falling for his spicy blend of smoky sexiness and laid-back charm.

Chico Burnside specializes in flying under Konigsburg’s small-town radar, but lately life has been going a little too smoothly, even for him. Hoping to shake things up a bit, he talks Harris into teaming up for Konigsburg’s first barbecue cook-off. But once shy scientist Andy Wells catches his eye, Chico’s got more on his mind than brisket. Like enticing her out of her shell to show her just how tenderly a big guy can love.

As the competition ignites, so does the romance. Until a natural disaster threatens to derail Konigsburg’s dream team before the grills even get good and warmed up.

Author Interview

1. Where do you get your ideas? I come from a family of barbeque lovers. When I read Hungry Heart's description I thought, “Oh, that’s good.” From pit master to tasters, people are passionate about barbeque. Barbeque and romance are a spicy paring.

The ideas for the Konigsburg series all come from spending time in the Hill Country, my favorite part of Texas. I’ve done wineries (Long Time Gone), honky tonks (Brand New Me), and fine dining (Fearless Love), so barbecue seemed like a logical next step. Texans love their barbecue, and sometimes it seems like every little town in the Hill Country has its own barbecue joint—or just a barbecue smoker set out under the trees.

2. What was your favorite chapter (or part) of Hungry Heart to write and why?

I really loved doing Chico and Andy. They’re not your typical romance couple—a former pro wrestler turned bouncer and a shy scientist don’t really seem to go together. I had a great time showing that these two very different people actually had a lot in common.

3. You have lived all around the U.S., including some "barbeque" states (Kansas, Texas, and Alabama). Is anything in Hungry Heart based on real life experiences or is it purely all imagination?

Well, I’ve eaten a lot of barbecue in my time, and I’ve picked up some things (like the smoke ring on a well-cooked brisket) just from observation. But I also did a lot of research about Texas barbecue before I started writing. The history of barbecue is fascinating, and I managed to work some of that in, along with the whole barbecue contest plot. I had no idea there was a big-time barbecue contest circuit, but now I’d love to check it out—as a diner, not a cook!

4. Hungry Heart is the eighth book in the Konigsburg series. Are there certain characters you would like to go back to, or is there a theme or idea you’d love to work with?

I’m not sure if I’ll be doing more Konigburg books or not, but there are always more stories to tell about the Hill Country. And I always find characters I’d like to spend more time with (like Harris’s brother Gray, for example).

5. What are the most important elements in good romance writing, in your opinion?

I think character is really the most important part of most romances, or the romances that I like anyway. I want to read about people who appeal to me. I want to like them and be interested in what they do. I want to cheer for them, and I want to be surprised by them. After character, story makes a big difference. Those characters need something to do, and it shouldn’t be something that you’ve seen a hundred times before. I’m always impressed by writers who can take a plot that seems conventional and turn it on its head. I love being surprised.

6. What project are you working on now?

All of my books until now have been about Texas, where I used to live. But I’ve lived in Colorado for the past five years, and I’d love to write about the mountains too. I’ve got a couple of Colorado trilogies I’m trying to finish right now.

7.  I laughed out loud while reading your blog post, My Secret Identity. Do you own a pair of knee-high suede boots? What are you planning on wearing to the next Authors After Dark or RWA gathering?

I’m really big on ruanas, those long, dramatic shawls that you can wrap around yourself. I’ve got a couple of gorgeous silk ones that I wear to RT and RWA. And this year I’ve also got a long drapey skirt that I can wear with a silk top. I’ve been assigned to the Saints side of the Saints and Sinners evening at RT, and I figure that’ll be perfect. The knee-high suede boots were more hypothetical than real. I wouldn’t have much chance to wear them at summer conferences, and wearing them in winter in Colorado would be suicidal, given our snow depths!

8.  What's the most amusing thing that happen to you at a book signing event or writers’ conference?

Well, the Karaoke party that Nine Naughty Novelists do with Smutketeers (and this year with International Heat too) is always a hoot at RT. I’m willing to sing, but dancing is beyond me. Still, watching the cover models boogie with the audience is a lot of fun.

9.  If you could invite any 3 people to a barbeque dinner, who would you choose?

Oh, let’s go with cooks for this one. Bobby Flay would be a good start. Robb Walsh is a Texas ‘cue expert, who’d be great at the technical details. And I’d go with Anne Burrell for number three just because she looks a little like one of my heroines in Hungry Heart.

10. What is your favorite style of barbeque sauce? Kansas City, Memphis, Texas, North Carolina, South Carolina, or Alabama

Sauce? Sauce?!? We don’t need no stinkin’ sauce! Seriously, Texans are notorious for not taking sauce with their barbecue and being insulted if offered. It’s not quite as bad a putting beans in chili, but it’s close. The only kind of sauce I’ll take is one that’s a little tangy and a little hot, and it has to be on the side. Still, if the brisket is juicy enough, no sauce is needed!

Author Bio 

Meg Benjamin is an author of contemporary romance. Her Konigsburg series for Samhain Publishing is set in the Texas Hill Country and her Medium trilogy for Berkley InterMix is set in San Antonio’s King William District. Meg’s books have won numerous awards, including an EPIC Award for Contemporary Romance, a Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award for Indie Press Romance, the Holt Medallion from Virginia Romance Writers and the Beanpot Award from the New England Romance Writers. Meg lives in Colorado with her DH and two rather large Maine coon kitties (well, partly Maine Coon anyway).

Author Links

Her Web site is and her blog is

You can follow her on Facebook (, Pinterest (, and Twitter (

Meg loves to hear from readers—contact her at

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  1. Welcome to the Kinky Vanilla Romance blog, Meg.

    Brisket is my favorite. I totally agree with you. If the brisket is juicy enough, no sauce is needed! Falling for Harris Temple, the Barbecue King, would be bad for my waistline.

    I can't wait to read Hungry Heart. Thanks for doing the interview.

    I hope you have a great tour.

  2. Oh MY! What an awesome interview! You had me laughing my self silly and I'm at work to boot!

    andralynn7 AT gmail DOT com

  3. Great interview. I love barbeque too so I'm sure I'll love this book too :)

  4. Great book. Made me hungry though for good BBQ. Lol

  5. Barbeque piques my interest for sure!


  6. I enjoyed the interview, thank you.


  7. This sounds like such a good story.

  8. Thanks for stopping by everybody!

  9. So cool...a book about chefs and romance! Two of my fave things...I love food network and love a good romance book. I can't wait to read this one!

  10. This looks like a really cute story. I'd love to read it.

  11. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. I love blog hops because I get to find so many authors I wouldn't normally come across. Great interview.

  12. What a great interview! Thank you for posting!