Monday, July 28, 2008

Navy SEAL, Cowboy, Billionaire…Chef?

When it came time to choose a sexy, alpha job for the hero of my new book, Hungry for More, I knew none of the standbys would work.  My heroine is a Gypsy, too unconventional and outside of mainstream society to relate to the typical alpha guy.

So what career would suit James, my sensual, tough, in-command, but unconventional hero?

One episode of Hell's Kitchen, and I knew the man had to be a chef. (Have you seen this show? You must watch it!)

Okay, so research, always a favorite pursuit of mine, may have gotten a little out of hand for Hungry for More. I had to start eating out more, talking to restaurant people, understanding what makes them click. Luckily, I live in Philadelphia, where the restaurant scene is exploding with cocky, brash executive chefs taking huge risks to make their marks.
These men are ultra-competitive and at the same time very passionate. I was going to all the area’s acclaimed restaurants, talking to everyone I could, thinking, would my hero James cook here? Would James cook this?

All that eating out was hard work, but someone had to do it. And I think it makes Hungry for More a more authentic experience. I used parts of the décor of the beautiful XIX restaurant at the Hyatt Hotel on Walnut Street; borrowed the to-die-for menu of the Brasserie Perrier; and based the hero, James, on the chef from….

...I’m not telling. I wouldn’t want to embarrass anyone. It feels too personal. But I did take traits of real chefs and gave them to James. There’s just so much personality and richness in men who live to make spectacular food. They’re like vampires, living opposite of the rest of society, working nights and weekends, sleeping all day, living for the extremes of sensual pleasure. Their working conditions can be demanding and dangerous. But they don’t care. All they care about is getting the food right.

It's very sexy.

I think James puts it best: 

"Cooking, like making love, is best done right or not at all."


So what will the hero in my next book do for a living?

He definitely won’t be a chef. I’ve already gained almost ten pounds! Maybe a personal trainer?

What's your favorite romance novel hero career?

Hungry for More, Grand Central Books, coming September '08
Sexiest Man Alive, RITA finalist, Grand Central Books, in stores now!


Lois said...

Well, arguably my favorite career are the Dukes and Earls and Marquis and the like. . . LOL But with all I've read, there really isn't anything that I don't like, so whatever career or job they have, I'll take it! :)

And love the sound of this one, so I have to put it on my list! :)


Diana Holquist said...

Hi Lois.

Yeah, those titled men do have a certain something, don't they? But us contemporary writers are stuck with characters who need real jobs.

Just like us contemporary people...

:- )


cheryl c said...

In contemporary fiction, I like just about any career. I have enjoyed books that featured modern cowboys, shiekhs, CEO's, doctors, firefighters, police officers, detectives, chefs, military officers, bodyguards, bar owners, etc. I guess it's the guy himself that does it for me. It's his character, personality, and masculinity.

Diana Holquist said...

I agree. It's all about the guy. But as a writer, we use "shortcuts" to tell readers about a character, and the career choice of the hero is a good shortcut. For example, for me, chef means Leader and Sensuous. Whereas Cowboy means Loner and Tough.

One thing I find really interesting in contemporary romance novels is how many heros have just this short list of jobs that Cheri listed, or a mix of them.

For example, there's a lot of pressure to give even, say, a bar owner, a military background. Or if a guy's a doctor, he's also an ex-cop. You know what I mean?

What would you think if the hero was, say, a schoolteacher? Has anyone seen that lately?


Pat Cochran said...

How about a professional football
player? I seem to remember a certain
running back from back in my day!
Whoops, that's as far as I'll go with that story!!

Pat Cochran

Diana Holquist said...


We want more of THAT story.

Guess we'll have to wait for the book to come out.


Estella said...

I love lawmen(any branch), and cowboys( historical and contemporary).

Shari Anton said...

Just wanted to say I'm proud of you for giving all in the name of research :).

All of your hunks are wonderful, Diana, no matter what their occupations!

Diana Holquist said...

See, now I could never write a cowboy. I just wouldn't have the slightest idea where to begin. I'm too much of a city girl.

I like the lawmen when they're conflicted. Otherwise, they're too straight for me. I like a guy with an edge.

Yeah, Shari, going out and eating was tough, but someone had to do it.

:- )


Lily said...

A man in the spotlight, like in the entertainment world!

I agree with Lois... totally on my TBR, as I have enjoyed your two first books!

Diana Holquist said...

Thanks, Lily.

I hope you like it!