T. Neilson on Favorite Stories, Research and Sweet Nothings (Amuse Bouche #1) (author guest post)

Standard

Sweet Nothings (Amuse Bouche #1) by T. Neilson
Dreamspinner Press
Dreamspun Desires
Cover art:  Aaron Anderson

Buy Links:

Dreamspinner

Amazon

Kobo

 

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have T. Neilson here today answering a few questions and talking about Sweet Nothings, the first in a new series.  Welcome!

♦︎

 

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Interview with T. Neilson

Does research play a role into choosing which genre you write?  Do you enjoy research or prefer making up your worlds and cultures?

You could say I did some research for these books! I spent over twenty years in the food industry. I started out as a waitress — that was my first job, at age 14. When I finally left the food industry, I was 28. By then I was a professional coffee taster (AKA a cupper, which is a thing you have to be careful about calling yourself when you also write romance) and I was sick of the industry.

I kind of grew up in cafes and kitchens, and a huge part of my social life and social circle was food-world-adjacent, too. All my friends were in coffee, or beer, or kitchens. I was sick to death of the work and ready for a change, so I ventured out to become a full-time writer. And slowly, bit by bit, I started to miss the food scene. I guess it was sort of like kicking the dust of your hometown off your feet, and then starting to feel homesick.

These days, I get my food industry fix by work emergency cover shifts as at a friend’s cafe. I love having the chance to jump back into the food scene, but it’s incredibly physical work, and I don’t think I could make it full time in a kitchen any more. I still love the food industry. It is a different world, really unique, and the camaraderie is incredible.

When I set out to write the Amuse Bouche books (of which Sweet Nothings is the first), I wanted to recreate that world for myself, and for readers too. And it’s not by accident that Sweet Nothings takes place in a teeny tiny town in the middle of nowhere, and parts of it are an awful lot like the town I grew up in. There are a lot of parallels between the food industry and small town living.

Do you read romances, as a teenager and as an adult? Who do you think is your major influence as a writer?  Now and growing up?

I loved reading fantasy and science fiction as a kid, with a little mystery on the side sometimes. Ursula le Guin, Tolkien, and Melanie Rawn were my favourites for SSF, and Ian Rankin, Agatha Christie, and Dorothy L Sayers for mystery. I grew up in a small town with a family that was coming apart at the seams, and I loved the way people went away and had adventures, created all-new families, and solved mysteries. I only really started reading romance as an adult, after I had done a little travelling, and moved to the big city, and settled with my partner, and had some adventures of my own. Then I think romance filled a different need for me, a sense of home being a feeling rather than necessarily a place.

When I found romance, holy cats I fell right into the genre. I have a TBR list that is embarrassingly huge, but I love to read (especially audiobooks) and to discover new authors. My current desert-island romance authors are Victoria Dahl, Damon Suede, and BA Tortuga, but there are so many great authors out there who I haven’t had the opportunity to read yet. Part of why I read audiobooks is because I can read while I’m cooking or in the car. I really wish you could order reading time from a store.

About Sweet Nothings:

Will a bitter bite from the past spoil a sweet romance?

Tristan Love, the youngest of seven brothers, is back in his hometown. He’s left the New York food scene and an abusive relationship behind him, but he holds his love of French pastries close to his heart and is determined to put his skills to use in a bakery of his own.

Returning to his childhood home means his meddlesome brother Simon will butt into his business, but before the bakery even opens its doors, Tristan’s delectable creations have the town’s mouths watering, and Jake, a cute mechanic, asks Tristan out. It all seems worthwhile….

That is, until the bakery burns down, Jake’s criminal past comes to light, and Tristan’s nasty ex rears his head where he is decidedly not wanted.

About the Author:

T Neilson writes flirty, silly, contemporary m/m romance featuring recovering addicts, mental health problems, and abuse survivors. Honestly, honestly, the books are silly. I swear.

A MelanieM Release Day Review: Sweet Nothings (Amuse Bouche #1) by T. Neilson

Standard

Rating: 4 stars out of 5

 

Will a bitter bite from the past spoil a sweet romance?

Tristan Love, the youngest of seven brothers, is back in his hometown. He’s left the New York food scene and an abusive relationship behind him, but he holds his love of French pastries close to his heart and is determined to put his skills to use in a bakery of his own.

Returning to his childhood home means his meddlesome brother Simon will butt into his business, but before the bakery even opens its doors, Tristan’s delectable creations have the town’s mouths watering, and Jake, a cute mechanic, asks Tristan out. It all seems worthwhile….

That is, until the bakery burns down, Jake’s criminal past comes to light, and Tristan’s nasty ex rears his head where he is decidedly not wanted.

Sweet Nothings by T. Neilson was another terrific contemporary romance for me this week.  A first story in a new series (Amuse Bouche which means one bite) this had many elements I just love to find in my stories.  Food, in this case baking, some hurt/comfort, large families, a ‘bad boy’ looking for redemption, and a whole lot of love.

Tristan Love or Tris is a wonderful character coming home carrying secrets with him from his recent breakup with his long time boyfriend.  Determined to make it on his own, not even his large (and popular) family is aware of his homecoming and the fact that he’s bought out the town’s old bakery.  I loved this character from the moment we met.   Neilson has created a man both of strength and vulnerability, full of purpose and yet so full of doubt as well.  Tris is easy to identify with and connect with emotionally.  Doubly so as the revelations start to come.

Jake, the mechanic with the past is also an easy personality to fall in love with.  He’s almost too good to be true as can be shown in a scene with a person from his past.  I thought given what he’s still going through and has been through, some anger and resentment would have been human.  Yet his reaction was almost serene.  Honestly I found that a little unrealistic.  But that’s my only quibble here.  A little more of the bitterness that the character demonstrates at the beginning of the story would have made this scene more authentic.  But that’s just my opinion.

I liked their build towards a relationship and the brothers antagonistic behavior towards it and Jake (understandable in protective older brothers who act first, think later).  That seemed right on the money. And the brothers lack of understanding of Tris and his ex’s relationship as  its effect on the brother/brother relationship over the years was toxic. That too was only briefly addressed.  I’m glad the author went there but like other elements here it could have used more storytime.

There’s an abusive element here that needed more exploration or perhaps a little deeper treatment.  I thought it was thrown into the story, then its effects on Tris  handled a little too casually (domestic violence after all).  Same goes for the resolution for the criminal at the end.  Was the wrapped up a little too quickly and neatly?  I think perhaps so.  For men, domestic violence is a harsh reality that’s never addressed or passed by because of gender.  The author  used an important topic as in element in their story but then sort of slide it aside, much like it is in society itself.

All this said,  I still really enjoyed this story.  I liked the characters, their relationship, the secondary cast, and the plotlines.  I will most definitely be seeking out the other stories in this series.  Amuse Bouche.  Does that indicate that each will be a standalone?  Seems to be, although I was hoping for a Love family long run of romances.  I guess I’ll be waiting and reading as they come out.  Until then, I’m recommending Sweet Nothings (Amuse Bouche #1) by T. Neilson.

Cover Artist: Bree Archer did a great job.  That’s definitely Tris and his bakery.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 248 pages
Expected publication: April 3rd 2018 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN139781640802483
Edition LanguageEnglish
Series Amuse Bouche #1