Friday, February 20, 2015

*Spotlight with Excerpt & Author Interview* THE NAKED CHEF by Diane Hernandez






OUT NOW!!






SYNOPSIS:


It was supposed to be a temporary gig; babysit the mischievous movie star and cook some food—easy peasy.
Chef Reggie Morales signed the year contract because she had just closed her restaurant and she needed a job to help support her family. There was no way Reggie could even consider working in someone else’s restaurant kitchen so soon after closing her own place. She knew the temporary gig would give her the time she needed to figure out her next move. However, the only move she could think about was the one she wanted her new boss to make on her.
Tracy Thompson was the gorgeous Hollywood talent agent who hired her as a domestic while she discreetly kept an eye on his brother. Tracy was a beautiful man who was equally polite as he was respectful, until one night after they kissed.

As a single mother, and restaurant owner, Reggie had had little to no time to ever even consider a romantic relationship, and that wasn’t about to change even with the less rigorous schedule. Not as long as Tracy had a girlfriend. It had been a long time since Reggie gave in to her carnal desires, but one vulnerable night, Reggie gave in to Tracy’s seduction. She knew it was wrong, however, she had no idea it would change her life forever.
Diane Hernandez’s debut provocative novel gives readers a look at what happens when the “stars” align and you find love in your own backyard.




EXCERPT:


"Excuse me, but there’s a line here, mister.” I heard my daughter scolding a perfect stranger, so I turned to look at her. “Mija ven aquí.” I grabbed her arm then looked at the man’s face. Oh shit.
“But, Mom, he just walked up like there wasn’t a line right here,” Yolie protested.
“Yolie, cállate,” I quietly reprimanded my daughter while staring at Tracy. “Hi.”
“Hi, yourself.”
“You know this guy, Mom?”
“‘Mom’? Really?” Tracy asked, shocked.
I nodded and turned toward Yolie after stepping out of the concessions line. “Yolanda, this is Mommy’s boss, Mr. Thompson. Tracy, this is my daughter, Yolanda Morales. She’s sorry for being rude.” I gave my daughter a look to prompt her to apologize.
“Nice to meet you, Mr. Thompson. You can call me Yolie, and I’m sorry I was rude to you when you cut the line.”
Tracy looked at me with a raised eyebrow before turning toward my daughter. “Nice to meet you, Yolie. Please call me Tracy, and I wasn’t cutting the line. I just wanted to see if they had Sour Patch Kids before I stood in it. Not all theaters carry them.”
“Sour Patch Kids? Really? What are you, like, six?” Yolie asked.
“Jeez, she really is your daughter,” he said.
I shrugged with a reluctant smile.
“If you two are going to talk, may I please have money for popcorn and the boss’s little-kid candy?” Yolie asked.
I handed her a twenty and followed Tracy over to the hall that led to the theaters.
“Your restaurant manager and bookkeeper, I presume?” he asked, looking over my shoulder at my daughter.
“Yep, that’s her.” I turned to follow his stare and make sure she was behaving herself.
Tracy hovered over me with a furrowed brow. “Why didn’t you tell me, Reggie?”
“I was afraid you wouldn’t hire me if you knew I had a daughter and a grandmother to help take care of.”
“Who takes care of them when you’re at my house?”
“Well, as you can see, Yolie takes care of us. But I live with my mother.”
“Four generations of women in one house? Wow! No wonder you took the job.” He finally smiled.
“Yeah, right? You and your brother are a vacation compared to what I go home to.”
We both laughed, then there was awkward silence.
“I’m sorry,” he said, sounding embarrassed.
“For what?”
“Making you cook in your underwear. I never would have played along with Tanner had I known you were a mother.”
“Seriously? You can objectify me if I’m childless, but it’s inappropriate if I’m a mother?”
“Well… yeah?”
He looked baffled, but I was livid.
“Why?” I barked loudly.
“Are you mad?”
“Yes! A woman wants to feel desired even if she is a mother. You should respect women regardless, but if you’re going to objectify them, you shouldn’t discriminate.”
“Wait, I’m confused. Are you mad at me for objectifying you or not?”
“Did you enjoy seeing me in my underwear?”
He cleared his throat, not knowing how to answer. I could tell he felt it was a trick question.
“Well?” I insisted.
“Y-yes?”
Holy crap, really? Don’t smile, Reggie, stay mad. You’re mad at him right now. “Then don’t feel bad just because I’m a mother. It’s not like I went home and told my daughter what happened at work that day. She doesn’t hate you for that.”
He wrinkled his forehead looking down at me. “Does she hate me for something else?”
I didn’t say anything.
He guessed, “Because I make you spend the night?”
“Yes. But I told her it’s Tanner who makes me stay over because she’s in love with your brother.”
“Oh. Lucky Tanner.”
“I’m sorry. I never meant to lie to you,” I said. “Tanner knows about Yolie, and when I mentioned her birthday, he told me to take the weekend with her. I should have asked you first. I’m very sorry.”
“Why didn’t you tell me about her after I hired you?”
“I’ve felt like a failure ever since the restaurant closed, and I didn’t want to add the fact that I had been an unwed, teenaged mother to the mix. Plus, I didn’t want you to think I wouldn’t be able to keep the hours you wanted me to work.”
“I see. You thought I’d judge you?”
“Maybe,” I admitted, lowering my head.
He put a finger under my chin and lifted my face so that I had to look at him. “I wouldn’t have. Your kid’s a beautiful smartass, just like her mother. You’re gonna have a big problem in a few years.”
“Trust me, I know.” I smiled, getting lost in his hypnotic eyes. “Why are you here?”
“Tanner went out last night after dinner then never came home, and he’s not answering his phone. So I decided to come see one of my client’s movies so I wouldn’t sit at home worrying.” He pointed at the movie poster cut-out we were standing next to. “I need to check the credits and make sure all her people got mentioned. Plus, I like to see my artists’ movies to see how the public reacts to their performances. You know, make sure I’m getting the right jobs for them.”
“So you don’t just play golf all day, huh?”
“Very funny.”
Yolie walked up with a bag of popcorn, a large soda, and a box of Sour Patch Kids. “Let’s go get our seats, Mom. You coming, Boss?” Yolie handed him his candy and me the soda.
“What are you guys going to go see?” he asked.
“The new Disney thing,” I said.
“Oh. Well, Yolie, I’m going this way, but thanks for the candy. Maybe I’ll see you around.”
“Whatevs, Boss. Come on, Mom, let’s go.”
“Bye, Tracy. I’m sorry,” I said as my daughter dragged me away. When I looked over my shoulder at him, he gave me a smile.

The movie was wonderful. As we walked out of the theater, Yolie was spinning around like a beautiful princess with her long, shiny, dark hair floating in the air. Sometime she acted her age, and it made me just want to pick her up and hug her tight. She was growing up too fast, but there was nothing I could do about it. I was convinced she was a reincarnated soul that remembered stuff from her past, and it made her behave beyond her years most of the time. Plus, she was being raised in a house full of adults, so she behaved like a twenty-five-year-old trapped in a ten-year-old’s body. We pushed open the exit door of the theater to continue her birthday eve celebration and found Tracy standing against the exterior wall that held all the movie posters.
“What’s he still doing here?” Yolie asked as if I had a clue.
We walked over to him with trepidation.
“It’s early, ladies. What’s next on the birthday celebration schedule?” Tracy asked.
“Swing and Fling,” Yolie said, but it sounded like, “Duh, where else would we be going?”
“What’s Swing and Fling?” he asked.
“Miniature golf, trampolines, and pizza,” Yolie explained in a curt tone.
Tracy looked at me then back at my daughter. “Can I go?” he asked her.
My eyes widened in shock.
“I love trampolines,” he said.
Of course he does.
“What do you like on your pizza?” my daughter asked.
“Everything?” Tracy replied, not knowing if that was the right answer.
“Jalapeños and dried chili flakes?” she asked.
“Both?” He sounded frightened.
“Yeah. Why?”
“Well, that’s kind of spicy, don’t you think?”
“Gringos?” Yolie groaned. “I’m half Korean and part Mexican. My head could be on fire, and I wouldn’t feel it.”
“Fine, if you can take it, so can I.” Tracy sounded amused by my daughter’s candor.
Yolie grabbed my keys and headed for the Jeep.
“What are you doing?” I asked my boss.
“I need to have fun tonight. I don’t want to sit home alone.”
“Why would you sit home alone?”
“Nicole left for another job,” he said. “But I want to go because I’m really craving overly spicy pizza.”
“Are you all right?”
“Yeah. I’m sorry I’ve been a real ass lately. It’s not you. You know that, right?”
“I do now,” I said.
“Good. Let’s go have some fun.”
Tracy got in his car, met me at mine, and followed me down the street a couple blocks. At Swing and Fling, he parked right next to us.
We played a round of golf before the two of them jumped like crazy people on the trampolines. It had been a long time since I’d heard Yolie laugh that hard. They worked up a decent appetite, and we shared a giant “everything” pizza with extra jalapeños. Tracy gave her money for a soft serve cone before she went back to jump on the trampolines.
I didn’t know why I didn’t want to be left alone with Tracy, but I had a feeling he would ask personal questions.
“So where’s her father?”
I knew it. I turned away from Yolie’s acrobatic performance. “He’s not in the picture. Never was. Can we talk about this at home some other time please?”
“Yeah, sure. Sorry, I didn’t know.” He took my hand and held it tight.
I thought I might implode. The electricity was back, and all I wanted to do was crawl into his lap. “I know. It’s okay.”
I pulled my hand from his because his touch was making me wet. I turned back to watch Yolie and felt his eyes remain on me. Once Yolie started walking back to our table, I smiled big and put my arms out for her.
I hugged her tight. “All those gymnastics lessons didn’t go to waste, did they?”
“No. That was fun. Maybe I should start taking lessons again?”
“We’ll see. Let me and Nana get Abuelita her surgery, and maybe after that you can start again.” I stroked her hair, and she let me, which meant she was very tired. My daughter sat in my lap and rested her head against my chest.
“What surgery?” Tracy asked concerned.
“My grandmother needs cataract surgery. Her eyes are pretty bad.”
“She doesn’t have insurance?”
“No, she’s from Mexico. She came to live with us after my father was diagnosed, and my mother never wanted her to go back. They get along really well.”
“Wow? That’s unusual, isn’t it?” he asked.
“My mom is super sweet and loves everyone.”
“What about your grandmother?”
“She’s kind of a feisty smartass.”
“So that’s where you get it from?”
I smiled. I liked when he teased me the way Tanner did. “Probably.”
We shared a moment as we looked into each other’s eyes, then Yolie spoke.
“Do you like roller coasters, Boss?”
His gaze turned to my daughter. “Do I? Does a bear sh—”
“Tracy!” I warned.
“Oh. Sorry. Is the pope Catholic?” he asked.
“Not according to Sister Theresa, my math teacher,” Yolie answered sarcastically. We all knew the question was rhetorical.
“What?” Tracy asked, confused.
“Yolie goes to Catholic school,” I said. “Sister Theresa doesn’t like the new pope.”
“Oh. Well, then, to just answer your question—yes! Yes! Yes! I love roller coasters.”
“Really? Can you do the Revolution at Six Flags after eating cotton candy?” Yolie asked.
“Please, give me a real challenge. I can do the Full Throttle after cotton candy, three corn dogs, two churros, and a caramel apple.”
“Nice.” Yolie perked up as though she’d gotten her second wind. “Mom, can Tracy come with us tomorrow? Please, please, please?”
“What’s tomorrow?” Tracy asked.
“My birthday.”
“I thought that was today?”
“I get a birthday weekend. My real birthday is tomorrow, and we’re going to Magic Mountain, but my Mom hates roller coasters. I really want to ride with someone who loves them now that I’m tall enough for all of them.”
Tracy turned to me. “Please can I go, Reggie? Please, please, please?”
I rolled my eyes at him. “You’re ridiculous. You know that, right?” He looked at me pouting with puppy dog eyes. It made Yolie laugh so she ran to the other side of the table, sat next to Tracy, and made the same face. “Fine. If you want to come, then come.”
“Pick us up at seven o’clock sharp,” Yolie insisted.
“Seven?”
“We go to Saugus Café first to eat corned beef hash and pancakes. It’s better than my Mom’s food.”
“Hey!” I protested.
“Sorry, Mom.” My daughter corrected herself knowing I was in charge of the fun she wanted to have the next day. “It’s almost as good as my mom’s food.”
“Sounds great. I’ll pick you both up at seven sharp.”


Chapter Six



It was the second week of June, and Yolie had finished school the Friday before her birthday celebration weekend. Her excitement was contagious. I had to implore her to remain still as I tried to French braid her hair. I slathered her in SPF 50 and made her go find her wide-brim fisherman’s hat. We kissed the elder occupants of the house good-bye. I didn’t wake Abuelita, but after Yolie pecked her grandmother on the cheek, I waited for Mom to wake up.
“Are you two leaving already?” Mom asked with a yawn.
“Yeah, we’re going to go wait outside for Tracy.”
“Are you wearing makeup…? You did your hair? What’s going on, Regina Louisa?” Mom asked, sitting up in her bed to get a better look at me.
“Nothing’s going on. I just felt girlie this morning.”
“Is your boss someone I should meet before you leave?”
“No, Mom. He’s just going to help Yolie enjoy her birthday so he has an excuse to act like a child.”
“If you say so,” she said, obviously not believing me.
“I’m sorry you can’t come. Tell Abuelita we hope she feels better and we’ll eat the cake she made when we get home, if it’s not too late.”
“I will. You have fun… and honey?”
“Yeah?”
“You look beautiful.”
“Thanks, Mom,” I replied with a smile.
Yolie and I were sitting on the porch waiting for Tracy when a limo pulled around the corner and stopped in front of my mom’s house.
“Holy crap! Seriously?” Yolie said.
“Language, young lady!”
“Sorry, Mom. But is that for us?”
“I don’t know,” I hissed.
Tracy jumped out of the back with a great big smile. “Let’s go, ladies! We have roller coasters to ride!” He bellowed as though it wasn’t seven o’clock in the morning.
I remained on the porch, shaking my head in disbelief. My daughter was already willful and precocious—I didn’t need her to be spoiled as well.
Yolie was wrapped in Tracy’s arms by the time I stomped down the concrete path to the curb.
“Really?” I seethed once Yolie climbed inside.
“You only turn double digits once,” he said, acting as though he didn’t care that I was totally pissed.
As the driver cruised up Interstate 5, I continued to remind Yolie to calm down and stay seated.
“But, Mom, this is the coolest car ever,” she said. “Thanks for bringing it, Tracy. I’ve never been in a limo.”
“Has your mom ever been in one?” he asked my daughter.
She didn’t know, so she looked at me to answer.
“I went to my prom,” I said dryly, knowing that really didn’t count.
“I see. You dated a big spender back then, did you?” Tracy asked, teasing me.
“Something like that,” I said then looked out the window.
It was nothing like that. I’d gone to my prom with my girlfriends because no one asked me. Aimee had just broken up with her boyfriend, and Vanessa would only go with Justin Vega, so when he asked someone else, it was the three amigas on our own. Vanessa’s uncle was more like her brother. He drove a limo and was willing to buy us alcohol, so we paid for his “services,” and that was my first and only limo ride. I stared at Tracy, wondering why he was being so sweet and doing all this for my daughter.
He caught me staring. He took a quick look at Yolie, who was staring out the window, so he turned back to me and whispered, “What?”
“Why?” I mouthed, causing Tracy to look at Yolie again.
He moved closer to where I was sitting and put his hand on my knee. “I’d do anything to ride roller coasters all day.”
I smiled because I believed that. After all, he was the chocolate-chip-pancake eater who liked to call jinx and jump on trampolines.
The day was utterly exhausting. Had I known I would have to chase both of them around the park all day, I would have stayed at the diner and enjoyed a couple more cups of coffee. Keeping up with them was a workout like I hadn’t done since tenth-grade gym class when we had to run cross-country. They rode every single roller coaster in that amusement park and ate something from every single food stand. Tracy didn’t allow me to pay for one thing, and when it was time to go, he bought everything Yolie wanted at the exit souvenir shop. Then he carried her on his back to the limo.
We ate dinner in Valencia at a restaurant just off the freeway, but I didn’t know how either of them had any room left in their stomachs. Yolie fell asleep on my lap before her meal arrived, and I drank most of the wine from the bottle Tracy and I shared because having all of his attention made me so nervous.
“I can’t remember when I had so much fun,” my boss admitted as though he was surprised.
“Yeah, she knows how to have a good time,” I said, rotating my wine glass in tiny circles by its base.
Yolie started to do her little girl snore, and I looked down, smiling as I stroked her hair. “She can get loud,” I warned Tracy.
“Does she get that from her mother?” he asked, picking at the basket of bread in the middle of the table with a smile.
“You’re funny.”
“What does she get from her father, Reggie?” he asked, sitting up straight and looking serious.
I sighed then looked down at my lap. “Her fearlessness, the most beautiful hair I’ve ever seen, slightly slanted eyes, and a love for very spicy food.”
“Why?” he asked.
I looked him in the eyes before I answered, deciding right then exactly how much I would tell him. “Because her father is Kwan Park.”
“The Asian fusion guy?”
“Yes.”
“How do you know him?”
“I worked for him. He started doing the food truck thing in the valley the year I started culinary school. I had just spent the first three weeks learning all about knives. The whole class chopped everything. It was day in and day out of chopping, chopping, and more chopping. KP opened a commissary near the Sherman Oaks Galleria to supply all of his trucks, and he was there working out of one of them one night when my friends and I were at the galleria. He watched me walk up and said, ‘You with that sweet ass and tits. Come here and let me make you anything you want.’ I looked over my shoulder because I couldn’t believe he was talking to me. He was one of my idols, my personal rock star. If he’d had a poster, it would have been hanging in my room. Plus, it was the first time a guy had made a pass at me instead of my girlfriends. I was used to being the third wheel, the ugly friend.”
“I don’t believe that,” Tracy said in a complimentary way.
“Please, you haven’t seen my friends. They’re beautiful.”
“So are you.”
“Whatever,” I said, rolling my eyes. I didn’t want to believe the gorgeous talent agent that I had a very unhealthy crush on thought I was pretty. “That night was a first for me, but I acted like it happened all the time. So I said, ‘Why don’t you let me up there to make my own meal?’ He said sure, so I got up in the truck and started chopping like a pro. ‘Ay, damn. Mami gots skills,’ he said, standing behind me and sounding impressed as his fingers kept gliding up and down my ass crack.”
“Subtle,” Tracy said sarcastically, sucking in a breath with flared nostrils.
“I had just turned eighteen. He was beautiful, talented, and covered in tattoos. He told me if I wanted a job working nights in the trucks, I needed to be at the commissary at three o’clock the following day, and if I wanted to have dinner with him, I’d wait there until he showed up. He took me to his restaurant in Santa Monica then to his condo on the beach. I told him I was a virgin, and he said, ‘Not for long.’ He took me home with him after work every night for three weeks, making me feel like I belonged to him.” I looked across the table to see if Tracy wanted me to continue.
“And?” he said.
“You really want to hear this?”
“Finish the story, Reggie,” he insisted, saying my name as if he was angry.
“I was in love with him. I did anything he wanted. He showed me a world I didn’t know existed and had me over every surface in that condo, making sure my virginity was gone in every possible place. He taught me how to satisfy his needs and told me it was my job to do it, so I did. He told me every day how incredibly amazing I was and that he was the luckiest man alive. But as the weeks went on, he came by the commissary without taking me home with him more and more often, until it had been forever since I had seen him. He didn’t take my calls. When I discovered I was pregnant, I didn’t know what to do. I continued working, and one day he came in, so I took the opportunity to tell him the news. He said that I needed to get a lawyer if I was going to accuse him of being the father and that I couldn’t work in the trucks if I was pregnant. I needed to work nights because of school, and the trucks were the only place I could get those hours. Once I started to show, my name was no longer on the schedule. I didn’t bother asking why. I just concentrated on school and made it to the end of the semester before giving birth. After my mom and dad made me go to confession and we all talked to our parish priest about the situation, my parents agreed to help me raise my daughter so I could stay in college. My father fell instantly in love with Yolie, just like my Mom told me he would, and after he realized Yolie’s father would never be in her life, he made sure she had a father figure to look up to.”
“Where’s Park now?”
“I have no idea. He went to Miami to open a place there, and I heard something about Vegas, but I haven’t heard his name in a while.”
“I’m sorry, Reggie,” he said sincerely.
“Don’t be. He gave me the most precious gift of my life. I consider myself lucky, and I truly feel sorry for that guy.”
“Good,” he said, smiling just as our food arrived.
We ate in silence, but I felt his glare and peeked at him from under my lashes. I sensed he wanted to say something, but he never did. Tracy paid the check before I could get my wallet, then he took Yolie from the booth and carried her to the car. He sat across from me and my daughter on the way home and stared at me the entire time.
“You opened that restaurant too soon to show him, didn’t you? You wanted to be as successful as he was to prove you didn’t need him, huh?” Tracy asked.
I shrugged, knowing that was true. “Maybe.”
“She’s a great kid. You’re not a failure. You just need a business plan and other people’s money before you open another restaurant.”
“Yeah, I know.”
We spent the rest of the ride in silence. He carried Yolie into the house and laid her on the couch in the living room.
“Thank you, Boss. I love you,” my daughter said from her comatose state.
The look on Tracy’s face was that of shock and pride, mixed with confusion and responsibility. He looked scared. I turned, pretending not to notice because I was suffering my own anxiety. Sometimes I felt so guilty Yolie didn’t have a father, and it was moments like that that caused me to question every decision I made for her life. I willed the tears to wait until I could get him out the door.
“I love you too, peanut,” he said then kissed her forehead.
I clutched my chest because my heart was pounding too fast. I walked ahead of him, wiped my eyes, then opened the front door for him. “Thank you so much for everything. This day meant a lot to her, and I know she’ll never forget it.” Now go, please just go. Don’t say a word or look at me. Just walk out the door and leave, please. God, please make him leave right now. My eyes were closed when I felt his mouth on mine. My eyelids sprang open, and I jerked my head from his face. “Tracy!” I panicked.
But he kissed me again. He wrapped his right hand round the nape of my neck so that he could hold me in place. Then he used the other hand to push me into his body. His lips were softer than I’d imagined they would be. I was completely lost in the moment when the hand holding me to his body dropped to my ass and rested there.
“You don’t have to come over tomorrow. Take this Monday off. I’ll see you Tuesday.”
I opened my eyes, feeling very dizzy. I couldn’t speak.

“Goodnight, Reggie.”





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INTERVIEW WITH DIANE HERNANDEZ:


1. Do you write to a soundtrack or specific type of music?
I need it quiet when I write. Although, while writing The Naked Chef, I was seeking help from one of my cover artists for the cover of my next release, Out of Your Mind and wanted something that looked like the cover of A Star is Born, soundtrack. When I was looking for the image to show her, I was able to download the soundtrack to my computer (That was a big deal for me, I am extremely technology based inapt) and I just couldn’t stop listening to it. I’m turning it on right now, I love it so much.

2.  What’s the most memorable character that you have ever written?
June Calendario and her sisters are a series that I’m writing now. Everyone will love her and anyone with sisters will love the series. She is a country music star, but doesn’t act like it. She’s awesome.

3.  What kind of snack/drink is a MUST for you when writing?
I drink coffee and occasionally I drink coffee, but my favorite is coffee. Did I mention how much I like coffee? I like it black everywhere I go, but if I’m at a Starbucks—and it’s not Christmas time, I order a hot, triple, tall, non-fat, mocha, with. Apparently, ‘with’ means whipped cream. Steve at my local location taught me how to order my drink like a pro. 

4.  Describe your perfect writing space? and where do you actually write?
I write in my “husband’s” office. When we built the home we live in now, I designed the kitchen so he insisted on building his own office. He paid the bills and handled the household paperwork at the time and wanted a hide-out. I decorated it with models of classic cars and a Route 66 theme, but he never used it. His “office” is our garage. He is a car guy and loves playing with real cars not models.
The space had a computer and was always empty so I began to write in secret in there. He tells me all the time I should redecorate, but there is something calming and soothing about being surrounded by a ’56 Chevy Nomad, ’67 Camero, ’59 Ford El Rancho, ’69 Mustang GTO and so many more. My man’s cave office is my quiet place.

5.  What do you do with the stuff that gets “edited” out of your books? Do you keep it or do you consider it gone for good?
Never gone. Never. Never. Never. Any indie writer will tell you, the line editors we hire to make our books free of reader interruptions, are only suggestions. Suggestions based on experience and education, but suggestions nonetheless. I am now at the point where I can look at the suggestion critically and try to see it from another perspective. If I agree with the line editor, I take it out, but never forget and try to use the scene for another book, hoping it will work there. However, that wasn’t my mind set when The Naked Chef was edited. 
A wonderful example of me losing my cookies over a cut, is when my line editor told me to get rid of the part when Tracy reprimands Yolie for her and her friends being cruel to Rebecca. The editor told me most mothers would have a problem with that scene. A scene where we learn Tracy is capable of being a father and not just a playmate. And then, the idea that any mother would have a problem with Tracy saying want he said to their daughter, incensed me. Sometimes an author’s work is just too personal. 

6.  What is the first Romance book you remember reading?  
Forever, by Judy Blume. I read it just before the movie, Little Darlings was released. Matt Dillon and Kristy McNichol’s relationship shook me a little, especially after reading Forever. Being raised a strict Catholic, I knew I was going to rebel. My girlfriends were already having sex and I knew I would do it too, just casually like it wasn’t a big deal. But after Forever and Little Darlings, I thought maybe saving myself wasn’t a bad idea. The truth about how I lost my virginity is written in one of my books. I’ll probably never tell which one. 
          
7.  What is the last book you read?
The Good Wife’s Guide, Embracing Your Role as a Help Meet. Now before you go and think I’ve completely lost my mind, it was research for an upcoming series called, The Chronicles of a Reluctant Housewife. I read lots, and try to mix it up. However, my Kindle proves I am a romance junkie. The last (dark) romance I read was the Songs of Perdition, series. I am in love with CD Reiss and everything she writes.

8.  When you are not writing, what are you doing (any hobbies or guilty pleasures)?
I’m a chef, so I cook. I cook a lot. I love it, my family loves it and I am completely at home in my kitchen. I hate when other people are in there with me. They can watch. They just can’t invade my space as I create. I don’t just throw ingredients together. I create cuisine for every meal. The hardest thing I had to do for my website is stop and write everything down as I cooked. I typically just pick ingredients and try new things. I hate recipes.

9.  What is your favorite way to interact with your fans? (social media, conventions, emails, letters.)
Well, since this is my first novel, I’m married to my only fan. And his favorite way for me to interact, showing my gratitude for his support, is between the sheets. I can’t say I’ll be willing to do that with all my fans—that is if I’m lucky enough to get more. Although, the idea of having fans gets me pretty excited. I better go find my husband.

10.  What are you working on now?  Can we get a sneak peak?

I have a page on my website called, “Sample Tasting.” It’s the definition of amuse bouche. I will always put a sample of what’s coming next there. Currently, I’m working on a lot. However, the second book to my Out of Your Mind series is my main focus.



MEET THE AUTHOR:


Diane Hernandez was always aware of the voices in her head. But, it wasn’t until her nest emptied, and the harried frenzy of being a wife, mother and chef was replaced with a quiet calm, did she listen to them. Once she realized those voices were telling her tales of love and lust, she started writing down the super sexy and provocative stories. Now, she has decided to release them for your enjoyment. When Diane is not busy taking dictation from her subconscious, she is teaching culinary arts, cooking, reading, gardening, shopping on Zulily or watching Project Runway. 
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13508826.Diane_Hernandez