Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Hungering for a Good Romantic Novel?

We're always looking for new books to read, and sometimes that means looking back at books we may have missed their first time around.  Our guest today is author Brenda Gayle, whose romance, The Hungry Heart, has just been re-released, and she is doing a contest as part of today's visit.  Tell us, Brenda, Did you always want to be a writer?

It’s clich√©, but I can’t remember when I didn’t write. I was the geeky kid in class that was thrilled when the teacher gave us a creative writing assignment. Then, in high school, my girlfriend and I would entertain ourselves by starting with the same sentence and going off to write our own stories. It always amazed me how different they were.

How did you get started?
I have a degree in Journalism and spent 20+ years working in corporate communications so publication was something I did every day. However, at a certain point, I started to feel like my creative muse had abandoned me. I couldn’t blame her. She was probably as tired of annual reports, press releases, and magazine articles as I was. I returned to writing fiction as a way to re-ignite my creative juices. Unfortunately, with family and work responsibilities, writing for me was always last on my to-do list. Then, a friend suggested I take it seriously; treat it as a writing assignment and write for publication. I joined my local writers’ group and never looked back. I completed Soldier for Love, my first full-length contemporary romance, and was thrilled when The Wild Rose Press wanted to publish it.

Tell us about The Hungry Heart and its re-release.  
The Hungry Heart is the first book in my Heart’s Desire series, which chronicles the search for love and belonging for three cousins. The book was originally released in September 2013. I’ve always loved it; its hero, Hunter Graham, is one of my favorite characters, as is his indomitable grandmother, Libby. I was thrilled when The Wild Rose Press informed me that Amazon wanted to relaunch the book as part of its Encore program. Amazon’s Encore Publishing selects successful and well-reviewed small press and self-published books, giving them a second life by improving their exposure. 

What gave you the idea for it and what made you want to write it originally?
The heroine of the book, Nora Cross, is a dedicated association executive, who thinks she has no time for a social life. I’ve spent most of my communications career working for not-for-profit associations and have gotten to know many “Noras.” I thought it would be fun to see what happened if she met a younger man with a carefree attitude. I decided he should be a chef because what’s better than a guy who cooks for you, right?

What have readers said about the book?
It’s very interesting. Everyone loves Hunter. He’s a fun combination of sexy playboy and little boy. There is an innocence and openness about him that’s very appealing. I think of him as a ten-year-old: he doesn’t think about the ramifications of his actions, and is genuinely surprised and remorseful when he discovers he’s hurt someone.

Nora, on the other hand, seems to be a polarizing character. A lot of people don’t like her at all at the beginning of the book. She’s harsh and unbending. Fortunately, before the end, she’s redeemed herself, and everyone is rooting for Hunter and Nora to get together.
How about a blurb?

A burned out association executive spices things up with Santa Fe’s playboy celebrity chef.
Child advocate Nora Cross doesn't have time for the private cooking lesson her sister won at a charity auction. Hunter Graham, the young chef, is the last person she needs telling her she's forgotten how to have fun. So why can't she get the very hot, very eligible man off her mind?

After a stellar debut in New York City, Hunter's back in Santa Fe to open a new restaurant. He lives a charmed life and he knows it. He isn't interested in a workaholic who's glued to her smart phone. So why is he trying to convince Nora to relax and enjoy life—with him?

When Nora's apartment and office are ransacked, Hunter comes to her rescue, surprised to find himself playing knight-in-shining armor to the uptight executive. But when it becomes clear Nora is no random target, Hunter realizes he'll do anything to keep her safe.
What are you working on now?

Last March I took a family trip to Sedona, AZ. It has to be one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been. The scenery and the mystery of the place was so amazing, I was inspired to write a story set there. The result, Me + You, will be released around Valentine’s day as part of The Wild Rose Press’s Candy Hearts series.
How can readers reach you or find you online?

You can contact me via my website,

BUY LINKS for The Hungry Heart
eBook exclusively on Amazon


Tell us about your contest.

Setting is very important in all my books.The Hungry Heart is set in Santa Fe, NM, a place I'd dearly love to visit. And, as I mentioned, a recent trip to Sedona, AZ, inspired me to write Me+You, my Valentine's novella. Let me know either some place you've always wanted to visit and why, or some place you've been that has inspired you in some way. I'll randomly select one commenter to win a digital copy of The Doubting Heart, the second book in my Heart's Desire series. I'll make the draw the end of the week.
Thanks, Brenda, for being our guest.  Click on Comments to reply to Brenda's contest or to ask her any questions or leave any comments.


  1. I really like the sound of your book, Brenda! As for polarizing characters, well, I like that Nora grows and changes throughout the book. Good work! Best of luck with the re-release. I've always wanted to take a lingering trip to England, where I could explore to my heart's content. All my medievals are English-set, primarily in the Midlands. A perfect retirement trip, don't you think?

  2. HI Barbara, thanks for stopping by. I agree, a trip to England sounds like a perfect retirement trip. I've been to London and the south of Ireland, but I'd love to spend some time in Scotland, too.

  3. Your book sounds terrific! Congrats on the re-release. I write about Alaska in some of my books, but I've never been there. I do a lot of research, so I know it's beautiful.

    1. I'd love to do an Alaskan cruise, Ilona. I've been to Whitehorse in the Yukon on a band trip in high school. I'd love to go back. In the summer, of course.

  4. Sounds great. Good luck with your re-release.

    1. Thanks for dropping by, Shirley.

    2. Hi Shirley, I used to choose the winner of The Doubting Heart and your number popped up. Congratulations! Send me an email at with where I can email the book to, as well as your preferred format (mobi, epub, pdf).

  5. Thanks Rebecca for helping me celebrate the re-relaunch of The Hungry Heart. Barbara, Ilona & Shirley, thanks for dropping by.

    I used to select a winner of The Doubting Heart. Shirley, you're number popped up. Send me an email at with where I can email the book to, as well as your preferred format (mobi, epub, pdf).

    I'm wishing you all a lovely weekend.