Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Interview ~ JUST A TASTE by Shannyn Schroeder

Just a Taste (The O’Learys, #5)
by: Shannyn Schroeder
Series: O’Learys
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: April 16, 2019
Publisher: Shannyn Schroeder
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo | Goodreads

Grief brought them together. Will love seal the deal?

Still reeling from her father’s death, Carmen Delgado has no idea what it means to have dreams of her own. But when sexy Liam O’Leary inherits a share in her dad’s successful food truck, Carmen is suddenly free to explore her life—never expecting Liam to provide a tempting path.

Running Gus’s Taco Taxi isn’t exactly what talented chef Liam pictured as his dream job. However, as he and Carmen team up, things in the food truck heat up and it’s not just the food. Now it’s up to him to show Carmen everything she deserves in life. His Irish charm can be irresistible. After just a taste, will Carmen find what she didn’t realize she needs?

The O’Leary Series by Shannyn Schroeder is one of my favorite series. I seriously LOVE talking to Shannyn every chance I get. Today, I get to bring you one of our little conversations. Enjoy.

Hi, Shannyn. Thank you for joining me today.
Thank you so much for having me back!

Anytime. Seriously, I love talking to you. Let’s get down to business. Please tell me about Carmen Delgado and Liam O'Leary. What are they like, what are their weakness and strengths?
Liam is the youngest O’Leary brother. He’s a chef and has been thinking about opening his own restaurant for a while, but has yet to make a move. His caution is both a strength and weakness. He’s careful about what he does, but sometimes he can think things to death. Like all the O’Learys, Liam is loyal and family-oriented.

Carmen is a little lost. Her father has just died, and after spending years caring for her parents, she has no idea what she wants out of life. Carmen is also loyal and dedicated to her family. Her biggest weakness is her low self-esteem. She’s unsure of herself all the time.

I totally agree with your assessment of them. Liam is so good for Carmen. As a reader, I'm always curious how an author comes up with their character names. How did you choose the names Carmen and Liam?
I named all of the O’Learys long before I even considered writing a series where each sibling would get a book. When I named them, I simply combed through a name book for Irish names I liked.

As I created the character for Carmen, all I knew about her was that she was Mexican-American. I looked through a name book like I usually do, but had no luck. Then I watched George Lopez reruns with my kids. The daughter in that show is named Carmen. I knew instantly that would be the perfect name for my character (not that she’s modeled after the TV show, though).

Carmen is definitely NOT modeled after the character on George’s show. What's your favorite part of a book to read or write?
I love to write the beginning of a book because it holds so much promise. The first few thousand words are painful to get out, but once I get started, it’s fun to discover who my characters are and what they’ll do.

As a reader I love to read a good grovel scene. The bigger, the badder the guy, the better the grovel usually is. 😃

When you started writing Just a Taste, did you have an idea of how the story was going to turn out or were you surprised by where your characters took you?
I’m always a little surprised by my characters. Although I try to get to know them before I start writing, I don’t really plot out my books. I have a very general idea about plot, but that’s it. I try to figure out what will cause trouble for my characters. For example, Liam is a chef who wants his own restaurant, so I gave him a food truck. A food truck is not what he wants, but his loyalty to his friend drives him to work there.

Your O'Leary series started out being about an Irish American family in Chicago. So I'm going to assume you, for the most part, already had an idea of what each of the O'Learys were like, personality wise. When it came time to find the perfect mate for them, what were you looking for? I guess the easier question is what makes Carmen right for Liam?
Ha-Ha! That makes it sound like I started this with a master plan, which I totally didn’t. When I wrote the first book (More Than This), I knew Ryan O’Leary came from a large family and it wouldn’t be enough to just give them all names. I needed to know more about them, but for the most part, I learned about each of them a little more every time they appeared in a book.

Finding the perfect mate for each O’Leary is tough. It’s a case-by-case issue definitely, but many of them are an opposites attract kind of thing. However, I knew Carmen would be right for Liam because they’re similar. Liam wouldn’t be attracted to his opposite. Carmen has spent a long time taking care of other people, and Liam is a nurturer. He likes to take care of her. Also, they both have the same values (family) and a love of food (although Carmen does her best to deny it).

Thank you so much for taking time to answer some questions for me. I have to say, I love the O'Learys.
Thank you again for having me. You always ask such great questions. I had a blast writing the O’Learys. It’s hard to imagine not returning to this family. However, there are new things on the horizon that I am very excited about.

Okay. So, I’ll be stalking your website and Twitter, to find out your news. And thank you so much for being one of those authors who actually listens to and talks to your readers when they have a concern about a book. I should also warn you.... I definitely plan on interviewing you for Hold Me Close and I think I already have some questions in mind. 😃

He entered the house and looked around. People packed the entire living room. He stood still for a moment, allowing the air of the room to warm him. He studied the faces and realized he didn’t know anyone. No one approached him, but many looked in his direction with open interest.

Then he spotted Carmen. She bustled around, taking plates and delivering coffee to older men and women around the room. He crossed to her and followed until she went into the kitchen. He waited in the doorway.

The kitchen was empty of guests. She put the dishes in the sink and then braced her arms on the counter and released a breath that shuddered through her. Guilt poked at him. He was interrupting a private moment and he should leave, but his feet wouldn’t listen.

He cleared his throat. “Carmen?”

She straightened slowly before turning to face him. A slow smile formed on her face. “Liam.”

He hadn’t been sure she would remember him. “How are you holding up?”

She lifted her shoulders in answer. The question was dumb. That was one of the worst parts of dealing with people after his father had died. The dumb questions from people.

“Here.” He held the flowers out to her. “I know it doesn’t help or ease the pain in any way, but I couldn’t come here empty-handed.”

“Thank you. They’re beautiful.” She took the vase from him and looked for a free space on the counter. The entire kitchen table and the length of the counter held trays and bowls of food. The smells made his mouth water even though he wasn’t hungry.

“Can I get you something to eat?” she offered after she stashed the flowers in the corner near the refrigerator.

“No. Can I help with some of this? Do something for you? You look like you have your hands full with all of your guests.” He removed his jacket and hung it on the back of one of the kitchen chairs. He rolled up the sleeves of his shirt, prepared to help.

She blinked a couple of times. “Uh… In all honesty, I’ll probably end up throwing most of this out. There’s just too much.” She turned in a circle. “Coffee. I need to make more.”

Liam moved forward. The girl looked dead on her feet. How could her family not see this? He pulled a chair out from the table. “Sit. I’ll make it.”

“No, it’s okay.”

“Carmen, sit down. Take a break and relax for a minute.” While not harsh, his tone was firm and she sat.

He remembered when Gus’s wife, Inez, died and the house had been filled like this. Gus loved having the family here, but Carmen had hidden in the kitchen, overwhelmed. Liam had joined her then too. He moved around the kitchen making coffee and then washed the dishes that were in the sink.

“You don’t have to do that, Liam.”

“I know. I like to feel useful. And I don’t think anyone in your family wants to chat me up.” He rinsed a dish and put it in the drain. “I came here to see you, Carmen. I don’t know anyone else. Your dad was my friend.”

He heard her hiccupping breath. When he turned, he expected to see her crying, but she just stared off at nothing. Drying his hands quickly, he squatted in front of her. “What do you need, Carmen? I watched you run around here, taking care of everyone. What can I do for you?”

Her focus shifted until her eyes met his. So much sadness. He wanted to wrap her in a tight hug, but they had never had that kind of relationship. They’d had a teasing, laughing one with minimal contact. And that had been years ago.

“Could you take the coffee into the living room? I just need a few minutes.”

He patted her knee before rising. “Take all the time you need.”

Purchase Just a Taste from:

The O’Leary Series:

More Than This ~ Review
Something to Prove ~ Review
Catch Your Breath ~ Review
Just a Taste ~ Review

Shannyn Schroeder is the author of the O’Leary series and the For Your Love series, contemporary romances centered around large Irish-American families in Chicago and the Hot & Nerdy series about nerdy friends finding love. Look for her new series – The Dating Challenge in 2019. When she’s not wrangling her three kids or writing, she watches a ton of TV and loves to bake cookies.

Places to find Shannyn Schroeder:


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