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Jen's Jewels
Get the lowdown on your favorite authors with Jennifer Vido.

Jennifer Vido | Jen's Jewels Interview: TILL THERE WAS YOU by Lindsay Hameroff


Till There Was You
Lindsay Hameroff

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February 2024
On Sale: February 20, 2024
320 pages
ISBN: 1250902916
EAN: 9781250902917
Kindle: B0C1X5JW52
Trade Paperback / e-Book
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Also by Lindsay Hameroff:
Till There Was You, February 2024
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Welcome to "Jen's Jewels," your go-to destination for all things bookish. This week, I'm excited to spotlight Lindsay Hameroff's TILL THERE WAS YOU. Picture a delightful blend of kitchen escapades and the whirlwind journey of an up-and-coming musician – it's a gem of a read. Come along as we dive into the rich layers of this heartwarming love story. So, find a cozy nook, grab a warm beverage, and let's chat about why TILL THERE WAS YOU is the perfect blend of flavors and emotions. It's a literary gem worth savoring!

 

Jennifer Vido: What inspired you to blend the culinary world with the glamorous yet tumultuous life of a rising musician in your novel, creating such a unique and captivating backdrop for the love story between Lexi and Jake?

Lindsay Hameroff: I wanted Lexi to have a job that was very inflexible and would make it difficult for her to work around Jake’s schedule. I considered several jobs with long hours and few days off, including being a medical resident, but ultimately, being a chef worked the best for the plot and interested me the most. I have no culinary training and have never worked in a restaurant, but I love to cook, so learning more about cooking and getting immersed in that world was a lot of fun!

 

Jen: Lexi's dedication to her culinary career and her mother's memory adds a powerful dimension to her character. Can you share more about how you developed her as a protagonist and the significance of her connection to her late mother in the narrative?

Lindsay: When I lived in New York, one of my coworkers lived alone in the apartment he grew up in. After his mother passed away from cancer, his father moved to Florida and remarried, and my friend stayed behind. He continued living in his childhood home because the apartment was rent controlled, and it looked frozen in time. I always thought it was the most heartbreaking situation, and I borrowed it (with his permission) for Lexi’s backstory. From there, I built out the connection between the apartment, her mother, and her career. For Lexi, food is love, and she used it as a tool to care for her mom when she was dying. When her mom made a comment about wishing to see Lexi as the head chef in a Michelin star restaurant, she took those words to heart, interpreting them as her mother’s dying wish. She felt betrayed by her father’s behavior after her mom’s passing and I think that contributed to her clinging hard to the idea of becoming a career chef. She didn’t want to let her mom down the same way that her dad did. 

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Jen: The tension between Lexi's no-dating rule and her spontaneous connection with Jake is a central theme. How did you navigate the balance between the sizzling romantic elements and the challenges the characters face, especially in the face of fame and media scrutiny?

Lindsay: Jake and Lexi are magnets for each other. I’m not a fan of the term “instalove,” but Jake and Lexi definitely had an “insta-connection” that forced her to re-evaluate her dating ban. However, there were two main things keeping them characters apart: circumstance and fear. Jake’s newfound fame felt precarious, and he was afraid of doing anything to jeopardize it. Lexi’s fear had similar roots: she also wanted to avoid distractions that would take her off course from achieving her career goals. Even though their lives were so different, they shared this common ground, and it was one of the ways they connected. Jake got frustrated with Lexi when media scrutiny caused her to retreat, but deep down, I think he understood it, and understood her, because he had made mistakes for the same reasons. Without the added challenges of media scrutiny and fame, she probably could have moved past her reservations about dating, and they would have had a much easier relationship from the get-go. But the challenges were ultimately worth it, because it made them appreciate their connection so much more and forced them to evolve as individuals.

 

 

Jen: New York City's restaurant scene and the chaotic world of fame are vividly portrayed in your novel. What kind of research did you undertake to ensure an authentic portrayal of both settings? And were there any real-life inspirations for the culinary and celebrity elements in the story?

Lindsay: Like I said before, I didn’t know anything about culinary school or working in a kitchen, so lots of research was needed! I connected with Chef Kelly English through Twitter, and he graciously allowed me to pepper him with questions like, “What would be a really embarrassing mistake for a culinary student?” and “What is staging?” and “How could one mess up during their stage?” I also read a few non-fiction books written by chefs, and I used Google images to get my kitchen descriptions just right. I may have also read the course descriptions for the Culinary Institute of America to figure out which classes Lexi would have taken and in what order.

 

However, I have plenty of experience eating in restaurants and pulled lots of those into the novel. Some of the restaurant settings were real, like Ess-a-Bagel (my favorite!) and Bubbie’s, and some were inspired. The restaurant where Lexi works, Olive & Pomegranate, was inspired by one of my favorite restaurants, Fig & Olive.

 

Jen: The title hints at a "perfect recipe for love." How did you approach crafting the chemistry and dynamic between Lexi and Jake, and do you believe in the idea of a "perfect recipe" for love in real life?

Lindsay: Lexi credits lemon juice as the secret ingredient in her famous blueberry pancake recipe because the flavors are complimentary. The acidity brings out the sweetness of the blueberries, which enhances its flavor. I think the same is true for a perfect love match. The ideal partners should complement one another, ultimately bringing out the best in the other. Two personalities that, on their own, are great, but together are unforgettable.

 

Jen: Lexi's internal struggle between her carefully planned future and the unexpected rekindling of her romance with Jake adds depth to the story. How does she face these challenges?

Lindsay: I think one of the best things Jake does for Lexi is forcing her out of her comfort zone. She’s so committed to her tidy plans, and the rekindling of their romance is completely disruptive. If it weren’t for Jake, I think she probably would have toiled in kitchens forever and convinced herself that she was happy enough. It isn’t until he comes back into her life that she really starts to ask herself what she wants, rather than what she thinks others want from her. And that’s what ultimately changes her path.

 

Jen: The intersection of romance, fame, and career choices introduces several complex themes. How do you hope readers will connect with and reflect on these themes in their own lives?

Lindsay: I think it can be hard to separate the things that make you happy from the things that you’re good at. I always think of that scene from the movie Center Stage, where Maureen decides to quit ballet and tells her mom that if she didn’t, she would have spent her life wishing she’d found something she loved, instead of something she happened to do well. Life is too short to settle, but at the same time, it can be hard to walk away from a dream someone else has for you. In that same vein. Both Lexi and Jake grapple with their dreams coming true and then not being completely happy with the reality of them. Overall, I hope readers walk away with the sentiment that it’s okay to pivot and change your dreams if they aren’t everything you thought they’d be.

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Jen: What’s the best way for readers to stay connected with you?

Lindsay: The quickest way to reach me is on Instagram. Slide into my DMs; I love chatting with readers! You can also subscribe to my newsletter. I send out a newsletter monthly to keep readers informed on news and upcoming events, as well as to recommend books and recipes!

 

Jen:  What upcoming titles have made it onto your “to-be-read” list?

Lindsay: There are SO many, but I’ll narrow it down to five upcoming releases on my TBR:

  1. Happy Medium, by Sarah Adler
  2. The Good, The Bad, and the Aunties, by Jesse Q. Sutanto
  3. The Ex Vows, by Jessica Joyce
  4. Sex, Lies, and Sensibility, by Nikki Payne
  5. Name Your Price, by Holly James

 

The best advice I’ve received recently was to track my preorders with a spreadsheet. Otherwise, I have a bad habit of ordering duplicates!

 

Jen: Thanks for stopping by to chat about your new release. Can’t wait to see what’s next!

Lindsay: Thanks so much for chatting! And stay tuned for my next novel, NEVER PLANNED ON YOU, which will be released in winter 2025.

 

 

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