In this author interview, I chat with Felicia Grossman, author of Appetites & Vices, out February 18, 2019, from Carina Press. I had the chance to read an advanced copy of her book before release, and holy cow was it amazing! Now, I don’t typically read historical romances, but I just adored the characters that Felicia created. If you are in the mood for a good story with a fully developed cast, then you’ll want to check this book out.
Introducing Felicia Grossman
Felicia Grossman is a historical romance writer, originally from Delaware, who now lives in the rust belt with her spouse, two children, poorly behaved puppy, and perpetually disappointed elder dog. She is an RWA member (NEORWA chapter), Broadway nerd, and lover of eclairs. Her high school superlative was “most salacious,” and she hopes her books live up to that title.
Thanks for stopping by, Felicia! First, for all those readers out there who haven’t picked up a copy of Appetites & Vices, why don’t you tell us a little bit about what it’s about?
Appetites & Vices tells the story of Ursula Nunes, the least popular Jewish heiress in 1840’s Delaware, and Jay Truitt, a recovering opium addict hiding behind his rich playboy persona. What starts as a faux engagement to help Ursula’s social standing, turns into actual love. The novel follows Jay’s struggle build a new life and Ursula’s struggles to fit into both Jewish and gentile society, while discovering that everything is a little easier with a partner. The book explores of the difficulties of American Jewish identity, addiction and interfaith romance.
It’s just soooo good. I have to know—where did you get the idea for it?
Appetites is a faux engagement story and I love that trope (romance is all about the tropes). And I really, really, really wanted to write a heroine in a historical romance that could’ve been my ancestor (there’s no British nobility in my blood, I promise), who got to have a really big character arc because why should the heroes have all the fun screwing things up?
For me, one of the best parts of your story was getting to know your characters. Do you have a favorite one?
Let’s be real, I usually put a little bit of myself in all my characters, especially my heroines, but there’s a TON of younger me in Urs. A lot of embarrassing things that I look back and cringe on, and a lot of the good stuff as well. Urs is spoiled, indignant, high-tempered, impetuous, pushy, bossy, and socially-awkward, but she’s smart, loyal, brave, determined, and ultimately very kind. She values fairness and justice and may say the wrong thing, but would never “punch” (or throw) down.
Woman after my own heart. How long did it take you to write Appetites & Vices?
I started writing Appetites in August of 2017. My heroine was originally a grandmother in a book I was querying so I gave her a backstory for fun. I finished editing around November of 2017 and did some initial test queries/pitching in December #pitmad. I really queried in February of 2018 and got an agent through a #kisspitch like. Appetites sold in July of 2018 so it’s been really fast.
That’s right, you had a match in All The Kissing’s #KissPitch! (Pssst. Readers, that’s on February 14!) That does seem like a fast journey. What’s your favorite part of the writing process?
I love editing, especially big edits. It feels like spring cleaning and because you are finally molding your clay. Drafting is throwing the clay down on the wheel, editing is where the fun begins.
How did you get into writing?
I’ve kind of always written stories. I wrote some plays in high school for fun, but I started writing novels in college, again for fun, but after my second kid started sleep through the night I wondered if I should maybe write something else, but then see what I could do with it.
Any particular book(s) or author(s) that has influenced you as a writer?
I always I’m historical romance with a bit of a Jewish humorous women’s fiction voice. Like Joanna Shupe, Alyssa Cole, Beverly Jenkins, and Elizabeth Hoyt have been huge romance influences, while Nora Ephron, Susan Isaacs and Jennifer Weiner have been huge voice inspirations. I read Heartburn when I was like ten and it was totally inappropriate but it also changed my life because I understood the tone, the humor, and the dynamics.
What are you working on right now?
Appetites & Vices has a sequel, called Dalliances & Devotion coming out in August, so there are edits there. I’m also drafting something entirely new, but still American now, and there’s a Regency I’m editing.
So much in the works! Okay, final question: if you could write in another genre, what would it be?
Probably mystery/thriller. I LOVE legal thrillers. I binged read Richard North Patterson in the ‘90s when I was way too young for those books as well. But that’s a genre I still read a ton in.