During the pandemic, Lisa Peers wanted to write a story that featured a happy ending and romance. That's how "Love at 350°" came to be.
What was your inspiration behind your most recent book?
I started writing "Love at 350°" in late 2020. It was the pandemic, I had been laid off, and I was watching a lot of cooking shows to preserve my sanity. I especially enjoyed The Great British Baking Show because of the camaraderie among the contestants.
Around this time, some major romance publishers were putting out the call for LGBTQ love stories. My friend (author Tracy Gardner, who also writes as Jess Sinclair) encouraged me to submit a proposal, even though I argued that I wouldn’t be able to write a romance without any swear words. Thanks to her encouragement, my curiosity about whether a judge and a contestant on a baking show had ever gotten together, and my desire for a story with a happy ending during a time when they were few and far between, "Love at 350°" came into being.
What does "Reading Rainbow" mean to you?
For me, this means that readers are able to connect with a wide range of stories across all genres that reflect the full range of our experiences as a community of unique human beings. Through books by LGBTQ authors, we can share our joy and pain, love and lust, certainties and mysteries — and we can be assured we are not alone.
Being able to connect through stories takes on a whole new urgency these days, when local libraries are being defunded and books are being removed from schools due to homophobia and transphobia. Our voices must be heard!
Why do you feel representation of a variety of people is so important when it comes to writing books?
I wholeheartedly believe that happily ever after is possible for anyone. That means there are endless opportunities for love stories. Good thing, too, because avid romance readers are voracious! As soon as they put one book down, they’re looking for the next one — and even if they have a favorite trope, they want to see that familiar storyline play out in new and fresh ways.
In my opinion, love stories are even more engaging when authors bring intersectional characters to life — across gender and sexual identities, ethnicities, faiths, physical and mental abilities, age, family structures, geography, and more. They embody the diverse individuals we are, and they show the good that’s within us all.
Tell us a little more about the book and why you decided to write it.
As a novelist, I write the kind of books I’d like to read but haven’t found on the shelves yet. That’s why I’m proud to create rom-coms featuring characters like my female friends. They’re smart, wickedly funny, compassionate, and accomplished. As much as they’d like to, they can’t just drop everything and run off into the sunset: They have to balance their responsibilities with what they still dream of doing.
My main characters are forty-something lesbians whose careers and love lives haven’t worked out the way they expected. They have bills to pay; they’re not all that young anymore; they worry a lot — and yet, they still have hope.
Love at 350° is for anyone unwilling to give up their lifelong dreams. Its story — and my experience writing it — proves there’s no time like now to do what you’ve always wanted.
What can fans expect from your book?
In addition to being a slow-burn, wholesome love story, "Love at 350°" is a testament to pursuing your dreams even when they scare you. It’s got backstage intrigue, behind-the-scenes details for baking show lovers, and a breezy style that will help you de-stress and enjoy that dessert you’ve been thinking about all day.
What's up next for you in the bookish world?
For my next book, I’m delving into Detroit’s garage and indie rock scene from the late 1990s to today as the backdrop for a lesbian romance across the years. I’m looking forward to writing a story about love in the Motor City — stay tuned!