'Chef's Choice'

"Chef's Choice" by TJ Alexander.

If you're interested in books featuring a romance between two trans people, then check out "Chef's Choice" by TJ Alexander.

What was your inspiration behind your most recent book?

I very selfishly wanted to write a romance between two transgender people because I wanted to read a romance between two transgender people. Also, my first book was about extremely talented people working in the culinary field and I felt, in addition to T4T representation, I should write some rep for bad cooks. That's how Luna and JP, two people who really don't know anything about haute cuisine, ended up in this story.

What does Reading Rainbow mean to you?

Woo boy. I think in an age where lots of people who think certain books have no place in the public sphere, reading with pride cannot be a passive act. I think it involves acknowledging that Black authors and queer authors especially are at risk because someone somewhere doesn't like what's in their books. To me, it means seeking out those stories to enjoy them personally and also doing what you can to ensure they're not being erased from society.

Why do you feel representation of a variety of people is so important when it comes to writing books? 

Most people read books to be transported to another place, to get a perspective they wouldn't have otherwise, to expand their worldview, to laugh or cry or be entertained. I think writers should give the people what they want. If we only wrote stories about one type of person, how boring and sad that would be. Some sad and boring people might rejoice because they don't have the imagination for anything outside their own experience. They should give it a try.

Tell us a little more about the book and why you decided to write it.

"Chef's Choice" is the story of Luna, who is unceremoniously fired from her office job, and Jean-Pierre, the heir to a culinary empire who needs a girlfriend in order to inherit his grandfather's estate. The two of them get embroiled in a fake dating scheme in which they both have to learn how to cook some complicated dishes--even though they have no skills in the kitchen. This is a sequel to my debut novel, last year's Chef's Kiss. Luna was a supporting character in that book, and she deserved her own love story. I'm so happy she's getting it now!

What can fans expect from your book?

Cooking shenanigans, jokes, two hot trans people, more jokes, lots of cheese (a top-tier food) and pickles (the most sacred of foods). A lil steam. A slight New York-Paris rivalry.  A Fun Mom. Very few straight people.

What's up next for you in the bookish world?

It's a busy year! I have another book coming out December 5 called Second Chances in New Port Stephen. It's about a trans man who returns to his hometown in south Florida (!) for Christmas only to run into his ex-boyfriend from high school. As a born-and-raised Floridian, I am so excited to unleash this book into the world. The beach! Manatees! The surreal feeling of returning to the place where you grew up when you're a different person, both figuratively and legally!


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