Hi Rachel! Welcome to Under the Covers. Let’s get to know you a little bit better. Tell us five interesting things about yourself that readers wouldn’t know!

Hi! Thank you so much for having me! Okay, five interesting things? Let’s see…
1. I’m a mom! I just had my fifth baby in December. My oldest is ten and they go down like stair steps from there all the way to the baby. So we’re super busy adjusting to life with a newborn and running older kids from place to place. Life is pretty much mayhem around here!
2. My husband, Zach, and I are high school sweethearts! We started dating when we were seventeen, but actually have known each other since second grade!
3. I hate flying!! But LOVE to drive! And I also love to travel. So whenever we go places we drive there. Not just because the recycled airplane air is so gross, but because we get to see so much more from the car. Zach and I are notorious for turning one day signing events into weeklong vacations where we road trip across the country and stop at all the great places along the way.
4. I play the piano, bassoon and tenor saxophone. And I sing. My mom was a music teacher for thirty plus years before she retired so all of my siblings and I are very musical- except my younger brother who can’t carry a tune.
5. I’m working with three of my best friends on a leather jewelry line! Our company, Pierce and Ivy, will debut our first collection very soon. I’m basically obsessed with the jewelry. All of our pieces are hip and a little funky and so lightweight that you barely notice you’re wearing them. This is by far one of my most favorite ventures. It’s really exciting!

THE OPPOSITE OF YOU centers in the world of chefs and features two characters that seem to be in two different ends of the spectrum. How did this story come to be?

My husband and I are really into good food. We are the kind of people that plan vacations around interesting restaurants and all the places we want to try. We also really love to cook and experiment with new foods and recipes. I love how versatile food can be. How you can eat the best meal of your life at a five-star fine-dining restaurant or standing in front of a food truck in some random parking lot or in your home surrounded by friends and laughter and loved ones. So I really wanted to write a book about the culture of cooking and this love story just flowed out of that. I imagined two chefs that were about as opposite as possible, both holding prejudices and assumptions about each other. And then falling in love anyway.

Another part of the story is Vera’s background and her traumatic past. She fled an abusive relationship and throughout the book is trying to heal from her painful past. I have wanted to write a story about a survivor of domestic abuse for a very long time now, because of how important the issue is to me. I think there are times when pop culture can sensationalize abuse or turn it into this very worst-case-only mentality. But there are victims out there that will never be hospitalized or never end up with physical scars that are still very much hurt physically, mentally and emotionally. As I developed Vera’s character the two different aspects of the story came together in a very interesting way. I really love how Vera had this one thing, cooking, that she was willing to fight for, even when she couldn’t fight for herself.

I’m very intrigued to know more about Killian Quinn. What can you tell us about him?

Killian Quinn is all things successful male and cocky confidence. He’s made a name for himself in their industry and so when Vera meets him, he’s just very comfortable with his level of success and the fact that he’s very rarely challenged. He’s just used to being the expert and the boss. Vera challenges him in ways he’s not used to and ways he doesn’t expect. She pushes back against his arrogance and shows him that he isn’t the only talented chef in the area. And in turn, he pulls her out of her insecurity and introduces her to all her potential. They’re really good for each other.

What’s your favorite thing about the heroine, Delane?

Her name is Vera Delane. Killian often calls her by her last name a lot though. 😉 My favorite thing about her is how deep she loves. When you first meet her, she’s deeply wounded and very defensive. Love hurt her in a big way and she’s left broken and determined to be independent. She’s afraid to date again or start a relationship for understandable reasons, but she doesn’t stop loving. She’s more protective of her heart, but the people in her life that deserve love get it in a big way. She’s fiercely loyal and devoted to those people in her life worthy of her love.

I personally LOVE books about chefs! What’s the best and worst part about writing a foodie themed book?

I love books about chefs too!! The best part was definitely the characters. I fell in love with them immediately and it helped that I loved researching their careers and writing about the mundane stuff as much as the steamy sections! Their banter was so much fun and the way Killian breaks down Vera’s barriers, must made this book extra special. Plus, cooking can be super sexy! These two are just so rich with life and emotion and the need to create. Vera and Killian made this book so much fun to write and some of my favorite characters ever.

The worst part? Maybe writing about food I couldn’t actually eat! Lol! This world came alive for me and I just wanted to go to all these yummy places and eat all this yummy food! But it was fiction.

Your books are always filled with deep emotion and from the blurb I’m expecting the same from this book. What do you think is key to making the reader connect with the emotion in your books?

I think it helps that I am so emotionally connected to the characters. I cry with them whenever they cry. My heart breaks whenever theirs breaks. I pour all of my emotions into these fictional people and at some point I forget that they’re fictional. My goal in writing is that the reader forgets their fictional too.

Was there a scene that was particularly hard to write?

Vera is a victim of domestic abuse and for me that was very personal and very difficult to work. I haven’t experienced abuse first hand, but I have dear, dear friends that went through it a while back. I walked through that time with them and so to relive some of that now, just makes my heart break for them all over again. And not just them, but for all the women and children, even men in some cases, that are still fighting just to survive the day.

Is there a romance trope you haven’t explored yet but you’re dying to?

I haven’t done anything with a secret baby yet! And I’m pretty much dying to. Everybody loves a secret baby, right?

What authors do you love to read and what was the last book you read and loved?

I read The Hating Game by Sally Thorne a while back and I just haven’t been able to get over it and move on. I loved it so much! And nothing I’ve read lately has been able to live up to it. Other authors I love to read are R.S. Grey, Sarah J. Maas, Calia Read and Lisa Kleypas.

What does your writing space looks like? Feel free to add a visual.

One of the reasons I started publishing was so I could stay at home and be available for my kids. So, in order to make the work-from-home-mom thing work, we converted our formal dining room into an office. It’s both crazy chaotic and functional. I’m interrupted every fifteen minutes and my desk becomes a catchall for school papers, Lego armies and Barbie shoes. But I’m also accessible to my kids. I can edit and help with homework. I can watch them build forts out of couch cushions and catch up on social media. It’s mayhem. But I love it!

How do you usually celebrate release day?

Usually by cleaning my house! The weeks leading up to release are usually insanity. I’m always running behind and scrambling to finish projects. So before release week, my house has been neglected for too long, meals have been of the takeout variety and laundry is a terrifying beast. To keep myself from obsessing over sales and rankings and reviews, I throw myself into scrubbing and folding kid clothes. It doesn’t sound very exciting now that I’ve described it… I do end the day with a bottle of champagne!! There is that.

What are you working on now?

I write a zombie novella series that I had to put on hold last April when I found out I was pregnant with baby #5. Love and Decay fans have been waiting an entire year for the conclusion of this season and there are only four episodes left to go! So after The Opposite of You releases, I need to finish up Love and Decay: Revolution, Season One. I’m so thrilled to finally get to go back to that world and those characters. I cannot wait for the season finale!

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Interview with Rachel Higginson
The Opposite of You
Book Info

Released: March 30 2017
Genre: Contemporary Romance
 

I’ve sworn off men.

All men.

Famous last words, right? You’re expecting some epic tale of reluctant love and my dramatic change of heart? Well, you’re not going to get it.

I’m stubborn. And headstrong. And I’ve just survived the worst three years of my life. After escaping an abusive fiancé to live in hostels and cheap hotels while I worked my way across Europe, I’ve come to two conclusions.

The first? Now that I’m back home, I’m going to squander my expensive culinary degree on a food truck that caters to the late night drunk crowd.

The second? I’m going to prove to the bastard across the plaza that my street food is better than his fussy five course monstrosities.

Killian Quinn might be Food and Wine’s Chef to Watch Out For. He might have a Michelin Star. He might have every food critic in the city wrapped around his too-large fingers. But he’s also pretentious and unbearably arrogant and the very opposite of me.

So he can keep his unsolicited advice and his late night visits and his cocky smiles. I want none of it. Or him.

I want the opposite.


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Excerpt

He dropped his head in relief, his forehead brushing my cheek. “Thank you.”

“I hope your ego recovers,” I joked in an attempt to untangle us from this spot—figuratively and literally. He was still draped over me, making all my neglected girly parts wake up and pay attention.

He chuckled, his chest vibrating against mine with the sound. “My ego is never safe around you, Delane.” Lifting his head, he caught my gaze and held it. His hands brushed over the counter and over my hips. For a second I was afraid he was going to start tickling me again, but then his fingertips dipped beneath my white t-shirt and his hands wrapped around my waist instead. “Thank you for removing the review.”

“You already said that,” I whispered, nervous and excited and confused all at once.

“I mean it though.” The corners of his mouth lifted in a sincere smile. “I just wanted you to know.”

All I could do was blink. I knew he was going to kiss me. I just knew it.

 

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About Rachel Higginson

I was born and raised in Nebraska, but spent my college years traveling the world. I fell in love with Eastern Europe, Paris, Indian Food and the beautiful beaches of Sri Lanka. But I came back home to marry my high school sweetheart and now I spend my days raising our growing family. In those few spare moments I have, I am either reading or writing Young Adult Fiction, because I am obsessed with it.

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Kathleen Bylsma

Thanks ever so. Shelved on Goodreads.

Amy R

Thanks for the post, I have a few of Rachel Higginson’s other books on my TBR pile. I met her a few years back and she was very nice.

Kathy Valentine

eat interview!! ,shared on all my socials!!

Kathy Valentine

Sorry not eat great interview!

Timitra

Very interesting interview, thanks for sharing

Elizabeth

I love these interviews! Thanks for the excerpt

Darynda Jones

Awesome interview! Anything with zombies is fine by me. And 5 kids! Wow! Congrats!

I don’t mind flying but I love to drive as well. Very excited to check out your work. Thanks for the insight into your world!