Meet the Characters with Gemma Brocato

Gemma Bracco coverHello and welcome to my blog for another round of Meet the Characters!  Today I am featuring a guest blogger who has graciously agreed to let me do a character interview, which is my favorite kind of interview. Join me in welcoming author, Gemma Brocato, and her characters from Cooking Up Love. It’s a fantastic contemporary romance with wonderful characters so without further ado here is the interview with Jack and Jem.

First, thank you, Jennifer for letting me stop by and bring Jem and Jack, the main characters from Cooking Up Love. They do enjoy getting out. I hope they’ll behave and not embarrass me.

How did you first meet your writer?

Jem: I met Gemma right after she quit her full-time job as a writer to be a writer full-time. She was ranting about having to pick up the neighbors recycling from her yard on a particularly windy day.

Jack: *reaches for Jem’s hand* Jem introduced us. Gemma was going to pair her up with a guy named Luke. We couldn’t have that.

Did you ever think that your life would end up being in a book?

Jem: Well, I did work for a reality TV star. I suppose there was always a good chance. Although I doubt Jack wanted to be. He’s a private person *Jack nods vigorously*

What are your favorite scenes in your book: the action, the dialog or the romance?

Jack: The dialog. I put some pretty awesome words in Gemma’s mind, although she’d tell you it was the other way around.

Jem: I loved the romance. And not just the love scenes. I adore how romantic Jack is. When we were watching the sunrise together, I knew I was falling for him.

Did you have a hard time convincing your author to write any particular scenes for you?

Jack: I’ll answer that one, sugar. *Leans forward with an earnest look* Not at all. Gemma has always been a rule follower and a loyal friend. She had no problem writing our story the way we wanted it. Well, once we set her straight on that whole Luke thing, anyway.

Do you infiltrate your writer’s dreams?

Jem: Not really, *smiles sheepishly* But we did keep her awake some nights, telling her what she had to write the next day. Fortunately, she keeps a notepad and pen on her nightstand.

What do you like to do when you are not being actively read somewhere?

Jack: Well I know what I like to do—

Jem: *cuts him off abruptly* Now, Jack, don’t go spilling our secrets. We do like to walk Clooney on the beach, play basketball on the driveway at his mom and dad’s house and spend time with his niece and nephew. Have you met them? They’re very precocious.

Are you happy with the genre your writer has placed you in?

Jack: Well, I’m a guy so I’d probably prefer to be in something a little more action packed, but Gemma did an okay job slipping some of that in.

Jem: *rolls her eyes but says nothing*

Do you like the way the book ended?

Jack: I got the girl, what do you think? *Winks*

Would you be interested in a sequel, if your writer was so inclined?

Jem: Not if it meant we’d be in danger again, or that Gemma would put me in a small space again. She’s a bit evil that way. I think her brothers teased her too much growing up. She turned devious as a result.

What is your least favorite characteristic your writer has attributed to you?

Jack: Can I answer that one for you, sugar? *Jem nods*  I really hate that Jem didn’t trust many people. But she didn’t really have much reason to, I guess.

Do have any secret aspirations that your author doesn’t know about?

Jem: I really want to be on Top Chef. I’d love to meet Tom Colicchio.

Jack: I’d like to spend a week with the Kitchen Cousins. Those guys know how to build and create great kitchens. Although, Jem was really helpful with the café remodel. *lowers his voice conspiratorially* I usually don’t let anyone change my plans, but I was okay about Jem doing it.

What do you do for a living?

Jack: *snorts*  Did you really just ask that? I build and Jem is a chef.

What is your greatest fear?

*They answer at the same time* Jem: Small spaces Jack: Losing Jem.

What do you like most about where you live?

Jem: It’s close to Jack’s family, and they welcomed me without hesitation.

What sound or noise do you love?

Jack: I love to hear Jem yawning in the morning. It means I’ve woken up next to her.

Jem: Jack sings in the shower. It’s so bad, it’s good.

How do you react when people sing “Happy Birthday” to you in a restaurant?

Jem: I hate it. It’s strictly forbidden in my café. But if you tell me it’s your special day I’ll pour you a coffee and give you a pastry on the house.


Jemima George leads a charmed life as a personal chef and assistant to reality television’s latest darling. But that changes in a New York minute when her Aunt Caro dies under odd circumstances, bequeathing her a small restaurant. Jem plans to sell the café and continue her life in NYC, until a dramatic phone call from her cheating boyfriend convinces her to experiment with the ingredients for happiness and accept her Aunt’s legacy. Throwing herself into remodeling the restaurant with the help of the town’s delicious contractor, Jem revamps the menu and renews her faith in herself.

Jack Kerrigan considered Caro a surrogate mother and hates the idea that the café could be sold. He doesn’t need the remodeling project, but if it means Caro’s beautiful, fascinating niece will stay to run the restaurant, he’s all in. He wouldn’t mind being savory to Jem’s sweet.

Jack’s brassy ex-wife is cooking up a scheme of her own, where Jack tosses Jem like a salad and comes back to her. Fold in a creepy attorney hiding secrets of environmental mayhem, add Jem’s claustrophobia, half-pint niece and nephew twins, one mysterious lockbox, and bring to a boil–a recipe for romance.

A Lyrical Press Contemporary Romance


Jack pointed out a mark on the floor and explained. “Okay, you have to stand behind this line when you throw. I don’t know how basic I need to make this, so let me point out the target is that circle on the wall.”

“Oh.” Jem breathed, struggling to keep the humor out of her voice over his marginally condescending attitude. She looked forward to showing him just how much she did know about darts. Eventually. After his lesson. “That round bull’s-eye thingy there, right? That’s what I aim for.”

“Right. You get three darts to throw and scoring is based on where they land. After your turn, we add the score and then subtract it from the goal.”

Jem kept the expression on her face sober and eager as Jack explained the scoring system. The game of oh please show me everything you know was highly entertaining. If for no other reason than because she knew she’d end up with his arms around her as he demonstrated the proper throwing form. And she meant to enjoy the lesson to the fullest.

“Sounds easy enough. Can I try?” Jem held her hand out for the darts. After Jack dropped only one onto her palm, her eyebrows raised. “You said I get three.”

“Let’s see how you do with this first one,” he said, as he put his hands on her shoulder and turned her toward the target. “We might need to work on your form. Keep your arm straight and throw from the elbow, not your wrist.”

Jem gazed at the target and shuffled around a bit, getting comfortable at the line on the floor. She turned toward the target and let her dart fly, holding her breath until the dart hit where she’d aimed, six inches below the bull’s-eye.

“Well, that sucked, didn’t it?” Jem asked, a smile lurking on her lips.

Jack walked toward her with a smile. Moving behind her, he settled his hands on her hips and pushed, squaring her up to the target, igniting a slow burn in her stomach. He moved closer, his chest leaning against her back, and inserted his leg between hers, moving her right foot to adjust her stance. The tangy, pleasant, hot-guy scent wafting over her shoulder made her dizzy. Leaving a hand lingering on her hip, he splayed his fingers over her tattoo, warmth seeping through the soft fabric of her clingy top. He moved his other hand to her elbow and nudged it upward until it was parallel to the floor. She licked suddenly dry lips when he stroked his fingertips across the tender flesh on the underside of her upper arm to perfect her alignment.

“You have to look where you’re throwing.” He moved the hand from her hip to her chin and turned it so she looked directly at the dartboard. Taking a step closer to her, the entire miraculous, hard length of his body pressed against her back, sending shivers tingling up her spine. She turned her head a fraction of an inch, knowing if she twisted any more, her lips would be close enough to kiss his chin. He smiled into her eyes, then pushed her chin back toward the wall.

“When you throw,” he murmured huskily, stirring her hair with his warm breath, “you use your elbow to direct the dart. It’s a smooth, stroking motion, like this.” He demonstrated, holding her arm by her wrist, his lean fingers wrapped around it to keep it from bending. The action of easing her arm forward and back caused his chest and hips to surge seductively against her. Her heart hiccupped in her throat each time he bumped against her backside. She had to wonder who was seducing whom at this point.

Buy the Book:



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Meet Gemma:Gemma Bracco pic

Gemma’s favorite desk accessories for many years were a circular wooden token, better known as a ’round tuit,’ and a fortune from a fortune cookie that said she was a lover of words; some day she’d write a book. All it took was a transfer to the United Kingdom, the lovely English springtime, and a huge dose of homesickness to write her first novel. Once it was completed and sent off with a kiss even the rejections, addressed to ‘Dear Author’, were gratifying.

After returning to America, she spent a number of years as a copywriter, dedicating her skills to making insurance and the agents who sell them sound sexy. Eventually, her full-time job as a writer interfered with her desire to be a writer full-time and she left the world of financial products behind to pursue an avocation as a romance author.

Her gamble paid off when she was a 2012 Finalist in the prestigious Golden Pen contest for Romantic Suspense and she received contracts for her first and second book.

Find Gemma:

Connect with Gemma on Facebook:, Twitter@gemmabrocato or on the web at

Thank you for joining us today! I hope you enjoyed this round of Meet the Characters and will join us again next week!


29 thoughts on “Meet the Characters with Gemma Brocato

  1. Hi, Gemma! This was a fun interview with Jem and Jack. 🙂 I really like Jem’s answer to how she met you, LOL. Sending you wishes for much success. This book definitely looks like a winner!

  2. Wonderful interview and this sounds like a great romance with just a dose of suspense and jealousy on the ex-wife’s part. Thanks for sharing, I’ll be sure to break out some cookies and milk once I read it as I’m sure I’m going to need them with a chef in training as our main lady!

    1. Unfortunately, he’s not in the Five Senses series. But watch for Jack’s siblings to get their own books. But I can see Luke showing up in my Romancing The Vine series. Thanks for stopping by, Melissa.

  3. I’m late to dinner. Hope there’s still something to eat, because I’m starving. I loved the interview. It’s amazing how Jennifer’s questions can result in such different and interesting answers for her different guests. Great job, and the book sounds fabulous.

    1. Hi Liza, thanks for stopping by. At my house, even when you’re late to dinner, there is always something delicious in the refrigerator as left overs. Or as my friend calls them, planned overs.

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