Forked, the 2nd book in the FRENCHED series by Melanie Harlow was recently released. We’re celebrating the release with an interview with the author, Melanie Harlow, as well as some recipes for some delicious sounding food that is featured in Forked!
Describe Coco in one sentence.
Coco is impulsive, feisty, loyal, lovely, and fun—definitely a girl with a healthy appetite.
Describe Nick in one sentence.
Nick is gorgeous, talented, confident, charming, and generous—everything you DON’T want your ex-boyfriend to be.
Favorite and least favorite scene to write in Forked?
I loved writing the scene where they see each other again for the first time after seven years. Their attraction and chemistry was still there, despite their rocky past. My least favorite scene was probably the gut-wrenching scene in the lake where she finally asks him for the truth about why he left her. Forked is a sexy romantic comedy so the tone is mostly light throughout, but for that scene, I had to get a little angsty.
What’s your guilty pleasure?
Drinking wine and eating chocolate in bed while reading sexy novels. I have spilled a lot of red wine doing this because I can’t tear my eyes from my book as I reach for the glass!
If you weren’t an author what would you be doing right now?
Working on choreography—I’m also a dance teacher and studio manager.
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Managing to publish novels and maintain a pretty full-time job while keeping my kids fed and watered. Some days, it is utterly overwhelming.
If you could meet anyone, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
Hmm. How about young Gene Kelly? I’d like to dance with him.
What is your go to snack food when writing?
COFFEE. That’s it.
If you could sit down face to face with any of your characters, who would you choose and why?
Joey from the Speak Easy series. I’d like to sit on his lap.
What are the top 3 things on your bucket list?
Visit Egypt (also Morocco and Greece—is that cheating?)
Take Italian classes.
See my books in a book store.
If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
I love where I live, but I often fantasize about having a cabin in the country all to myself. But it would have to be near a lake, because I love lakes. I’m outgoing in many ways, but I really enjoy solitude as well. I also think a little apartment on the Left Bank would be lovely!
Favorite Word and Least Favorite Word?
I often joke that my favorite word is yes because I have trouble saying no to people. But I word I really love is cathedral. I just think it’s beautiful. Least favorite…honestly, probably cunt when used as a name-calling insult.
Failing as a parent.
Waiting so long to start writing seriously.
Wow, that’s a hard one, but I have really wonderful childhood memories of visiting my grandparents’ cottage on Lake Huron with my family.
Impatience. But I kick myself for being too trusting/naive a lot too.
Most annoying pet peeve?
When I’m trying to write and people stop by unannounced. Or when I’m writing a love scene and I hear “MOMMMMMMMYYYYYYYY!”
If you could change one thing about yoursef…what would it be?
Oh dear. Well, I wish I were a better person all the way around, but in terms of being an author, I wish I wrote faster.
Chocolate or Vanilla? Chocolate
Coco or Nick? Nick
Warm or Cold? Warm
Early Bird or Night Owl? Early Bird
Pain or Pleasure? Pleasure
Outdoor or Indoor? GAH! If I must choose, indoor.
Blondes or Brunettes? Brunettes
Ketchup or Mustard? Mustard
Coffee or Cocktail? MY BRAIN JUST EXPLODED. CANNOT CHOOSE.
Texting or Calling? Texting
Since Nick Lupo is a chef and Coco Thomas is a girl with a healthy appetite, food plays an essential part in FORKED. If you love to eat (and drink) like me, check out these recipes inspired by the story! Huge thanks to my bestie and fellow author Kayti McGee for creating these delicious concoctions!
Nick Lupo runs The Burger Bar, where he serves gourmet burgers. The Whiskey burger is an ode to Coco’s love of bacon and their shared passion for whiskey.
½ lb 80/20 ground beef
4 slices of bacon.
1 clove garlic, minced
¼ cup beer
¼ cup whiskey
1 block white cheddar, grated
Kettle BBQ chips
2 brioche buns
Tomato, lettuce, pickles
Preheat a skillet on high, cook bacon. Divide meat in half, form into patties. Coat with salt and pepper. Cook patties in the bacon grease 3 minutes per side for medium.
In the meantime, heat beer, whiskey, and garlic over high heat until boiling. Whisk in cheese a handful at a time.
Serve burgers with bacon, a generous spoonful of whiskey cheese sauce and a handful of BBQ chips on top, veggies optional.
Nick makes chocolate cake for his Noni’s birthday, and Coco, um, helps. Since his nickname for her is cupcake, here’s a version for her. The cinnamon and the labne are nods to her Lebanese heritage. Feel free to swap the labne for sour cream. The cherry in the frosting is another nod to Coco…since Nick took hers. If you love frosting, double the recipe.
½ c cocoa
½ c hot coffee (cinnamon coffee if you’re overachieving)
½ c butter
1 ¼ c sugar
½ tsp sea salt
1 tsp vanilla
1 ½ c flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ c labne
Preheat the oven to 350, and line a tin for12 cupcakes. Dissolve the cocoa in the coffee. Cream the butter and sugar. Add eggs, and vanilla. Slowly mix the remaining ingredients in, with the cocoa mixture last. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Cool.
1 egg white
¾ c sugar
2 Tb cold water
3 T maraschino cherry syrup
1 tsp corn syrup
½ tsp vanilla
Beat all ingredients like hell over a double boiler for exactly 7 minutes. Top each cupcake with a dab of frosting and a cherry.
Twenty-eight year old Coco Thomas knows the recipe for disaster:
1) Agree to plan last-minute engagement blowout for spoiled Mafia princess before you realize her choice of caterer is Nick Lupo, a despicably gorgeous young chef with a hot new restaurant in town, a reality TV show victory, and a romantic past with you—one that did not end well.
2) Strike a deal with Nick in which you agree to spend a weekend with him in exchange for his services, under the strict conditions there will be no talking about the past, no second chances, and definitely no sex.
3) Violate all three conditions within 24 hours and spend two glorious days remembering what made you fall for the sexy, egotistical bastard in the first place, and why it hurt so much when he broke your heart.
Add one road trip, plenty of good scotch, and endless spoonfuls of chocolate cake batter drizzled over your body and licked off inch by oh-my-God-yes-right-there inch, then just admit it.
You’re totally FORKED.
The Frenched Series
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