Meet Felicia Grossman, author of the historical romance Appetites & Vices, which releases today from Carina Press
Felicia Grossman wanted to write stories ever since her father read her Treasure Island when she was four years old. The Delaware native never lost her love of words, earning both an English degree and a law degree. Felicia now lives in the northern part of the country with her spouse, children, and dogs. When not writing, she can be found eating pastries or belting showtunes in her living room.
Tell us about your book.
Appetites & Vices tells the story of Ursula Nunes, the least popular Jewish heiress in 1840s Delaware, and Jay Truitt, a recovering opium addict hiding behind his rich playboy persona. What starts as a faux engagement to help Ursula’s social standing turns into actual love. The novel follows Jay’s struggle build a new life and Ursula’s struggles to fit into both Jewish and Gentile society, while discovering that everything is a little easier with a partner. The book explores of the difficulties of American Jewish identity, addiction, and interfaith romance.
Where did you get the idea?
Appetites is a faux engagement story and I love that trope (romance is all about the tropes). And I really, really, really wanted to write a heroine in a historical romance that could’ve been my ancestor (there’s no British nobility in my blood, I promise), who got to have a really big character arc because why should the heroes have all the fun screwing things up?
Tell us about your favorite character.
Let’s be real, I usually put a little bit of myself in all my characters, especially my heroines, but there’s a TON of younger me in Urs. A lot of embarrassing things that I look back on and cringe, and a lot of the good stuff as well. Urs is spoiled, indignant, high-tempered, impetuous, pushy, bossy, and socially-awkward, but she’s smart, loyal, brave, determined, and ultimately very kind. She values fairness and justice and may say the wrong thing, but would never “punch” (or throw) down.
How long did you take to write this book?
I started writing Appetites in August of 2017. My heroine was originally a grandmother in a book I was querying so I gave her a backstory for fun. I finished editing around November of 2017 and did some initial test queries/pitching in December #pitmad. I really queried in February of 2018 and got an agent through a #kisspitch like. Appetites sold in July of 2018 so it’s been really fast.
What kind of research did you do for this book?
It’s historical so a ton of research. It’s set in my area of the country (Delaware and Philadelphia)—where I grew-up—just a few centuries earlier—so I kind of knew where to go, i.e., Rebecca Gratz’s letters and writings as well as Winterthur Museum and Gardens, etc.
What is your favorite part of your writing process, and why?
I love editing, especially big edits. It feels like spring cleaning and because you are finally molding your clay. Drafting is throwing the clay down on the wheel, editing is where the fun begins.
Can you share your writing routine?
I’m a mom and I have a full-time day job so I write whenever I can. In hallways, when the kids go to bed, anywhere and everywhere.
If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. You only grow and change if you learn and you can’t learn what you don’t know.
Which book influenced you the most?
One? I have to pick just one? I always I’m historical romance with a bit of a Jewish humorous women’s fiction voice. Like Joanna Shupe, Alyssa Cole, Beverly Jenkins, and Elizabeth Hoyt have been huge romance influences, while Nora Ephron, Susan Isaacs, and Jennifer Weiner have been huge voice inspirations. I read Heartburn when I was like ten and it was totally inappropriate but it also changed my life because I understood the tone, the humor, and the dynamics.
What are you working on right now?
Appetites & Vices has a sequel called Dalliances & Devotion coming out in August, so there are edits there. I’m also drafting something entirely new, but still American now, and there’s a Regency I’m editing.
Thanks for chatting, Felicia! We wish you success with your debut!