Just One Bite: Writing Novellas by Foodie Romance Author Kimberly Kincaid

Kimberly Kincaid is here to kick off her blog tour for her contemporary foodie romance e-novella, Love on the Line (yay! I get to kick off another blog tour! I have to admit, I love being the first blogger to host some of these awesome authors. 😀) Kimberly discusses how she went from writing single titles to writing novellas and she shares a few tips for anyone who is thinking about writing a novella. I also asked her to share something unique about the story that no one knows yet and she said… “The chicken and dumplings dish that my heroine, Violet, makes for Noah (the hero) is based on a real dish that I make for my family all the time. The recipe is included with the novella, and it’s not only a perfect belly-warmer, but it’s (really!) easy to make. The cheesecake, sadly, is a complete fabrication.” Which, of course, makes me curious about that cheesecake! Welcome, Kimberly!

Love on the Line

Novellas aren’t “less.”

If anything they are more.

My first e-novella, Love On The Line, is exciting to me in quite a lot of ways, not the least of which is that it happened quite by accident. Like many aspiring authors, I had manuscripts. Plural. So when my agent sold them in a three-book deal last summer (once I got over the screaming and the ugly-dancing and more screaming), I found myself with a very rare, very puzzling problem on my hands.

All three books were done. And I had nothing to write.

Now, writing is definitely a career for me. I’m not a nothing-to-write person. So what could I do? How could I fill my time and build my career? My agent and editor put their heads together, and what they came up with startled me. “You could write a few novellas,” they said.

But…but but but I write single-title! I wanted to say. I have no idea how to write a novella! But the option made sense, so (after I got over the shock) I grabbed it with both hands. The next thing I grabbed were stacks of anthologies and e-novellas online. And what I discovered surprised me.

Despite being much shorter than full-length novels, novellas weren’t “less”. If anything, they were more.

It took six months of research and writing (I’m currently writing novella number three), but what I discovered was that despite their small stature, novellas still have all the elements of a full-length novel. There are plot points and characterizations to be made. There are external conflicts and personal journeys to be had. There’s sexual tension to build, and there’s love to be found. And it’s all in this tiny, powerful package. Getting all those things into thirty thousand words means every single syllable matters, and measuring them out with precision is both challenging and crucial. It taught (very wordy) me to examine my characterizations, my plotlines, my arcs. You don’t have to sacrifice any of these things to fit them into a novella. In fact, you can’t. Novellas are still great stories. They’re just told with different method and intention.

That said, here are a few things I learned along the way (the hard way):

Getting to know you. It’s helpful (but not necessary) for your hero and heroine to know each other already in a novella. In Love On The Line, Violet and Noah were well-acquainted from page one, and in fact, had shared their first kiss well before that. This doesn’t mean they didn’t have hurdles (big ones!) But it made my job as the author easier because I could sprinkle their set-up into the action, rather than having to establish it freshly. Likewise, many authors use the novella for secondary characters who are already established within a series because they already have the setup in place. You still need setup. You can just write it in a more compact way.

I’m so conflicted! Since you’ve got a lot to do in a little space, conflict can lean a little more on either internal (emotions) or external (circumstance). Usually, in a full-length novel, there are both keeping your h/h apart. But the beauty of a novella is that you can usually choose either/or and really dig into it. For Violet and Noah, there was a lot of internal struggle keeping them apart. I got the chance to really make those emotions sing. In my Christmas anthology story coming out this fall, it’s all external conflict (a competition only one of them can win) keeping my hero and heroine apart. Whichever you choose, it’s important to make it sing in the space you’ve got.

Pace yourself. The same things that happen in a novel also happen in a novella; they just happen in different time. Pacing is crucial (remember that every-word-matters thing? Yes. That!) Starting on a hook is key. Keeping the hook at the end of every chapter, more key. Giving each scene, each sentence, purpose—the biggest key of all. Novellas must move. After all, you’ve only got a little space for a lot of action and a whole lot of love to go down!

So tell me, writers! What’s your experience with the novella? And readers, what do you think? Tell me some of your favorites!

More About Love on the Line

Violet Morgan puts the personal in personal chef, catering to clients who want the full cooking experience rather than a culinary drop-and-dash. But when her brother’s police detective partner is injured in the line of duty and needs help during recovery, she makes an exception. Violet lost her father to the job seven years ago, and worries for her brother’s safety every day. The last thing she wants is to get up-close with her brother’s career-cop partner…again.

For Noah Blackwell, being a detective isn’t just a lifestyle, it’s a legacy. So when he’s forced to take mandatory leave and deal with the trauma amnesia keeping him from identifying his shooter, it’s a literal case of adding insult to injury— and now he’s got to deal with an unwanted culinary caregiver on top of it. Never mind that he and Violet shared a steamy, secret kiss last New Year’s Eve. She rejects everything related to the job, and Noah’s not about to be distracted from recovering his memory and getting back to what he does best. No matter how pretty Violet is.

Despite their differences, Violet and Noah share a surprising bond in the kitchen that grows into something neither of them expect. But as Noah heals and their feelings for each other extend from the kitchen to the bedroom, Violet knows she must make an impossible choice. She may wear her heart on her sleeve when it comes to food, but can she risk it all to put love on the line?

Excerpt

As soon as Noah got behind her, the smell of coconuts and warm sand filled his senses, delivering a crystal clear image to his brain. His heart slammed in his ribcage, and without thinking, he cupped Violet’s elbow and swung her around, so tight to his body that he felt her gasp as much as heard it.

“You were in my hospital room yesterday. Before I woke up.”

“I…I—”

But he barreled on, the memory as bright and vivid as if it had just happened a minute ago. “Your hair was braided, on your shoulders, and you were wearing a…a bracelet that sounded like wind chimes. You said the doctor was coming. It was you.”

The fan of her gold-tipped lashes fluttered wide, and the warm puff of her breath heated his cheek as she nodded. “I didn’t mean to intrude. I was looking for Jason, but I didn’t think you’d wake up.”

Noah shook his head to quell her apology. “It doesn’t matter,” he said, his resolve locking into place, and Violet went utterly still against him.

“It doesn’t?”

“No. You’re the first thing I’ve been able to remember since I got shot in the first place. In fact, you’re the only thing I can remember since I got shot.”

Where to find Kimberly and her books

Kimberly Kincaid
Kimberly Kincaid

Love on the Line can be purchased from Amazon by clicking here.

She also has an anthology, The Sugar Cookie Sweetheart Swap, coming out from Kensington in the fall, which can be pre-ordered here.

Find her online at:

So, readers, are you a fan of chicken and dumplings? How about cheesecake? (Come on, who isn’t?!) Have you read any good romance novellas lately? Do you think the idea of a foodie romance novella is as fun as I do?

Writers, what about you? Is there a novella in your future? I’m seriously considering one after I turn in Noon Onyx book #3. I’ve been toying with the idea of possibly doing a novella featuring Nightshade, Noon’s twin brother. I think he’d be a fun hero to write about. We’ll see…

Congrats on your release and best wishes for Love on the Line, Kimberly! Thank you for guest blogging today!

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Published by

Jill Archer

Jill Archer is the author of the Noon Onyx series, genre-bending fantasy novels including DARK LIGHT OF DAY, FIERY EDGE OF STEEL, WHITE HEART OF JUSTICE, and POCKET FULL OF TINDER.

25 thoughts on “Just One Bite: Writing Novellas by Foodie Romance Author Kimberly Kincaid

  1. Stopping in to say hi. Thanks for all of the wonderful comments! I’m glad everyone loved Kimberly’s post and excerpt. Kimberly, I think your trio of novellas are going to do very well! Keep us posted! 😀

  2. I’m off to read Love on the Line. I haven’t written any novellas, but they sound like an intriguing challenge, and I’ve heard that they’re great to publish between full-length novels, so I have a feeling there are several in my future. Thanks for lighting the way, Kimberly. If I get stuck on something, I know who to ask!

    1. Email me anytime if you want to chat about it! The best way I can describe it is that, to me, they’re condensed versions of a full novel. All the elements are there, just more tightly strung (in the good way). Good luck, Amy!

  3. Great post!!! I love both reading and writing novellas! I think for writers, it can really help your craft to do a novella. LIke you said, it teaches you pacing and tight writing, something a lot of us struggle with.

    Can’t wait to read Love on the LIne – it’s next up in my TBR queue. And oh look, a snow day – perfect!

    1. Writing novellas definitely taught me to mind every syllable that hits the page. Because I love to go heavy on descriptions and sensory details, I tend to overwrite and trim after. It’s hard to do, but it teaches literary moderation very nicely 🙂

      And might I just say that a little heat in the kitchen might be perfect for a snow day? Just saying! Heheh! Enjoy!

  4. Great way to describe a Novella and whet our appetites for more of your writing. I may have to go read Love on the Line a few more times before September!

  5. Being a reader (I’m not a writer) novellas are a perfect way to sample a new author. Like when you’re offered a bite of ice cream before committing to purchasing a big scoop (see what I did there?) 😉
    Love on the Line left me wanting a bigger scoop! Congratulations Kimberly! Well done!!

    1. That just-one-taste aspect is part of the reason I hopped on the novella-writing train, too. Novellas give a great idea of a writer’s voice and style. Plus, there’s a great sense of satisfaction at reading a book in a day or two! So glad you enjoyed Love On The Line.

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