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Debut Print Book: Reservations for Two by Jennifer Lohmann

I’ve had some concerns by readers who are primarily print readers that the coverage at Dear Author has been too focused on ebooks. When I asked the readers what they were interested in seeing, they responded that they would like to know more about print debut authors. We developed a little questionnaire and every Wednesday at 10:00 AM CST (as long as we have content) we’ll post the questionnaire answers along with links to the author’s site and a buy link to her book. I hope this helps people discovery new books. Now, on to the answers.

Reservations for Two by Jennifer Lohmann

Name of debut release: Reservations for Two

Release date: 02/05/2013

Publisher: Harlequin Superromance

2 sentence summary: A chef falls into love with the anonymous restaurant reviewer whose review made her the laughingstock of Chicago.

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Characters: Dan Meier is a charming food writer and anonymous restaurant reviewer for a popular Chicago blog. Tilly Milek is the dedicated and colorful chef of Babka, a Polish restaurant dedicated to her grandmother.

What makes this story different: Chicago isn’t just the setting, but a character in the novel. Plus, there is a lot of Polish food referenced in this book. I hope you’ll be hungry when you finish.

Is this a series?: It doesn’t really have one. The Milek series, I guess.

Why you wrote this book: I read a book (published years ago) where a chef got a terrible review and fell for the reviewer, only the reviewer was the sports reporter filling in and didn’t care much about food. I wanted to write a novel where they both cared about food and so the conflict was deeply personal. Resolving that conflict was harder than I thought.

Why is this your first published book? How many did you write before? This is the first book I finished. Maybe I would’ve sold one of my earlier books had I figured out how to finish them. I have five half-finished novels.

What’s your writing process? I have a general idea of the book (chef and reviewer, for example), start writing and see where it goes. I write the first third or so, then the last quarter or so of the novel. Then I panic. I hike and run a lot and figure out how to connect points A-H and U-Z. What took me so long to finally finish a book was the recognition that I was allowed to write parts I-T out of order and go back to smooth out the bumps. Honestly, it took me an embarrassingly long time to figure that out.

Your next published book. The First Move, about Renia Milek (Tilly’s sister). It comes out April 2, 2013, also from Harlequin Superromance

The last book you read that you loved. This question is impossible for a librarian to answer without naming several books, but I’ll try. The current book I’m raving about to patrons is The Black Count by Tom Reiss, a biography of General Alex Dumas (father of the novelist). If like Joanna Bourne’s romances, you should read this book. If you’re interested in African-American (as in from the Americas, rather than from the United States) history, you should read this book. If you like adventure tales you should read this book. I think nearly everyone should read this book.

The last book you read for research. The Chinese in America: A Narrative History by Iris Chang

The romance book character you most identify with. Lauren Edgeworth from Mary Balogh’s A Summer to Remember. Into the life of every goody-two-shoes, a Kit should fall.

Jennifer Lohmann

You can check out more about Jennifer Lohmann and her books at


Guest Reviewer


  1. Zoe York
    Jan 30, 2013 @ 13:29:35

    You had me at Polish food! I saw your blurb in the Author Open Thread post, and that grabbed my attention. I’m even more excited to read it now that I’ve read this post – I can’t wait to see how they get past the conflict.

  2. cleo
    Jan 30, 2013 @ 14:59:45

    You had me at Chicago isn’t just the setting, it’s a character. As a Chicagoan, I’m really picky about reading Chicago set romances (I once DNF’d a novella where the heroine easily found street parking in the Loop, near Field’s (this was a while ago), during the holidays, so she could take the hero to look at the Christmas windows. Really?!?)

  3. Carrie G
    Jan 30, 2013 @ 16:20:56

    I have The Black Count on my wish list at The narrator sounds good.

    I’m looking forward to the book. I don’t know much about Chicago or Polish food, so I hope to learn.

  4. Dabney
    Jan 30, 2013 @ 18:34:44

    @cleo: I think the Chicago setting in this book is spot on. I love that city and Ms. Lohmann nailed its charms.

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