Today, I’m beyond excited to get to interview my two favorite South Beach residents, Miami’s chicest go-to image consultant, Brett Fontaine, and the hottest chef to hit the culinary scene, Will Te’o. I first met Brett and Will back in June 2017 and let me tell you, it was love at first paragraph. It’s been a privilege watching them grow and develop these last three years and I’m so excited the rest of the world finally gets to meet them.
Stay tuned for giveaways happening after the interview…
Welcome Brett and Will, stars of SALT + STILETTOS! Thank you both for inviting me into your beautiful home via video chat. And I’m especially happy to see The Hounds snoozing nearby. Now that we have coffee and Will’s freshly baked pani Popo is making me drool all over my keyboard, let’s begin with the inquisition—uh, I mean interview. I promise to go easier on you than a certain food critic.
Anne: “We’ll start off easy. Empty those pockets and purse and show me what you got!”
Will brings out his phone and key ring. “I’m kinda basic.”
Anne: “That’s…an actual metal car key? Do they still make cars that use those?”
Will: “Uhh, my truck is-“
Brett cuts in: “Vintage.”
Anne: “Ahh. Right. What is that on your key ring?”
Will holds up the photo-embossed ring: “My American Samoan family.” Turns it over. “My Miami family.”
Anne: “Brett, your turn.”
Brett: Opens this season’s Birkin bag, and begins lining up the contents. “The coordinating mini wallet, pen and card case. Phone, of course. My current favorite Chanel sunglasses. My—our keys.” Gives Will a small smile, and he drapes his arm along the back of her chair, returning the smile. Then pulls out another bag from within her bag and goes to town unloading bottles, brushes, and cases. “Concealer—because we’ve all had those dark undereye circle days. Refresher shadow and highlighter palettes. Refresher setting spray. A lippie color for day and evening in a gloss, and another in a matte formula. Dry shampoo for touch ups—Miami humidity is killer on blowouts. I love these foldable flat sandals. Perfect for those events where you dance until dawn, but are tired of stilettos half-way through the night. Sewing and wipe kits, plus double-sided tape. We DO NOT allow our clients and friends to experience wardrobe malfunctions. This moisturizer and sunscreen combo is perfect for Summer, and has another formula for neck and cleavage and hands.” Quirks an eyebrow. “You’re from a sunny area. Obviously, you’re diligent about sunscreen—your complexion is luminous.”
Anne blushes because THE Brett Fontaine just gave her a compliment.
Brett: “Of course, this is just my pared-down personal kit. My client bags are in the car.”
Anne: “Pared down. Right. Brett, I see you’re not wearing your Pearl Jam tee. Tell us about that t-shirt collection hiding out behind the Jimmy Choos in your closet.”
Brett glares at Will, who busies himself looking anywhere else and petting the snoozing dogs. “I suppose I have a few.”
Will: “You have a whole color coordinated shelf. And they’re all ol—uh, vintage. And my favorites, because if you’re wearing one, that means we’re relaxing at home.”
Brett: “There were several concerts I would’ve enjoyed during my high school and college years. But my situation and maintaining scholarship requirements left no time. The shirts are stand-ins. Although there are several new shirts now.”
Will: “I asked her to do a concert bucket list, and now we’re working our way through it. Making new memories, yeah?”
Anne: “You’re both very ambitious and successful individuals, in your own fields. Do you have a motto or mantra that has helped you find success?”
Brett: “I suppose my motto is ‘work for it, don’t wish for it.’ No one has the right to tell you what you can or cannot achieve or your own worth. You get to decide that.”
Will: “Community and family are important. Those ties, they give you a reason to excel, and the support to carry through. You have good people in your life, then good things happen.” He looks at Brett, who seems to be blushing.
Anne: “Okay, now that I’ve grilled you on some serious questions, let’s get back to some fun ones. Name three things you CANNOT live without.”
Will answers almost before Anne finishes asking: “Brett says I’m too easy, but any tech that let’s me talk to my family, a kitchen, and Brett.”
Brett, linking her fingers with Will’s: “My circle—Will, Richard, Tara and CeCe and Annalise, coffee, so that my circle can tolerate me every day, and the freedom to be who I am.”
Anne: “What is in your pantry or refrigerator? Right now. Be honest, Will, we know there’s some Spam hiding out in that kitchen of yours. And don’t try to duck out of this, Brett. We all know your mac ‘n cheese secrets.”
Brett: “Fine. I’ll admit to a few comfort foods—which by definition contain sugar, salt, and possibly, preservatives. Although Will has been an excellent influence on my at-home pantry.”
Will winces and shakes his head. “Uh, let’s say her side of the fridge is a work in progress.”
Anne: “Will, you can turn the most humble of ingredients into a Michelin star worthy dish. Give us your favorite, quick and easy Spam recipe we can all try at home.”
Will: “Don’t hate on Spam—you gotta give it respect. Nobody can try a Spam musubi and not be a convert. Slice it about two inches thick, use a hot pan and good, homemade teriyaki or soy and fresh ginger marinade and do a quick sear. Put it on top of sticky rice, then wrap it with nori.”
Anne: “Brett, we know you got Will into watching Outlander, but what other binge-worthy shows have you guys been watching together?”
Brett just smiles, decidedly satisfied. “Our binge-watching has taken a hit recently, thanks to other extracurricular activities.”
Anne gives a sly look at her guests. “When did you have your first kiss? Will, no need to blush. Give us all the PG-rated details, both of you.”
Will: “I’ll let my image consultant field that question.”
Brett: “Our first kiss wasn’t planned, but was quite spectacular, as well as on a sound stage. Which reminds me—I have a styling appointment with Elias Cane tomorrow.”
Anne: “Since we’re all mostly stuck at home right now, indulge us with your travel plans. What destination would you love to visit and why?”
Will and Brett share another one of those looks, and Will answers. “We had tickets for home—Tutuila. My mom and sisters can’t wait to meet Brett in person, instead of Skype every week. As soon as it’s safe, we’re going. Richard, too.”
Anne: “As I’m sure you both know, Janet is my ride-or-die bestie. Who are yours? If you were to be arrested for some crazy criminal activity, who would be sitting next to you in the jail cell and who would you call to bail you out?”
Will: “I’m gonna say I’d need bail because of Richard.” Brett makes a sound of whole-hearted agreement and Will continues. “I’d call Javie for bail instead of Brett, but only cause Brett might end up in with us if she lights into Richard in front of police.”
Brett: “That is a valid concern. Were I to ever end up in police custody, undoubtedly it would be Richard’s fault. My first call would, of course, be to Tara. Along with a reminder for her to have Analise walk my hounds while we sorted out the problem.”
Anne: “If you were ever quarantined and confined to your house, who would you want to be stuck with? And, perhaps more importantly, what would you buy on the black market?”
Brett and Will answer at the same time. “Will” and “Brett.”
Brett: “Coffee. Definitely coffee. Although La Mer moisturizer is a close second.”
Will: “Produce. Any kind. I can make it work.”
While Brett and Will were distracted, I snuck in a quick bonus question for her Irish wolfhounds.
Anne: “Phoebe, Inari, what do you think of this new arrangement? How’s it been sharing Brett with Will?”
Inari, the kid, tail swishing and nearly knocking the laptop off the table: “Another people, another pet-er. More pets. More walkies!” Her ears come up. “Cat!” Bolts for the fence and the feline sauntering along the top, well out of dog reach.
Phoebe, the First Dog, sitting politely: “Pups. Bad manners.” Snort-sneezes. “Boss Lady brought Will-friend and new giant bed. Will friend-has ugly couch, good for napping too. Also Will-friend has better snacks. Better snacks accidentally fall into our mouths when Boss Lady isn’t looking.”
Luna, Anne’s Boerboel pup, sits up beside her: “Did Tall-woof say snacks?”
Anne: Laughs at the fur babies while Brett and Will return from sharing another of those looks.
Brett: “Anne, thank you so much for visiting with us today. Here’s my personal number—give me a call next week, and plan to block off a good bit of time. We’ll discuss my ideas for your new capsule wardrobe. I think you’re a Winter.”
Anne: Slightly intimidated, slants a look at Will and gets a nod of encouragement from the gentle giant. “You know me well. Winter is definitely my season.” Smiles brightly, though sad to say goodbye. “A huge thank you for joining me today. It was a blast catching up and we’ll have to do it again sometime.”
Keep reading for details on giveaways!
Sweet Home Alabama meets Top Chef when Miami’s most determined image consultant clashes with Samoa’s most uncooperative chef in a race to rebrand him as South Beach’s newest star.
Brett Fontaine learned early that appearance matters and not to count on anyone but yourself. Trading her red-dirt roots for the title of Miami’s go-to image consultant, she refuses to let anything jeopardize her new life.
Not an influential client-turned-stalker who’s up for parole.
Not post-kidnapping panic attacks.
Certainly not the stubborn, attention-phobic chef she’s challenged to transform into a celeb in ninety days.
Will Te’o can almost taste the dream he sacrificed American Samoa, culture, and cherished family ties for—opening a four star restaurant in the most cut-throat culinary location in North America.
Unfortunately, that requires navigating it’s equally cut-throat social scene. When his first public performance ends in a social media spectacle, his only option is turning to the stiletto-wearing nemesis who’s invaded his kitchen.
Neither expected to share anything but barbs, yet somewhere between accidentally bonding over comfort food and office-wrecking sex, they’re named South Beach’s hottest pairing. Until Brett’s stalker engineers a reputation-shattering reveal. She may be going down, but she’s not taking Will’s dreams with her. Now Will’s pulling out all his new skills and cooking up a last-ditch event. He’ll prove to Brett that relying on the right person makes for the perfect recipe—or be left heartbroken in the spotlight.
Grab your copy now!
Want to enter a Rafflecopter giveaway? Stand a chance to win these awesome, SALT+STILETTOS-themed swag items. Janet *may* also be throwing some more fun stuff into the mix, so keep an eye out on her Twitter for details. Winner will be announced at the end of Janet’s blog tour–May 5.
US Residents only.
I’m also doing a giveaway over on Twitter. Winner will receive a free eBook copy of SALT+STILETTOS. Head on over and reply to this tweet with your favorite Jason Momoa or Dwayne Johnson gif (yes, in Will’s honor) and I’ll pick a winner on Friday!
Have you met the author of SALT+STILETTOS?
Janet Walden-West lives in the southeast with a pack of show dogs, a couple of kids, and a husband who didn’t read the fine print. A member of the East Tennessee Creative Writers Alliance, she is also a founding member of The Million Words craft blog. She pens diverse Urban Fantasy and inclusive Romantic Suspense and Contemporary Romance.
A 2X PitchWars alum, 2019 Pitch Wars Mentor, and Golden Heart® finalist, her debut multicultural Contemporary Romance, SALT+STILETTOS, is due out April 21st 2020 from City Owl Press. She is represented by Eva Scalzo of Speilburg Literary Agency.