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The Sisterhood of the Traveling Books had the pleasure to sit down and speak with Tina Martin, author of our 2017 Book of Year. What a pleasure is was to delve deeper into her life and learn of her. As you read along you will get to understand the reason behind her passions, and get the inside scoop behind her up and coming projects. Please take your time to check out her interview and the Citizens' 2017 Book of the Year "Baked with Love".


 Sisterhood Book Review 

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"Baked with Love" was the introductory into the wonderful mind of Tina Martin for the Sisterhood. From the first page she drew you in, I mean how could you not fall in love with the awkward but charismatic Gianna Jacobsen? With her quirky personality and her clumsy habits she is what some would consider a train wreck waiting to happen. But to Ramsey St. Claire she is a breath of fresh air. From their first chance meeting you became a fan of this couple. Rooting for them all the way while praying somewhere down the line someone would come along and help Gianna get past all her insecurities; and embarrass the possibilities that someone besides her sister and best-friend might actually love her. This book has a cliff hanger, but don't fret the following two books are available for download as well. This is definitely a must read, so pick up the "Baked With Love" saga, I promise you won't be sorry. 



This was my first read by this author and I fell in love with the characters. I enjoy reading books that have a strong family dynamic and I got that with both the hero and heroine.

Ramsey was programmed to think that his heart had been buried along with the person he previously promised it to, but on this one fateful day he found an overwhelming feeling to break his normal routine and visit the Broadway bakery where he meets owner and baker Gianna Jacobsen. He is certain that their meeting was meant to be but, couldn’t understand why all of sudden the suppressed emotions are starting to unleash. 

Gianna is becoming dangerously close to a breaking point with all the weight on her shoulders, caring for a terminal ill sister(daughter), bankrupting business and a mountain of bills without a way to pay. So, when Ramsey presents his alpha male presence and his iron fist pursue of her, she was not likely to trust that what he was proposing was all real.

As it turns out, completely opening up and loving each other proves to be the beginning of the healing process for them both.

This is one you will enjoy and I can’t wait to see what’s in store for Gemma and Royal.



Pictures of Tina Martin





the traveling books



SH: Was there anything that happened in your personal life that made you want to touch on this specific issue…Cancer?

TM:  I like to add real things and situations that would take place in real life.  I like to write romance but I don’t want it to be so factitious that it doesn’t interweave into parts of real   life, I like to add real things.  A lot of people struggle with family and illnesses and their own personal issues.  So, readers could relate to Gianna and her struggles.

SH: What is the strangest thing you’ve done in the name of research?

TM:  I wouldn’t say I have done anything strange.  I do look up a lot of crazy stuff on the internet.  I always joke about the government hacking into my computer because of my search history, I look up some of the craziest stuff.  I do a lot of my research online.  A lot of my books are based in Charlotte, I like writing about cities that I actually know about.  It was the Accidental Series. I actually went to the neighborhood where it was based, took pictures, did research on all the restaurants in this particular neighborhood so that I can really draw it in and describe it in the book.  I got the feel of the  neighborhood so that I could really sit down and give a good description of where they were eating at a particular place or a particular neighborhood the character lived.  That is probably about the wildest thing I’ve done.

SH: What is the one thing that you really can’t stand?

TM: I actually write about one of my pet peeves in my books. It’s something the male character does to the female character…STARING.  I cannot stand it when someone stares at me, it bothers me to no end.  I’m like ok do I have something on my face, why are you looking at me.  It’s considered rude, but the crazy thing is in my books I have  the male character staring the female character down to the point she is so uncomfortable because she can feel someone staring at her and he is not trying to look away.   So that’s one of my pet peeve,  I don’t know why I make my female characters go through that.

SH: The person that influenced you the most?

TM: Hmm, influence me in the writing aspect? Oh goodness, well when I was in college and I cannot remember the name of this author, but when I was in college I use to go on amazon and this is before I like decided to write anything.  I would go on amazon and after choosing a potential book, I would search inside a book and read the first chapter.  I would look at all the African American authors and to this day I don’t know the name of the author, but I was reading this book about this lady on the train and it drew me in and was so good, but I never ordered the book and I forget who the author was but as far as other influential authors, I love reading Brenda Jackson, Rochelle Alers, I hope I am saying her name correctly, but I love reading African American romance, period.  Those  authors kind of drew me in, they make you want to just sit down and relax and have a good read. 

SH: Is there a character in your book that you can personally identify with?

TM: Oh yeah um, I mean even the book that just came out.  I just released a book on January 26, 2018.

SH: What book was that?

TM: Man of her dreams! One of the main character’s name is Else, she is an introvert and that’s how I kind of see myself because I am not a very outgoing person at all.  I like to write, you know I like to read. I am not really a center of attention type person.  I can like really connect with her and I think that is the reason it was so easy to write her character because she was kind of the same way.  She went to work and handled her business and went home.  But, with her, being an introvert she was not allowing herself to really live her life.  She felt herself being held back a lot of the time from doing certain things.  So, it was easy for me to write her character because I know what she was going through on a daily basis pretty much. 

SH:  Being introvert are not always bad. 

TM: No, it’s not always bad.  We just like our space.

SH: It is nothing wrong with that.

SH: Are your characters/experiences based on anyone you know or events in your life?

TM: Most of them are completely made up, especially the men, I mean sometimes when I am out and about I will see a guy and thinks he’ll make a good character.   That’s just the physical characteristic, maybe it’s the way he walks or talks because I don’t know him personally.  As for the female characters, some of them are based on people in my life and their personalities, maybe my sister and a little of myself.  Some of them are even based on friends and family members, but NOT 100%, just bits and pieces of them.

SH: How do you develop your plots and characters? 

TM: Hmm, how do I develop plots??? Initially, when I am writing a book I kind of know what the story is going to be in my head.  I would write out an outline and I use that as a guide for the book.  But, I can deviate from that  whichever way.  When I wrote an outline for “Baked with Love” ,  I thought it was going to be one book but then the outline kept going on and on.   I knew there was no way I was going to fit this in one book, so I kind of broke it apart.  I use an outline and tried to start with the details and then the climax of the story and how it would conclude towards the end.  I like to stick with the outline because I think it’s the best, even though like I said I will deviate from it whichever way the story takes me once I start writing it.

SH: What can readers expect from Tina Martin?

TM:  I like to actually tell a story, I want to draw readers into my fictional world, no matter how long it takes you read. Even though my books are considered romance I don’t want them to be centered around  just the romance aspect.  I want the reader to look at the entire book as a story and as if they were watching a movie.  That’s how I look at all my books because I love movies, I love Hallmark and LifeTime.  So, reading a Tina Martin book is pretty much like watching a movie.

SH: What were your goals and intentions in “Baked with Love” and how well do you feel you achieved them?

TM: Baked with Love, I really didn’t have a goal for the book except for mainly entertainment purposes.  Actually, the book just came to me one day, I like to run a lot for exercise and stuff and so I was out at this boardwalk which is a place near where I live and exercise.  It has a big pond, paddle boats, ice cream shops, restaurants and they had a bakery out there and this is where the inspiration came from for this story.  I would walk pass this bakery every single day and I’m thought this would make a really good book if I wrote about this bakery at the boardwalk with this women inside baking cupcakes and this guy happens to walk in.  That is where the inspiration for the book.

SH: She had her boardwalk, although she didn’t have a huge customer base.  I just loved this story…the homeless guy…..will he be in book 2?

TM: Yes, he is in book 2 and book 3 and you know the craziest thing is the actual bakery didn’t have a huge customer base.  Every time I would walk pass there would be nobody in there.  I know she did a lot of catering stuff because I actually spoke with her.  I was always kind of like it was dead, she would always put these quick little signs out like on the sidewalk, come this way to get your cupcakes.  I just thought it would be a really good setting for a story.  So, I drew in all the places like the restaurants, the boardwalk and even the paddle boats that coming into play later in the series.  So, it was just for entertainment purposes and I think I achieved the entertainment aspect of it. 

SH: We agree!

TM: Thank you. This was like one of my most popular series, like ever.  Baked with Love, I think has more reviews than any book that I have ever written and I have written over 50 titles.  Yeah, I think I achieved that purpose.

SH: We really like Baked with Love.

TM: I usually like to add some sort of take away for my readers, I want them to be entertained first of all, but like in Baked with Love, I wrote that for entertainment purposes, but it also showed the compassion that Gianna had for her sister.  It showed even though she tried to be an independent woman, trying to do everything on her own, she didn’t want Ramsey to do anything for her. Ramsey put his self out there and she was really kind of hesitant towards excepting help,  So, one of the lessons from that particular book was its ok to accept help sometimes even though you might be a strong independent woman.  Everyone needs a little help every now and again,  its ok if someone comes to help you out and if they’re being genuine, its ok to accept the help and just move forward.

SH: How does your book relate to your spiritual practice or other life paths?

TM: I guess it would be showing compassion and being considered.  Even in the series of short stories that I am working called the Marriage Chronicles.  It kind of focuses on marriage and how it can be difficult sometimes, but it doesn’t mean you give up, you stay together, pray together and draw strength from each other and keep it moving.  I like to kind of tell the story in the aspect of family and togetherness and how people stick together and help each other.  Because, I really do believe that people should stick together and help each other out and be there in times of need.  That’s what I focused on with Bake with Love, but also with the Marriage Chronicles, just help each other and be a support for each other.
SH: What message do you want to leave for your readers? 

TM: I am currently working on the 3rd book in the Marriage Chronicle Episode which is going to be out sometime in February.  I haven’t narrowed down a release date as of yet.  The book that just came out is called the Man of her Dreams, is not associated with any series, it is just a standalone book.  I had so much fun writing this book, I consider this book a romantic comedy.   It’s  funny, sweet and some people told me they cried after they read it.  There is a little bit of something in here for everybody. Like I said I had so much fun writing this book.  It came out January 19, 2018.

The book that I am working on after the Marriage Chronicles is a Short Story. I am writing another Champion Book for my Champion Brother series, so that will be out soon, probably sometime in March.  I am not exactly sure  when that one will be out.

Thank you for the Book of the Year 2017, I have never won anything my life.

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