Jun 16, 2017

Blog Tour -- North To You by Tif Marcelo

In this warmhearted and charming debut, a food truck chef and 
her long lost Army love clash when they cross paths in San Francisco.

Journey to the Heart #1
Tif Marcelo
Releasing June 5, 2017
Pocket Star

Camille Marino has got a full plate. As the sole guardian of her eighteen-year-old sister and the head chef and owner of a food truck, she’s used to life being a juggling act. With food to cook, social media accounts to manage, and a little sister to look after, she doesn’t have time for much else.

That is, until Drew Bautista walks back into her life.

Drew is Camille’s former high school crush and he returns to San Francisco to repair his relationship with his father before he ships out for deployment. By helping his father renovate his failing Filipino restaurant, he hopes to win back his respect. But when sparks fly between Drew and Camille—his father’s major competition and sworn enemy—Drew is conflicted. Should he join his father in the war against her food truck? Or surrender to the woman who’s given him a second chance at love?

 Above the low hum of the traffic, the people, and the planes passing overhead, a bell chimes. Then two, then three. Soon, surround-sound church bells, signaling the start of the new day, sweep over the breadth of my view.

“Wow.” The music becomes the backdrop of the city I thought I knew. My eyes follow the path of Market Street and the twinkling outline of the Bay Bridge. It scans to the Transamerica Building, which cuts the ombré of the night sky down to the yellow of the city lights. Sights now enhanced, brought to greater depth and meaning.

“Right?” he whispers next to me.


“She is definitely beautiful.”

My breath hitches at Drew’s statement. He leans against the barrier, his back to the city lights. His eyes are solely on me.

This man and I know nothing about each other as adults except for what we revealed in the last hour. He knows nothing of my dreams and hopes. I don’t understand the life he’s chosen. And yet I’m bound to him with leftover feelings that are so innocent and pure, feelings I’m not sure where to place now that they’ve been pulled from memories packed away.

One thing is sure. Right now is perfect.

I approach him, place my hands on his chest.

He rests his fingers lightly on my waist. “Camille—”

I stop him with a kiss. Tonight has been crazy, magical, fuzzy, and weird, and I don’t want to think about consequences, my overloaded plate of responsibilities, of everything waiting for me down there, in the city below.

Character Q & A

We grabbed Drew after his first date with Camille. Ten years have passed since he’s seen her and we wanted to know how he felt reuniting with an old love.

So, Drew, how did the date with Camille go?

Drew: It was…good.

Just good?

Drew: (grins dreamily) It was more than good. We had some delicious food, a nice talk…


Drew: Oh, sorry. Was just thinking of that beautiful woman. I thought it was a successful first date, but she wasn’t exactly jumping at the next time we should see each other, you know? She didn’t get into the specifics, but it sounds like she’s got a ton of things going on, as I do. She wants to go slow, and I respect that.

Is this the right time for a relationship for you? Aren’t you back in town for a limited amount of time?

Drew: I’ve got less than a month before I have to deploy. Not nearly enough time with the amount of work I’ve been given by my pop. But whether I’ve got nothing to do, or if I work over time, I would be stupid to let this second chance go. This is Camille. She disappeared from my life once before, and I’m not letting her go without giving this little thing we have a try. 

Speaking of…the choice to come home. Why now?

Drew: Ah…my pop. The reason why I’m here. To tell you the truth, I wouldn’t have moved back home at all if it wasn’t for him. But things have been tense for us for too long, and I couldn’t stand it. Life’s too short to allow the bad blood between us to fester. Though he busts my balls every chance he gets, I can’t deploy without us being straight. And part of me doing work at True North is getting into a space with him where we can talk about things.

What’s he got you doing back at the restaurant?

Drew: Everything.


Drew: Everything. A whole gut job. Meaning I’m spending my last hurrah meeting contractors and pulling up floors and whatever my pop’s got planned. But as much as I sound like I’m whining, I’m glad for the work because it’s my chance to bring peace back home. 

And seeing Camille—I can’t help but think that she’s part in parcel of this new chance.  

Should Camille decide to go out with you again, what do you have planned?

Drew: (hands clasped behind his neck) She’s lived in San Francisco all her life, but I want to make this place all new for her. Make it different. Make it ours. So, I think we’re going to start with local tourist traps.

Before we end this interview, do you have any advice for people who don’t know whether they should risk that second chance?

Drew: Yeah, one thing. Find out where your True North points to, and if it’s to that second chance, run like hell after it.


Describe yourself in five words or less.

Loyal. Dedicated. Empathetic. Enthusiastic. Cheerful.

What are 5 things you must have with you when you write?

I try not to get into the mindset that I need anything but a pen and paper/computer BUT:
  1. Coffee 
  2. My notebook 
  3. Something crunchy (almonds, cucumber rounds, Cheetoh’s—ha!) 
  4. My phone on silent  
  5. Marshmallow, Havanese-extraordinaire

What has been your toughest scene or book to write?

The “darkest hour” or also known as “the black moment.” It hurt my heart to bring these characters’ biggest fears to fruition. And then, to somehow recover from it was difficult because I wanted for it to come realistically and organically.

What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

Oh, hands down, it had to be the research! This book encompassed San Francisco (the city of my child and young adulthood) and food (Filipino food, most especially). I no longer live in San Francisco, so finding another eason to look back at old pictures and to look at maps of the City brought me back! And with food, it’s been a blast cooking and eating these foods just so my descriptions are accurate. The things we sacrifice! ;P 

A la Twitter style, please describe your book in 140 characters or less.

This was my agent story! I participated a PitMad Twitter pitch contest run by Brenda Drake. This is the pitch my now agent liked.
#dv #R Cami's found a 2nd ch @ love w/Drew, til she finds out it's his fam's restaurant that wants her food truck out of business. #PitMad

How long have you been writing, and what (or who) inspired you to start?

I’ve always been a writer, and my imagination have always run amok. Though I went to college and took up nursing and joined the Army, it never left me. I returned to writing through blogging when my second son was born, and continued to do so for over a decade. I began novel writing about six years ago, and was encouraged by my mother, my husband and closest friends. This journey has brought me full circle!

What do you do when you are not writing?

I’m a mom of four and a military spouse! Which means not only am I on the go every single day, as a family we are dealing with moving/deploying/temporary assignments quite regularly. Because of this, I practice yoga and run (very slowly). I love to read and binge watch shows I’m always behind on. I also craft! (currently, I’m cross-stitching something I’ve been working on for forever)

Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?

First and foremost, make a commitment to yourself. Set long and short-term goals in your writerly life. Be kind to yourself.

Is there anything that you would like to say to your readers and fans?

Thank you for supporting this debut author! I hope you fall in love with NORTH TO YOU!

Tif Marcelo believes in and writes about heart-eyes romance, the strength of families, and the endurance of friendship. A veteran Army Nurse with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and a Master of Public Administration, she is a craft enthusiast, food-lover and the occasional half-marathon runner. As a military spouse, she has moved nine times, and this adventure shows in some of her free-spirited characters. Tif currently lives in the DC area with her own real life military hero and four children.


Thanks so much for leaving a comment! It means a lot!! Happy Reading!!