I’m writing this post the Saturday before Super Bowl Sunday. We’re having a few friends over to eat and watch the game. My husband and I each have distinct roles on the day before such events. I compulsively clean the house, while he does everything he can to ensure the party is really about his food, not some super potentially epic football game.
While I sweep and mop and dust and mull over whether there’s time to touch up the paint on the floorboards near the backdoor, he pours over his extensive recipe collection, trying to gauge what will both impress and please our guests. (I should note our “guests” are neighbors and dear friends who don’t care if our house is clean and would be happy if we ordered pizza, and are always thrilled with whatever he makes.)
Are you wondering what this has to do with my books? Well, it occurred to me that this scenario connects closely to my books. There’s an age-old question about what authors write: Is there something of yourself in your books?
The basic answer is yes, of course. Every author pours his or her heart and soul into her (we’re sticking with “her” because I’m, well, a her) books. The stories are plucked from our imaginations and with the help of a good editor, molded into something someone else might want to read.
But let’s go deeper. Is there really something of myself in my books? The answer is still yes. The Super Bowl scenario makes me think of my book, Delicious Deception, which is about a restaurant owner who wishes she could do something else with her life and a chef who wishes he could be famous for what he does. Let me break down all the ways this book is pulled directly from my life…
- It starts in Shreveport, Louisiana. I lived in Shreveport for eleven years. Went to high school there. And college. Met my best friend there. Have lots of friends there. Moved my husband there, early in our relationship. My dad currently still lives there (well, in Bossier City, which is right across the river). Shreveport is near and dear to my heart.
- It also starts in a casino. The casinos moved into Shreveport/Bossier City right around my twenty-first birthday. Yeah, I’ve been to the casinos a time or two.
- The story then moves into the bayous of Caddo Lake, and to a restaurant located on one of those bayous. In the book, the restaurant is called Louisiana Kitchen, but… In 2012, my family visited my dad down in Bossier City, and he took us for a boat ride on Caddo Lake. We launched the boat at the very boat launch referred to in the book, and we cruised up and down the same bayous Connor does in Delicious Deception (except we weren’t lost, like he was). We were all hungry—just like Connor—and happened by a large banner strung between two trees, facing the water, proclaiming “Delicious Louisiana Food.” We docked outside the restaurant and headed up the hill and had an incredibly enjoyable time eating hush puppies and calamari and fried shrimp and gumbo and all sorts of Louisiana-type fare. I drank wine while my dad and husband sampled locally brewed beer, and the kids marveled at the decorations and plaques with funny sayings tacked to the walls. The restaurant was called Uncertain General Store & Grill, and it was located in Uncertain, Texas, right on one of the bayous of Caddo Lake.
- There’s a sexy scene during which Connor is making molten chocolate cake, and Emily Kate walks into the kitchen. He offers her a sample of the batter and her response is, “It’s orgasmic.” Yes, yes, this has happened between my husband and me, although I refuse to acknowledge how accurate the rest of the scene is…
So yeah, I guess I do put a lot of myself in my books.
PS – Delicious Deception is on sale right now for only $1.99. Here’s the link: AMAZON
PPS – Here’s the molten chocolate cake both Connor and my husband make exceptionally well. It’s courtesy of Anne Burrell (my husband’s chef girlfriend):
Molten Chocolate Cake with Candy Canes
1 1/4 sticks unsalted butter
Granulated sugar, for the ramekins
1/2 (6-ounce) bag semisweet chocolate chips
3 egg yolks
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar, plus a little more for dusting
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 candy canes, smashed to bits
Special equipment: 6 ramekins or aluminum soufflé cups
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
Melt 1/4 a stick of butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Paint the inside of 6 ramekins or aluminum souffle cups with butter. Coat the inside of each ramekin with granulated sugar. Reserve.
Put the remaining stick of butter and chocolate chips in a large mixing bowl. Set the bowl on a saucepan filled with about 1-inch of boiling water. Be sure that the bowl is not touching the water. Gently stir the butter and the chocolate together until melted and the mixture is smooth. Turn off the heat and reserve.
Combine the eggs, yolks, sugar and vanilla in the bowl of a stand mixer. (This can also be done with a hand beater.) Beat the egg mixture until it doubles in size, and gets very thick and very pale.
Gently whisk the melted chocolate and butter into the egg mixture. Remove the bowl from the mixer and gently stir in the flour. Pour the batter into the prepared ramekins. Arrange the ramekins on a baking sheet and bake in the preheated oven for 14 to 15 minutes. Remove the cakes from the oven and let rest for 3 to 4 minutes.
Remove the cakes from the ramekins, and arrange them on individual serving plates. Dust with powdered sugar and garnish with crushed candy cane.
Recipe courtesy of Anne Burrell
Get ready… It’s orgasmic!