About the Author
Carla Laureano is the RITA Award-winning author of contemporary inspirational romance and Celtic fantasy (as C.E. Laureano). A graduate of Pepperdine University, she worked as a sales and marketing executive for nearly a decade before leaving corporate life behind to write fiction full-time. She currently lives in Denver with her husband and two sons, where she writes during the day and cooks things at night.
1.What is your favorite Thanksgiving tradition?
Our family is pretty low-key about Thanksgiving and celebrate with immediate family only, so I can’t say we have any surprising traditions. We don’t even watch football! But after many years of my mom running point on the cooking, she recently handed off the responsibility to me. I’m having a lot of fun finding my own go-to recipes that will hopefully turn into family tradition. My mom always made Italian sausage stuffing; I make cornbread stuffing with chorizo and apples. And while I know that many people hate cranberry sauce, I think I could change their mind with my scratch-made cranberry-orange relish.
2. What character was the easiest to write? The most difficult?
Alex came pretty naturally to me, since he’s a writer and he’s quite self-aware. We also share an interest in real estate and a dislike of mean book reviews. I’ve been told that Rachel is the character that resembles me most out of all my past heroines, but she was also the most difficult to write. She’s very restrained and closed off toward romance, and writing that in a way that worked with her otherwise assertive personality was tricky.
3. What type of research did you do for this book?
I had been cooking pretty seriously for a couple of years before writing this, so the food bits were fairly easy. But I spent months researching the culinary world, reading chef memoirs, and trying to understand the mindset of professional cooks. It really is much more of a lifestyle than a profession. I also took some side trips into Japanese knives (and may have ended up as a collector… good thing my budget keeps me from going overboard!) While I do live in the Denver metro area, I spend most of my time in the suburbs, so I also had to learn the character of the various city neighborhoods in which the book is set.
4. Are any of the scenes/characters in your story based on real-life events or people?
The relationship between Rachel and her friends is loosely based on my relationship with my two closest writer friends. However, in that relationship, I’m not Rachel but Ana, the tough-love professional publicist friend. I’m definitely the one dishing out advice and trying to fix things for everyone.
As far as the cheffy parts go, bits and pieces came from real life cooks that I either know or have read about. One reference in the book to an ill-fated panel discussion at Denver’s Johnson & Wales University was inspired by a similar incident from Gabrielle Hamilton’s cooking memoir, Blood, Bones, and Butter.
5. What is something readers would find surprising to learn about you?
I’m somewhat of a minimalist, so I don’t keep lots of books in the house. I have a couple of shelves for research and reference, plus a handful of favorite novels, but I just don’t have the space to store all the books that I read. So besides borrowing from the library, I buy books and donate them, give them to friends and family, or trade them in for credit at the used bookstore. I wish I had a dedicated space for a huge library, but having lots of stuff in my main living space is more stressful than enjoyable. I do collect cookbooks, but I’m pretty ruthless in culling the ones I don’t like or use. My highest honor for a book is adding it to my permanent collection.
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