When my friend Val Griswold-Ford asked me if she could talk about food and her new book on my blog, I didn’t hesitate!
So here goes :)
Thank you, Katharina, for letting me come over and talk about two of my favorite things: food and cooking! My main character for Winter’s Secrets is a kitchen witch, simply because I really wish I could be. She’s absolutely a Mary Sue in that respect, as she can cook ANYTHING. I first ran into the concept in a book that I cannot remember the title to now, but was a fantasy book based on the song “The Whistling Gypsy Rover.” The main character in that was also a kitchen witch who had to go and rescue her half-faery sister from the gypsy rover who stole her away. I was fascinated – her name was Meg, and what she could do with her gifts was amazing. How useful! Never to be without hot water, or be able to take a few bits of food and make a feast. Able to fix anything. Never to need a timer to know when something was done. Why weren’t more people writing about things like this???
Molly currently uses her gifts to run a tea room, but think of the applications for all sorts of fantasy books. Armies travel on their stomachs – which makes them vulnerable to poisonings, or having the enemy pursue a “scorched earth” policy, and means they have to travel at the rate of the provisions wagons. But if you had a kitchen witch or two with you? You could travel much lighter, and be less vulnerable. Think of the possibilities!
I love food (it’s really no secret), and so through Molly and her tea room, I get to play with ideas for all sorts of things. The idea of a tea shop is one of my favorites as well. When I was in college, there was a tea shop, tucked into the back of an antiques store, where I would go and write when I could. There was three to four tables, and everything was mismatched. For $20, you could get several pots of tea (really good tea), tea sandwiches, and whatever the owner felt like baking that day. And she liked writers, so she thought it was cool that we would sit there with our notebooks (because none of us had laptops at that point – this was back in the 90s, when we were all broke and computers were large) and scribble away. It was the perfect atmosphere, and one I wanted to recapture.
When I first thought of the Advent Story idea, I knew I wanted my main character to own a tea shop. The idea of putting it in a bookstore combined my other love (I swear, heaven is a library) and gave me the framework for what I could do. Molly doesn’t have a lot of room, and that allows her to experiment a bit. The original blog story (which starts at http://vg-ford.com/?p=317, if you want to go back and read it in its first form) actually had some recipes sprinkled in, but they were from various blogs I found on the internet. I’ve been threatening for a while to do a Carter’s Cove cookbook, but I’d have to actually sit down and test recipes, which I don’t really have time to do. But we’ll see.
You can order Winter’s Secrets, Book 1 of the Carter’s Cove Advent Stories from Amazon, and follow me on Twitter (@vg_ford). Schrodinger also has his own Facebook page (Schrodinger Barrett) and Twitter handle (@MollysSchrodngr).