A Good Year for the Roses by Gil McNeil

A good Year for the Roses

Photo Credit: Hyperion

 

*This book was sent to Traveling With T in exchange for a fair and honest review.

A Good Year for the Roses

Molly Taylor’s life has not been fun lately. Recently divorced, raising 3 kids, and trying to find a new place to live is taking it’s toll on her. With her beloved Aunt Helena dying, and her mother calling her to worry her about not wearing a pantsuit to the funeral- Molly knows that while a funeral is not a fun experience- this one may be more trying due to her family. Continue reading

Interview with Dana Bate, author The Girls’ Guide To Love And Supper Clubs

girls supper

A few months ago, I won Dana Bate’s debut, The Girls’ Guide To Love And Supper Clubs from Hyperion Publishing. I was very excited to read the book because the plot sounded funny and sweet- and, I LOVED that cover (I mean LOOK at it- who wouldn’t love a cover like that?!)

Lucky for me- Dana agreed to be interviewed on Traveling With T!

Interview with Dana Bate, author of The Girls’ Guide To Love And Supper Clubs

Dana- Thank you so much for stopping by Traveling With T for an interview.

Thanks so much for having me!

Dana- what was the inspiration for The Girls’ Guide to Love and Supper Clubs?

Before I even started writing, I knew I wanted to write a story that involved food. But I also wanted to write a story that was fresh and fun – a new food angle or setting that hadn’t really been used before. Then in the fall of 2009, when I was living in London for a brief stint with my husband, I came across an article about a woman in London who hosted an underground supper club out of her flat. She turned her tiny apartment into a secret restaurant, and people would come from all over and pay to eat in her home. The idea really captured my imagination, and shortly thereafter, I began what would eventually become THE GIRLS’ GUIDE TO LOVE AND SUPPER CLUBS.

When creating characters, do you find that you base them on people you know or create them from your own imagination?

I tend to create characters from my own imagination. That said, although I never base one character on one specific person, I’ve definitely combined attributes of various people into one character – sort of like throwing a bunch of different ingredients into a bowl and baking them up into something new.

Who is your favorite character in The Girls’ Guide to Love and Supper Clubs?

Oooh, tough call! I love them all, but I suppose that’s because I created them. I do love Hannah, though. As her character developed, I felt as if she were someone I could know in real life – sometimes funny, sometimes infuriating, confused, goodhearted. I had so much fun writing her.

Can you describe The Girls’ Guide to Love and Supper Club in 15 words or less?

A woman stuck in an unfulfilling job and doomed relationship opens an underground supper club. 

Dana- tell us about your writing space. Do you have a space or a routine?

I tend to write in my office, though I have been known to head to a coffee shop or bookstore when I need a change of scenery. I recently had a baby, so at the moment my routine is a bit of a work in progress, but before that, I would start writing at 9:00 a.m. and write until I’d written at least 1,000 words, preferably more. My rule was that if I met my word goal by 10:00 a.m., great – the rest of the day was mine. But if I didn’t meet my word goal until 10:00 p.m., so be it – I’d be writing until 10:00 p.m. The reality was usually somewhere in between. With a baby now in the mix…I’ll get back to you on how that all works out 😉.

The Girls’ Guide to Love and Supper Clubs is chick lit. Why do you think chick lit sells so well?

Does it? I feel like I’m always hearing that chick lit’s moment has passed. I don’t think the moment has passed at all, but I think some people balk at the term “chick lit” or use it (totally unfairly) as a derogatory term. Whatever you call it, I love a fun, breezy read, especially on vacation. I love heavy books, too, but chick lit provides a great breather from those more serious books. I think other people feel that way, too, especially when real life can be serious enough. It’s great to escape through a fun story. That isn’t to say chick lit has to be mindless or vapid. Some of my favorite chick lit mixes a deeper message along with the humor.

Hannah opens an underground supper club and it changes her life in many ways- some humorous, some not. Dana, how did you decide on an underground supper club as being part of the plot?

After reading that article I mentioned above, I knew I had to make an underground supper club part of the story. It sounded so fun – and so risky. I mean, this woman turned her apartment into a restaurant, without the approval of the health department or anyone else! What if someone got food poisoning? Weren’t there a zillion things that could go wrong? The setting seemed ripe for mishaps and secrecy – not to mention culinary adventures.

Dana- what are you working on next? Do you have an idea for a future book?

I’m working on my next book as I type! I recently landed a two-book deal with Kensington in the US and Constable & Robinson in the UK. I’m thrilled! I can’t tell you much about my next book yet, but like my first book, it involves family, relationships, humor, and, of course, food.

*Special thanks to Dana Bate for agreeing to be interviewed!

dana bate

 Dana Bate, when not working on her future books or taking care of her new baby- can be found on Facebook and Twitter. Dana also has a website! Dana is also a 2012-2013 Deb at The Debutante Ball! Here is an article she recently posted: Some Things Are Better Left Unsaid.

To read Traveling With T’s review of The Girls’ Guide To Love And Supper Clubs, visit here.

The Recipe Box by Sandra Lee

the recipe boxSometimes happiness finds you, right in the middle of grief and trying to find yourself.

Grace, recently divorced, trying to make a new life, raise a teenager daughter, Emma, and support her best friend, Leeza, who is battling cancer. Grace- between her job, raising Emma, and flying back and forth from LA to Wisconsin to visit with Leeza, feels overwhelmed- but knows she has to make everything work.

Then, she gets a phone call that no one wants to get- Leeza has passed away. Emma, Grace and Ken (Leeza and Grace’s other best friend) make the trip back to Wisconsin to help Leeza’s husband and to plan a funeral. While back in Wisconsin, Grace sees an old flame, Von, and it makes her feel uneasy about a potential secret she’s been keeping for many years. Grace, firsthand, knows that secrets are not good- a secret played a major role in the relationship with her own mother.

While Grace and Ken are back in Wisconsin- life, even without Leeza, is good. Both Grace and Ken have met people- people that could be in their lives forever. Emma begins to blossom, to change into a person she’s meant to be- instead of rebelling to get her mother’s attention.

Can Grace give up life in LA? Can she find a way to make peace with her own mother about the secret she kept? Can Grace ever make peace with herself about her potential secret she’s keeping from her daughter? Will Grace find out that happiness is right back in her hometown? To find out, read The Recipe Box!

 

Traveling With T’s Thoughts:

The Recipe Box is cute. Fun. Quick read. Secrets, family, finding yourself, and learning to accept things are themes in this book. Fun characters!

 

*This book was provided to me by Netgalley. The above thoughts and opinions are mine alone.