Thursday, August 5, 2010

Interview with Alicia Bessette and book giveaway



Alicia Bessette is a debut author for 2010, whose novel "Simply from Scratch" can now be found on the shelves of your local bookstore. She also writes a blog with her husband called Quest For Kindness, where people can share essays about their experiences with their own kindness or the kindness of others.

Here is a trailer for "Simply from Scratch":


Recently, Melissa Patafio and I got to ask Alicia some questions about her book and got to know her a little better. We hope you will enjoy getting to know her too. She also has offered to give away two signed copies of "Simply from Scratch" to some lucky readers in the US and Canada.

MP: Do you have any personal remedies for “writers block”?
AB: Go for a walk. Take a shower. Talk things over with the dog. Prepare a meal. Anything that gets your body moving or your thoughts flowing. Anything that feels creative, constructive, or therapeutic.


MP: What was the journey to publishing like for “Simply from Scratch”?
AB: I began writing Simply From Scratch in 2008. My goal was to write an emotionally honest book that book clubs would fall in love with. I wrote six hours a day, six or seven days a week. I also spent many hours researching agents and soliciting advice from kind writer-acquaintances.

Ten months and two revisions later, I started pitching to agents. I emailed a query to Laney Katz Becker, who is now with Markson Thoma Literary Agency. After reading the manuscript, she called and asked if I was willing to make some changes. We talked about how it might be improved, and she offered me representation.

After some editing, the fabulous Laney sold Simply From Scratch to Penguin’s Dutton imprint. I spent a few more months editing with my editor, the equally fabulous Erika Imranyi, before nailing the final version.

I’ve blogged quite a bit about my road to publishing. If you’re interested, feel free to check out the following posts for more details and advice:

Good Hurt
Persistence + Luck = Pluck

MP: Your husband is also a writer, do you both work from the same space or do you prefer to have your own separate corners?
AB: I can write anywhere; Matt needs to hole up. In our apartment, his office is the second bedroom. My “office” is a corner of the living room, in front of a window that looks out over a busy street. We’re separated, but within yelling distance.
I love that Matt and I are both writers. We understand each other so well, and we read and edit each others' work. It’s a beautiful partnership.

MP: You write the main character from the point of view of a widow. What inspired you to create such an emotionally tragic and heart wrenching story?
AB: I set out to write about healing, about how to let yourself be lifted up by friends, love, family, home -- things we all live for, things we all need and celebrate. Simply From Scratch is about how vulnerability can lead to transformation. It’s about how communities can heal individuals, and how individuals can heal communities.

MP: Do you hope to see “Simply from Scratch” made into a movie at some point? If so, who would you cast in the main roles?
AB: Sure! I think a lot of writers imagine their books as films. I don’t have a movie deal, but I’d love to see Renee Zellweger as Zell, Isaiah Mustafa (the Old Spice guy) as Garrett, John C. Reilly as EJ, and either Joan Allen or Jamie Lee Curtis as Trudy.

MA: How are you similar to or different from Zell? Ingrid?
AB: Just as Zell and Ingrid are fans of a celebrity chef and her television show, I am obsessed with watching cooking shows. Seriously, I could watch the Food Network all day long.
Zell and I are both very sensitive and perceptive. Both Ingrid and Zell are a lot braver than me.

MA: Do you have plans for another novel?
AB: I have plans for several more novels. Details to come!

MA: What is your favorite dessert to bake?
AB: Mini red velvet cupcakes. They're adorable, and .... mmmm ….

MA: When you were younger, what did you want to be when you grew up?
AB: At different points, I dreamed of being a veterinarian, a wildlife photographer, a French professor, a restorer of antique furniture, and a concert pianist. But somehow I knew from a very young age that I’d be a writer.

MA: What type(s) of music do you like listening to the most?
AB: It varies from day to day. I have very broad musical tastes. To quote Trudy in "Simply From Scratch" -- who is actually quoting my husband! -- “The more you like, the happier you are.”
Lately, I can’t get enough of the band Mumford & Sons. I’ve also been listening to a lot of Schubert.


Thanks to Melissa P. for some more great questions. She does a great job with researching before she asks!

Special thanks to Alicia for answering our questions. We enjoyed learning about her. Also thanks to her for providing the books for the giveaway.




**Giveaway is now closed**

How to win "Simply from Scratch":
Please comment below with your e-mail address.
(Please note: Entries without an e-mail address will NOT be counted.)

For additional entries (each as a separate comment including your e-mail address, as well):
1. Please tell us: What is your favorite dessert to bake (or eat)?
2. Follow this blog and post a comment saying you are a follower (if you already follow, that's fine too).
3. Post this contest on Facebook or Twitter or in your blog, and leave a comment saying where you've posted it.

Open to residents of the US and Canada. Giveaway ends Monday at 6pm EST.

72 comments:

Kathryn said...

Hmmm.... FIRST! :)

This sounds like a wonderful book!

I'd have to say that my favourite dessert to bake, and I don't really bake often, is banana chocolate chip bread. It is scrumptious and I love how it makes the house smell!

ladykathryn@rogers.com

Kathryn said...

I follow the blog on FB and am a follower through Google.

ladykathryn@rogers.com

Kathryn said...

Posting a link through FB!

ladykathryn@rogers.com

Heather said...

I am a follower
ra6352 (at) gmail (dot) com

Heather said...

posted on Facebook!
ra6352 (at) gmail (dot) com

Heather said...

My favorite dessert....I like most of them! But chocolate flourless cake is probably the best!
ra6352 (at) gmail (dot) com

Tiffany said...

Um.....YES Please! schlarmette AT gmail DOT com

Tiffany said...

Follower

schlarmette (at) gmail(dot) com

Tiffany said...

Favorite .... Tiarmisu!!!
schlarmette (at) gmail (dot) com

Tiffany said...

Reposting on facebook! schlarmette(at)gmail(dot)com

Jonita said...
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Jonita said...
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Jonita said...
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Sarah said...

I think this looks like such a great read!! I love any kind of cookies that I can bake with my sons.

foxchick0323@live.com

Sarah said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Brittany Roshelle said...

This books sounds fascinating! Count me in!

askbrittanyroshelle at gmail dot com

Brittany Roshelle said...

My favorite dessert is cheesecake!

askbrittanyroshelle at gmail dot com

Brittany Roshelle said...

I'm a follower!

askbrittanyroshelle at gmail dot com

Brittany Roshelle said...

Posted a link on my blog!

askbrittanyroshelle at gmail dot com

karenk said...

thanks for the chance to read this fabulous novel :)

karenk
kmkuka at yahoo dot com

karenk said...

i'm a follower ;)

karenk
kmkuka at yahoo dot com

karenk said...

love to bake muffins :)

karenk
kmkuka at yahoo dot com

Colleen Turner said...

The book sounds wonderful. Nothing better then to combine good writing and good food!!!
candc320@gmail.com

Colleen Turner said...

My favorite dessert to make and eat are my white chocolate chip cookies. They are even better as batter before they cook, so you get two yummy experiences in one :)!
candc320@gmail.com

Colleen Turner said...

I am a GFC follower.
candc320@gmail.com

Anonymous said...

I would love to read this book.

My favorite baked dessert is date nut pudding. Haven't baked in very long time,today temp is 104 degrees!

CarolNWong(at)aol(dot)com

Anonymous said...

I follow by GFC.


CarolNWong(at)aol(dot)com

Myra C said...

This book sounds great, thanks for the giveaway!

myra0502@yahoo.com

Myra C said...

My favorite dessert is cheesecake!!

myra0502@yahoo.com

Myra C said...

I am a follower GFC

myra0502@yahoo.com

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

No need to enter me, babe. I'm dropping in to say thanks for the e-mail. I've got this posted at Win a Book for you.

JHS. said...

Favorite dessert? Wow, that's hard. Probably Boston creme pie.

JHS
Colloquium

jhsmail at comcast dot net

JHS. said...

Google follower.

JHS
Colloquium

jhsmail at comcast dot net

baileythebookworm said...

I'd love to win this book!

baileythebookworm [at] gmail.com

baileythebookworm said...

My favorite dessert to bake is brownies -my little sister and I are the only ones who bake them, so they're always in high demand, which is great for bribing our parents! ;)

baileythebookworm [at] gmail.com

holdenj said...

This looks like a great book! Thanks for all the info and chance to win!
JHolden955(at)gmail(dot)com

holdenj said...

One of my favorite desserts to bake is lemon bundt cake! Always a winner!
JHolden955(at)gmail(dot)com

mindy said...

this looks great when i really want to indulge cheesecake or hot pecan pie thanks for the giveaway minsthins at optonline dot net

Mary said...

I'd love to read this one!

mryward(at)yahoo(dot)com

Mary said...

My favorite dessert to bake is cheesecake. Cheesecake of any kind. I make a great blueberry cheesecake.

mryward(at)yahoo(dot)com

Mary said...

I follow on GFC. (mamie316)

Nicole C. said...

I would love to read this book!

choateorama(at)gmail(dot)com

Nicole C. said...

My favorite dessert is cheesecake.

choateorama(at)gmail(dot)com

Nicole C. said...

I follow on gfc.

choateorama(at)gmail(dot)com

*Holly* said...

perduehk@ gmail.com

piabernardino@bermillion.com said...

Double Chocolate Chip Cookies are my favorite desserts.

I am a follower of this blog.

I posted this at twitter.

Thanks:)

Sandy Jay said...

I'd love to win this. Thanks for the giveaway.

forwhlz at gmail dot com

Sandy Jay said...

My favorite dessert to eat would be anything with a sinful amount of chocolate in it. :)

forwhlz at gmail dot com

Sandy Jay said...

GFC follower.

forwhlz at gmail dot com

Sandy Jay said...

I tweeted this at http://twitter.com/ForWhlz/status/20519816763

forwhlz at gmail dot com

Jessica said...
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Jessica said...
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Jessica said...
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traveler said...

Thanks for this wonderful giveaway.saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

traveler said...

Favorite dessert to bake is lemon squares. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

AmandaSue said...

This sounds like a really heartwarming story, I'd love a chance to read it thanks for entering me into this giveaway.

unforgetable_dreamer_always(at)hotmail.com

AmandaSue said...

My favorite dessert to make is cherry cheesecake cupcakes.

unforgetable_dreamer_always(at)hotmail.com

Denise said...

My favorite dessert to eat is also Red Velvet cake. Have you tried Starbucks? To. Die. For. =) I love making double-layer Pumpkin Pie that has a Cool Whip/cream cheese bottom layer topped by pumpkin mixed with vanilla pudding mix. YUM!!!

Denise U.
denise_louise at yahoo dot com

Sarah said...

Thank you for the chance to win:)

Coupon Clippin' Mommy said...

This looks like a great book

couponclippinmommy at yahoo dot com

Coupon Clippin' Mommy said...

My fav dessert is cookies

couponclippinmommy at yahoo dot com

Coupon Clippin' Mommy said...

I follow this blog.

couponclippinmommy at yahoo dot com

susan said...

This looks like a great book! I love to bake homemade apple tarts best! suelee1998 @ gmail.com

jen r said...

i love to make orange creamsicle cake. it's the most requested from my family...but i like trying out new recipes too

jen161@hotmail.com

Jojie said...

Sounds like a good read...especially for a book club

Sarah said...

I am a follower!!

foxchick0323@live.com

Sarah said...

Thank you for the chance to win!

foxchick0323@live.com

Nickolay said...

What a neat book. Thanks for the chance

jason(at)allworldautomotive(dot)com

wildcat32 said...

I would love to read the book.
monster6236 at gmail dot com

wildcat32 said...

I love to bake and eat carrot cake.
monster6236 at gmail dot com

StereoQueenBee said...

My favorite dessert is chocolate chai cupcakes. I follow your blog and posted on Twitter. (@stereoqueenbee)