Monday, October 25, 2010
Interview with Melissa Senate and book giveaway
**Giveaway is now closed**
Today we have three Melissas in one "room." Not only that, but our maiden names begin with S, so we're all Melissa S, as well! Plus, Melissa A can relate to Melissa Senate's love for pop culture and being the mom of a son (or two, in Melissa A's case). Melissa P can relate about cooking because her husband is a chef and he owns a restaurant. She is also a writer. We found these common interests by interviewing the lovely Melissa Senate and finding out some fun facts about her, that we hope you will enjoy too!
If you like what you read, you can follow Melissa on Twitter, friend her on Facebook and visit her website.
Finally, Melissa has offered to give away one copy of "The Love Goddess' Cooking School" (which will be in stores tomorrow) to a lucky reader in the US or Canada.
Melissa P: What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?
Melissa S: I love reading in coffee shops, on those comfy overstuffed chairs with a strong mug of Sumatra coffee and a berry scone. Also love going to the movies in the middle of the day, but don’t get to sneak off too often. Reading and anything to do with pop culture are pretty much my favorite things to do.
Melissa P: What is your usual writing routine?
Melissa S: My best writing time is crack of dawn before anything can make an impression on me, whether the news or irresistible social media. So I pop out of bed at 5 a.m. and head to my desk and write for two hours before my 8 year old son wakes up. If I’m getting close to deadline, I’ll also write while he’s at school, otherwise I use those precious hours for my freelance work—writing jacket copy/back cover copy and freelance editing.
Melissa P: Did you celebrate when your first book was published?
Melissa S: Oh yeah! I threw a big launch party at a swanky lounge in my then neighborhood in New York City, and so many friends/coworkers/former coworkers from different eras of my life came to celebrate with me. That was a magical time.
Melissa P: What was your inspiration for “The Love Goddess’ Cooking School”?
Melissa S:: Dual inspiration: the first was my late grandmother, whose life was so interesting to me, yet she was so tightlipped about her past, her marriages, her early life on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, and her parents, who came to America from Latvia. But during my many weekends with her as a kid, I noticed she’d open up a bit while we were cooking together in the kitchen. She’d let me scrub potatoes or wash vegetables, and I’d get an earful. Out of the kitchen, not a peep.
The other inspiration was my son, Max, who loves to cook with me. On his sixth birthday, while beating eggs for his beloved bacon and cheese frittata, he leaned close to the bowl of eggs and said into it, “Please let Mommy get me a rat, mouse, hamster or rabbit for my birthday. Please, please, please.” He stirred the eggs some more and made his fervent wish again. And over time, the combination of my thinking about my grandmother in the kitchen and my son’s wishing into his eggs (his wish did come true and he got 2 fancy pet rats (ugh) for his birthday!) inspired the novel.
Melissa A: Which of your characters (from any novel you’ve written) can you relate to the most? Least?
Melissa S:: I definitely relate most to Jane from See Jane Date. She wasn’t me, but I was her—if that makes any sense! I least related to the characters from my novel The Breakup Club, despite having been through quite a few breakups myself. I love that book, but those four main characters came from an interesting place inside me instead of “through” me, if that makes sense too!
Melissa A: If “The Love Goddess’ Cooking School” were to be made into a movie, who would you want to cast in the lead roles?
Melissa S: Beloved Kate Winslet for Holly, the main character. Robert Downey, Jr. for her love interest, Liam. Emily Blunt for Tamara. Dakota Fanning or AnnaSophia Robb for Mia. Ryan Gosling for Simon.
Melissa P: You have moved around and lived in places that all vary in size, landscape, and energy. How did you adapt to the different communities and is there one place that holds your heart more than the others?
Melissa S: I’ll always feel like a New Yorker in my heart, but Maine (after 6 years here) has come to feel like home. I don’t adapt well to change at all. I think one of the reasons I’ve always been such a reader is because no matter where you are or what you’re feeling, you can always lose yourself in a book. And you’ll always come out of that book slightly—or sometimes very—different.
Melissa A: What is your favorite thing about Halloween?
Melissa S: The huge sack of candy treats my son will spill out on the table after trick or treating and share with me. He hates all the good stuff—meaning anything with nuts, caramel, nougat, cream, or mint.
Melissa A: What is your favorite thing to cook?
Melissa S: My favorite thing to cook is Camilla Cucinotta’s Chicken Alla Milanese, which Holly, the main character, of The Love Goddess’ Cooking School, teaches in the first class. It’s so simple and delicious. And the final ingredient is a wish. (You can find the recipe—and others—at the end of the novel.)
Melissa A: What is one thing about you that people would find surprising?
Melissa S:: That I’m really such an introvert. I don’t think I come across that way, but after an hour or so with people, I crave being alone.
Bonus question: Since we're all Melissas here...who is your favorite celebrity with the name Melissa?
Melissa S: I want to say Melissa Gilbert, since Little House on the Prairie had such a profound effect and influence on me as a kid. But it’s really Melissa Joan Hart. I’ve loved her since "Clarissa Explains It All."
Special thanks to Melissa Senate for a fun and interesting interview and for providing a book for the giveaway!
How to win "The Love Goddess' Cooking School":
Please comment below with your e-mail address.
(Please note: Entries without an e-mail address will NOT be counted. You can use AT and DOT to avoid spam. Or provide a link to your facebook page if you can receive messages there.)
1. Please tell us: Who is your favorite celebrity with the name Melissa?
2. Please tell us: What is your favorite cooking ritual (or favorite part of cooking, aside from eating the finished product)?
3. Follow this blog and post a comment saying you are a follower (if you already follow, that's fine too).
4. Post this contest on Facebook or Twitter or in your blog, and leave a comment saying where you've posted it.
5. Join Chick Lit Central on Facebook. (If you're already a member, let us know that too.)
US/Canada only. Giveaway ends Thursday, October 28th, at midnight EST.
Don't forget to check out Melissa Senate's bucket list at Chick Lit is Not Dead, as well.