Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Peggy Lampman is welcome here...plus a book giveaway

Introduction by Melissa Amster

A side effect from seeing (and listening to) Hamilton is that whenever I see the name Peggy, I want to put "And" before it. This has been the case every time today's guest has e-mailed me. Meet Peggy Lampman, whose sophomore novel, The Welcome Home Diner, published today. Thanks to Lake Union, we have THREE copies to give away!

Peggy Lampman’s passion is writing novels, which use food-centric and romantic themes as a means for breaking down familial and cultural barriers. Her debut novel, THE PROMISE KITCHEN, and  latest novel, THE WELCOME HOME DINER, reflect this fascination. She grew up in Alabama and planted roots in her college town of Ann Arbor, Michigan where she owned a specialty food store and wrote a food column.

Visit Peggy online:
Website * Blog * Facebook * Twitter * Instagram * Pinterest

Betting on the city of Detroit’s eventual comeback, cousins Addie and Samantha decide to risk it all on an affordable new house and a culinary career that starts with renovating a vintage diner in a depressed area of town. There’s just one little snag in their vision.

Angus, a weary, beloved local, is strongly opposed to his neighborhood’s gentrification—and his concerns reflect the suspicion of the community. Shocked by their reception, Addie and Samantha begin to have second thoughts.As the long hours, problematic love interests, and underhanded pressures mount, the two women find themselves increasingly at odds, and soon their problems threaten everything they’ve worked for. If they are going to realize their dreams, Addie and Samantha must focus on rebuilding their relationship. But will the neighborhood open their hearts to welcome them home?

What was the most challenging and most rewarding part of writing THE WELCOME HOME DINER? 
When writing this book, I was walking a thin wobbly tightrope trying to give voice to the sentiments of a multi-racial cast with widely differing backgrounds. I’ve seen authors raked over coals after unintentionally offending a culture the writer didn’t fully understand. While writing this book I took authenticity seriously, which was most challenging.

That said, I also wanted this book to be a fun, romantic read and not come across as didactic. One of my main characters is Addie, a co-owner of the diner. A lovely, well-educated caucasian, Addie was born with the proverbial silver spoon in her mouth. Albeit flighty and self-absorbed—particularly in her romantic life––she has a big heart and “Save the World" attitude. And then there’s the equally beautiful LaQuisha, a black single mother coming from a vastly different background who works for Addie’s eatery. Addie learns much about the world through the eyes of LaQuisha and her child.

When writing a character, it's easy to fall into seemingly inoffensive cultural cliché. However, writing about a people and culture of which you’re not intimate—or at the very least, familiar with––has the potential of fostering hurtful and damaging stereotypes. While writing this book, I befriended people I’d never have met in my day-to-day, attended community activist meetings (which I’ve always been loathe to do in the past) and read journals to absorb as many perspectives as time allowed. Of course in retrospect, the hours spent on active listening and reading were rewarding on a multitude of levels. THE WELCOME HOME DINER is a better read for it. I feel that the book paints an accurate depiction of sentiments felt by a diverse people living in today’s Detroit. And I have grown considerably by gaining a broader perspective about unfamiliar communities of which I previously could not attach a story. .

What feedback did you use from THE PROMISE KITCHEN while writing THE WELCOME HOME DINER? 
When writing THE WELCOME HOME DINER, I toned down the lyricism. Many writers that hail from the Deep South (myself included), write in a poetic, lyrical voice. Set in rural Georgia and Atlanta, THE PROMISE KITCHEN reflects this style. Interestedly enough, readers from the South universally love the book while some of my Northern readers felt that my descriptions slowed the pace. THE WELCOME HOME DINER is set in Detroit and I tried to reflect my tone to mirror this much different environment. I also added an extra cup of romance to Welcome Home (-:

Do you base any of your characters on yourself?
I can absolutely find pieces of myself—my background, outlooks, opinions—splattered throughout my characters. Writing is cathartic—it’s digging at the roots of my anxiety and insecurities, and then pulling them out.

My character's career choices, as well, reflect my own. I owned a specialty food shop for twenty years and wrote a food column for a local paper. To date, all of my female protagonists work in the food industry in some capacity. Bad incidents I’ve experienced in my life sometimes play into my plots, as well. For example, I had a harrowing experience with a linen company that I put into THE WELCOME HOME DINER. I had a blast making the bad guys even more despicable than I experienced. Revenge, at last, is sweet!

Superficially speaking, my characters are much like the Mr. Potato Head toy. In my case, one character has my hair, another character has my nose. I’ve stared into my eyes many times drawing inspiration from the irises and corneas, and then painting them into a character. My friends are wary when I stare at them too long!

If THE WELCOME HOME DINER were to become a movie, who would play the lead characters?
Lead: Samantha-Cate Blanchett, Addie-Christina Ricci (oh she’d be so perfect!)
Supporting: Quiche-Halle Berry, Addie’s mother-Jane Fonda, Jessie-Whoopi Goldberg, David-Andrew Lincoln (sigh), Uriah-Jared Padlock, Angus-Denzel Washington, Braydon-Isaiha Mustafa

If you could take us on a tour of the town where you live, where would we go first?  
I live in my adopted town of Ann Arbor, Michigan. Home to the University of Michigan, it’s where I attended college. I would NOT, however, give you a tour of the stadium (-:. I would take you to the historic Kerrytown area. First stop: Zingerman’s. There you will eat the most most amazing Rueben (or veggie rueben, if preferred) of your life. Or perhaps we’ll split a sandwich; we’re not done yet! Next, we’d trot across the cobblestone street, shop for produce in the Farmers Market and then head over to Miss Kim’s for fusion Korean fare. We’ll order several small plates to share. When touring the town of Ann Arbor with me as your guide, you can rest assured you will never be hungry!

What is the last movie you saw that you would recommend?
La La Land. It struck all the right cords—musically and soulfully-- and was a lovely antidote to the gruel of editing THE WELCOME HOME DINER. I was raised in a theatrical household and my mother was the original fan girl for musical theater. She has passed away, but I’m certain that she would have gone nuts over this film. Indeed, I felt as if she were with me. And she was, somewhere deep inside, and that makes me smile.

Thanks to Peggy for visiting with us and to Lake Union for sharing her book with our readers.

How to win: Use Rafflecopter to enter the giveaway. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us. If you have trouble using Rafflecopter on our blog, enter the giveaway here

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway ends October 15th at midnight EST.


Janine said...

My favorite local restaurant would be 4-Ts Bar-B-Q. They even got on the list in Texas Monthly's top 50 BBQ joints in the state.

Anna loomis Russell said...

Local diner Sandy creek diner i love their omelettes

TinaB said...

Maple Street Biscuit Co.

Lori Frazier said...

Ohio Club in Hot Springs Arkansas

Rita Wray said...

Good Times Diner

traveler said...

My favorite is Flames.

dinnerfeed said...

Thanks so much for the lovely send-off for my cast of characters, Melissa! Good luck, everyone, in the drawing! Peggy Lampman

Leslie Lawrence said...

Goodwil's. Thanks for the chance.

Jennifer said...

Our favourite local restaurant is called Globe Bistro.

Nancy said...

Our favorite local restaurant is San Luis lll .

allibrary (at) aol (dot) com

diannekc said...

My favorite local restaurant is Portillo's.

Linda Kish said...

My favorite lace is called Gyro Kabob Greek Cafe.

dstoutholcomb said...

Buon Tempo Bros.


Mary Preston said...

Has to be Rollos.

bn100 said...

no fav

Aire para respirar said...

"El rey del jamón" in the old part of town. In Ourense, Galicia, Spain. Not exactly a restaurant, just for tapas

Laurie I said...

My favorite local restaurant is a Peruvian spot called Pio Pio. They make THE BEST rotisserie chicken there.

Tatum Rangel said...

I'm not sure I have a favorite, but I do like The Diner on Main, in Alhambra, CA.

NishT said...

Pops Diner on my street