Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Karma Brown's recipe for success...plus a book giveaway

We're so glad to have Karma Brown back at CLC today. Her latest novel, Recipe for a Perfect Wife, published last week. Melissa A. really enjoyed it and recently posted a review. Thanks to Kathleen Carter Communications, we have TWO copies to give away!

Karma Brown has always loved the written word. As a kid she could usually be found with her face buried in a book, or writing stories about ice-skating elephants. Now that she’s (mostly) grown up, she’s the bestselling author of four novels, and her debut novel, COME AWAY WITH ME, was a Globe & Mail Best 100 Books of 2015.

A National Magazine Award winning journalist, Karma has been published in a variety of publications, including SELF, Redbook, Today’s Parent, Best Health, Canadian Living and Chatelaine.

Karma lives just outside Toronto, Canada with her husband, daughter, and a labradoodle named Fred. When not crafting copy or mulling plot lines, she is typically working out, making a mess in the kitchen and checking items off her bucket list with her family. Karma is currently working on a non-fiction project out early 2021, called TIME CHANGE (HarperCollins Canada). (Bio adapted from Karma's website.)

Visit Karma online:
Website * Facebook * Twitter * Instagram

When Alice Hale leaves a career in publicity to become a writer and follows her husband to the New York suburbs, she is unaccustomed to filling her days alone in a big, empty house. But when she finds a vintage cookbook buried in a box in the old home's basement, she becomes captivated by the cookbook’s previous owner--1950s housewife Nellie Murdoch. As Alice cooks her way through the past, she realizes that within the cookbook’s pages Nellie left clues about her life--including a mysterious series of unsent letters penned to her mother.

Soon Alice learns that while baked Alaska and meatloaf five ways may seem harmless, Nellie's secrets may have been anything but. When Alice uncovers a more sinister--even dangerous--side to Nellie’s marriage, and has become increasingly dissatisfied with the mounting pressures in her own relationship, she begins to take control of her life and protect herself with a few secrets of her own.
(Courtesy of Amazon.)

What was the inspiration behind Recipe for a Perfect Wife?
I adore vintage cookbooks—the more food splattered and well-loved the better—and had this idea of an old house, a similarly-aged cookbook, a dark secret and two women—one modern, one from the past—and how the house, cookbook and secrets would link their lives. Having a young daughter, gender roles are often on my mind, and I wanted to explore the expectations we continue to place on women, wives and mothers even in these more progressive times. In some ways, this book is a love letter to the strong women in my life who came before me, while also a glimpse into my own feelings on marriage and the roles of women and men.

Which of your lead characters was the most challenging to write?
Without question, it was Alice, the book’s modern day “housewife.” I knew she would also be the one to challenge readers the most: she makes questionable choices; she seems to “have it all” yet can’t quite find happiness; she can’t always see the good that is right in front of her; she often makes her life more difficult than it needs to be. It would be easy to write her off as selfish, or even perhaps ‘unlikeable’ (which is a term I avoid applying to female protagonists, because I believe it’s unrealistic for characters—including women—to be flawless), but she’s complex and still young and simply trying to find her way. And her character arc had to showcase those realities.

If Recipe for a Perfect Wife were to become a movie, what are some songs that would be on the soundtrack?
Well, Nellie was an Elvis fan and likely played his debut record, Elvis Presley, on repeat, so without question he would make an appearance on the soundtrack. She was also influenced by her mother’s musical tastes, so artists such as Billie Holiday, Fred Astaire, Glen Miller, and Peggy Lee would have induced nostalgia. As for Alice’s playlist, I expect it would feature some fiercely talented ladies, including BeyoncĂ©, Lizzo, Taylor Swift, and Lady Gaga—and the Spice Girls might show up on her running playlist. I imagine the soundtrack would be fairly eclectic!

Since part of your novel takes place in the 1950's, tell us some of your favorite things from that era (movies, TV shows, music, etc.).
I have been a Mad Men fan since the first episode, and as mentioned above, I have a slight obsession with vintage cookbooks. Particularly those from the 1940s-1960s – despite many of the recipes seeming to be inedible to our more modern day tastebuds (hello, jelly salads!). I’m an early 70s baby, so I also grew up listening to a lot of the music that dominated that era—to this day I can still sing every word of Paul Anka’s “Diana” or “Wake Up Little Susie” by the Everly Brothers.

What is the strangest New Year's resolution you have ever made?
I don’t typically make New Year’s resolutions, but do like to make a list of experiences for the year. And one of the things I’ve decided to try in 2020 is ‘floatation therapy’ after a friend declared it “amazing.” Basically, you float in salt-water in a pod or tank for an hour, and apparently the 850 pounds of Epsom salts (!!) they put in the water keeps you afloat while you relax. Now, I’m claustrophobic, don’t love hot tubs, and struggle to stay still for an hour…but what could go wrong?!

What is the last book you read that you would recommend?
I have read a lot of great books this year, but the one that I still can’t stop thinking about is THE NEED by Helen Phillips. It’s a speculative thriller, with feminist themes and an insight on motherhood that was achingly bang-on. I described it as, “…tense and taut and evocative and heartbreaking and destabilizing and distressing and enlightening…” and I’m fairly sure it’s going to remain top of mind for me for a long, long time.

Thanks to Karma for chatting with us and to Kathleen Carter Communications 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

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Giveaway ends January 12th at midnight EST.


Donna said...

I love the concept of this book. I grew up in the 50's and your interview brought back memories.

Suburban prep said...

I have a few favorites and they include pumpkin--Pumpkin Charlotte and also pumpkin banana bread.
I was baking a lot over the last few months so these were the ones that came to mind first.

Jess said...

OMG anything from skinnytaste.com or pickyeaterblog.com - my two go to places for recipes.
Also, I want to share that I have met Karma Brown twice and she is absolutely lovely!

Melissa said...

Recipes involving vegetarian protein sources such as quinoa, other legumes, in addition to an array of roasted veggies combined with various spices is always a flavorful, quick and easy meal option!

Nancy P said...

Chicken Parmigiana is one of my favorites. Thanks for the chance.

traveler said...

My favorite would roasted salmon with kale and brussels sprouts.

Kelley B said...

An easy recipe for buffalo chicken dip
Shredded Chicken (cooked)
1 Package Cream Cheese
Ranch Dressing
Hot Sauce
Cheddar cheese

Mix all and bake at 350 for about 30 minutes or until golden on top

diannekc said...

My favorite is pork schnitzel, which is breaded and fried pork cutlets. So good!

Mary Preston said...

An easy one; roast lamb with all the fixings.

bn100 said...

apple pie

Grandma Cootie said...

Homemade pizza

Elena Y. said...

My favorite recipe is risotto funghi. Thanks for the chance!

Rita Wray said...

Skillet Chicken served with Rice.

miriama said...

I make wonderful cheesecakes..peppermint, Kahlua, white chocolate. All kinds of them.

Bonnie K. said...

It's hard to choose a favorite. I love to eat. LOL My husband loves tacos. I think most people know how to do that. I came across a recipe for slow cooker beef stroganoff that I'm going to try as it's a dish my husband loves. https://www.thekitchn.com/slow-cooker-beef-stroganoff-265025 As for me, I love middle eastern and indian dishes.

Linda May said...

My favorite recipe is Broccoli & Cheese Casserole. Thanks for this amazing giveaway.

rubynreba said...

My favorite recipe is takeout pizza!

kstar said...

I had a favorite Blueberry muffin recipe I always used. In a move I lost it and this has been a wonderful replacement https://sallysbakingaddiction.com/sparkling-jumbo-blueberry-muffins-2/ I use it for Chocolate Chip muffins as well.

JeanneK said...

Karma’s book sounds fantastic! I’ve been wanting to read this! Thanks so much for the chance. Shrimp scampi is a favorite of mine.

LoriF said...

My grandmas chocolate cocoa icibg on a whit cake!

Bernice Kennedy said...

The synopsis has my attention. This sounds like my kind of book. Thanks for the chance!