Thursday, October 22, 2020

What's cooking with Carol M. a book giveaway

We're pleased to welcome Carol M. Cram to CLC today. Her latest novel, Love Among the Recipes, sounds like a real treat. Carol is here to talk more about it and she has TWO e-books to give away!

Carol M. Cram loves the arts, food, travel, and writing novels about people who follow their passions.

Carol writes about women in the arts in her first three award-winning novels of historical fiction, The Towers of Tuscany (Lake Union Publishing, 2014), A Woman of Note (Lake Union Publishing, 2015) and The Muse of Fire (Kindle Press & New Arcadia Publishing, 2018) and matches her travel-inspired vignettes with pastel drawings created by her husband, Canadian artist Gregg Simpson in Pastel & Pen: Travels in Europe (New Arcadia Publishing, 2018). 

Carol expresses her enthusiasm for the written word, the arts, and her love of travel on Artsy Traveler and Art In Fiction, and on the Art In Fiction Podcast in her chats with authors who write novels inspired by the arts. She also teaches writing courses and mentors new authors--one of her favorite things to do.

Carol holds an MA in Drama from the University of Toronto and an MBA from Heriot Watt University in Edinburgh. She lives with her husband, painter Gregg Simpson, on beautiful Bowen Island near Vancouver, BC, where she also teaches Nia, a holistic dance/fitness practice. (Bio adapted from Amazon.)

Visit Carol online:

Paris may be for lovers, but cookbook author Genna McGraw is definitely not looking for love. She’s looking for escape and she's looking for a good runny Brie to pair with a smooth Bordeaux. Where better than Paris?

In Love Among the Recipes, Genna goes to the City of Light to get away from her philandering husband and write a “crossover cookbook/guidebook” that matches Parisian sights such as the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre with recipes for bistro-style French dishes. She also dabbles in romance with dishy French lawyer Pierre Leblanc and makes friends at her French class with Colorado transplant Marsha Renfrew and her snooty English boyfriend.

And then there’s big, blunt Bill Turner from Australia. Does he really eat crocodile steaks for tea?

But when Genna’s family crashes her new life in Paris, a crisis forces her to choose how she wants to live. Will she have the courage to embrace an uncertain future and risk losing everything? (Courtesy of Amazon.)

How do you get past writer's block?
Ah, there’s the rub! I once suffered for several years from writer’s block (at least in relation to writing fiction) before I finally had my first novel published (The Towers of Tuscany in 2014). My problem was that I couldn’t get past needing to be perfect. I wanted every word I wrote to be exactly right the first time I wrote it. Of course, that’s impossible! I got over writer’s block when I finally gave myself permission to “be bad”; that is, to just get the words on screen and then to do the editing later. 

Now, I’m able to start writing a scene without worrying whether what I’m writing is “good”. And very often, when I reread the passage I just wrote, I discover that the writing is much better than I expected. 

I think the trick to getting over writer’s block is to just do a lot of writing and to be confident that you’ll correct errors and polish the words during the editing process. As I’ve discovered after completing four published novels, I’ll be reading every word I write countless times before I even let beta readers take a look, and then many more times after that until the book is ready to be published.

Another good way to combat writer’s block is to write every day. I set myself a word limit and make it a priority to meet it before I start any other activities such as marketing, blogging, or consulting.

Has the pandemic changed your writing in any way?  If so, how?
I’ve been writing full time for several years now so the pandemic didn’t have that big an impact on my writing process. However, two interesting things happened to my writing career as a result of the pandemic. First, I had to give up going to cafés to write—something I used to love to do. Now that restrictions are starting to ease here in British Columbia, I’m able to go to my local café again, but I don’t do so nearly as often as I used to. I just got out of the habit and so I do the majority of my writing at home. At least I’m saving a ton of money! 

Second, when the pandemic started, I was writing the sequel to The Towers of Tuscany which is set in medieval Italy. The novel was historical fiction and included all sorts of scenes involving plague, violence, etc., because, of course, 14th-century Italy wasn’t the safest of times. When our own 21st century plague hit, I decided that I wanted to work on something fun and light. As a result, I took out the manuscript for Love Among the Recipes that I’d written a few years ago and decided to get it ready for publication. I figured that if I wanted a break from the grim realities of this year, others may want the same. Love Among the Recipes is intended to be a fun, food-infused romp through Paris that is as crisp, sweet, and smooth as the perfect macaron!
What experience has had the greatest impact on your writing career?
I think one of the best things I did to jump start my writing career was to work with a mentor prior to publishing my first novel. I always advise new writers to find a mentor who will help them structure their novel and provide good advice about style and character development. When I worked with a mentor, I took the leap from wannabe writer to “real” writer capable of creating stories that people might actually want to read! I remember being so thrilled after my initial meeting with my first mentor (I’ve had a few) when she told me that I was on the right track. Yes, I had a lot of work to do to get my manuscript into shape, but I was encouraged to know that I wasn’t wasting my time. That was a good day!

The one thing no one would ever guess about me is . . .
I’m really, really good at wasting time! I have developed a reputation over the years as someone who works hard and is pretty productive most of the time. While that is true on the surface, I never really feel like I’m as productive as I could be because I know how much time I don’t spend working. Fortunately, I’m getting much better at not being so hard on myself and on recognizing that downtime isn’t wasted time!

If you could only read one book for the rest of your life, which book would that be?
Emma by Jane Austen (although any of her novels will do!). I frequently re-read Austen’s six novels and never cease to be amazed at how they can still make me laugh out loud. I’ll never tire of reading about Mr. & Mrs. Elton, Miss Bates, and fussy old Mr. Woodhouse. Austen’s characters are so incredibly memorable and yet how did she do it? No matter how many times I read her novels, I can’t quite put my finger on what exactly she did to make them so good. I just wish I could do the same!

What is your favorite "go-to" fall recipe?
Pumpkin pie, of course! As I write this, I’m about to start baking my first pie of the season for Canadian Thanksgiving (second weekend in October). I confess that often I buy my pumpkin pies, but this year I’m baking one from scratch. Since March, I’ve spent a lot more time in the kitchen cooking and baking.

~Interview by Tracey Meyers

Thanks to Carol for visiting with us and 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 October 27th at midnight EST.


Melissa said...

I've always loved and still do, cooking for my family!

susieqlaw said...

Yes. My dear friends cook for me often!

Pam H. said...

I love cooking shows and stories!

jodi marinich said...

my mom cooks for my family all the time and we love it

Letty Blanchard said...

I love cooking for my husband and for my sons when they come to visit. I’ve always enjoyed cooking and trying new recipes.

bn100 said...