I had the pleasure of hearing Eloisa James speak at a conference a few years ago. Her wonderful talk had much to do with channeling emotional experiences into writing. She wasn’t suggesting that writers relate the events as they happened, but that they take the core, the kernel of the experience, the fear, joy or heartbreak, and use it for inspiration. What I took away from her speech was an emotional twist on “write what you know.” If you write what you feel (or felt), you will be better able to create an emotional connection and make the reader feel, too.
How many of the emotional moments in Scrumptious were cribbed from my own tender heart? (Counting on fingers…blushing…sobbing…glaring…) I’ll never tell. I must protect the innocent, the not-so-innocent and even the one who handed me Marlene’s epiphany and is no longer here to tell his story. More importantly, if my words create an emotional experience for my readers, then it’s their experience now. Not mine. Not anymore.
But I call my inspiring emotional moments snapshot memories. I have to admit my memory is not what it used to be. (I blame pregnancy, childbirth, nursing and a decade of sleep deprivation for the gaping holes in my personal history. Of course, it could just be denial.) However, there are indelible, gleaming moments of clarity, both rapturous and agonizing, that I hope I never forget. I remember the way the moon shined and my heart soared the moment I knew I loved my husband and I remember the texture of the carpet and how it felt to crawl when the man before him put me on my knees, sobbing. I don’t even have to close my eyes when I think about the perfect pecan danishes in my past, and my mouth begins to water. Depending on my mood, memories of tequila shots make me gag…or giggle. Yes, when it comes to memories, there’s no denying that most of my snapshot moments involve either food or love.
And I have to admit I played it pretty close to the chest writing Scrumptious. I channeled snapshot memories every few pages, calling upon past experiences as a line cook, a pastry chef, a cancer survivor’s daughter, a lover, a martini-lover and a congenital smart ass. I hope some of this emotion resonates with the reader. I wanted Scrumptious to be a sexy frolic of a book that puts readers in the mood for dumplings and kissing, chocolate and banter, haylofts and…never mind! (I share my recipes as happily as I share my memories, so please check my blog if you’d like to whip up some Scrumptious companion food!) What about you? What’s your favorite snapshot memory of food, love or life?
Tall, Dark, and Delicious
Joe Rafferty is just as mouthwatering as the food he cooks. But if he thinks he’s going to waltz in and take over her kitchen, he’s denser that a thick slice of chocolate-ripple cheesecake.
Marly has invested too much of her life in Chameleon to hand off the restaurant to someone else-especially a cocky-as-all-get-out superstar chef. But there’s no denying the man knows how to light her fire.
Question is: Can she have the sizzle without feeling the burn?
I would like to thank Amanda Usen for sharing with us her Snapshot memories.
I have two copies of Scrumptious to giveaway. To enter please answer Amanda’s question: What’s your favorite snapshot memory of food, love or life?
US & Canada only.
Giveaway ends February 26