It’s often said that, as writers, there is a little of us in each of our characters. On many levels I find that scary. But there is definitely some truth to it. A part of me that often seeps into my characters is a love of food.
I love growing it, cooking it and preparing it. Discovering a new restaurant, meal or recipe.The laughter and conversation shared over a home-prepared meal and a bottle of wine. Then there is the joy of introducing someone to a great restaurant or watching them truly enjoy a meal I’ve prepared.
No wonder food keeps showing up in my stories and many important scenes occur over a meal.
In Making the First Move it is at a restaurant, over a meal that Raine Mason first expresses his interest in Melanie Gordon as more than just a friend. The next morning he cooks breakfast for her. (Because what food-loving woman doesn’t dream of a man who cooks for her?) Melanie’s family has a tradition of eating a big meal together every Sunday afternoon, so several scenes take place around the dinner table.
In Love Me Not Jamie Charles is a bartender at Tahlia’s, an upscale restaurant where she meets handsome and oh-so-charming Miles Copeland when he comes into the restaurant for dinner one night. He tries to impress her by ordering an obscure drink. She lets him know she’s not interested with her trademark directness and a hint of sarcasm. Outside of their interactions at the fictional restaurant Tahlia’s, local foods often step into the spotlight. The book is set in my hometown Cleveland, Ohio. Home to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, a variety of yummy ethnic foods, and some surprisingly sexy Midwesterners. (Don’t let those big coats and food-lovin’ bodies fool you.) In Love Me Not, local restaurants are often mentioned. The mouth-watering corned beef sandwiches from Slyman’s Restaurant, Michael Symon’s restaurant Lola Bistro, and a late night gyro from Best Steak & Gyro House. When I sent this book to my editor she put a note in the margins that said it was making her hungry.
I’m revising my next novel, the first book in an indie series I’m releasing. The couple meets at a restaurant and flirt over a meal before embarking on an adventure that takes my sensible heroine out of her usual safe, staid routine. The hero doesn’t cook, but he appreciates good food and has interesting ideas about how to use chocolate mousse.
I’m also working on the second book in the series. Right now I have tabs open displaying the menus at restaurants in Raleigh and Asheville, NC as I prepare to write the next few scenes which take place during a road trip the hero and heroine are about to take across the state.
Food and libations will probably always play a role in my stories. So much of life happens while sharing a good meal and conversation with the people who are most important to us.
What are some of your fondest memories shared over a meal?