Sunday, April 5, 2015

A Taste of Hope

Where do you get your ideas?

I get this question all the time. Most of the time I have no clue. But with my latest book, A Taste of Hope, out on April 8, 2015, I can draw a map about this book beginning inkling of an idea to the words “The End” on the last page on the manuscript.

My heroine, Hope Monahan, initially showed up in Mike’s Best Bet, the first book in my At The End Zone series, set in my fictional town of Addington, Massachusetts, on the north shore of Boston. We don’t actually see Hope. She’s a caterer who works out of her kitchen and is famous for her version of shrimp in puff pastry. She also stays low key in the second End Zone book, What Ian Wants, but the shrimp puffs show up on the buffet table at a couple of gala events.

Finally, in Charming Dave, the third End Zone book, we meet Hope. Her business has grown to the point where she’s opened her own Earth to Table restaurant called Hope’s.

Even though her life progressed in the course of the books, I didn’t plan to write a book for Hope. Just wasn’t there on my radar screen.

Then I went to RWA National in 2011 and went to listen to an editor/agent panel. It came to the part of the panel when the panel talked about what they were looking for, what they’d like to see. One of the agents said that she was crazy about reality shows and competitions. That’s when Lucien Durand, the hero of A Taste of Hope tapped me on the shoulder.

He let me know that he was the Gordon Ramsey of Cajun cooking and would love to show Hope how to cook. Lucien owns several restaurants world wide, all called L’Enfer, a.k.a. Hell.

International playboy chef versus small town locovore chef? Absolutely.

Thus No Hope in Hell was born.

Hope and Lucien led me on a merry chase. I couldn’t trust a word Lucien said for like the first six chapters of the book. Then two secondary characters, Shane Baker, Hope’s sous-chef, and Angelique Durand, Lucien’s baby sister started acting up.

Since we couldn’t use Hell on the cover of the book, No Hope in Hell became A Taste of Hope.

Here is one of Hope’s favorite dessert recipes:

Rose and Champagne Sorbet

Ingredients: 2 cups of gently packed rose petals from culinary grade (pesticide free) roses – Hope grows her own.
            1 cup plus 2 tablespoons of caster sugar (superfine sugar)
            3 cups of cold water
            3 tablespoons of freshly squeezed orange juice
            1 cup brut or extra dry champagne
            1 tablespoon of Nielson-Massey rose water
            orange zest, or thin strings of orange peel

Directions: Process the rose petals with the sugar in a food processor until the mixture turns into a smooth paste. Stop the scrape down the sides if you need to. Add ½ cup of the water and process again, about 10 seconds. Add in the remaining 2 ½ cups of water, the orange juice, champagne and rose water.

Pour the liquid through a fine sieve. Freeze the mixture in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s directions.

While the sorbet freezes, candy the orange zest or orange peel strings and some rose petals. Garnish the finished sorbet with the orange peel and rose petals.

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