Besides being a member and active participant of many writing groups, Carole Brown enjoys mentoring beginning writers. She loves to weave suspense and tough topics into her books, along with a touch of romance and whimsy, and is always on the lookout for outstanding titles and catchy ideas. She and her husband reside in SE Ohio but have ministered and counseled nationally and internationally. Together, they enjoy their grandsons, traveling, gardening, good food, the simple life, and did she mention their grandsons?
Welcome to my blog, Carole. This new book is part of a Romantic Mystery Series. Please tell us about your novel: Knight in Shining Apron.
Here’s the cover blurb:
Starli Cameron gave up her career plans to be a concert pianist to marry the man of her dreams. He turned out to be a nightmare. When he dies in a car accident, Starli takes the insurance money and builds a successful and upscale restaurant: Apple Blossoms in rural West Virginia. Threats from someone determined to ruin her life and the suspicious romantic advances from her new chef force Starli to search her heart and finally turn to God for real healing.
Sir Joel Peterman-Blair, top notch chef from England, is roped by his uncle, into filling in as head Chef at Apple Blossoms. Joel, with his sanguine-personality, has always laughed and flirted his way through life. But now, confronted with and attracted to the most beautiful woman he’s ever met, Joel has to prove his sincerity and depth of character to his icy-cold employer. Can his love for God and for this woman reach out far enough to rescue her from her own mistrust and bitterness? Will he learn that life is not all play?
And can they both work together to find the source of threats that seem to be coming from Starli’s past?
Where did you get your inspiration for this story?
I like how opposites attract, so the idea of an owner of a restaurant who couldn’t cook fascinated me. Give this same owner some mistrust of men because her deceased husband was both unfaithful and abusive--a cause for the exterior cold front she put up for most everyone. Inside she is anything but the icy snow maiden of Appleton. Her loyalty to her friends and her employees, her generosity and kindness in a shy way, and her extreme business sense are all good reasons for her friends to stick right by her side.
Because of her high standards (and a little bit of pickiness) in choosing the best chef she can find, she’s run out of choices and is forced (somewhat!) into hiring a sanguine chef /knight.
Giving my protagonists difficult situations to face, that appear to be impossible to solve are important to me. I like a little rebellion in my stories, even when it’s a minor factor, because, after all, don’t most people, even when it’s not apparent, have a bit of rebellion in them?
So, in this story I wanted a woman who’s learned to be strong (because of her past problems), determined to succeed (her restaurant is her lifeline), who needs both a spiritual/healing touch from God and the tenderness and love from a man who is a real man.
What kind of research did you do?
Here’s a few things I learned:
1. Chefs in general: I wanted the basic structure of how chefs work, their idiosyncrasies, their training, etc.
2. Recipes--classy ones. Even though I don’t mention a lot of them, I wanted the feel of what a professional chef might create or prepare for a higher classed restaurant. It’s important, I feel, for an author to place herself right inside the work-in-progress so that her readers can also experience “being there.”
3. Abuse. I’ve already done a lot of research about different kinds of abuse, so it was easy to give that “feel”--the scared, it’s-my-fault, fatalistic feeling that many abused people feel.
4. Classical music. I love many types of music, and am acquainted with some classical. I also have always loved listening to excellent pianists, so giving Starli that talent, and then having her make the “wrong” choice (no one’s perfect, not even Starli) was part of the right setting for Knight in Shining Apron.
5. Ice skating. I’ve studied a lot about this activity too, and thought that with it, I could create some fun and romantic scenes to the novel. The moves and routines that ice skaters use were important in showing that though Starli wasn’t Olympic material, she still was an excellent skater who loved and enjoyed the activity.
Please tell us about the main character in this story and what you love about him or her.
Chef: Sir Joel Peterman Blair
From Great Britain AND knighted because of his labors of love to the less fortunate, Joel knew early on, that his love and talent lay in creating recipes that were top-notch. Although he came from a privileged family, his stuffy father didn’t approve of his pick of careers and refused to finance his schooling. Enter Uncle Lawrence (Manny) who supports Joel and helps him become what he’s always wanted to do.
Because of his success and popularity (being handsome doesn’t hurt him any), Joel is a bit of a tease, rich in his own right, and well-traveled. He’s most women’s dream--except for Starli Cameron.
Her reluctance in accepting his flirting and teasing just fans the ardent fervor in him. She’s the most beautiful woman he’s ever met, and her withdrawal, his sensibility in seeing a woman who’s been hurt, and his tender acts of love eventually wins the day--and the woman!
Restaurant Owner: Starli Cameron
While still in college, Starli chose to marry Ryan Stratton instead of pursuing her plans to be a professional pianist. Wrong choice. He was an abusive man who belittled Starli constantly. When he died in a car accident, Starli inherited the insurance money--enough to start Apple Blossoms, the classiest restaurant in West Virginia. With live music and the best, exceptional chef Starli can hire, it’s a restaurant that has a waiting list for seats.
Starli is beautiful with her white blond hair and green eyes, and almost regal stature. She’s strong and independent but also afraid to face the past. To her friends she’s a loyal friend, but those less acquainted with her consider her a bit “cold.”
Roland Stratton, Ryan’s brother, is hassling her and still blaming her for Ryan’s death. Appleton’s banker is pushing for a closer relationship with her. Two of her employees are acting strangely, and the new chef--Sir Joel--is a flirty, teasing man whom she automatically distrusts.
Deep down, Starli longs for freedom from the past, the hurts and bitterness, the freedom of forgiving and moving on with her life in a peaceful way, and most of all--though she won’t admit it--freedom to love again.
Where can my readers find you online?
Personal blog: http://sunnebnkwrtr.blogspot.com/
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Carole-Brown/e/B00EZV4RFY
Stitches in Time: http://stitchesthrutime.blogspot.com/
Barn Door Book Loft: http://www.barndoorbookloft.net/
Thank you, Carol, for this very interesting interview. I hope my followers will check out your book.