October 18th, 2015
For years, I was a fantasy writer. No, I didn’t write fantasy, I fantasized I was a writer. It was the same every time. I’d begin to write, discouragement would set in, and the story would lie there, unfinished. My excuses got better and more imaginative, but my stories never got completed.
Some years passed until I decided to enroll in an introductory writing class and stuck with it. Words came together in a cohesive way, exciting me and entertaining others. I discovered a fascination with unusual characters and, at times, even more bizarre situations. And because of my love for cooking and most of all eating, I included food scenes in all my stories.
As I continued writing, though, I worried the ideas might run out. But they haven’t. My mind continually fills with taking ordinary objects and situations and turning them into ‘what-ifs’. For example, what if an abandoned, empty plastic bag had a much more sinister role than just littering the landscape? What if a private investigator is scared of almost everything?
My writing career jumped forward when I was invited to join a professional writers’ group. Not only were they talented writers, but they nurtured the still-timid writer in me. The more they nourished me with knowledge and encouragement, the more I reveled in giving life to characters and spinning events around them. Each new story filled me with anticipation as it unfolded and gave me a reason to keep writing.
After a time, I took the big leap, submitting my stories to editors and agents, opening myself to critique by strangers, a sometimes painful process. Eventually I had some nonfiction published and freelanced for several newspapers. Recently, I found a small indie press, Ink Lion Books and an editor who appreciates my off-kilter characters and quirky stores. At long last, I am a real writer, not just a woman who fantasizes about writing.
Since my books and my thoughts are often of food, I’m including one of my favorite recipes:
Curried Chicken Salad
(Makes about 5 cups)
3 cups chopped cooked chicken (I prefer the chicken be dead before I chop the meat)
1 large apple cored and finely diced
½ cup plain yogurt (regular or low-fat)
1/3 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
½ -1 tablespoon curry powder
½ cup raisins
Sprinkle of cinnamon
Salt and pepper to taste
¼ cup grated onion (optional)
Combine chicken, apple and raisins in large bowl. Blend yogurt, mayonnaise, lemon juice and curry powder in small bowl. Add small bowl ingredients to chicken mixture and toss to coat. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Stir in onion if desired. Cover and chill until ready to serve. (Of course, I serve it in a caldron. It stays as cold as death that way.)
If you want to see more recipes and read about the characters devouring them, please visit Books & Stories.