Thursday, August 15, 2013

I'd Rather Be Writing : Guest Author Carla Olson Gade (giveaway)

**Weds. August 21st 2013 Congratulations to our giveaway winner, LORIN MUZE**

My guest today has been imagining stories most her life. Her love for writing and eras gone by turned her attention to writing historical Christian romance. A member of American Christian Fiction Writers, she is represented by literary agent Chip MacGregor. She and her husband share their home in rural Maine where they reside near their two young adult sons and new grandson. Please wave your wooden spoon in a warm Authors' Galley welcome for
Carla Olson Gade.

I’d Rather Be Writing

For this historical fiction author, food takes on a bit of a nostalgic presence in my kitchen, as I’m sure it does in many kitchens.
 I have a collection of old family recipes that I treasure, some of them from old church cookbooks that feature my great-aunts, grandmother, and great-grandmother’s old New England recipes. These much loved and used spiral bound cookbooks are falling apart so when my own church put together a cookbook fundraiser to benefit our daughter church’s women’s homeless shelter I added some of the recipes for preservation. It was a fun project to be involved in and I again enjoyed pouring through the old cookbooks not just to peruse the recipes but some of the 
poems and extras they include in them.

I like to include food in my novels because it can evoke pleasant memories and emotions for people. Food can add interest to a scene. It brings the scene to life when the reader can imagine the smell and taste of something familiar. I research the setting of the story for authentic foods from the period and locale. We share some colonial recipes from 18th century cookbooks on the ColonialQuills blog. In my new release Pattern for Romance readers learn what they ate in colonial Boston, and what they didn’t eat as well. You might even learn of an interesting use for cinnamon from my novel. Here’s a passage from a birthday feast, though birthday celebrations were uncommon in colonial Massachusetts, the Sutton family from Pattern for Romance, continued the tradition privately from their Welsh roots.

Mother frowned and said, her inflection rising, “Well, hopefully he’ll grace us with an appearance.” And she smiled. “Come along, we have a grand feast about to be served for your birthday, son.”
            The foods were carefully laid out in platters on a table clad in white linen. A bit extravagant for a family who tried to temper luxury during such times, but mother insisted that it was a special occasion, to her akin to the King’s Birthday! After Father offered a word of thanksgiving and a blessing for Joshua, they partook of a bountiful meal. Salmon pie, breaded oysters, fresh asparagus, kabobs roasted on the spit—his favorites!
            “Mother, you have outdone yourself in preparing this fine menu.”
            “I would have liked to have served mutton kabobs instead of beef, but we know all the sheep are being spared for the wool for homespun,” Mother said.
            Joshua dabbed at his mouth with his napkin, stood and stretched. “Everything was delicious. My most hearty thanks.”

I haven’t really inherited the cooking gene in my family. I think it skipped a generation from my mother who was a home economics teacher for many years to my two adult sons who both enjoy cooking for a living. To tell you the truth, I have more fun decorating my kitchen than cooking in it. I tend to get very distracted in the kitchen and the strong pull of my writing projects often draws my impatient self to my computer, when I should be monitoring the pots and pans on the stovetop. When my sons are around they know Mom is in need of a rescue and they pitch right in. And I must add that I’m ever grateful that my husband can cook because cooking is usually the furthest thing from my mind when I’m on a writing deadline.

But since I do enjoy baking, I have a few specialties that have become family traditions. And I usually don’t burn them. For proof, I enjoy taking photographs of my creations. My husband thinks that’s strange, but it’s fun to share the pics on my blog or on facebook. Creativity is my thing and it is sometimes a hit or miss. Brown sugar and vanilla are my secret flavors to butternut squash and sweet potato. I like to add cream cheese filling to my pumpkin bread and cream cheese to my quiche.

“What calls back the past like the rich pumpkin pie.” John Greenleaf Whittier

I’m happy to share my great-grandmother’s recipe for Gingerbread, which I have no doubt was also passed along to her.

I’ll leave you with a prayer from one of my old cookbooks, and hope it will inspire you and especially me, in the sometimes mundane duties in our blessed kitchens.

Lord of all the pots and pans and things, since I have no time to be
A Saint by doing lovely things, or watching late with Thee
Or dreaming in the dawn of light or storming Heavens gales,
Make me a Saint by getting meals and washing up the plates.
Although I must have Martha’s hands, I have a Mary mind;
And when I black the boots and shoes, Thy sandals, Lord, I find.
I think of how they trod the earth, the time I scrub the floors:
Accept this meditation, Lord, I haven’t time for more.
Warm all the kitchen with Thy love, and light it with Thy peace;
Forgive me all my worrying and made all grumbling cease.
Thou who did’st love to give men food, in room, or by the sea,
Accept this service that I do — I do it unto Thee.

Mural on the Wall of the 1740 House, Kingston, MA
The Home of Gracious Dining

Carla, what a delightful post--you had me at "cinnamon!" And your excerpt was mouth-watering as well . . . 

Now, for a dollop of extra fun, the creative and generous Wynn-Wynn Media is offering a book-themed prize package for our giveaway: a copy of Pattern for Romance, a container of cinnamon AND a (very cute)  book-style sewing kit. 

To have a chance at winning, please leave a comment below that includes your e-mail address. The winning name will be chosen (via Random.Org) on Weds. August 21, and notified by e-mail. U.S. entries only. 

In the meanwhile, happy reading and . . . Bon appetit!


strgth4yu said...

Love the story! It is great when you are left with memorable gifts of the past. Would love a chance to win. Please enter me in the giveaway! :D

Linda Ortiz

Anita Mae Draper said...

Me too! I love baking and involved my kids in the joys and agonies as we did the local fair circuit for years. I taught them the basics and the judging ribbons taught them to take pride in their results.

I don't have many family recipes in my cook book collection, but I treasure the ones that have been passed on to me.

Fun post. :)

Anita Mae
anitamaedraper (at)yahoo (dot) com

Anonymous said...

Loved this interview. Very excited for you Carla!. Please enter me in the drawing.

Bonnie Danielson

Carla Gade said...

Thank you for having me here, Candace! What a great blog theme!

I love seeing some familiar faces stop by to read about my culinary escapades.

CandaceCalvert said...

Great to have you here, Carla! Gingerbread is one of my very favorites, and anything with pumpkin . . . mmm, you are making me crave autumn!
I love seeing the NEW faces here: Welcome, Linda, Anita, and Bonnie--I'm honored to have you here at Authors' Galley. Get comfy, grab a potholder . . . this is going to be fun!

Between the Pages with Katrina said...

Carla, you are very correct in that smells in the kitchen can evoke memories. For me, I also think of the seasons. I have certain items I only fix at certain times of the year, ie Christmas. I have some older cook books that were my mother's that I pull out and use occasionally. They are precious to me. I would love to have your gingerbread recipe.
Yes, I would love to be in your drawing.
My email

Rhonda's Doings said...

I love cinnamon! sounds like a winner of a story! Rhonda
nashhall AT aol DOT com

Lorin said...

More than anything - I am intrigued and delighted by this format for sharing other writers with us! Sooo interesting and inviting. Well done! Aloha ~ lb

Connie Brown said...

What a great poem. I think I'm that way too. Although I love to cook and bake I don't do it much since it's just me. I have given food for birthdays and such. I would love to have a copy of the book please enter me in the contest.
Connie Brown

Patty said...

Thanks for the post ladies! I'm like Carla, I would much rather bake than cook...
Thanks for the chance to win!


Carla Gade said...

Katrina, I hope you'll get a chance to make the 19th century Gingerbread. It is so moist and delicious! The recipe is in the photograph, don't miss it.

Carla Gade said...

Nice to see so many stopping by. I, too, love this format on Candace's blog. So refreshing and interesting!

CandaceCalvert said...

I'm loving your comments, friends. I have such fun opening the cyber-kitchen to guests. It's great to hear other folks' food memories, kitchen challenges, intriguing recipes (even foreign--I'm still smiling about Harry Kraus' African goat BBQ!)and about their fabulous books, of course. Glad y'all are enjoying it too. :-)

bonton said...

Really enjoyed your interview, Carla! I love baking & trying out new recipes - always writing down new recipes I see.

Would love to win the book/gift pack!


karenk said...

a wonderful posting ladies...thanks for the chance to read this fabulous novel.

kmkuka at yahoo dot com

Marilyn Chamlee said...

I love books where you feel like a friend of the family as you read.

Robbye said...

Thank you for the opportunity to win!

I love gingerbread, can't wait to try the recipe!

I also love and collect old cookbooks.

Candace, thank you for introducing me to a new author, reading is my great passion!

Good luck and God's Blessings to everyone.


Library Lady said...

We have this series in the church library.
I would love to win Carla's book to add to our collection.
Thanks for the giveaway.
Janet E.

CandaceCalvert said...

Congratulations to our giveaway winner, Lorin Muze And thank you ALL for stopping by to make our guest feel welcome.