Here at The Book Tart I am delighted to share with you this new contemporary romance, Too Many Cooks, by Shirley Ann Wiler. I got a chance to sit down with her and chat. After the interview will be a chance to enter her contest ! But first, let’s take a look at her book with it’s yummy cover and delicious insides :p The Book Tart has a food theme this week! Cupcakes on Monday and Italian food today!
Too Many Cooks
Bitter news leads a San Diego widow and widower to true love—and to a scheme to marry off their adult children, a plan that goes deliciously awry.
Gaetano Lorenzo was the sweetest man that the widowed Estelle Bennett had ever met. That morning began terribly, with awful news, but now the owner and head chef of a local San Diego ristorante was offering up Italian delights: red wine, delicious food, walks on the beach, laughter when she’d never thought she’d laugh again…. Estelle felt twenty-five. She and Gaetano had found the recipe for love, and a simple variation might just get their adult children to settle down, too. A scoop of sugar, two ladlefuls of lust, a pinch of deception and a whole 24 oz.-can of danger— Suddenly, ingredients were coming from everywhere! But kitchens are crazy places, and variety is the spice of life. And for anything to get cooked, things have to get hot.
Excerpt from Too Many Cooks
Me: Hi Shirley Ann, welcome to The Book Tart! Take a seat and get comfy *shoves yarn off the virtual couch* can I get you anything? Iced Tea? Coffee? A glass of wine? lol yes, I borrowed that from Gaetano, your hero in Too Many Cooks. I was immediately drawn into your story Too Many Cooks within the first few pages. <g>
Shirley: Thank you so much for inviting me into your virtual couch. I am somewhat of a couch potato but, unfortunately, I never learned to knit so no yarn on my sofa.
Me: lol I barely knit. But I collect pretty yarn *picks yarn up off the floor to let Shirley pet* It’s so soft! I love colors and textures and flavors! Speaking of flavors I loved all the food in your book. I felt hungry a lot! I so want to eat at the Gaetano’s Ristorante. I know having raised four children you had to cook! :p Do you have a favorite recipe you can share with The Book Tart?
Shirley: I hate to admit that I never really got a great joy from cooking. I cooked mostly simple food but with three boys, I had to cook a lot—my daughter wasn’t a big eater—she wasn’t even big on sweets. We definitely thought there was something wrong with her.
As for a recipe to share, hmmm, I guess I could give you the Chicken Tortilla casserole, which the kids still request for their birthday dinners.
3 cooked chicken breasts- boned and skinned – use 1 cup of broth to mix ingredients – the remainder is good soup stock
12 corn tortillas – cut in 1” strips
1 can Cream of Mushroom Soup and 1 can of Cream of Chicken soup Medium onion finely chopped
1 large can of Ortega Green chili Peppers (whole or diced)
Enough grated cheese to cover top of 10×13 pan (I use cheddar and jack cheese mixture)
Mix soup, onions and broth and put in pan. Cover with tortilla strips then add chicken cut in pieces, then add chilies, cut in strips and finally add cheese.
Put in refrigerator for 24 hours and then bake with aluminum foil cover at 300 degrees F for 45 to 60 minutes until cheese bubbles. Let sit for a few minutes before cutting into portions.
It’s good but not Italian.
Me: lol Your daughter doesn’t like sweets?! More for us hmmmm :p And thank you for the recipe! It looks delicious mmmmm-mmm good!
I am so glad you pursued your dream of writing a novel! Do you have any tips to share with others aspiring writers?
Shirley: My tips would be to stay the course. I had so many detours and I wished I’d stayed more focused and completed my dream earlier. I needed to learn not to take rejections so personally. I’m older and wiser now. Lastly, believe in yourself.
Me: It’s unusual to read a romance with a mature heroine who is a parent to a grown child. I appreciate that your story reminds us that love isn’t for a particular age or time in one’s life. Have you received a lot of positive feedback for that element of Too Many Cooks?
Shirley: Several people have mentioned that it is refreshing to have an older hero and heroine in a book rather than the fresh dewy-eyed youngsters. As our population ages and we live longer, I think it’s nice to know that love can happen at any age or can be renewed when we’re not exactly young. The further proof of this is the movie just out with Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones, “Hope Springs.” What a delightful movie about a married couple trying to recapture the romance in their marriage. It’s so easy to get too comfortable.
Me: Can you tell me a little bit about your writing space and how you write? Do you sit at a desk or at your kitchen table? Do you write every morning and do you have a specific word goal? lol Inquiring minds need to know!
Shirley: I wish I could tell you that my office is very neat and organized. But that would be a lie. I do have a designated room and it has way too much furniture in it with two computers on separate desks and then an executive desk inherited from my husband’s father who use it when working as a stock broker in San Francisco. Beautiful piece of furniture but huge and seems to attract lots of clutter—can’t see the lovely wood texture—but it’s on my “to do” list to clean it off. I try to write every morning or sometimes late into the night, I don’t always manage that. Sundays are days that I sometime don’t even go into the office or do much but check e-mail and sometimes that is even late. I don’t have a specific word goal because I am a writer who is either inspired or just can’t make the words sound right. It sometimes is really hard work. The best writing I do is when my characters take over and the words just come so easy even if they sometimes turn the story in a different direction. Sometimes even I can’t wait to see what happens.
Me: Oh! I am so glad you don’t have a super tidy work space lol Me neither! What are you working on now? I hope you have a story planned for some characters from Too Many Cooks!
Shirley: Right now I have three different books I’m working on. One is a story about commercial pilots, based loosely on my pilot son and his lovely wife who is a first officer with the same company. Yep, he married his co-pilot. My hubby was a commercial pilot for 35 years so aviation is something the Wilder family has lived with since the beginning. My daughter is a flight attendant with the same company from which her father retired. All the boys flew. We didn’t worry about them sneaking out the car but they had keys to the hanger where we kept a small plane.
The other two books are a two-book series, which the second one came first and I became so interested in the secondary characters that I decided to write the prequel to the finished one. It’s not what I planned but it’s what happened. I also have several other finished novels that I am just as passionate about as Too Many Cooks.
Me: I can’t let you leave without The Book Tart quickie
1. Lace or satin?: I like satin—love the feel.
2. Blue or Red?: Blue. Always my favorite.
3. Star Wars or Star Trek? Not a real Sci-Fi fan but guess I’d choose Star Trek as
I liked the TV series.
4. Inny or outty?: An inny.
5. Bath or shower?: Love bubble baths but mostly opt for showers—they are quicker.
6. Jammies or naked?: Jammies, now.
7. Cursive or print?: A little of both—someone said that is supposed to mean something—nothing bad I hope.
8. Half-full or half-empty?: Half-full, always.
9. Chocolate or Vanilla?: Vanilla—Vanilla Bean if I can get it.
10. Do you talk to yourself?: Constantly and what’s worse I answer back and argue with myself.
Me: Thank you Shirley Ann for visiting with me at The Book Tart!
Also, thank you so much for the opportunity to win an 1 of 20 ebook of Too Many Cooks you are giving away! (Readers, don’t forget to enter via the Rafflecopter form below!)
Here’s my best girl Dawn’s review of Too Many Cooks
from Day Dreaming Book Reviews (originally posted 8/13)
My love for the written word apparently started before I went to school. I was the youngest of six children, and my brother, three years older than I, struggled a bit when he entered first grade. The teacher sent home books for him to practice reading, and I was evidently fascinated by the idea that those funny-looking marks actually meant something. I nagged everyone in the family to tell me: “What’s this word?” “What’s this say?” By the time I started kindergarten, I already knew quite a bit. In those days, children under five years old could ride the bus for free, and because I was short Mother figured she could save a nickel. Imagine her chagrin when passed me off as under five, I took my seat and proceeded to read all the ads posted inside the bus!
Even as a small child I knew I was somehow different, and elementary school was less than a positive experience. My parents separated, and my mother became the sole support of the four children still at home. My escape was the school library. They had so many books, and I could read them for free. I especially loved Walter Farley’s series with the Black Stallion. In my fantasy world, I was the kid riding the Black Stallion, and I was the person who rescued My Friend Flicka. My love for horses was almost as deep as my love for books.
I began writing stories on the inside of brown paper grocery bags, complete with illustrations, but I couldn’t understand why no one could read them properly. Then my mother pointed out that, when you begin a new sentence, you have to start it from the left side of the paper every time. I had written from left to right and then from right to left, and so on and so on. It still makes sense to me. Think of all the time you could save!
When I was eight I convinced my neighborhood pals that we should all write books and sell them to make money to finance our Kool-Aid stand. I ended up writing their books as well as mine, which I pretty much plagiarized from a library book. Of course, our only buyers were parents, so little harm was done. I sold my book to my mother for five cents—the bus fare I’d saved her! After she died, when my sisters and I were getting her house ready to put on the market, I came across a box of photos and keepsakes. In the box was my book, The Talking Toys. My mother had saved it all those years. I doubt that anything I have written since or will write in the future will have the same impact.
In high school I wrote poems. They were a lot shorter and didn’t require a plot. Some were about dreamy boys who didn’t give me a second look. Some were about wild horses that roamed the prairies, and later, after I was married, I wrote poems about my children. I went through short periods where I didn’t write at all. Being a mom, a den mother, a Bluebird leader, a backyard swim instructor and on the PTA board took almost all of my time. But I never could quit completely. I found I couldn’t NOT write.
I finally got serious about writing after joining Romance Writers of America. It opened a door that I hadn’t known existed, though the knowledge wasn’t immediately happy. I went to my first conference and came home a bit dejected. I had thought I was the only one who really wanted to publish a book! I don’t know where I’d got that idea, but seeing over 2,000 people with the same dream as mine set me back a bit. This writing thing was not going to be so easy. It was going to be even harder because I write less from an outline than from intuition. I become every character in my books. When they get cut, I‘m the one who bleeds.
And yet…all that bleeding has paid off. While writing is the hardest thing in the world, it’s also rewarding. I recently sold my novel, Too Many Cooks, to Boroughs Publishing Group, and it’s out now! It came from a recurring dream I had for several nights in a row. I think I was on one of my endless diets, and food was on my mind a lot. But, the story worked. I hope you think so too.
So, for all you struggling authors out there, don’t give up your dreams. Write them down!
Shirley is continuing her book tour, Check it out!
8/29 Reviews By Molly Review
8/30 Andi’s Book Reviews Spot Light, Guest Blog, First Chapter, and Giveaway
8/31 Better Read than Dead Review
8/31 THE SELF-TAUGHT COOK
Review 9/3 Paulette’s Papers