All photos were taken by yours truly.
I have the most exciting news to share with you since I shared since this post…my cookbook, which is being published by Tuttle Publishing and is being released on October 10, 2012, is now available for pre-order on Amazon! I put my heart and soul into this book and I’m thrilled to be able to share it with you. If you want to know more about it, please check out My Book page or email me, and if you want to see more photos of recipes from the book, please take a look at my Facebook album.
For some behind-the-scenes info for all of you who want to know more about how my deal came about (or who are thinking of writing your own book), I’ve written a series of posts telling my story from beginning to end. This first post tells more of my personal background so you can get to know me better, but also to help you think about your own story. Don’t worry, subsequent posts get into the details about how to write a proposal, find a publisher, and actually go about writing a book.
Grab a cup of coffee or tea and settle in, because this post is a long one!
First, let me say that the thing about a book deal is that each is incredibly unique; I don’t know of any two deals that came about the exact same way, at least not when it comes to the circumstances leading up to them. So, here’s a little bit about mine…
I was 16 years old, a senior in high school, trying to decide what to do with my life one afternoon in French class (for some reason, it just seemed like the right thing to be doing…conjugation of irregular French verbs could wait ;) ). At the end of class, the professor had a couple of announcements. He reminded us about the French club’s meeting after school that day (we’d be making crêpes!), and also announced we had a visitor from a French culinary school coming to the next class.
I don’t know which announcement I found more exciting.
The next class the culinary visitor came. He talked about life. About goals and dreams and food. French food. And passion. I was completely captivated…no, enraptured really. As he talked, I thought back over my life (I know, 16 years isn’t much to reflect on…but even so, it was enough to make my future crystal clear).
I thought about when my mom used to take my sister and I to the library during summer vacation and I’d excitedly run to the area that shelved the children’s cookbooks as my sister ran to the story books and filled her arms with fantasies, fairy tales, and classics like Charlotte’s Web, Stuart Little, and Matilda (all of which I also loved, by the way). But I was always happiest thumbing through a cookbook, and my absolute favorite was Barbara M. Walker’s The Little House Cookbook: Frontier Foods from Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Classic Stories; I’d pore over it the way other kids pored over comic books. My mom was reluctant, but I remember her finally giving in to my pleas that we attempt to make Molasses Snow Candy from that book; I didn’t enjoy the candy even a little, but I savored every step of the process.
Then I thought about how since I was about 10 years old I loved getting in the kitchen and cooking for the people I loved. Every Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, or birthday was met with breakfast in bed, and I was just as excited to be cooking as the recipient was to be eating. My menus weren’t fancy or extensive, but I loved the way even simple things like oatmeal or scrambled eggs could bring a huge smile to someone’s face.
I realized that as far back as I could remember I was always the kid who turned down prepackaged fish sticks in favor of fresh-caught fish…and the kid who preferred her mom’s homemade macaroni and cheese with sharp cheddar and crispy shallot topping over the stuff that came out of the blue box that every other kid went hog-wild for.
One memory in particular came to mind; I was probably about eight or nine, asking my mom if I could “invent a recipe”. After much pleading (probably more accurately, nagging) on my part, she reluctantly said yes and I couldn’t get into the kitchen fast enough. Of course, what I “invented” was some kind of inedible slop, but it made no difference. That was one experience I’ll never forget.
And then it hit me, right there in the middle of French class. I had my passion.
As we all know, sometimes circumstances arise that cause us to put our dreams on hold. Unexpected things come up. Life happens. Long story short, my passion was put on hold and I ended up going to college and then grad school for something else entirely (for more details, check out my FAQ page).
But a dream can never really die, even if it is waylaid for a while.
In 2009, I was working at a good job with good people, doing something that was making a difference in people’s lives. It was rewarding, but to an extent, every day I knew something was missing…there was just this void that I didn’t know how to fill.
One day I was surfing the internet and I came across a food blog (if you’re curious, the first food blog I ever saw was Gina’s lovely blog, The Fitnessista). It was such a novel idea to me. I read it for a few months, discovered other blogs through reading it, and started to toy with the idea of starting my own blog.
By that time it was early May and Mother’s Day was approaching. We have a family tradition of making my mom a multi-course meal that the whole family gets involved in. Before Mother’s Day that year, Mike suggested that I write down the recipes and take photos as I went along so I could start my own blog and use that meal as my first post.
I did what my husband suggested, and here’s my very first blog post.
I fell in love with blogging when I first hit the “publish” button for that post, and since then it’s gotten nothing but better. My blog has brought me more joy than I ever thought possible in my wildest dreams; it’s a place where I can be creative, share my passion, and connect with other people who share that passion. For a girl who felt like she was treading water and about to tire out, it was a most welcome life raft.
About a year after starting blogging, I started playing around with the idea of writing a cookbook. Then by that summer I knew in my heart it was wanted I wanted more than anything, and I started working seriously on a proposal. I spent the Fourth of July 2010 in front of a computer, researching, writing, and pouring out my heart and soul instead of eating hamburgers and watching fireworks. And I loved every second of it.
Stay tuned for Writing a Book, Part 2: Writing Your Book Proposal.
For more info on my book, please take a look at My Book page.