Evy Journey, SPR (Self Publishing Review) Independent Woman Author awardee, is a writer, a wannabe artist, and a flâneuse who, wishes she lives in Paris where people have perfected the art of aimless roaming. Armed with a Ph.D., she used to research and help develop mental health programs.

She’s a writer because beautiful prose seduces her and existential angst continues to plague her despite such preoccupations having gone out of fashion. She takes occasional refuge by invoking the spirit of Jane Austen to spin tales of love, loss, and finding one’s way—stories into which she weaves mystery or intrigue.

Her latest book is Sugar and Spice and All Those Lies.

Book Description:

Cooking a wonderful meal is an art. An act of love. An act of grace. A gift that affirms and gives life—not only does it nurture those who partake of the meal; it also feeds the soul of the creator. These are lessons Gina learns from her mother, daughter of an unfortunate French chef.

Gina is a young woman born to poor parents, a nobody keen to taste life outside the world she was born into. A world that exposes her to fascinating people gripped by dark motives. Her passion for cooking is all she has to help her navigate it.

She gets lucky when she’s chosen to cook at a Michelin-starred restaurant in the San Francisco Bay Area where customers belong to a privileged class with money to spare for a dinner of inventive dishes costing hundreds of dollars. In this heady, scintillating atmosphere, she meets new friends and new challenges—pastry chef Marcia, filthy rich client Leon, and Brent, a brooding homicide detective. This new world, it turns out, is also one of unexpected danger.

Can the lessons Gina learned from her mother about cooking and life help her survive and thrive in this other world of privilege, pleasure, and menace?

Interview:

Welcome to Blogger News Net, Evy. Your new book, Sugar and Spice And All Those Lies, has a catchy title not to mention a beautiful book cover. How long was the time frame between writing the book and having it published and were there any pitfalls along the way?

Evy: It takes me at least a year to write a novel. First, because life does intrude. Second, because I’m a compulsive editor of my own work. I like to get away from my manuscript and do something else for a little while as I ask for feedback from beta readers.

Were there any snags along the way?

I’d say yes. This book is inspired by a French artisanal delicatessen in my area and I murder the owner in my novel so it worried me what he might think if he got a hold of my book.

Why did you choose cooking/food as a theme? Do you like to cook?

Evy: We all inevitably have some relationship with food. So, why not make it the focus of a story? Most of us love to eat. I like to think of myself as an adventurous foodie. I get curious about new things I see in markets, groceries and  my travels. I usually can’t wait to try them. Sometimes, they become part of the repertoire of dishes I serve at home. I’ve written about some of my food adventures (for instance, green peppercorns and chili grasshoppers) in my Artsy Rambler blog (https://eveonalimb2.com).

I would love to know more about Gina, your heroine?

Evy: Gina is of mixed heritage. The French owner of the delicatessen in my neck of the woods that inspired the story is married to a very nice Chinese lady. In my novel, Gina’s mother is the daughter of such a couple. Through her mother, Gina grows up influenced by French and Chinese cultures.

Gina lived in a relatively poor neighborhood and her parents didn’t expect her to do anything but find a good husband. But just when she receives a proposal f rom a “good catch,” she realizes she wanted to make more of herself. So Gina, all along, is a character who tries to find her own way.

Would you like to tell us a little about the other main characters?

Evy: The two important men in Gina’s life are Brent, a homicide detective with a law degree whose commitment to truth and justice has  made him shy away from serious relationships with women, and Leon who is rich and who enjoys the pursuit of women. Gina rejects him but that only eggs him on.

There are also two women important to Gina. Her mother, of course—Mrs. Lambert who grew up having to support her family after her French chef father was killed. She’s harassed by the demands on her life but she’s a great cook and  is the first person to teach Gina what she really knows about cooking. The other is Marcia, her best friend and the pastry chef at the haute cuisine restaurant they both work in. Marcia is older, wiser, and outspoken but she has secrets Gina finds out, maybe a little too late.

They say all books of fiction have at least one pivotal point when the reader just can’t put the book down. What’s one of the pivotal points in your book?

Evy: That may be true about pivotal points but I’d also like to think that a book has enough complexity in it that people with different backgrounds and different tastes in reading will find different points during which they feel they must continue reading. I try to make the beginning one such point.

If you like rich-boy heroes, you may also want to continue reading to learn if Leon breaks Gina’s defenses down in the end. Their meeting comes in the first chapter.

What’s next for you, Evy?

Evy: My next heroine will be an artist and it may be set in the middle ages when we see the flowering of graphics to illustrate passages in religious texts. This will surely take me a longer time to write and it may be so intimidating that I may eventually decide to abandon it. But I have some familiarity with the subject and, right now, I’m doing a lot of reading to prepare for the writing. In any case, if I don’t use that medieval plot line, I’m determined to make my next novel to be about an artist.

 

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