Title: "Lemon Tart"—the first book in my new Sadie Hoffmiller culinary mystery series.
Publisher: Deseret Book
Release Date: January 2009
What inspired you to write this book?
I participated in a contest hosted by Jeff Savage about three years ago where he challenged writers to write the first chapter of a mystery novel that involved food. I had never written anything like that and had a lot of fun doing it. Over the next couple years I worked on it here and there and then last spring I approached Deseret Book (who was currently publishing my LDS women’s fiction) with the idea. They liked it, we added the recipes to make it an actual culinary mystery, and here we are now. It’s a very different book than anything I’ve written before but I’m very excited about it.
What is your favorite chapter in the book and why?
Hmmm. That’s a tough one. I think my favorite chapter is probably the one where Sadie breaks into her neighbor’s house and ends up hiding under the bed when another intruder entered. It was tons of fun to write and includes some key clues that made me feel very clever.
Do you have other books you have written? If yes, what are they?
Before Lemon Tart I had written eight LDS novels—seven are LDS women’s fiction; some are romance, others are more suspense. The eighth was a YA novel I wrote back in 2004. My most recent LDS fiction novel was Her Good Name, which was published in September 2008 and is about a woman who has her identity stolen and has to prove who she really is. Most of my LDS fiction is centered around modern day issues—prescription drug addiction, internet predators, infertility etc.
Is there a particular event that stands out to you that helped you become an author?
I don’t think I would be an author if not for bed rest associated with my third pregnancy where I started a short story because I had nothing else to do. I’d always loved to write, but I really flipped the switch with that experience and it eventually became my first book, Earning Eternity. The other thing that helped me is that I’m doggedly determined when I want something. I was too dumb to know how to do things right, so I just kept doing what seemed like a good idea and it’s worked out for me—a long road, to be sure, but ultimately I’m quite happy where I am so there’s not much point in regretting my wandering path, is there? :-)
To keep at it and learn, learn, learn. Most authors feel ‘inspired’ to write; too many of them assume that inspiration is enough. It isn’t. It’s the starting point, but to truly be successful you need to write your best work which means you have to know what you’re doing. Read writing books (38 most common mistakes in fiction by Jack Bickenham is one of my favorites) and attend writing conferences, classes, or groups. Learn the craft behind telling a story so that you can tell YOURS. There are not many people wiling to work hard and long enough to reach publication, but those that are open to learning, accepting feedback, and making writing a priority in their life can’t be stopped if they set their sights on the goal and continually work toward it.
Who is your favorite author?
Oh yikes, that’s hard. I read rather eclectically, so I have a variety of authors I love—Gerald Lund, Mary Higgins Clark, Brandon Mull, Jeannette Rallison, John Grisham. I don’t know that I have ONE favorite.
Do you have a quote that motivates you?
"Use your talents, for use is why they were made. What is a Sundial in the shade?"
I believe that we were all sent here with a variety of gifts that, when realized and worked toward, we can develop into talents. One of the reasons we are sent to earth in the first place is to discover and grow these gifts. Developing my gift of being able to tell a good story into writing novels has been incredibly rewarding to me and I am passionate about encouraging other people to look inside themselves, find those gifts God has hidden there, and grow them. They not only bless the person that does the work, but it then influences everyone around them. It’s an amazing circle of inspiration and achievement. I have benefited greatly from people in my life who have developed their talents and hope that my efforts have the same benefit for someone else.