Food is Everything

I’ve been a pastry chef for over twenty years, and have spent my whole adult life in a kitchen, so when I set out to write my first novel, it felt very natural to build it around food.

In the first scene of my novel my protagonist, pastry chef Olivia Rawlings, is making meringue.IMG_9981

And the inciting incident involves a flaming baked Alaska.

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The setting of THE CITY BAKER’S GUIDE TO COUNTRY LIVING is a small town in northern Vermont, where Livvy has to cut through an apple orchard to get to the sugar house where she is living.IMG_8362

Several kitchens, a farmers market, and a diner and tavern are all settings in the book—in fact, the majority of the book takes place in settings where the characters are making and eating food.

The external plot of the novel is driven by the need to win a county fair apple pie contest.IMG_3579

and the climax of the book takes place at the pie judging.

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There are many scenes that include descriptions of local food, like maple creemees and apple cider donuts.IMG_8562

Food is even apart of my writing process! I dreamt up many of the scenes of the book while slicing flats of strawberries. I have taken story notes in between projects and have worked out my revision plans while burning sugar on top of crème brulees. I always try to end my writing session with a list of a couple of questions to ponder, so I come into work prepared to do some serious thinking while my body is busy rolling out biscuit dough.IMG_3110

Of course, there are other elements to THE CITY BAKER’S GUIDE TO COUNTRY LIVING, but food, and all the ways it is apart of our lives—from the cultural to the traditional to the emotional—is at it’s heart.IMG_0750

My publisher is giving away 25 early copies of THE CITY BAKER’S GUIDE TO COUNTRY LIVING on Goodreads. Click here to enter!

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Louise Miller

Louise Miller is the author of THE CITY BAKER'S GUIDE TO COUNTRY LIVING (Pamela Dorman Books/Viking/August 9, 2016), the story of a commitment-phobic pastry chef who discovers the meaning of belonging while competing in the cut-throat world of Vermont county fair baking contests. Find out more at louisemillerauthor.tumblr.com.

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