The Making of Coconut Cake

I’m giddy to be writing my first Deb post! I’ve written a lot about how I found my agent and publisher, but I’ve never really discussed how my Coconut Cake book came to be. So here’s how it happened.

Unlike many writers, I didn’t always want to write for a living, at least not entire books. In fact, there was a point in my life where I vehemently asserted I could not write creatively – my brain didn’t work that way. I was an avid reader and that was enough for me.

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Of course, that was hoohah. I’ve been telling myself stories since before I can remember, I just needed to document them.

The writing bug found me several years ago when I quit my day job as a technical writer to stay home with my two youngsters (this was not an easy transition for me – but that’s another story). The kids and I went to story time, played at parks, and invented ways to entertain ourselves on rainy days. At last, when both my littles started school, it was time to think about a career for the next stage of my life. Now that I would have all that free time to fill while the kids filled their heads with knowledge, it made sense that I should use that time to make some money.

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Now, the staying at home lifestyle, where repetitive chores stare you in the face all day, bored me to tears. I needed variety. To get through, I started telling myself a story, one set in Milwaukee. It started with a title, “Cooler Near the Lake” (the first of four titles). Since I like stories with a little romance and I love to cook, I made my main characters a chef and a restaurant critic, who would fall in love without knowing each other’s professions.

With that premise established, I jotted down scene ideas as they came to me. I had no idea what I was doing, but over a few months, I had muddled together a vague outline and a few promising scenes. Then came NaNoWriMo 2010 (yes, it was that far back). I decided to give it a shot and managed a whopping nine thousand words before life intervened – my family moved to a new house. Once settled into our new house, I kept adding words to my growing story. I finished it in the summer of 2011, made revisions and decided I was ready to take it into the world.

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After many hard lessons, revisions, and oodles of rejections, I’d found the profession I loved. I love the community, I love the words, and I even love revisions. I still can’t believe my book, now called THE COINCIDENCE OF COCONUT CAKE, will be real in less than a year. By the time it hits book stores, it will have been over five years since the first inkling popped into my head. And that, dear readers, is how my coconut cake came to be.

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Amy Reichert

Amy E. Reichert is the author of THE COINCIDENCE OF COCONUT CAKE (Simon & Schuster/Gallery, July 21 2015), about food, love, and second chances, and where serendipity comes in the form of a delicious coconut cake. Find out more at amyereichert.com.

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This article has 11 Comments

  1. As I may have mentioned, I now have a severe coconut cake craving. I’ll have to get my husband to work on that. Can’t wait to dig into this! Like you all, I love food in fiction. (And in real life!)

  2. Ah, technical writing — that’s my day job. Fun stuff, right? 🙂

    Reading your post got me thinking about the coconut creme pie-lets sold at my favorite bakery … mmm … The book sounds great! Funny thing, my dad was a restaurateur, but I didn’t inherit the food wizardry. Alas.

    My favorite foody novel: CRESCENT by Diana Abu Jaber. Just beautiful.

    1. I do not miss tech writing at all, but it was great editing experience. Coconut creme pie is my favorite – my grandma used to make it! I’ll have to checkout Crescent – sounds like something I’d love.

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