Author Beth Kendrick has kindly agreed to write a guest post for my little blog. Please give her a warm welcome!
Deb has been kind enough to invite me over to dish about writing and publishing (thank you, Deb!), but honestly, I can’t claim to have any kind of inside track or master plan. Writing was supposed be a fun little hobby to help me de-stress while I was pursuing my “real career” in grad school.
I was in my early twenties and had just started seeing this guy, and on our second or third date, he invited me to be his guest at a family wedding. Being young and a bit commitment-shy, I was about to decline until he casually mentioned that the bride was a successful romance novelist. Well, the second I heard that, I had to go. Being a writer had always been my dream job, and I’d never met anyone who’d actually beaten the odds and made the leap into big-time publishing. So I RSVP-ed, sidled up to the bar at the reception, waited until the bride and all her author friends uncorked the good champagne, and then peppered them with endless questions about writing, editing, and landing an agent. (This just in: Beth Kendrick has no shame.)
Next thing you know, I had joined a critique group and was knee-deep in the manuscript that would eventually become my first novel, My Favorite Mistake. The open bar at that wedding changed my life forever. So basically, I owe my career to Dom Perignon. Cheers!
On getting her big break:
My agent called my squalid grad school apartment on a Tuesday afternoon and said, “Great news! An editor at Pocket wants to buy your book. She’s putting together some numbers right now, and I expect the final offer tomorrow.”
This is the part where a normal human being would whoop for joy and/or shed a solitary, poignant tear and/or throw up in a wastebasket. But here is what I said:
“Tomorrow!?! But what if she changes her mind overnight? What if she gets fired first thing in the morning? What if she gets hit by a bus?”
There ensued a long pause on the other end of the connection, and then my agent sighed and said, “Oh Beth, you’re such a writer.”
As a rule, authors dread the question, “Where do you get your ideas?” because they honestly don’t have an answer. But I know exactly where I got the idea for my new book, The Bake-Off: two a.m., the night before my toddler’s birthday party, while sweating and cursing and trying to pipe green icing onto a chocolate sheet cake so that I could add a tiny, to-scale lawn mower intended for a dollhouse (God bless eBay) and deliver unto the light of my life the “lawn mower cake” he so fervently desired.
The Cake Boss I am not, and I was tired and frustrated and thinking: I can’t do this—I quit.
Kid won’t remember it anyway. But then I thought, You know, if someone offered me a million dollars, I would figure out a way to make this cake beautiful. And I was off and running with the idea of two estranged sisters who can’t bake at all, but are desperate for money and recognition. So they enter a family recipe and go for the gold at a national, high-stakes dessert championship, even though they’ve been feuding for years and can barely boil water.
I had so much fun writing The Bake-Off, and I hope you have fun reading it. There’s a little something for everybody: butter, sugar, sisterly love, a few misdemeanors, a lot of scandal, and recipes for vodka-butter cake and a killer apple pie (not recommended for use at 2 a.m.). Bon appétit!
BETH KENDRICK BIO:
Beth Kendrick earned her Ph.D. in psychology before pulling a professional U-turn to pursue her dream job of becoming a novelist. Her books include The Bake-Off, Second Time Around, and Nearlyweds. You can visit her website at www.BethKendrick.com and her Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/BethKendrickBooks.
Beth, Thank you so much stopping by. I do believe we are kindered spirits. You have taken my love of vodka and cake and combined them…swoon! I am just finishing up The Bake Off and am loving every minute of it.