Today I'm pleased to welcome my friend Cindy Sample, a fellow L&L Dreamspell author who brings humor and romance to her murder mysteries. Having been an avid reader from the age of four, Cindy's third-grade career ambition was to become a detective just like Nancy Drew. At sixteen, she realized her inherent klutziness could be an impediment to becoming a private eye or super spy. Her new mission was to be a mystery writer.
With a degree in history and a family to support, Cindy put aside her literary longings for a weekly paycheck, landing a job as a receptionist with a real estate office. Her career path eventually led to the position of CEO of a nationwide company.
After one too many corporate mergers, Cindy found herself plotting murder instead of plodding through paperwork. DYING FOR A DATE, Cindy's debut novel, was voted the # 1 Romance in the 2010 Preditors and Editors Readers Poll. Rave reviews are already rolling in for her latest release, DYING FOR A DANCE.
Let’s say a couple of your characters are raiding your fridge right now, are they disappointed or excited about what they find? My refrigerator contents are about as eclectic as my favorite books. I have nutritional items like tofu and probiotic yogurt which are probably well past their expiration date. Protein shakes (in chocolate, of course) and chocolate whipped cream because… it exists.
Chocolate whipped cream--really? I need to spend more time browsing at the grocery store. But it’s stretching your boundaries time--is there a food you’d love to learn how to cook or a different genre or type of book you’d love to try to write? I have a mild case of ADD so while I love perusing cookbooks I never want to spend the time to chop, dice, or make anything that requires more than four ingredients. Although I have no patience for cooking, I have more than enough for writing. And you don’t get published without patience. I love writing mysteries, especially my series since it concentrates more on humor than homicide. It’s a thrill when people tell me how entertaining my books are. I would like to write something a little deeper and darker in the women’s fiction arena. I’m playing around with a plot line right now. I can’t reveal anything other than the title which I love – THE TANGO LESSON.
3. If you could borrow one person’s zest for writing and/or life, whose and why? I admire several women who have taken their personal experiences, dosed them with humor, and provided wonderful articles, books, and screenplays. My two favorites are Anne Lamott and Tina Fey. They are both brilliant in everything they write and produce.
Please share one cheesy “writing is like cooking” thought. Well, in my case, I throw in a lot of ingredients (the characters), add some spices (that would be the romance), stir it up and let them all simmer together until it’s cooked to perfection. Sometimes the entrée is as much a surprise to me as it is to my readers. Then the dessert would be something so delicious it just knocks them out of their chairs!
Hot out of the oven: What inspired your latest book, and what ingredients do you hope make it a tasty treat for readers? My latest book, DYING FOR A DANCE was inspired when I took up ballroom dancing and discovered there is a wonderfully sleazy side to competitive ballroom dancing. My character, single mom Laurel McKay, is almost as klutzy as I am, so it was no surprise when she stumbled over a dead body while taking foxtrot lessons to learn a choreographed wedding routine for her best friend’s wedding. The grand finale includes an international ballroom competition with Laurel hot on the heels of the killer! Also since I’m a firm believer in feeding the client, or now that I’m an author, feeding the fans, I love promoting with food, I bring dead body cookies and home-made two-inch chocolate stilettos to all of my book events. I just purchased an eight-inch life-sized shoe mold and I can’t wait to use it for a contest!
What’s cooking? Can you share a bit about your next project? My next project will move the action from the California gold country to Kona, Hawaii. I’m planning on exploring coffee plantations (love that Kona coffee), vanilla plantations and macadamia nut farms. Not only will I be sampling coffee and nuts, since the title is DYING FOR A DAIQUIRI, I’ll be forced to sample a few daiquiris in search of the perfect recipe, which will definitely be included in the back of the book.
Hmmm...do you need a research assistant? Well, we're almost done but first I have to ask, if you were marooned on an island and Pots & Pens granted your wish for only one book and one food, what would you choose? Everyone who knows me will get this answer right. Chocolate, of course. And since this is my fantasy, dark chocolate salted caramels. I can’t imagine being stranded with only one book. How about James Michener’s HAWAII. It’s long enough to entertain me yet again and hopefully will have useful tips on how to get off this island!
Recipe Row: What favorite recipe do you have for us today? I have a recipe that requires more than my usual four ingredients, but it is well worth it. I don’t have a photo handy because it’s our traditional Christmas Eve dessert, so you’ll just have to imagine it.
OUTRAGEOUS HOT CHIPOTLE CAKE
10 oz. semisweet chocolate, roughly chopped
7 Tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into pieces
5 large eggs, room temperature
1 cup sugar
½ tsp chili powder (you can add more if your taste buds can handle it)
Dash of cayenne pepper
1 tsp. cinnamon
Pinch of sale
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line the bottom of a 9 ½ inch spring-form pan with parchment paper. Grease the sides and bottom with cooking spray.
Melt the chocolate and butter together over a double boiler or in the microwave, stirring occasionally until smooth.
Whisk the eggs and sugar in a large bowl then slowly whisk in the melted chocolate. Add salt and spices and taste, adjusting spices if needed.
Pour into the pan and bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes clean. Cool completely then dust with powdered sugar or serve with whipped cream. If you’re eating it at my house, you get the chocolate whipped cream.
Well, I surely had no problem imagining that--I can almost taste it! Thanks for joining us today. You can find out more about Cindy at: http://cindysamplebooks.com/