Friday, January 27, 2012

Interview with Author Gina Rosati

Today we're talking with YA author Gina Rosati, whose debut book Auracle (Roaring Brook Press/Macmillan) comes out in August. I met Gina through the Apocalypsies group and she is one of our most enthusiastic members—she's always there with a kind and funny comment. No surprise, then, that with such sweetness Gina also happens to be an expert cake decorator. Gina lives in New Hampshire with her husband and two teenagers.

About Auracle

On the surface, there’s nothing special about Anna Rogan; she gets average grades, she’s not especially beautiful, and she spends most of her time just hanging out with her best friend, Rei. But Anna has a secret; she can astrally project out of her body, allowing her spirit to explore the world and the far reaches of the universe. When there’s an accident and her classmate Taylor takes over Anna’s body, what was an exhilarating distraction from her repressive life threatens to become a permanent state. Faced with a future of never aging, never being heard or touched, Anna turns to Rei for help. Together they search for a way to get Anna back into her body in time to stop Taylor from accusing an innocent friend of her murder, but they don’t take into account the deeper feelings that are beginning to grow between them. A story about an out-of-body experience gone terribly wrong, Auracle reaches deep within the soul of one girl to discover the strength of love and the power of a single touch.

How does food play into your August debut, Auracle?

Food plays into Auracle in so many ways! First, our main character, Anna, really loves to eat (especially junk food!) except she has a peanut allergy, which puts the kibosh on eating certain things. Food allergies are just a fact of my life—my husband, my kids and I all have them. Auracle is a paranormal romance meant to entertain but I may have slipped in a few random facts here or there to help people understand food allergies.

Another way food plays into Auracle is Anna’s next door neighbor (and possibly soul mate) Rei—his parents own an Asian-themed health food store, so he likes to point out the healthier choices for Anna. This is how I justified my fascination with bento boxes and all the adorable ways food can be prepared … I bought Yum Yum Bento Box and said, “Oh look! It’s a research book! It’s tax deductible!”

What draws you to writing about this subject?

I like food. I like to eat it and shop for it and play with it (cake decorating is a hobby of mine). I like to learn about healthy food, but I like to eat junk food. I have tons of books about healthy eating, which I usually read while I’m sitting down drinking diet soda and eating chips. It’s very counter-productive.

What are some of your own favorite eats?

Favorite eats … oh, let’s see. Filet mignon with bĂ©arnaise sauce. Potatoes, any way except raw. I love most vegetables (except Brussels sprouts), although I prefer my veggies roasted with garlic. I love salad, especially if I don’t have to make it. And Marshmallow Fluff, right out of the jar—fastest way to mainline that sugar.

Do you cook while on deadline or do you go takeout style?

I mix it up. I do take out at least once a week whether I’m on deadline or not, but if I’m really rushed, yes, pizza, KF-Bell, sometimes I’ll pick up the baked potatoes from Wendy’s just because they taste better than my own baked potatoes.

If your agent or editor came to visit you in New Hampshire, where would you take them out to eat?

I’d take them to Giorgio’s, which is an Italian/Greek restaurant very close to my house. They have the most authentic Italian bread I've found in my area, and their basil/garlic/olive oil dipping sauce … so good!

Recipes or improvisation? Plotter or pantser?

It depends on what I’m cooking … I’m married to a nice Italian boy who still (after 28 years) compliments my cooking after every meal :) Most things I cook on autopilot just because I’ve made them so many times. I do follow recipes occasionally, but that’s mostly for baked goods where I find the measurements are more important.

As far as my writing, I pantsed my way through Auracle, and after a major revision, I discovered Larry Brooks' writing book, Story Engineering. I have seen the light *halleluiah* and now I outline.

Tell us about your cake-decorating hobby. How did you first get into decorating cakes and what do you like about it?

When I was around 18, my stepfather bought a Brigham’s Ice Cream Restaurant. My mom asked if I’d like to take cake decorating lessons with her and I was fairly decent at it, so I ended up decorating ice cream cakes through college. I’ve done a few wedding cakes for friends, and at one point I thought of starting a home-based cake business, but then I decided it wouldn’t be nearly as much fun if I had to do it. [NOTE: The picture on the left is a wedding cake Gina made for her friends Nick and Jean. Amazing, right?]

Now for the signature Pots and Pens question: If you had to choose a single book and a single food item, desert island style, what would you pick?

Single book … I know I’m supposed to pick my favorite work of fiction, but I can’t choose just one, and being the practical person that I am, I’d have to go with: SAS-Revised Edition Survival Handbook For Any Climate In Any Situation by John “Lofty” Wiseman

Single food item … bananas – not my favorite food, but in the practical sense, they don’t need refrigeration, they’re easy to peel and they’re loaded with potassium. Anna's BFF, Rei, would approve.

What recipe are you going to share with us? Tell us a little bit about it!

I’m going to share a frittata recipe from this cookbook which I highly recommend. My husband grew up near Providence, RI and his extended family still lives in the area—great Italian food!!! My father-in-law made the best frittata, but he made it like an omelet and I have never been able to master the art of flipping a giant omelet, so I was excited when I found this recipe. I brought it to a family gathering, and even my relatives who started the legendary Tom’s Deli in North Providence loved it. The nice thing about this recipe is you can make it as low fat and healthy as you like, and it tastes great cold. It’s good for breakfast, lunch or dinner and it’s very portable—good to bring for lunch to school or the office. I’ve improvised, so this isn’t the exact recipe as it appears in the book.

Baked Frittata

1 dozen eggs or combination egg substitute to make the equivalent of a dozen eggs

16 oz. ricotta cheese (use regular, low-fat or fat-free)

Handful (about 1 and 1/2 cups) grated Italian cheese, according to taste (I usually use freshly grated Pecorino Romano, but use your favorite – sometimes I buy Sargento Classic 6 Cheese Italian shredded blend and toss the entire bag in).

Mix that all together, and season to taste with garlic powder, black pepper, oregano, chives, whatever you love – this is a very versatile recipe.

Now stir in anything you’d like (just make sure your veggies are well drained). Some suggestions:

- Sliced sausage

- Diced pepperoni

- Diced ham

- Steamed broccoli

- Cooked spinach

- Diced onions

- Grated zucchini

- Grated carrots

- Steamed asparagus

- Cooked bell peppers

Bake in a greased 9 x 13 casserole pan at 375 degrees for 40 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

Thank you for hosting me here on Pots & Pens!!!

1 comment:

  1. Interesting frittata--sounds less complicated than the ones my husband fixes, which are cooked stovetop then broiled for a couple of minutes. I might could do this one!

    I'll look forward to reading Auracle! I'm very interested in OBEs (am a Monroe Institute member)and do remote viewing regularly. One day, maybe I'll "remember" the OBEs!