ABOUT AUTHOR: Lorna Seilstad has called Iowa home her whole life. She received her B.S. in education from Lubbock Christian University. After her first child was born, she stopped teaching and became a professional wiper. "I wiped noses, tears, skinned knees, baby's bottoms, and countertops every day. But at naptime, I wrote." Today, she writes historical fiction with a generous dash of humor.
ABOUT BOOK: After graduating from Fannie Farmer's School of Cookery in 1910, Charlotte Gregory is ready to stir things up. She is thrilled to have the opportunity to travel, lecture, and give cooking demonstrations on the very latest kitchen revolution--the gas stove--and certainly doesn't mind that the gas company has hired the handsome Lewis Mathis to perform at her lectures. Lewis encourages her work, especially her crusade to introduce fresh, appetizing, nutritious food to those convalescing in hospitals. But young hospital superintendent Dr. Joel Brooks is not convinced any changes should be made--especially by this outspoken young woman.
When Charlotte and Joel are coerced into planning a fund-raising gala for the hospital, will this combustible pair explode?
How did you come up with the idea for While Love Stirs?
My agent, Wendy Lawton, suggested a book with cooking in it while she and I were brainstorming, and I recalled a blog post that my friend, Judy Miller, did on Fannie Farmer. The story idea grew from that. I discovered the cooking competitions and the gas stove demonstrations while reading some newspapers from that time period.
What do you hope readers take away While Love Stirs?
I hope readers will laugh and maybe even cry along with Charlotte. I hope they will be reminded of the special bond between sisters and family members, and spiritually, I hope they will relate to her struggle of giving God control, and will realize God is bigger than any obstacle.
You had told me that you love to bake. It’s a passion of yours. In-fact people call you the Cookie Lady. I'd like to know when did you start baking cookies? When did you know you LOVED to do bake?
I've always loved to bake and to cook. I grew up on a pig farm. My mother made me a deal. If I cooked supper and did it well, then I didn't have to go out and scoop pig pens. It was great incentive to be a good cook.
I started baking cookies for others when a friend’s husband was having a grand opening at his business. She asked me if I’d make the cookies because she like mine a lot more than the local bakery’s.
You've mentioned that the Cookie Lady or some part of her has been a theme in some of your books? Can you tell me how you started to put this in your books? Which ones? What cookies made it into your books? Why?
The Cookie Lady isn't an actual character in any of the books, but that side of me, the side that loves to make people smile with a gift of food, certainly is. I feel a kinship with women who show their love and creativity through food. I think Lilly is like this in The Ride of Her Life, and Charlotte in While Love Stirs.
Is the Cookie Lady theme in your new book While Love Stirs?
Oh, yes, Charlotte definitely is like that side of me. She expresses everything from anger to love through her food. She is a people-pleaser, too, so food is an extension of that.
I love baking but find cooking actual meals for my family pretty challenging. Not as fun as baking. I think I'm the burn queen of regular meals. Does your baking skills and love of cooking spill over to regular cooking? Do tell!
Yes, I think it does. My specialty is delicious, easy meals. Although I can cook gourmet foods, who has the time?
Nora: You've got that right about the gourmet meals. My husband Fred can go into our kitchen (after I determine we have nothing to eat) and make the most amazing thing out of nothing. My brain doesn't think like that. Thanks for sharing about regular cooking. I was just wondering. Sounds like you have the gift of cooking my husband has! Grin!
Have you gotten creative with your baking? Created any recipes of your own? Branched out in decorating something that was your creation? If so, any pictures you can share?
My Cookie Lady list has twenty different cookies on it. I've made a lot of little changes to the recipes over the years, adding or modifying things. I came up with an orange glazed craisin cookie that I love and an egg nog one. I do decorate cookies, too, but it’s so time consuming! I have two tubs of cookie cutters. I usually make decorated sugar cookies for holidays only.
Nora: Sounds yummy!
What brings a smile to your face when people try your cookies and ask for more? Can you describe how you feel?
When people eat one of my cookies or ask for the recipe, it does make me smile. There are good cookies and there are great cookies. When you taste the right one, you know the difference. I like feeling like I've given them a little gift.
Nora: I like how you said that. Yes, a great cookie is a special gift indeed!
Is there a cookie recipe you're just waiting for the right moment to try? If so, which one and what are you waiting for?
There’s a Pillsbury Bake-Off winner from several years back that I’d like to try. I have it in my recipe box, but I've not yet made it.
Nora: Send pictures and tell us about it when you do find the time to bake it. I’d love to hear about your experience.
What do you love most about baking cookies?
Cookie baking is fast and fun. Everyone likes cookies. I like the variety of cookies I can make. I like to make them pretty and plate them beautifully.
Nora: I think that’s why I like baking too. It’s fast, fun and everyone likes cookies!
Does the Cookie Lady appear in this novel? Any recipes or baking going on in While Love Stirs?
Yes, Charlotte makes Apple Charlotte quite often in While Love Stirs. Here’s her recipe for the easy layered version:
Nora: THANKS FOR SHARING LORNA! Fun!
Charlotte’s Layered Apple Charlotte
9 slices of bread (butter each slice and remove crusts)
6 large apples, pared, cored, and cut in thin slices
1 T. of lemon zest
2 T. of lemon juice
3 T. brown sugar
1.Butter a Dutch oven pan. (Charlotte didn't have spray.)
2.Mix apples, lemon zest, lemon juice, and sugar. Set aside.
3. Place a layer of bread and butter at the bottom.
4.Layer apples over bread. Repeat with bread. Alternate until pan is full or ingredients gone.
5.Cover top with apple peels to keep it from browning too much or sprinkle with a bread crumb (1 C.), melted butter (1/2. C.), cinnamon (1 tsp.), and brown sugar (3 T.) mixture.
6.Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 40 min.
Lorna’s Cookie Lady Lemon Poppy-Seed Cookies
2 sticks of butter (1 C.)
1 C. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1 whole egg plus 1 egg yolk
2 tsp. vanilla
2 tsp. lemon extract
2 1/2 C. flour
2 T. poppy seeds
3-5 drops yellow food coloring
1/2 C. Crisco
3 T. milk
1 C. powdered sugar
1/2 tsp. lemon extract
Yellow food coloring, if desired.
1.Cream butter and sugar.
2.Add salt, whole egg, yolk, and extracts.
3.Mix in flour and poppy seeds.
4.Wrap in plastic wrap in refrigerate for an hour.
5.Roll dough on lightly floured surface and cut with cookie cutters. (Circle or stars work well.)
6.Place cut out shapes on cookie sheet. Put in freezer for 5 minutes.
7.Bake 9-11 minutes at 350 degrees.
8.Cool and drizzle. (I put drizzle in a Ziploc bag and snip the corner.)
What a great way to end an interview. I’m excited to get to know you, your books and your passion better. I’m THRILLED about the Giveaway opportunity that is going on right now at The Book Club Network www.bookfun.org . It’s easy to enter the drawing. Go to www.bookfun.org Become a member if you aren't already (It’s FREE and EASY). Scroll down the front page until you get to the cover of Lorna’s new book. Click on the link above the book cover. IT will take you to the place to enter. ANSWER one of the questions listed to be entered into the contest. It’s easy!
THANKS AGAIN LORNA for stopping by and helping us get to know you and your books. I’m excited to try your recipes. This is GREAT for BOOK CLUB!! I know your book will be a fun book club pick as well!
SEE you at TBCN!!
TBCN Where Book Fun Begins!