Inspired by Food

I was signing books at a book store the other day and a lady approached. She picked up a few of the books displayed on my table, glanced at the back covers, and said, "You must be inspired by food."

I eyed the basket of chocolate candy on the corner. Don't get me wrong -- I love chocolate. But on its best days it doesn't inspire me. "Why do you say that?" I asked.

She smiled. "Let's see. Here's Murder by Mushroom, and there's A Taste of Murder. Maybe 'inspired' is the wrong word. But I would think twice about accepting an invitation to dinner at your house."

We shared a chuckle, but after she left I thought about that. Honestly, it never occurred to me that food played a big part in my books! Two of my three mysteries (so far) have been stories centered on food in one way or another. Even in my humorous contemporary stories important things happen to the characters over food. One of my favorite scenes in Just As I Am is an impromptu church potluck dinner. In Sincerely, Mayla, I give more than a passing mention to Grandmother's famous fried chicken. And in Stuck in the Middle, Joan and her sister, Allie, trade barbs over ice cream covered in sprinkles. Not to mention Joan's grandmother's Sunday pot roast and homemade rolls.

Uh... I guess I am inspired by food! Must come from being raised by one of the best cooks in the south. If you want inspiration, you should taste my mama's chicken and dumplings. And her coconut cream pie is yummmmmy!

But really -- it's perfectly safe to eat at my house. But I admit my church has forbidden me to bring anything to our potluck dinners that includes mushrooms.