As a retired family therapist, I began a second career as a freelance food/travel writer compiling vignettes from both French and Italian families regarding their favorite foods and family traditions. “What favorite recipe brings your family to the table?” was my question. During one of my interviews with an elderly French woman, I asked, simply, “So what foods did you prepare as a young wife in central France?” She threw her head back, laughed and said, “Foods, mon chère? Why, we were in hiding! It was the thick of WWII and we were surrounded by Germans. I was lucky to sneak out to the fields after dark to dig up a potato or two for my family. Not so much to ‘prepare,’ you see.” With that one statement, my mission changed and I began writing a novel based on this woman’s most intriguing story about love, war, loss and the power of food and friendship. The historical novel, A CUP OF REDEMPTION was published October 2014.
Immediately following the launch of A CUP OF REDEMPTION, I began receiving requests for the recipes to the foods mentioned throughout the novel. In response, RECIPES FOR REDEMPTION: A COMPANION COOKBOOK TO A CUP OF REDEMPTION was published on August 15, 2015. The cookbook provided the French recipes culled from the pages, the times and the regional influences found in the historical novel, A CUP OF REDEMPTION and are taught by the book’s three main characters—Marcelle, Sophie and Kate.
My original food/travel interviews taken from over seventy-five people in France and fifty in Italy, along with more recipes, will finally culminate in a series of books called, SAVORING THE OLDE WAYS. SEARCHING FOR FAMILY AND TRADITIONS AT THE FRENCH TABLE, BOOK ONE, is to be published on August 27, 2019. Book Two of the series is a continuation of Book One and is due out August 2020, and the third book, SEARCHING FOR FAMILY AND TRADITIONS AT THE ITALIAN TABLE, is due April 2021.
I have been state board member of the California Writers’ Club since 2012, on the local San Francisco Peninsula Branch board since 2010, and chair of the regional NorCal Group board since 2015. I have had three short stories published in the CWC Club’s anthologies: Fault Zone: Words from the Edge;Fault Zone: Stepping up to the Edge and Fault Zone: Over the Edge. I am also a member of the Women’s National Book Association–San Francisco, a member of the Writers’ League of Texas, Austin branch and have been a contributing food/travel writer for numerous local and national newspapers. I have also been active in traveling with, writing for and about WWII veterans in the U.S. and France since 2009, as part of my research for understanding a country (France) living under the siege of WWII.