How to Bake a Chocolate Soufflé
by Carly Ellen Kramer
Cherry Harbor Series, Volume 1
Forget what your English professor told you – life stories are not written in college.
Madeleine LaBlange, Annie Anderson, and Audrey Navarro shared formative years as roommates at Chicago’s Catholic haven for women, the historic Abbott College. If only they could have predicted the collisions between their carefully crafted life plans and the realities they discover beyond campus…
Madeleine harbors dreams of becoming a concert pianist while Dr. Reynold Fenwick, her mercurial graduate school mentor, harbors fantasies of Madeleine. Will pursuing her dreams be worth the cost? Will an evening in Budapest change her life forever?
Annie plans to build a perfect family with her perfect husband in the cutthroat news media industry, until an abrupt tragedy shakes the foundations of her marriage. What happens when she feels pulled between the two men she loves most, her husband and her father?
Audrey leaves her religious, restrictive parents behind and aims for Chicago’s downtown skyline, dating recklessly and staring down each grueling workday one Chicago Dog at a time. Will an island respite lure her away from her corporate future? When she finds herself in the arms of an unexpected lover, will she have the courage to stand up for her own evolving sense of self?
Follow the journeys of these remarkable women, and cheer them on as they navigate life, love, and chocolate soufflé.
Includes over a dozen decadent new recipes from Crowded Earth Kitchen!
Today it is my pleasure to be interviewing Carly Ellen Kramer author of How to Bake a Chocolate Soufflé. Welcome to Room With Books, Carly Ellen, thank you for agreeing to this interview.
Please tell us a little about yourself and your background?
I’m a food blogger and a traveler – a “food traveler” if you will. My passion is traveling to new locations and exploring connections between food and culture.
What were you like at school?
I loved school, so much so that I spent much of my young adulthood as a career student!
Were you good at English?
Yes, but writing didn’t become a burning interest until my student years were behind me. As a student, I was more interested in math and science.
What are your ambitions for your writing career?
To have fun. Is that lame? I don’t know – I hope not! For me, writing is personally fulfilling. I’d love for one of my novels to become a bestseller, but I’m content right now.
Which writers inspire you?
Paullina Simons is, in my opinion, one of the most talented writers out there. Her novels are so fabulously well written that I find them intimidating! I mean that in the most positive way possible… Simons’ writing inspires me to work harder.
Give us an insight into one of your main characters. What does she do that is so special?
How to Bake a Chocolate Soufflé has three main characters, but Madeleine seems to stand out a bit for readers. Madeleine is particularly tenacious and refuses to let go of Big Dreams when, frankly, it would be easier for her to just settle at any one of several points along the way. I hope readers are inspired by how determinedly Madeleine struggles forward.
What are you working on at the minute?
I’m working on the sequel to How to Bake a Chocolate Soufflé, where the three main characters from Soufflé take a step into the background, and two new main characters emerge. The sequel is a little edgier – still inspiring, but in a different way.
Which actresses would you like to see playing the lead character from How to Bake a Chocolate Soufflé?
That’s a difficult question, because from cover to cover, the women in How to Bake a Chocolate Soufflé age twenty years. I’m picturing them in their 40s, and thinking either Jennifer Aniston or Uma Thurman would make a believable Madeleine. Sandra Bullock would be a good fit for Audrey. Diane Lane, or perhaps Jennifer Connelly, would be well suited to play Annie.
What made you decide to sit down and actually start something?
A series of events, positive and negative, led me to reconnect with girlfriends from college. All of the reminiscing (am I really old enough to reminisce?) inspired me to write a story about the very different directions women’s lives can take after our supposedly “formative” years in school.
Do you have a special time to write?
Not really. I write when I don’t feel rushed, which often means I write late at night.
Where do your ideas come from?
I take grains of reality and spin them into larger, fictional stories.
Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you?
I start with a general outline, but my characters rarely cooperate! When characters begin writing their own dialogue, I just go with the flow.
What is the hardest thing for you about writing?
Completing a rough first draft is actually the most challenging thing for me. Once I have a beginning, a middle, and an end, I can edit and revise with gusto.
Do you read much and if so who are your favorite authors?
I read a lot – I think I read close to 300 books last year. I love everything I’ve read by Paullina Simons and Barbara O’Neal, but really, I read and enjoy books written by a wide range of authors.
For your own reading, do you prefer eBooks or traditional paper or hard back books?
I’m old school, and much prefer to turn pages literally than click a forward arrow.
What book are you currently reading?
Today I am reading Lost and Found in Prague by Kelly Jones.
Tell us about the cover and how it came about.
I design my own covers, and take my own cover photos. The blue hydrangea on the cover of How to Bake a Chocolate Soufflé are from Annie’s wedding in Chapter 1.
Do you have a trailer or do you intend to create one for your own book?
No, I don’t have a trailer.
Do you think that giving books away free works and why?
That depends upon what you mean by “works.” I think giving away free books is fun – it builds community with my readers, especially on my food blog (www.crowdedearthkitchen.com).
How do you relax?
I read and write!
What is your favorite quote?
“You don’t have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading them.” ~Ray Bradbury
What is your favorite movie?
I don’t know if I have a favorite movie. I’m fickle about movies. I enjoyed Gone Girl, because the movie stayed pretty true to the book.
How can readers discover more about you and you work?
My food blog, www.crowdedearthkitchen.com, is full of recipes, travel photos, freebies, and information about How to Bake a Chocolate Soufflé. I love visiting with readers at Crowded Earth Kitchen!
Any final words?
Turn off the television? Books are so much more inspiring than TV screens! In all seriousness, thank you Patricia for supporting emerging authors! I appreciate the opportunity to appear on Room with Books.
Thank you very much for taking the time out of your busy schedule to take part in this interview.