Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Review of When In Doubt Add Butter + Q&A w/Beth Harbison

New Release Feature When in Doubt Add Butter
and Q&A w/Beth Harbison

Please welcome Beth Harbison #1 NY Times Bestselling author to the forum

Debbie - Beth Welcome, tell us a little about your new Release – 

Beth - It’s about a private chef who works for a crazy collection of people, all of whom fire her imagination one way or the other, and ends up following her personal recipe for life only to end up with a dish she never imagined.

Tell us the biggest challenge going from Silhouette Romance to mainstream fiction – Remembering I have the freedom of more words/pages to tell more of the story.  Ideally every book concentrates on one central and compelling question and the sub-plots, if you have room, fan out from there, adding depth and other perspective.  Silhouette didn’t have a lot of room for sub-plots, though focusing on the romance was definitely fun.  I think Jennifer Crusie once said that writing series romance is like writing Gone with the Wind on the head of a pin – not easy!

Where do you get your ideas for your novels – 

Everywhere, anywhere; each usually starts with one question, i.e. “what if you ran into your first love again and found out he’d never gotten over you?”

If I was say your mother-in-law :) would I recognize myself in any of your novels – 

You might think you do, because everyone who knows a writer well thinks they must inevitably end up on page, but the truth is everyone I write about is an extension of myself in some way – either what I am or what I never want to be, or something in between.   It’s the only way to write anything that will come across as authentic – every emotion, rationale, etc. must have a logical initiation, even if the outcome (like PTA moms doing phone sex to pay off a debt) seems really ill-advised.

How does it feel to also have a published author daughter Paige (who I’ve read and reviewed) and did she come to you for advice on becoming an author – 

We read each other’s work and offer critique.  It’s very funny but somewhere along the way she turned a corner from being someone who made me want to scream because her school essays were so fragmented to being an enviably awesome writer.  Every single time I read her work, I am amazed at how good she is, how that brain developed and knows things, even intuits things, that I never taught it.  I know that sounds ridiculous, but I think every doting over-protective parent out there can probably relate.

Are you already working on your next novel – 

Yes.  Always.

Do you write full time – 

Yes.  Apart from parenting, it’s my only job.

Are you a reader and if so what authors and genres do you enjoy – 

I love humorous essays: Quinn Cummings, Jen Lancaster, Jenny Lawson, Laurie Notaro, Bill Bryson, David Sedaris, etc.  If I want to get wrapped up in a story, I head toward cozy suspense: Nicci French is a favorite, Harlan Coben, Stephen King, Peter Straub, etc.

I’m sure your fans here would love to meet you in person, do you have any B&N events or signings planned – 

I don’t at the moment, but I’m easily found and contacted on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authorBethHarbison

Thank you so much for taking the time to let us get to know you a little better and Good Luck with the novel

My  Review of When In Doubt Add Butter

When In Doubt Add Butter
Beth Harbison
St. Martin’s Press
338 pages

Gemma Craig has a dream job, a few select friends and her cousin, best bud and confidant Penny. Gemma is a private chef and she loves being her own boss and doing what she’s most passionate about in the world, cooking. Even though some of her client’s are a bit off she has others that she genuinely likes like Lex and one who’s a mystery that she’d love to solve she calls him Mr. Tuesday who she’s never met. Oh and she’s also terminally single it seems with no prospects on the horizon which never bothered her in the past, but with Penny’s pregnancy her clock may have just started ticking again. As fate would have it a one night stand seems to be the turning point in her life and unfortunately not for the best, even though the sex was. It seems someone’s trying to sabotage her reputation as a chef, and since she doesn’t have the requisite 6months savings it’s not good news, oh and the result of her tryst has just tested positive on a certain stick and even though the man in question seems to want to see her again fate isn’t being kind to them. So now her future’s in question not just professionally but personally too and although she has the support of her friends she knows this is her own demon to face. Fortunately she’s gotten through other tough spots in her life, unfortunately it looks like they’re back. But she’s older and wiser now and after all it can’t all be wrong when your motto is “When In Doubt Add Butter”.
Beth Harbison is another first timer for me and it’s been a pure pleasure to get to know her a little through her fiction. This tale shows her maturity as well as her quirky sense of humor how she deals with all of life’s injustices and inadequacies as well as the good. Her protagonist has a few blooms off her vine but she’s by no means decrepit, she has the sense of humor that lights the pages of what could otherwise be dooming and a narrative that is very visually stimulating and at times salivating. Her other characters are a stable full of kooks, villains, and good friends with one or two that are completely outside of the box of normalcy. This is a love story yes, but it’s far from just a romance, it’s about making lemonade when life hands you lemons, it’s about realizing you can come of age at any age and it’s about trusting in yourself and recognizing the care and love of those around you and finally it’s about a leap of faith even when the cliff is looming.
You won’t need a leap of faith to enjoy this novel and if you love women’s fiction you’ll love this as much as I did.
Ms. Harbison to you I say, what took me so long to find you and I can’t wait for our next journey together.
Buy the book here visit the author's website here

Here is a sample of the audio book

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  1. Found your review via the author's web page. Loved it. Thanks. I am a new GFC follower and look forward to more of your reviews. Donna


    1. Thanks for the comment Donna and the nice compliment too and welcome