Ana: Today we have Lizz Lund introducing her novel, "Kitchen Addiction!". I haven't read this book myself, but Lizz was kind enough to agree to guest blog about their book to any readers who might be interested in the subject. Lizz, how would you describe your novel to your prospective readers? In broad terms, what is your novel about?
Lizz: "Kitchen Addiction!" is funny romp through Lancaster, PA. It features Mina Kitchen, who is a less than satisfied office worker, who suffers from inherited "catering crazies" any time she experiences stress -- which is a lot. The adventures she encounters revolve around the zany capers she lets herself get led into by her Godmother, the senior crowd at St. Bart’s Episcopal Church, and her neighbor, Vito Spaghetti. The broad jacket description I use is this:
Meet Mina Kitchen, a forty-something single who likes to cook -- and cook and cook. In fact, her zest for whipping up trays of canapes is dwarfed only by her weird luck and mountain-lion size tabby cat, Vinnie. That, and her godmom's tendency for blackmailing new members into joining St. Bart's. Okay, maybe Mina's Swiffer-addicted neighbor, Vito, is a bit weird, too. As if all that wasn't enough, Mina's a Jersey girl transplanted in the midst of the Amish-flavored countryside of Lancaster, PA.
Things get really complicated when she learns that her neighbor Vito is in a witness protection program, and her dry cleaner deals in prescription samples. Throw in a few mysterious flaming feces flingers and a fuse box labeled in Arabic, and you have a recipe for catering disorders.
"Kitchen Addiction!" will keep you smiling when you're not LOL-ing. Set in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, you'll find a surprising cast of characters, humorous plot twists, red herrings and actual recipes. Well, some of the recipes are real. The others you might to take with a pinch of salt, and some Tums.
If you're looking for a funny fiction read, packed with humor, excitement -- and recipes -- look no further. Lund's debut "chick lit" novel blends fun characters, great dialogue and zany capers into a frothy fiction that's sure to amuse. The novel also delivers a virtual tourist romp through the actual streets of Lancaster City and its surroundings.
Ana: What themes does your novel explore and what do you hope the reader will take away from the experience? Is there a particular feeling or experience that you hope to evoke in the reader? Essentially, do you hope your novel will mean to a reader?
Lizz: I sincerely hope that "Kitchen Addiction!" will give folks a light-hearted, feel-good read -- honestly nothing serious. That said, I think the things that may resonate with some readers might come from Mina and her employment dilemmas; and the feeling of being a round peg in a square hole. There’s also a foodie aspect here, that anyone who’s succumbed to watching back-to-back episodes of "Chopped!" might understand. And, there’s a perspective for pet-lovers, as Mina and her buds consider their pets family. There’s also the situation of being a 40-something single gal, and living in an unfamiliar locale, with local customs that seem a bit odd, at least to an outsider/Jersey transplant.
Ana: What prompted you to write this novel and did you have a specific inspiration in mind? Were you influenced by a certain author or work that inspired you to add your voice to this genre? Besides the boatloads of money and rockstar fame, what motivated you to write this book?
Lizz: Boatloads of money? Rockstar fame? Hey, I think I’m missing something…? lol ;) Honestly, I think most everyone has a book they want to write in their head. Luckily for me, I was let go from my job a few years ago, and found I had scads of time on my hands, in-between looking for a new job. My mom was really into Janet Evanovich at the time, and I soon began gobbling up her Stephanie Plum novels. I loved the fact that Evanovich uses first person, and that Stephanie’s from New Jersey -- like me. I also love reading Marian Keyes, too, for similar reasons. And I really love living in Lancaster.
So, an idea began to brew. After a little digging, I became a bit perplexed that most of the fiction I could find, using Lancaster as a setting, was about the Amish. I mean, I live here, and I’m definitely not Amish, right? So, I set out to use my local environs in a way that is fresh, writing-wise at least. I also thought it would be fun for readers to find out that most of the street names and directions given in Kitchen Addiction! are actual street names and directions around the area. And I thought it would be a unique approach to include recipes -- good and bad -- as part of the storyline. And, of course, I set out to write something humorous.
Ana: If you could compare your novel to any other existing works, which ones would it be and why? If the one thing you could say to a prospective reader was, "If you like X, you'll love my book!", which work would be invoked so that a reader could judge whether or not your novel is their cup of tea?
Lizz: I guess I’ll have to rely on my editor's, as well as "beta readers" feedback for this. Nicholas J. Ambrose, of Regarding the Hive, who I’m very thankful is my editor, lives "across the pond" and put "Kitchen Addiction!" in the Marian Keyes category (for which I am extremely flattered.) In terms of Mina being a Jersey transplant in Central Pee-Ay; I'd say I was definitely influenced by Janet Evanovich. Other writing style comments from my first readers in the States have compared me to Erma Bombeck. All of these comparisons frankly make me feel very happy and grateful; especially as they did not include references to anesthesiology digests or other soporifics.
Ana: Is this your first or only published work, or have you published other novels? If you have published other novels, how do they compare to this one? Do you have any more novels planned, either as a follow-up to this one, or as a completely different novel or genre?
Lizz: "Kitchen Addiction!" is my first novel, in an upcoming series of Mina Kitchen books. I’m about halfway through its sequel, Confection Connection and am hoping for an early Spring release. That said, the editing portion of writing is still part of a learning curve for me; as I'd rather delay and release a good product than rush and publish something that might prove unsatisfactory for readers. I’m also 2 chapters into a Christmas-themed novella, using most of the same characters, with some funny Yuletide twists. I’m aiming for releasing this during 2011 holidays; and am working pretty hard at it.
Ana: Where can readers obtain a copy of your novel for them to enjoy? How can they contact you with any thoughts or questions? And do you have a means by which they can "sign up" to be notified when your next novel comes available?
Lizz: Online, the easiest ways for a reader wanting a copy of "Kitchen Addiction!" would of be through Amazon as a paperback and as an eBook through Smashwords for $2.99. For folks in the Lancaster area, I’ve just been in communication with Aaron’s Books in Lititz, PA and looks like "Kitchen Addiction!" will soon be on their shelves.
I also make every attempt to provide updates to my blog page, Simmerings. Most of these posts are funny; and some steer straight toward useful (posted pet friendly hotel directories when Lancaster got hit by the last round of storms/flooding.)
If anyone wants to reach out, I do get around to answering all emails: LizzLund.Author@gmail.com For those disposed to Twitter; I always reply to direct messages; sometimes I don’t see all my tweets - I’m @FunnyAuthor on Twitter. And I do check for comments on my Facebook page, “Lizz Lund – Author” too.
Ana: Thank you, Lizz. I understand you have the first chapter of your novel available as an excerpt for interested readers? And is there anything else you wish to add for our readers?
Lizz: The first chapter is here. If that piques your interest, and you'd like a larger sample, my husband and I collaborated on a FREE cookbook based on Kitchen Addiction! It’s about half done; but we posted what we completed anyway up on the site; under the “Samplings” page at http://www.LizzLund.com. The cookbook in its entirety should be completed and posted soon; we’re only about 3-4 recipes to go. This is also a pdf; and anyone can download it completely, or by single recipe, anytime they wish. There’s no sign-up or anything like that. And, really, it's completely free.
I’d also like to take a moment and thank your readers for their interest in reading about me, and Kitchen Addiction! I hope they find it a happy read.