Catenabi Chronicles and author of Breaking the Rules.
Take it away Cat!
In my debut novel, BREAKING THE RULES, Roxy loves cooking more than anything else in the world. The kitchen is her sanctuary—the place she heads to when life gets a bit overwhelming. So today I thought I'd share how her love of baking started—a chocolate chip recipe. Roxy's dream of being a chef began with something as simple as cookie dough—and a few words whispered into her ear by her best friend, Ollie.
When I started thinking about what Roxy was like as a young girl, I imagined her hovering around her mother in the kitchen—getting in the way while trying to help—and carefully studying her mother as she combined flour, sugar and butter in a mixing bowl. Older sister Izzie would come running into the kitchen and complain that youngest sister Steffi was being a pest and that she couldn't study for her pop quiz the next day. While her mother was distracted by the commotion, Roxy would steal a handful of raw cookie dough and a lifelong love affair would begin.
As she grows older, Roxy goes from helping with the cookies to making them herself, carefully measuring every ingredient and following her mother's handwritten recipe to the letter. But eventually she doesn't have to look at the recipe anymore—she knows it by heart. So when she and Ollie go to her house after school, she can run to the kitchen and—seeing the someone has eaten the batch she made the day before—she can have a fresh batch baking in the oven within minutes. Ollie will ask if he can take a few home and she'll pack up the rest of the cookies in plastic wrap and hand them over. "I can make more," she'll say when he tells her that she should leave some for her sisters.
As Roxy becomes more confident in the kitchen, I see her taking her mother's recipe and making it her own. Simple chocolate chip cookies are boring. The baking aisle is filled with interesting options and Roxy wants to try them all. Raisins. Peanut butter chips. Shredded coconut. Walnuts. Macadamia nuts. Multi-colored sprinkles. Soon she's spending her allowance money on baking supplies instead of movie tickets and makeup. And when she puts something in the oven, she's not really sure what's going to come out. She sits at the kitchen table and waits for the oven timer to ring, wondering what her latest creation will taste like.
When the timer goes off, the rest of her family—like clockwork—bursts into the kitchen to see what Roxy has baked this time. Even though she's warned to wait for the mint chocolate chip & coconut cookies to cool, Steffi grabs one and takes a huge bite, burning the roof of her mouth. Roxy is flooded with relief when a slow smile spreads across her sister's face. This is her toughest critic and she wouldn't hesitate to spit out something if it wasn't to her liking. "My mouth is on fire," Steffi says, taking a gulp from the glass of milk Izzie has just poured for herself. "But it's so worth it. These are awesome."
Later that evening, Roxy packs up the remaining cookies for her best friend. And when she gives them to Ollie the next day at school, he hugs her and tells her that she is going to be a great chef one day. She shakes her head. "Stop being silly. It's only cookies. Anyone can bake cookies." But his words stay with her and she begins to daydream about running her own kitchen one day.
Roxy's passion for food is an essential part of BREAKING THE RULES, and when I was writing her story, it was important for me to understand how that passion started. And—in order to really be in touch with my character—I also had to sample quite a few chocolate chip cookies. All in the name of research.
Sounds like yummy research!!!
Thanks for the awesome guest post, Cat!
Breaking the Rules is available at Amazon
Official Blurb for Breaking the Rules:
When twenty-seven year old Roxy Rule’s best friend and roommate accepts a
glamorous new job overseas, she expects their relationship to continue as it’s
always been—carefree and easy—until they share a heart-stopping kiss. While
Ollie escapes to jolly ole England to live out his dream and save the planet
with green architecture, Roxy is stuck in New York City working for a boss who
makes her want to stab herself with a letter opener. She can’t bear to think
about her own big-city dream of being a chef anymore. Over the years, her
passion for food has only resulted in extra pounds and a staggering credit card
balance for fancy kitchen equipment that she barely has time to use. Still,
Roxy’s sure that nothing can come between two lifelong best friends—not even
mild jealousy over a thriving career or a silly little kiss that meant nothing.
In fact, it was such a meaningless and forgettable kiss that it’s not worth
mentioning to her fiancé, not that he would even listen—all they do these days
is argue about their upcoming wedding. Roxy is faced with an unexpected family
reunion when her younger sister Steffi arrives on her doorstep, six months into
a pregnancy she refuses to discuss. When older sister Izzie—in the throes of a
premature midlife crisis—joins them, she’s determined to crack the case of
Steffi’s impending motherhood. With the Rule sisters living under the same roof
again, Roxy’s quiet little apartment in the city is about to be anything but
peaceful. Roxy soon discovers that her seemingly idyllic relationship with Ollie
started getting complicated way before he left for London. She must come to
terms with her feelings for him, learn to stand up for herself and go after what
she really wants. Breaking the Rules is the story of what happens when you have
to redefine the rules of love, friendship and family in order to find yourself.