Monday, November 4, 2013

10 Questions with Grace Gibson

Hey Y'all, Aurora author Grace Gibson has come to call. Grace lives here in Texas, but she's a lot less redneck than yours truly. Still, I bet she would sit on the tailgate and swig a few cold ones with us.
1.      Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

Since this is a post about food, I will give you my food biography.  Almost everyone has a personal history with food, so here goes mine.  My parents were missionaries in Ecuador.  What we ate grew or roamed right outside, and, by the time I was five, I had witnessed the summary execution of a few of my little friends!  Naturally, vegetarianism was in my future.  At 14 I stopped eating meat, and many (MANY) years later, I still prefer plant based food and am mostly vegan.  Other than that, I’m a glass artist and sometime writer living in El Paso, Texas.  I teach mosaic occasionally, take a yoga class, putter in my studio and read a prodigious amount of regency romance.

2.      If you were a cake, what kind would you be?

An orange cake...hopefully a little variation from the ubiquitous chocolate. 

3.      Do you have the recipe?

Regrettably, no.  This is my fantasy cake - light, sweet, tart, and guiltless.  On the rare occasion when I do splurge, I always WISH there was something like it on the menu. 

4.      Who is your celebrity chef crush?

Hm.  Jamie Oliver.  Goofy, but he’s very sincere about healthy food and he makes some amazing vegetable dishes in his outdoor kitchen.

5.      What’s your favorite restaurant?

From a purely theoretical point of view, the restaurant at the Clarendon Hotel as depicted in Georgette Heyer’s many novels would have to be my favorite.  In False Colors Sir Bonamy hosts a little dinner party.  “They have a neat way of cooking semelles of carp which is better than anything my Alphonse can do...I thought I would have it removed with a fillet of veal.  We must have quails: that goes without saying – and ducklings; and nothing beside except a few larded sweetbreads and a raised pie.  And for the second course just a green goose, with cauliflowers and French beans and peas, for I know you don’t care for large dinners.  So I shall add only a dressed lobster, and some asparagus, and a few jellies and creams, and a basket of pastries for you to nibble at.  That,” he said, beaming upon his prospective guests, “is my notion of a neat little dinner.”

6.      Say you’re in that restaurant when the zombies come (you knew there would be zombies, right?) What five things would you grab to fight them?

To own the truth, I was never more shocked in my life when they arrived on the scene.  But when the Clarendon’s maitre d’ looked down his long blue nose at them, they were daunted, you know.  In his meticulous, cold voice, and with a lift of his right eyebrow, he politely  pointed them toward Seven Dials, where, he assured them, there would be plenty of choices to accommodate their, em, appetites.  To my amazement, they hung their heads apologetically and shuffled away.  No need for me to even grab my fork to stab them with.

7.      So now is when we play Keep, Kiss, Kill. The contestants are milk chocolate, dark chocolate, and white chocolate (which really isn’t chocolate at all) So which one do you keep forever, which one is your one night stand, and which one must die a melting death?

Of course, white chocolate must die.  Nothing that starts out pleasurable but ends up coating the palette with a tasteless, lard-like substance should be tolerated.  Milk chocolate is sometimes a high treat, particularly when suffering what we regency fans call “a distempered freak”,  while dark chocolate, a powerful antioxidant and mind-altering substance, must be considered ESSENTIAL to one’s health and happiness.

8.      Pimp it if you’ve got it.

I have two published Regency romances with Musa.  The Lost Heir of Devonshire and The Count of Northumberland Abbey.  Here are some food ‘scenes’ from these stories…

In The Lost Heir of Devonshire, I started the story with one of Mr. Bennet’s lines in Pride and Prejudice, a wink at a line I have always loved.

“I hope, my dear, that you have ordered a good dinner for today,” said Mr. Fanley abstractedly, as he perused his newspaper in the breakfast parlor.

The heroine, Mary Fanley, being a country bred girl in charge of her father’s household, is often preoccupied with matters relating to the kitchen and the farm.  When asked to tag along to look over Lord Robert’s neglected estate,

“she felt a good deal of feminine chagrin that the men in her party - who availed themselves of astounding feats of cookery with nary a thought to who or
where it came from - would pass through such an ancient, unequipped cave as was Treehill’s kitchen and think only of horses.”

In The Count of Northumberland Abbey, Isabella Worth and her two sisters are soon sitting down to a very surprising meal.

Isabella had begun to dread the company in an inn, suffering many lewd remarks and, worse, the suggestive stares directed at her sisters. In particular, and for no sensible reason other than the fact she hated the feeling of obligation, she wished to avoid meeting the interesting person who had given up his private parlour and a shockingly expensive meal of raised pie, braised lamb with tiny potatoes, a soup of watercress, almond cream, and a plate of sweetmeats.

Esther, who was impressed with such power as would command that kind of feast and inclined to general nosiness, had interrogated Mr. Mills. “Who is that gentleman who gave up his parlour for us?”

Mr. Mills, who had undergone a transformation of manners, provided a most solicitous and detailed report. They had been the recipients of the benevolence of no less a personage than the Count of Northumberland Abbey. A heroic figure of these parts, duly attributed with dash (on account of his uncertain origins) and a staggering generosity. He was a great swordsman and horseman and generally a pluck to the bone, but not too high in his notions. The veriest gentleman’s gentleman for Northumberland, that was.

When Mr. Mills excused himself, Isabella laughed aloud. “And next we’ll hear he is Saint Cuthbert of Holy Island.”

9.      Rejection haikus. Sometimes being a writer is like being the steamed Brussels sprouts at a Sunday buffet. We can’t get no love! But we can get a rejection haiku, yes?
Wouldn’t you know it?  I am the ONE person in the buffet who is delighted with the Brussels sprouts.  Here goes:

Me and tiny cabbages in a Sunday buffet
Sniffed at, politely despised, passed over
Fresh, happy green turns grayish and cold next to the mac ‘n cheese

Lol! I confess, I love Brussels sprouts as well, but only if I cook them and eat them fresh. Mmm, with a little turkey bacon and...sorry. Having a moment.

Grace's stories are as delightful as she is and you deserve a treat, right? So pick up one of her stories, makes some hot tea and sit by the fire.  Check out her page at AMAZON, at B&N, or at the MUSA STORE.



  1. LOL Oh Grace, love your humour and your books. Hurry up with the next one.
    We only seem to eat brussel sprouts with the Christmas dinner. I don't know why- but after this blog I will give them a lot more love .

  2. Grace's characters are always a riot. I love all her stories, too. Having had a sneak peak at her present novels in progress, I can tell you she will not let you down!