Today's special guest is Lauren Clark. Lauren writes contemporary Southern novels sprinkled with sunshine, suspense, and secrets. A former TV news anchor, Lauren adores flavored coffee, local book stores, and anywhere she can stick her toes in the sand. Her big loves are her family, paying it forward, and true-blue friends.
She is the author of four award-winning novels, Dancing Naked in Dixie, Stay Tuned, Stardust Summer, and Pie Girls, as well as a short story, A Very Dixie Christmas, published in the Merry & Bright holiday collection. Lauren is a member of the Gulf Coast Writers Association and the Mobile Writers Guild. Check out her website at www.laurenclarkbooks.com.
I asked Lauren about her inspiration for Pie Girls. Here is her response:
My inspiration was two-fold. First, and most importantly, I grew up enjoying the wonderful pies that my grandmother baked for my family from the time I was a baby. No holiday or special occasion would be complete without a decadent dessert that my grandmother made with her own two hands.
I have fabulous memories from my childhood of walking into her house on Thanksgiving Day or Christmas morning (snow swirling, wind whistling, positively freezing—it was Upstate New York!) and smelling delicious, warm, straight-out-of-the-oven pies. It wasn’t a holiday without one of her fantastic delicacies. She taught me a lot about baking—much that I didn’t appreciate as a young girl—but do now!
Two years ago for Christmas, after my grandmother passed away, I had my mother write down all of my grandmother’s recipes so that I could have them and pass them down to my children and their children. Sharing her recipes in Pie Girls is a very small way to pay tribute to my amazing and talented grandmother.
My second inspiration for the story was a small restaurant and bakery that I visited a place in Greensboro, Alabama. The place is called the Pie Lab, a restaurant written up many times in Southern Living, Bon Appetit, and newspapers around the Southeast.
I visited the Pie Lab in Greensboro several times. It’s a special place—small town atmosphere—great food, and personal attention. The thing that makes it really unique, though, is that it is a place where high school dropouts or people in need of training can go and learn valuable skills—how to bake, run a register, make change, and give good customer service.
I fell in love with the idea of writing a story that took place in the actual “Pie Lab,” but when I brought up the proposal to the manager of the organization that oversees the bakery, she turned me down – with a very polite “thanks, but no thanks!”
I didn’t give up on the idea … and kept searching for the perfect location to bring Searcy’s story to life. I finally found it in my own backyard--Fairhope, Alabama, a lovely waterfront community about 30 minutes from where I live. I decided to create a shop named Pie Girls there, and thus, Searcy’s story was born.
What makes Fairhope really wonderful is that it’s a very supportive community for artists of all forms – painters, sculptors, writers, and musicians. Everyone in the community really embraces creativity and culture.
I visit often, have done guest appearances for book clubs there, shop at Page & Palette, an indie bookstore, and love having lunch or dinner with friends at many of the city’s bistros, pizza shops, and fine dining establishments.
I must say, looking back at my initial disappointment in Greensboro, that “all’s well that ends well.” I like Searcy’s story exactly where it is. Where people love her!
ABOUT THE BOOK
Princess, Southern belle, and spoiled-rotten social climber Searcy Roberts swore on a stack of Bibles she’d never return home to Fairhope, Alabama. After marrying her high school sweetheart and moving to Atlanta, Searcy embraces big-city life—Carrie Bradshaw style.
But now, Searcy has a teeny, tiny problem. Her husband’s had a mid-life crisis. He’s quit his job, cancelled her credit cards, and left her for another man.
Searcy returns to Fairhope, ready to lick her wounds. But when her mother falls ill, she’s is thrust into managing the family business—only to discover the beloved bakery is in danger of closing its doors forever.
Enlisting the help of the adorable bike store owner next door, an array of well-heeled customers, and her soon-to-be ex-husband, Searcy hatches the plan of the century to save Pie Girls.
Thirty minutes later, I am decked from head to toe in the finest lingerie Saks Fifth Avenue has to offer. Wrapped in a lovely camel Armani overcoat, belted securely, I smooth the deep red cashmere scarf against my bare neck.
The sensation of wearing barely anything gives me a heady rush of power. The garter belt, slug low around my hips, allows a satisfying tug when I take a step. Silken stockings caress my legs, and Lucinda opted for a buttery-soft pair of black thigh-high boots to finish the outfit.
After smoothing and coaxing my hair into submission, Lucinda talks me into some lotion, and then a dusting of sparkly powder to highlight my décolletage. She wields a huge brush and swishes the iridescent flecks onto my skin with expert precision. The result is amazing.
"Perfect." I blink at my reflection. My skin appears softer and luminous, almost flawless. The glow makes my eyes seem brighter, even in department store lighting.
"You look fabulous," my personal shopper agrees. She steps back to survey her work and gives me a satisfied nod. "He won't be able to help himself once he sees what's under that overcoat."
Lucinda squeezes my hand. "Good luck with everything. I think Alton will come to his senses." She pauses and frowns. "He'd better."
As for Pamela Pryor, she'd better watch out.
This is war. No price is too high.
I am going to win my husband back.
Lauren will be awarding a $20 Amazon GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.
Follow the tour and comment; the more you comment, the better your chances of winning. The tour dates can be found here:
a Rafflecopter giveaway