Wednesday, 1 November 2017

Author Interview - Aletta Thorne and her ghostly romance

I know, I know, I should have got this up yesterday. It would have made a perfect Halloween post! In my defense, I've had a headache since Sunday and I'm having a bout of seasonal affective disorder that's been kicking my ass, so I've basically been shirking...everything except the basics, I guess. You know, the day job, tea, cheesecake.

Anyway! It's the first of November and Aletta Thorne is here to talk about her new release, The Chef and the Ghost of Bartholomew Addison Jenkins, which is just a fantastic title. So, no more excuses from me - let's find out what it's all about!

Hi, Aletta! Tell us a little bit about your newest release.

My new book, The Chef and the Ghost of Bartholomew Addison Jenkins answers a question you probably haven’t asked, although I can’t imagine why not!  What happens if you have a one-nighter with a ghost?  The story is set in a little Hudson River town in upstate New York, in the autumn of 1982. The main character is a woman chef trying to recover from a nasty divorce.  The restaurant world was a pretty crazy place in the early 80’s.  So: Revolutionary war era ghosts--and cooks.  And believe it or not, a happy ending, but it’s a pretty wild ride.

So we've got the 80s, food, and a ghost. This sounds perfect! Was there any part of this story you found particularly tough to write? If so, why?

I’ve written YA books.  This is my first adult romance.  At first it felt weird NOT to cut away during the love scenes.  But after I got used to it, I was able to cope quite nicely by fanning myself a little and having a Diet Coke, thank you very much.  My life has been…enriched!  Funny how something that seems challenging at first can end up being liberating.  And wonderful.

So leading on from that, is there any part of this story you absolutely love, and why?

I love my characters.  The lead ghost is pretty complex: confident, needy, and quite sexy.  His side-kick Geoff is very funny, too.  He’s a trickster.  I love the setting.  I was a chef for a while in the 80’s and those were wild days.  It was fun being about to write about that pirate ship world. Anthony Bourdain doesn’t lie about how nuts it was.  Professional cooks are interesting people: smart, tough, and practical. Risk-takers.  A tribe, for certain.

I'm always fascinated by behind-the-scenes accounts from the restaurant world! Do you have a favourite genre to write in?

I’m a paranormal author if I’m writing fiction, whether it’s for grownups or for teens. I just like magic--stuff that can’t possibly happen, but does.  And I almost always write in the past.  I guess it’s the “once upon a time” beginning that hooks me in creatively.  My YA books are time travelers.  

I feel the same way about magic :) If you could have dinner with any three writers, living or dead, who would they be?  

Hmm...Madeleine L’Engle (who wrote A Wrinkle in Time)  is a huge hero of mine, and informs my writing for young people.  I guess I’d also invite the contemporary British author of historical fiction Sarah Waters, who blows me away every time I open one of her books.  And the American poet Anne Sexton, who kept me sane during college years, and I think would have been wonderful to have a few glasses of wine with.  I’m sorry I never got to at least thank her.  That would be a good party!

Good choices! Anne Sexton would be a great person to sit down for a drink with. Are there any books you can just read over and over again and never get sick of?

I used to teach high school English,  so I’ve probably read The Scarlet Letter twenty times. Although Hawthorne was a gloomy gus and I don’t think I’d want to dine with him, that is pretty much a perfect novel.  (He was, however, really cute.  Google him and see!)

I felt obliged to add a picture of Nathaniel Hawthorne for you all.

If you could recommend any book (beside your own) to everyone reading this, what would it be?

Lincoln in the Bardo totally deserves the Man Booker Prize, and I’m not just saying that ‘cause I’m from the States.  Mind blown!

Now the hardball question. Tea or coffee?

Coffee, preferably latte.  Two cups in the morning, while I write.

I'm starting to feel like the only tea-drinker in the world! Apart from writing, what are your great passions in life?

I love music.  I sing choral music regularly, and play guitar and dulcimer.  I used to ring tower chimes in a church in New York City.  I DJ rock and roll at a little internet radio station, and I listen to absolutely everything.  I’m currently obsessed with a group called Offa Rex.

Awesome! My fiance used to DJ regularly, and still breaks out the decks every now and then. What else are you working on right now? What's up next from you?

I’m going to bang through something during National Novel Writing Month in November.  I’m actually toying with going way outside my comfort zone and writing a romance about a woman trying to live in one of the tiny houses that seem to be on TV so much lately.  

My all-purpose writer’s website is still under my real name, Christine Potter, (although posts about the romance are starting to appear there, too).  Because I will continue to write YA, I’ll probably split off a site for Aletta, but for now:

Aletta Thorne on Facebook:

Instagram (all my writing here, too):

Thanks, Aletta! So, now you know a bit more about the author and her book, how about a teaser from it? But first - don't forget to pick up your copy!


“You’ll turn over the record. Oh, because you…”

“I do like to keep up. Who poured you wine from the … refrigerator? Although, I don’t understand why people of your age prefer it so icy.”

Alma followed Bart into the living room, still wondering why things didn’t seem odder than they were. She remembered the Casper the Friendly Ghost cartoons she’d seen as a little girl. This ghost was acting—well, perhaps a bit more flirty than friendly. He only glowed a bit as they walked through the dim hallway that connected her rooms. You can hardly even tell he’s translucent. What had he seen of her, though? She was glad her frustrating night with Sid had been at his place.

As Bart bent over the turntable and flipped the record, the reading lamp by her couch highlighted the silver buttons of his coat. She curled up on the couch and put her wine glass on the glass-covered orange crate she’d turned into a coffee table. 

Bart sat beside her, suspiciously close. He put an arm over the back of the couch, and Alma shook her head again. That’s the old sneaky-arm trick—like a high school kid. It’s kind of cute. She pulled her legs up under herself, and they quietly listened to the music.

“You’re right,” she said after a few minutes. “‘Fountains’ is really good, too. I almost never listen to that side.”

Bart made a quiet harrumphing noise. 

Do ghosts clear their throats? Apparently so.

“Dear lady,” he said. “Although I do try not to snoop, as you would say, I have indeed observed your solitude. Let me assure you, your life will soon be happier.” He slid even closer to her.

Okay. Now the ghost is absolutely coming on to me. This is really happening. Oh, hell—why not? He’s not bad—for a dead guy.

“Um, Bart?” she said. His eyes really were a startling color—almost bronze… “You can’t actually be…”

Bart set his fingertips on her cheeks, looked into her eyes, and sighed. Then he smiled. “You think this is a ridiculous situation. It’s not ridiculous,” he said. “Not at all. Allow me to demonstrate … with your permission, m’lady.”

Somehow, that was funny, and Alma giggled. “Granted.”

Bart’s hands were impossibly soft and gentle—and his touch had some of the same fire-and-ice buzz that she’d felt before in the kitchen when he’d tried to get her attention. He guided her lips to his, and gave her what would have been a tiny peck—from anyone else. It shot a bolt of fire straight through her. 

“Oh,” she said. It took a minute to get her breath.

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