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Thursday, August 13, 2015

Dinner at the Kitchen Witch's... quirky-like interview/guest post-ish thing with Alyssa Goodnight, author of Just Say Yes

Alyssa Goodnight is no stranger to these parts; her fun, contemporary, somewhat magical realist takes on Austen retellings have been featured here on The Book Rat a number of times, and generally in pretty quirky, inventive ways. If I'm honest, the playful silly posts I've done with Alyssa tend to be some of my favorite; no staid, same-ole rounds of 20 questions here...

This year, there's not a new Austenesque story to feature during the upcoming Austen in August -- BUT Alyssa does have a non-Austen book about to be released, which is (you guess it) a fun, contemporary, somewhat magical realist take on romance!  

Related side note: a few years ago, I did a Book Chat about bookish buzzwords, phrases and topics that are guaranteed to pique my interest and make me want to read a book. Though I don't believe the phrase "kitchen witch" made the list, it most definitely should have, so earlier this year, when Alyssa mentioned on Facebook that her next book was a kitchen witch romance, my ears perked up and I arfed like a seal. Metaphorically speaking. (Maybe.)

So here, in our traditional quirky goofball style, I've gone to "visit" Opal-the-kitchen-witch's Supper Club for a little consultation of my own...

Check out how our meeting went, join in on the Supper Club antics in the comments, if you're so inclined, and then make sure to stop back by in September for my review!

A sign has been left on the front door of Jade’s purple house, asking Misty to come around back. Misty -- complete with pink pin-curled hair -- appears at the edge of the backyard and takes it all in: the sprawling oak tree with swing, the koi pond and bridge, the garden gnomes, cherubs, gazing balls…

Jade (bobbed blond hair, blue eyes, wearing jeans and an Arrow t-shirt that reads, “You have failed this city” -- Misty likes her instantly.): “Take your time. It’s a lot to process. But allow me to offer a disclaimer: all this was here before we moved in. I’m Jade, by the way.”

Misty reaches to shake her hand just as Opal pops out the French doors, carrying a platter. (She’s wearing a gray tiered skirt, a deep teal t-shirt with a lariat belt and cowboy boots.)  Opal: “Misty, right?" Misty nods and smiles. "Va-va-voom! Very film noir. Are you packing a flask, or maybe a pistol?” She winks. “We’ll all be on our best behavior, just in case.”

Misty says "I may or may not have a pistol-shaped flask about my person..."

Jade: “It’s just going to be the three of us. Max had to work, and I sent Evie—my thirteen-year-old—next door. Believe me, this little chat would have derailed so hard if she’d stayed. But I needed Opal. I have virtually no skills in the kitchen, and she has lots. And not just your normal skills,”—her eyes widened dramatically—“magic skills. She’s basically a witch. Which is why I asked you those pre-dinner questions, about your life goals and food preferences. She was only curious about your life goals, but I’m a little more sensitive.” Whispering, “There’s no seafood on the menu tonight.”

Misty mouths 'Thank you!'

Opal elbows her. “You are definitely progressing in the kitchen, both cooking and eating.”

Jade: “Max is a surprisingly good cook.”

Opal, innocently: “I understand Max is good at a lot of things.”

Jade, sardonically: “And he knows it, too.” Misty looks back and forth between the two of them as Jade eyes the platter Opal has set at the center of the table. “What are those, and why am I just seeing them now?” Laying innocently on the white ceramic is a tiny scattering of spring-green leaves topped with red-orange buds bursting with flecked white filling. “These weren’t on the menu,” she informs Misty.

“Because I wanted to postpone this reaction,” Opal says. “I made these specifically for Misty.” Jade sighs with relief. “But we’ll all be partaking.”

Jade's lips fold in on themselves. “What did Misty do to deserve having to eat these?”

Misty laughs: "Actually, I'm totally game!" She looks at Jade, her eyes twinkling. "I love nasturtiums."

Jade gives her a betrayed look, but Opal chuckles and says: “Evidently she fell victim to a wild and crazy life.”

"Oh yeah, wild and crazy, alright," Misty mutters.

Opal smiles at Misty's blush. “And now she wants a little calm and consistency. Enter Opal Trevalyn, kitchen witch.” She curtsied in Misty’s direction. “At your service.”

Jade: “I thought the zinnias were going to deal with her wild and crazy life.” She gestured toward the cheerful centerpiece, boasting ruffly flowers ranging from fuchsia to bright yellow.

Opal: “The centerpiece is Plan A, because zinnias invoke a feeling of constancy, which should help Misty maintain a workable schedule and a stable, reliable lifestyle. And because their beaming little faces inspire friendship.

Misty smiles warmly.

Jade: “Plan A sounds pretty comprehensive.”

Opal: “But I have a Plan B, because I suspect Misty is up for experimental dining, and because I like to see you squirm. Nasturtiums—which are totally edible—gird you for battle, which should help vanquish her schedule woes. The lemon offers up staying power so she can persevere, and cream cheese makes all the magic work harder. Just think of it like a squash blossom.”

Misty lets out a happy 'Mmm,' as Jade says: “If the zinnias fizzle, she might need more than one glorified squash blossom. I’ll just hold off and see if there are any leftovers.”

Opal: “Think back, Jade. Remember a few months ago when I helped you through a little personal trauma?”

Jade: “I do.”

Opal: “Then maybe try to trust that I won’t poison you.” Then pointedly, “Sometimes you just have to take a little risk…”

Jade: “Fine. I’ll try the war flowers, but I’m going to need a drink first.”

Misty pats the hip of her a-line dress. "Now where did I put that flask..." she says, with a laugh in Jade's direction.  Once they’re all seated at the patio table, Jade pours from a pitcher of margaritas.

Jade, proudly: “I made these. With a little help from my best friend Elena, who lives next door. It’s entirely possible she’s watching us through binoculars right now.” Jade turns to wave toward the fenceline.

Opal, to Misty: “Dinner should be much less controversial, as all of it is Jade-approved. Sesame-marinated steaks, Hasselback potatoes, jicama slaw, and my grandmother’s carrot cake." Misty's eyes light up at the mention of carrot cake, and Opal laughs. "I’ll tell you a little bit about the magic of each dish as we go along. Sound good? Spoiler: the carrot cake packs a wallop of good vibes with cinnamon boosting success and vanilla enhancing your mental prowess. You are walking out of here a pillar of consistency, lady!”

Misty smiles and holds up crossed fingers. They hear footsteps coming around the side of the house, and suddenly a blonde teenager pops into view.

Evie to Misty: “Hi, I’m Evie. I love your hair!”

Misty grins widely. "Nice to meet you, Evie. That's actually my best friend's name you know."

Evie looks like she's about to say something else, but Jade says: “You weren’t invited to this little party, remember?”

Evie: “Don’t worry. I’m just getting something from my room. I’ll be gone in a flash.”

Jade, suspiciously: “What are you getting from your room?”

Evie, moving closer to Misty, biting her lip. “Did it hurt to get pierced right there? What do guys think about that?”

Misty gives a conspiratorial grin and Jade says, exasperated: “Seriously, this child has no filter. Since she’s here, she can be the first to try the war flower…”

Evie’s gaze whipped up to settle on the platter. Her face transformed into a grimace just before she tossed Misty a quick wave and bolted back across the lawn.

Jade smiled. “Works every time.”

They laugh and dig in, though Jade's eyes are darting around like she's looking for somewhere to stash her "war flower" when no one's looking . . . 

Just Say Yes by Alyssa Goodnight
Get It | Add It
Contemporary / Cozy Fantasy
Expected publication: August 24th 2015 by Entangled: Select Contemporary
Jade Moran’s chance meeting with kitchen witch Opal Trevalyn is a magical beginning. In just ten minutes she goes from being an unattached, single mom with a hideous kitchen to being introduced to sexy contractor Max Gianopoulis and cautiously considering everything he’s offering.

Convinced Max is a player and that she can handle the game, she flirts harmlessly during the remodel. But when things get steamy between them at Opal’s Supper Club, and Jade goes home with a bag of treats guaranteed to move things sexily along, she can’t resist testing them out—to excellent result.

Within two weeks, Max has essentially moved in, and Jade is astonished by her change in attitude—and warily wondering if Opal’s kitchen witchery might be responsible. But when the threat of blackmail looms, it no longer matters—Jade backs away from Max. Until Opal offers up a little unconventional, perhaps even magical, advice.

Alyssa Goodnight is the author of the Jane Austen's Diary series (AUSTENTATIOUS, AUSTENSIBLY ORDINARY) and a Regency historical, UNLADYLIKE PURSUITS. Her books have been mentioned in FIRST for Women, Woman's World, and Entertainment Weekly. Her latest, JUST SAY YES, will be released August 24, 2015.

Alyssa is a Texas girl who dreams of British accents (and gets her fix watching Masterpiece Mystery). Keep up with her on her website at alyssagoodnight.com

Or visit her on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest.

[Note from Misty: Yes, you really can eat nasturtiums (and a whole host of other flowers), and yes, I really do. Yum!]

1 comment:

  1. Ah yes, you had me at 'kitchen witch' too. Fun little staging with the characters. I look forward to Alyssa's latest.


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