We're delighted to have Stephanie Kate Strohm with us to chat about her latest novel, LOVE À LA MODE.
Stephanie, what was your inspiration for writing LOVE À LA MODE?
My inspiration for writing LOVE A LA MODE came out of two things - my love of cooking, and the semester I studied abroad in France while I was in college. I wasn't in Paris - I was in Poitiers, about an hour and half south of Paris - and during my time in France, I felt like I really learned a lot about myself. It was my first big adventure on my own, and I really wanted to capture that sense of falling in love with a place and how that changes who you are. And of course, I think France has the greatest baking culture in the world, and I wanted to share that!
What scene was really hard for you to write and why, and is that the one of which you are most proud? Or is there another scene you particularly love?
I had the hardest time writing the first two chapters - and then they ended up getting totally cut! What is the first chapter now was originally the third chapter. Turned out I didn't need all the background exposition that I thought I did! My favorite scene, however, is the very last one in the book. I'm so proud of it - I feel like it really captures exactly what I was going for with this book. Plus, it takes place on top of the Eiffel Tower!
What did this book teach you about writing or about yourself?
This book taught me how hard it is to step out of your writing comfort zone. Everything I've written previously was in first person - LOVE A LA MODE is in a close third person from dual perspectives. I think I grew a lot as a writer by pushing myself, but changing things up was harder than I expected it to be!
What do you hope readers will take away from LOVE À LA MODE?
I hope readers will think about the foods they love and why they love them. I hope readers will think about how food brings family together - either the family you're born with or the one your create. And most of all, I hope readers will want to explore, whether it's by traveling or trying something new!
What's your writing ritual like? Do you listen to music? Work at home or at a coffee shop or the library, etc?
I mostly work at home while listening to music, but sometimes I like to mix it up and work at a coffee shop. The only thing I DON'T like to do is write in total silence - I need noise!
ABOUT THE BOOKLove à la Mode
by Stephanie Kate Strohm
Take two American teen chefs, add one heaping cup of Paris, toss in a pinch of romance, and stir. . . .
Rosie Radeke firmly believes that happiness can be found at the bottom of a mixing bowl. But she never expected that she, a random nobody from East Liberty, Ohio, would be accepted to celebrity chef Denis Laurent's school in Paris, the most prestigious cooking program for teens in the entire world. Life in Paris, however, isn't all cream puffs and crepes. Faced with a challenging curriculum and a nightmare professor, Rosie begins to doubt her dishes.
Henry Yi grew up in his dad's restaurant in Chicago, and his lifelong love affair with food landed him a coveted spot in Chef Laurent's school. He quickly connects with Rosie, but academic pressure from home and his jealousy over Rosie's growing friendship with gorgeous bad-boy baker Bodie Tal makes Henry lash out and push his dream girl away.
Desperate to prove themselves, Rosie and Henry cook like never before while sparks fly between them. But as they reach their breaking points, they wonder whether they have what it takes to become real chefs.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Although she was born in New York, she currently lives in Chicago, and doesn't discriminate against any type of pizza. When she's not writing, she loves baking, walking her dog Lorelei, taking dance cardio classes too seriously, and playing board games with her husband.
Have you had a chance to read LOVE À LA MODE yet? How do you go about stepping outside of your writing comfort zone? Do you prefer noise or silence when you write? Share your thoughts about the interview in the comments!
Jocelyn, Halli, Martina, Erin, Susan, Shelly, and Kelly