are in the 70’s.
November’s officially arrived.
From my view point, my
back porch, I see the Florida foliage has slowly but surely
changed in color. We’ve turned off the air conditioners-and evenings
are almost cool enough for hearty winter meals.
“Stew?” Bill asks.
that hearty,” I reply. “Like everybody else, we better get energized.
The holiday’s are just around the bend- the race to get everything
done- is on! Turkey, stuffing, trimmings and of course pie!”
“Apple pie…topped with a slice
of cheese?” Bill asks, with his ‘hungry-man’ grin.
Ah, my mom always said, ‘a way
to a man’s heart was through his stomach!’ “Of course, I’ll make apple
pie! I’ve dusted off the cook books and I’m already deciding which pies
to bake for the company that will gather at our home for Thanksgiving.
I’ll probably make pumpkin, and lemon meringue, and blueberry. And yes,
Bill…even walnut! But first we are heading north.”
“Think you should make a pie
for the road?”
This month’s interview is with
Siri L. Mitchell. As a military spouse, she has traveled and lived in
different parts of the world, including Paris and Tokyo. She currently
resides in the Washington DC metro area. She is fluent in French and is
currently mastering the skill of sushi making.
A graduate of the University of
Washington, Siri has written several chick lits, including Chateau
of Echoes and The Cubicle Next Door,
which were Christy Award finalists. Out this fall, Siri’s latest novel
is headlining in historical romance.
have traveled to and lived in other countries. What did you miss most
about life in the U.S.A. and wished for while you were away?
able to drive a car and park it. Somewhere. Anywhere! While I loved the
pedestrian-friendly lifestyles of Tokyo and Paris, I really, really
wished I would have been able to go grocery shopping with my car
instead of my own two feet. A bag of oranges, a pack of yogurts, a box
of laundry detergent . . . it can get quite heavy!
you could make your own country—Siri’s Country—what would the recipe
Siri: In my
country, people would enjoy life the way the French do. They would also
have at least five weeks of vacation days (– paid!). But when they
worked, they would do it with the attention to detail that the Japanese
have. And, like the Japanese, they would actually notice the world
around them. Things like the flowers in the park or the individual
leaves on trees. People in my country would never be too busy to sit on
their front porches and talk. They would be laid-back, like the people
in Australia, and they would have the same easy way of conversing as
people in the South. They would tell great stories like my Aunt
Shirley, and when they say they’ll do something, they would actually
follow through. In my world, kids could run out the door to play in the
morning and not come back until the afternoon. They could do that
because in my county, just like in Japan, it would be safe.
Thanksgiving is celebrated this month—what tradition has your family
reserved for this day? Do you go “all out,” or do you all go
very traditional at our house. Turkey, cranberries, stuffing, and
potatoes, green bean casserole, sweet potatoes . . . but we always have
chocolate pie for dessert! (Nothing against pumpkin, it’s just given
the choice, I prefer chocolate.)
you say a grace before your meals, and if you do would you like to
share your blessing with us?
we do, but it varies from day to day. When my husband and I worked with
a youth group in Paris, the youth minister always included this phrase
in his grace: “Thanks for the food you’ve given us, because we know
that not everyone gets to eat today.” I always found that especially
speak English and French fluently; any other languages?
tried learning Japanese before we moved to Tokyo, but the language has
three different ways of “spelling” words and at least three different
ways of counting. At that point in my life, it required too much
concentration. If I ever move back, however, I’ve already promised
myself that I will make the effort!
you have a favorite quote? If it’s in anything other than English,
would you interpret it for us?
have a favorite motto: Sisu. It’s a Finnish word
that’s almost untranslatable, but Finns use it to define their national
character. It’s signifies something close to determination and
perseverance over a long period of time. Believe me, you need a whole
lot of sisu in this profession! My great-grandmother was Finnish, so I
guess I come by my fascination with the word honestly.
For more information on sisu,
fall weather floods my mind of childhood memories. Would you feel like
telling us of one of your own autumn antiquities?
autumn, too. It’s my favorite season! And one of my best memories is
the year my parents took my sister and I out of school for two weeks
and drove up to New England to see the changing leaves. It was gorgeous
beyond all description, and we were able to visit so many important
places in American history. Weren’t my parents cool?!
you please tell us all about, “Siri Games?”
Siri Games is a link on my Web site to a Web page filled with computer
games that my brother-in-law developed. He was a programmer for Sony
online games and worked on EverQuest and PlanetSide (which makes him a
super-star in the world of online gaming). At the moment he’s learning
how to program for wii, so Siri Games are wii compatible.
your current project?
Siri: I just
turned in Love’s Pursuit, the book that will
release in June 2009. It’s set in Puritan New England and investigates
the amazing lengths to which God will go to pursue us. A classic love
story, it also includes the fashion element of Puritan America’s dress
codes. I hope to start on a third historical for Bethany in October.
The third book will be set in 1890s New York City. It was an era when
tight-laced corseting was still practiced and high society women lived
their lives in the fishbowl of celebrity culture the same way those in
Hollywood do today.
Enter the Bethany House contest
for a digital camera, in connection with this book!
your books been translated into other languages? Did you write them
first in English?
haven’t been published in any other languages that I’m aware of. The
medieval portions of Chateau of Echoes (the
character Alix’s journals) were written in French first. I did a near
word-to-word translation to English to give it a medieval feel. The
diary entries in Kissing Adrien were also written
in French first so that they would retain a French “accent.” I find I
think and react differently in English than I do in French, so it’s
important for me to write in a character’s primary language.
you ever had a deadline around or during the holidays? Are
you very organized, or disorganized? What was your biggest
fear of how you’d accomplish your task?
And worse: I’ve had to do two different sets of galleys in the middle
of moves. I would not recommend it! My greatest fear, of course, was
missing my deadline and putting everyone else off schedule. In general,
I set my personal deadlines well in advance of my editor’s deadline.
That way if I’m late for any reason, the only person it affects is me.
have been asked many questions during your career, but would you like
to share a little-bit about yourself, with your fans? Something they
haven’t asked, but you think they would enjoy hearing about?
love my kitchen! We just moved over the summer. Our new house was built
in the 1920s, but the kitchen was renovated several years ago. The
previous owners chose to put in granite countertops and caramel-colored
hardwood cabinets. They also put in a large bay window over the sink.
It’s one of my favorite features because it fills the kitchen with
light. They also put in a high-end stove and oven, but frankly, they’re
still a bit intimidating. I’m going to share with you my secret for
kicking a meal up a notch. It’s a cheese from France called Boursin.
A bit creamier than cream
cheese, the classic Boursin is laced with garlic and fine herbs. It’s a
perfect let-everyone-make-their-own appetizer if you put out some bread
and crackers. At the American Embassy in Paris, they sometimes use it
to stuff celery. It makes to-die-for garlic bread, and you can even add
a bit to casseroles that call for sour cream or cream cheese. And last
of all, it’s a perfect but subtle addition to white or alfredo sauces.
As long as we’re talking about
cheese, let me tell you how to properly cut one. (I learned this from
some friends in France.) Ideally, you want to retain the same
shape/proportion as the original and/or cut it in a way that will leave
others with the same rind-to-cheese ratio. For a cylindrical cheese
like Boursin, cut the cheese into wedges like you would cut a pizza or
a pie. For a Brie or camembert that you buy in a wedge, cut it along
the length so that the cheese will still retain its tip. A log of goat
cheese should be cut into discs. And a flat square of cheese can be cut
at a diagonally in half and then into triangles.
is great! Think I’ll try it out on my guests for Thanksgiving. Thank
you Siri, I’ve enjoyed this. Hope you have a wonderful holiday season…
and may God bless you and your family.
Valerie Anne Faulkner, a New
York native moved to the Gulf Coast of Florida in 1973. Author of I
Must Be in Heaven: A Promise Kept, she spends her days
working side by side with her husband, Bill, as an electrician, then
evenings, as a writer. The CFOM interviews have
been a great way for her to meet other authors and hone her writing
craft. This back porch writer’s family is very important to her, and
she cherishes time spent with her three grown children and six
grandchildren. A few hours with family or a day enjoying one of
Florida’s Gulf beaches are her favorite ways to relieve stress and
refresh from her busy lifestyle. Valerie’s motto is “A day with prayer
. . . seldom unravels.” Visit her at www.imustbeinheaven.com.