Shannon here: Southern Fiction author, Ane Mulligan shares the story behind her latest release, Chapel Springs Revival, recipe for Sweet Potatoes in Orange Halves, plus a chance to win a copy of her Chapel Springs cookbook. Comment or answer the question at the end of the post to enter the drawing. Deadline: Dec 19th, 11:59 pm central time. Here’s Ane:
The second book in my Chapel Lake series, Chapel Springs Survival, came from a real life event—and became a mother’s retribution. (Insert creepy music and evil laughter.)
The day started out normal, boring even. Then I got a phone call from our eldest son.
“Hey, Mom. I emailed you some pictures. Take a look and call me back.”
He hung up. Without even asking how I was. I hurried to my computer.
I opened his email, and the first photo was of a nice looking, very Latin appearing young woman. Something told me she wasn’t from here. I clicked on the second photo. It was a picture of her in a wedding dress.
I hit speed dial.
It seems our Michael, a widower with two young children, had gotten himself a 21st Century mail order bride. He met her in a chat room for women in Columbia, South America, to meet and marry American men. They communicated for a year, then he flew to Columbia and married her.
Without us knowing anything.
He came back and spent the next year trying to get her into the U.S. legally.
Did I mention it was without us knowing anything?
He didn’t tell us until she got here. Our two grandchildren knew. His brother knew. But we didn’t. Do you remember that old margarine commercial, where the woman said, “It’s not nice to fool Mother Nature” and zapped someone? That’s what I said. I told him for not telling me, it was going in a book. And it did.
Now, I have to tell you that any similarity between our son’s story and my book stops there. Our daughter-in-law turned out to be the best thing that ever happened to our Michael. We adore her and our two step-grandsons and the newest Mulligan grandson.
Their story turned out to be a romantic love story, one orchestrated by God. But that wouldn’t have made a good novel. There was no conflict. However, when you add Claire Bennett and Mayor Felix Riley into that mix, there’s plenty. To find out how it turns out, you’ll have to buy Chapel Springs Survival. Here’s a recipe from the Chapel Springs Cookbook:
Sweet Potatoes in Orange Halves
Wonderful for Thanksgiving or Christmas From Tillie Payne
7 large sweet potatoes, about 3 lbs
4 large oranges, halved
1 stick unsalted butter
1/2 cup light brown sugar
3 large eggs
3/4 cup fresh orange juice
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup brandy*
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
Bake potatoes at 400° until tender (about 1 hour). Remove from the oven and let rest until cool enough to handle. Reduce oven temp to 350° F.
Scoop out the pulp from the orange halves, leaving only the shell. Set the shells aside to be filled later.
While still warm, either peel the potatoes or scoop out the pulp and place it in a large bowl. Toss the skins and stringy fibers. Add butter and beat out lumps with an electric mixer. Add sugar, eggs, orange juice, heavy cream, and brandy, and mix until smooth. Finally, add the cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Mix well, and add more seasoning if needed.
Spoon the sweet potato mixture into the orange halves, rounding off and smoothing the top. Bake until puffed and slightly golden, about 20 minutes.
*If you’re a Southern Baptist or a teetotaler, you can skip the brandy. Tillie Payne’s late husband was a Baptist preacher. But when he learned that the alcohol baked out, and he could safely indulge in these delectable sweet taters, he became Tillie’s biggest fan.
About Ane: While a large, floppy straw hat is her favorite, Ane has worn many different ones: hairdresser, legislative affairs director (that’s a fancy name for a lobbyist), drama director, playwright, humor columnist, and novelist. Her lifetime experience provides a plethora of fodder for her Southern-fried fiction (try saying that three times fast). She firmly believes coffee and chocolate are two of the four major food groups. President of the award-winning literary site, Novel Rocket, Ane resides in Sugar Hill, GA, with her artist husband and two wooly mammoths, otherwise known as English mastiffs. Learn more and connect:
About the book – Chapel Springs Survival: A mail-order bride, a town overrun with tourists, and illegal art ~
Can Claire and Chapel Springs survive?
Claire Bennett’s Operation Marriage Revival succeeded and life is good. That is until the mayor’s brother blabs a secret: Claire’s nineteen-year-old son has married a Brazilian mail order bride. When Claire tries to welcome her, she’s ridiculed, rebuffed, and rejected. Loving this girl is like hugging a prickly cactus.
Lydia Smith is happily living alone and running her spa—then the widow on the hill becomes a blushing bride. Then her groom’s adult son moves in—on everything.
From the first sighting of a country music star in The Painted Loon, Chapel Springs is inundated with stargazers, causing residents to flee the area. When her best friends put their house on the market, Claire is forced to do something or lose the closest thing to a sister she’s got.
With her son’s future at stake and the town’s problems to solve, it’s Claire’s who needs a guardian angel.
Question for readers: Have you ever lived in or visited the south? What part?
Come back Dec 9th for Cynthia L. Simmons!