Author Connie Hope | Between The Covers…
This week on Between the Covers, we feature New Jersey native, Connie Hope.
She has authored three books; two cookbooks and a fun mystery novel: In Addition to the Entrée, Soups, and Stews…Comfort by the Spoonful, and The Bonnie Neuk Tea Room: Friends and Uninvited Guests (Ghosts).
Writing a cookbook is a stretch from fiction. I asked Connie how she got interested in cooking.
“My first experience cooking was on a chair next to my mother. Then I learned to add spices and herbs, create appetizers, mix fruits and vegetables to make salsas and chutneys, use fruits to make jellies, jams, and experiment with all types of ingredients to make homemade soups.”
Since cooking for Connie is a personal thing that encompasses some precious childhood memories, she keeps her cookbooks personal too by adding a special touch.
“Cookbooks are a different type of writing style. I put the recipe down then I add information where I got the recipe, who from and other information.”
Connie has a new cookbook in the works.
“I am working on a third cookbook—The Hap-py Appetizer.”
She doesn’t have a release date for her latest work because of one of the major challenges for authors – the price of being one!
“Self-publishing is expensive. I print my books in China through my son’s company. You pay for all the books upfront and they are shipped to you from China. So, I have all my books in my garage.”
Connie shared her childhood dreams of being a writer.
“I have always loved to write. I won a writing contest when I was 10 years old and told my mother I wanted to be a writer. She said to find a profession that pays.”
If cost isn’t enough of a hindrance for writers, storage space always factors into the size of how large one’s backlist can be.
Connie explains what (or who) finally gave her the motivation to start writing!
“I have only really written my books when I came to Florida 15 years ago and had time to sit down to write. It was about 14 years ago that I was sitting around my pool here in Florida. I was reading a book and fell asleep. Someone tapped me on the shoulder. I woke up and looked around and there was no one there. So I started reading the book again. Someone said to me ‘It’s time to write your books. Go to it NOW.’ And who was that person? So that is what I did. I started on my first cookbook, In Addition to the Entrée the next day and the rest is history.”
I asked Connie how she measures success as an author.
“When you are self-published it is difficult to measure success. I go to churches to their fairs to sell my books. I also go to events at the Libraries in the area. I enjoy speaking at events and selling myself.”
One of the ways Connie has grown as a writer is she has found the more she writes, the more confidence she gets in your writing and expanding her thoughts. She encourages new authors to “Write what you enjoy writing, make sure you use a software program to correct things and just keep writing.”
Connie explains why she needed to write (besides the fact she might get an angelic visitor if she didn’t)!
“We each have something to say in life. Some talk it and some write it. I write it. I am enthusiastic about what I do and enjoy talking and teaching people. It is always exciting when I have completed a book. (It’s a defining moment) …the feeling that it is complete and all my feelings are incorporated in the book.”
In Addition to the Entrée (courtesy of Amazon.com)
“It’s all about sides. This is a cookbook that is geared toward the busy and working person who doesn’t have a lot of time to spend cooking but wants to have a good meal. All it takes is one side dish to transform the entrée into a complete meal. In Addition…to the Entrée is all about side dishes. It has fourteen sections, one hundred and ninety recipes, over two hundred colored photographs and many sketches to let you experience the recipes first hand and dazzle your taste buds. It explains what makes a pepper hot or how the heck you cut up that pumpkin or mango. It has side comments and bits of information to add to your knowledge as a great cook. Chef hats are used to show the difficulty of each recipe.”
Connie’s books have fantastic reviews. Here is the synopsis from her mystery:
The Bonnie Neuk Tea Room: Friends and Uninvited Guests (Ghosts) (The Bonnie Neuk Tea Room Paranormal Mystery Series) (Volume 1) (courtesy of Amazon.com)
“When her twenty-five-year-old marriage ends, Victoria is seeking a new life that will challenge her. She researches different ventures, but when her cell phone rings and someone on the other end suggests she ‘open a tea room in her hometown of Metuchen, New Jersey like her grandmother’, it gets her thinking about the possibilities. And who called with that suggestion? Her new life starts with the purchase of an old house to be transformed into the Bonnie Neuk Tea Room—named after her grandmother’s tea room. She meets new friends, participates in several séances, uses her new psychic abilities, and encounters several uninvited guests. One is looking for some kind of invention and needs her help. Life is becoming interesting for Victoria Storm: filled with adventure, romance, and mystery, and many tempting recipes. All the while at The Bonnie Neuk, she serves delicious teas, freshly baked scones and encounters mysteries of all kinds.”