“Where do you get your ideas?” is a question frequently asked of writers. Our #1 question, in fact. My answer, as you know if you’ve read the FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) page of this website (click here to visit it): absolutely everywhere!
Sometimes it’s fun to trace where one specific idea came from, however, and that’s what I want to do today.
Those of you familiar with my Mother-Daughter Book Club series will recall that in PIES & PREJUDICE, Jess Delaney and her mother take a cake decorating class together. Much to her surprise, Jess discovers that she actually enjoys the class (she goes along initially just to humor her mother), and that she has a knack for decorating cakes, including making frosting flowers. This comes in handy when Jess and her friends start a baking business, and then in a later book, when Jess and her mother make a wedding cake for someone special (I’m not saying whom, just in case you haven’t read the entire series yet!).
So, where did I get this idea?
Would you believe my own life?
This is me at age 12, standing proudly in front of my crowning achievement as a cake decorator. My mother and I had taken a class together earlier that year (and yes, we had fun, just like Jess and her mom did!), so when my beautiful Aunt Judy got married to my handsome Uncle Howard, guess who was asked to do the honors?
My mother helped, too, of course. But as far as I was concerned, this was my baby!
And isn’t it a beautiful baby? Three layers of my grandmother’s delicious pound cake topped with white buttercream frosting and adorned with frosting roses in two shades of pink, clustered on the top and trailing down the sides. A crowning achievement, if I say so myself!
My interest in cake decorating evaporated shortly after this photo was taken, but nothing ever goes to waste for a writer. Part of our writing process is mining memories for material. And this was one particularly sweet memory I was happy to find a spot for in one of my books.
January 28, 2013
Whatever would this world be without your wonderful novel? Although you felt that Pride and Prejudice was perhaps too “light, and bright, and sparkling,” I can assure you that the rest of us beg to disagree.
From readers who adore you and who turn to your books for entertainment, enlightenment, and yes, sometimes comfort, to those of us who fancy ourselves writers, where, I ask you, would we be without your sparkling wit to inspire us to greater heights of achievement? Or your clever dialogue and unforgettable characters to fill us with glee? Mr. Collins! Lady Catherine de Bourgh! Caroline Bingley and the featherheaded Mrs. Bennet! And of course one of literature’s most enduring and timeless couples, Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy.
Just thinking about all this makes me want to take my well-loved copy of your book from the shelf and reread it. So I think I shall, but first, let me just wish you the very happiest of anniversaries (no small feat to have remained in print for two centuries). Wherever you are, dear Jane, I hope you know how very much you and your books are loved.
Your faithful literary admirer,
Heather Vogel Frederick
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And now, because I can’t resist an excuse for a giveaway, I’d like to give one reader a copy of my own PIES & PREJUDICE (betcha can’t guess what book inspired THAT!). All you have to do to enter is leave a comment here and tell us what you love about Jane Austen and Pride and Prejudice. If you haven’t read the book yet, tell us when you plan to, OK?
US/Canada only, please. The deadline is Sunday February 3rd at midnight PST. Winner will be announced Monday, February 4th.
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This blog post is part of a 200th Anniversary Blog Hop. Be sure and hop on over to the other PRIDE AND PREJUDICE anniversary blogs by clicking here!