A little MDBC inspiration

“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?

Heather and her culinary masterpiece
Heather Vogel with her culinary masterpiece

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?

Yep. Me.

My mother helped, too, of course. But as far as I was concerned, this was my baby!

HVF wedding cake closeup
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.


58 thoughts on “A little MDBC inspiration”

  1. Beautiful! I love the MDBC!! It’s so cool that you got your inspiration for Jess and her mom from your own experience! 🙂 Love those frosting flowers!! Now I want some CAKE. 😀

  2. Wow that is really cool 🙂 that’s how I usually start writing too is to base my stories off of a memory or achievement 😀
    Love the cake; it’s beautiful!! What happens when you have writers block? I’m at that point right now, ughhh

  3. Hey do you know if you’re going to do any more books in the MDBC b/c me and my friend vowed to read the frist book during 5th and the second during 6th and so on. Being able to have a book before our last year in high school would be a major blessing.

      • Hi please make an 8th book and if possible books up until there weddings like in Betsy-Tacy except your books don’t start off when they are 5 years old! I love your books and my favorite characters are Mrs. Chadwick and Rupert Loomis. Moooo!!!!! Please make another book

  4. Wow. The cake looks good. The frosting flowers look great too. Oh, will there be an S.S.S this week Mrs. Frederick?

  5. How cool heather! Quick question: when is it your birthday?(don’t worry you dont have to give me the year.) 😉
    Oh and when it is your b-day, do u make your own cake ir buy it or what do you do for your birthday for someone in your family? Thanks for reading!

    -orchid 🙂

    • My birthday is January 3rd, Orchid. And our family tradition is to make a chocolate cake with chocolate frosting (our favorite recipe), then decorate it with M&Ms! Or, in my husband’s case, candy corn, which is his guilty treat… Either way, yum! 🙂

  6. I’m fourteen and I decorate cakes too. I’m taking a class in my homeschool group and it is really fun! I have quite a knack for frosting roses, just like Jess!

  7. Wow, I totally love this! It’s cool how authors can get so much inspiration from personal expirience. I really love looking through albums and seeing things that have happened, then incorporating how I felt into my chracter’s feelings in a story, if that makes any sense.

  8. Wow! That looks great! I’ve only made one cake before and that wasn’t even a multiple-tiered cake! `Love it! I love the MDBC

  9. Your cake looks AMAZING! I love how you got your book ideas from your life! Which character is most like you? I think Jess is most like me, I even look the same!

    • When I was your age, Kitty, I was a mix of Emma (obvious reasons) and Jess, because I used to be super shy! 🙂

      • I’m close to the same, I’m super shy, but really smart like Jess, then an ultra reader like Emma





  11. That’s soooo nice!! I love it when authors get their idea’s
    from reality! After all, reality makes the best fiction!!!

  12. Hi Heather

    I just wanted to make sure if there was actually a 7th book in the MDBC series. I love it SOOOOOOOOO Much! Also, when will the cover be released if there is one? If there is a 7th book, when will the actual book be released?
    PS- I love your writing!

    • YES! I’m writing the first draft right now. A cover won’t be along for a while, though. I’ll keep you posted here on the blog, OK?

  13. Quick question. I was reading ‘Wish you were Eyre’ today and was wondering, which person do you think your most like???


    • WHen I was your age, I was a mix of Emma (obvious reasons) and Jess (because I love animals and because I used to be super shy). Now, I just hope I’m more like Mrs. Hawthorne than Mrs. Chadwick ha ha! 🙂

      • Yes. I’m more like Jess. I used to be the shy, anti-social person. That is, until one of my friends taught me to not care about what other people think. Obviously, I still do. But, I like being myself.

        • I wish I could be more like myself without being judged, I really want to do a show(in the theater) without people from school, minus one guy who is really nice and doesn’t judge me anyhow, for those very reasons.

  14. Dear Heather,
    I just LOVE the MDBC series!! I wish it would go on forever!!! Are the characters based on reall people? We actually started a book club because of your books!! Thank you so much for writing them! I wish we could meet you! We are planning a trip to Boston to see the Orchard House just like the book! Will there be another book to the series? I would just love for it to go on! Your writings are GREATLY appreciated!!!!
    Au revoir,

    • Thanks for your enthusiasm, Jordan! I’m so thrilled you’re going to visit Concord — you’ll love it! Be sure and go to Kimball’s Farm for ice cream if you get a chance… SOME of the characters are inspired by real people, including Emma (there’s a lot of me when I was your age in her). And yes, I am working on a 7th (and really final, this time) book in the series. Have fun in Boston! 🙂

  15. I LOVE the Mother Daughter Book Club series!! I am so excited that you are writing a 7th book, but sad that it is really going to be you final book in the series. When is the book coming out? I am in a mother daughter book club myself, and most of the girls in the book club love the MDBC too. It would be awesome if we could read your books for our book club books, but since three of us have already read them, we can’t. Right now we are reading Murder on the Orient Express, by Agatha Christe. I can’t wait to read it!! I love mysteries, especially Agatha Christe ones. What kind of books do you like to read? Well, I have to go now, my sister wants to comment on you blog too, and I’m afraid I am taking up to much time writing this post!

    Ta Ta!

    • I love Agatha Christie! What a fun book club read! And yes, there is going to be a 7th. I’m writing it this summer – not sure of the exact publication date yet, but will have more information once the book is finished. As for what I like to read, I’m an omnivore (which means I eat — and read — anything). I’m especially fond of non-fiction, biography, history, that sort of thing, these days. Ta ta! 🙂

  16. Dear Heather,
    I am a HUGE fan of the Mother-Daughter Book Club books!!! The fact that these girls have almost nothing in common but are best friends is awesome. I love how cozy all of the meetings that they have sound.I am in a MBDC too and love it. All of the girls in it are really good friends like Cassidy, Emma, Megan, and Jess.I want to be a writer like you someday.I used to always dream up stories but was never able to write them down. Now I have a little notebook where I write my stories down and am even finishing up a submission to a children’s fiction magazine, Stone Soup. Did you have any trouble while becoming a author? When did you decide to be one? Did anyone inspire you to be one?How come did you become one of the best authors of all time?

    • So happy to know that you’re a fan, Rose! Thanks for your enthusiasm! 🙂 If you hop on over to the FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) page on my website, you’ll find the answers to most of your questions. Once you’ve had a chance to look those over, if you still want to ask me something, either email me or leave a comment here and I’ll answer, OK? 😉

  17. heather, would you call, basing on real life but like almost entirely changing it, as in taking a certain person and a similar story but tell it from a different perspective, fan fiction?

    • Hmmm. No, I don’t think so, Ems. Fan fiction is when you take an author’s characters and put them in new situations, write them new adventures.

    • Nope — it’s going to take place during the summer between graduating from high school and going off to college…

  18. Whenever I come up with ideas for stories, they always seem so stupid when I look at them the next day. Should I keep going with them or start again? I feel like I have writers block that lasts forever 🙂

    • Haha, Amelia, the same thing used to happen to me when I was starting out. You might keep going with them for a while, or feel free to begin a new one. At your stage of the game, the main thing is to keep writing. And keep it FUN. So, if you’re tired of one story, it’s perfectly fine to start another one. EVENTUALLY a story will feel more promising, and it will grab you by the collar and won’t let go. Then you know you have a keeper. 🙂

  19. Love the cake, Heather! <3 I've always had a thing for designing and everyone says I am very organized. I want to be a event planner when I am older.

  20. I have the exact same problem as Amelia! It’s so annoying! I started writing stories about a year and a half ago and I’ve always had that problem! I have too many ideas! I get one, start to write it, then get a new idea and trash the old one! Also, I think that maybe my brain just thinks that my stories aren’t good enough. A couple of months ago I just kind of stopped writing all together. I still say that I love writing and everything, but I haven’t gotten back to it yet. Also, I get dragged down trying to do the prep work about the characters that I loose interest! Sorry, I just said a lot of stuff! I’ve just been having lots of trouble!

    • Don’t worry, you’ll get back to it. That’s the way it goes when you’re first starting out, and it’s just fine, Annika. Maybe try writing shorter things — quick scenes, descriptions, that sort of thing. And DON’T JUDGE YOURSELF! Beginners can’t be experts in any field. It takes a lot of practice and experience. Just have fun with it. (And if it helps, I don’t do ANY prep work on the characters — I just let them grow as the story progresses, adding bits here and there…)

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