In The Glass Kitchen, author Linda Francis Lee combines both her love for food and her family. And who doesn’t love a good read about “sisters and the intensity of new love”? We know we do. We got the chance to ask her a few questions about the book and even snagged an excerpt that will leave you wanting more.
Photo credit: Tetra Images
SheKnows: Give us the Twitter-length pitch for The Glass Kitchen.
Linda Francis Lee: Portia flees Texas in a storm of betrayal and is shipwrecked on the island of Manhattan with nothing more than her grandmother’s cookbooks.
(As someone who loves the long form of the novel, Twitter is always a challenge for me!)
SK: You yourself, are a native Texan who now calls New York City home. Is this book based on experiences in your own life? What inspired you to write The Glass Kitchen?
LFL: With my entire family still living in Texas, my husband and I have created a sort of family here in NYC. It has been through long, lovely dinners with our close friends here that I was reminded of growing up in Texas and my mother’s own long, lovely dinner parties. It made me think of how sitting around the table with good food creates closeness and bonds, creates family.
SK: So far, you’ve had rave reviews from authors such as Elin Hilderbrand and Jen Lancaster. What do you think makes The Glass Kitchen such an “irresistible read,” as Hilderbrand puts it?
LFL: I have been blown away by the support from other authors. There is no greater gift than that sort of support.
As to what makes The Glass Kitchen work, I hope it is the combination of the bonds of sisters and the intensity of new love, combined with the richness of food that has drawn readers in.
SK: Did you encounter any challenges while writing this book? If so, what were they and how did you overcome them?
LFL: I should never admit this, but . . . I had to get back into the kitchen! I had to put Portia’s spin on the recipes she makes. In the past, I have been known for my kitchen disasters, and I had a few as I got back into cooking. But slowly it really did return, and I felt as though I had circled back to a time when my mother, sister and I created meals for all those long lovely dinner parties my mother always gave.
SK: What do you hope readers take away from The Glass Kitchen?
LFL: Despite all the talk about food in the book, really this is a book about family. If there is a main theme, it is the sense that everyone needs “family” — be it born into or cobbled together from dear friends — and that as frustrating as family can be, it is that foundation that makes life worthwhile, a jumping-off point for everything else you do. It is through the support of family that we can make it through the bumps we hit in the road, and Portia hit a big bump that sent her reeling off and landed in NYC.
SK: As the author of 21(!) novels, what the best piece of advice you have for writers out there?
LFL: I was lucky enough to have my first fiction writing professor start the very first class with: Writers Write Whether They Feel Like it Or Not. Coming up with story ideas is the easy part. I had to develop self-discipline. I had to learn to put the pages in every day, whether they are good pages or not. For me, it’s far easier to edit existing pages than staring at a blank page and needing to fill it.
SK: Is there anything else you want to add?
LFL: I loved writing The Glass Kitchen. Portia was so true and good regardless of the way people had betrayed her. Gabriel, a man always used to getting his way, was so intense in his desire of Portia, and also his need to try to figure out how to be a single parent. And then there is Ariel. I love 12-year-old Ariel, a girl who never thinks to edit what she says. It was so freeing to write her! And I hope readers will love their story.