22 August 2012

Too Many Cooks Tour: Interview & Giveaway

Today I am on the Too Many Cooks Tour presented by I.O. Book Tours. The reason I wanted to be on this tour is because I love cooking and there's romance involved so cooking and romance is a good mix for me! So I hope you all enjoy this post and don't forget to check out the rest of the tour when you leave here. 
Check out the book:
                                Too Many Cooks by Shirley Ann Wilder
Bitter news leads a San Diego widow and widower to true love—and to a scheme to marry off their adult children, a plan that goes deliciously awry.

Gaetano Lorenzo was the sweetest man that the widowed Estelle Bennett had ever met. That morning began terribly, with awful news, but now the owner and head chef of a local San Diego ristorante was offering up Italian delights: red wine, delicious food, walks on the beach, laughter when she’d never thought she’d laugh again…. Estelle felt twenty-five. She and Gaetano had found the recipe for love, and a simple variation might just get their adult children to settle down, too. A scoop of sugar, two ladlefuls of lust, a pinch of deception and a whole 24 oz.-can of danger— Suddenly, ingredients were coming from everywhere! But kitchens are crazy places, and variety is the spice of life. And for anything to get cooked, things have to get hot.

Meet The Author:
  From the time she could hold a pencil, Shirley Ann Wilder wrote stories. Being the youngest of six children, she was overlooked many times but found wonder and magic in reading books. As a youngster she was especially fond of horse books and read every one of Walter Farley’s Black Stallion books.

That passion for horses carried over into her adult life and with her husband and four children, raised Quarter Horses and German Shepherds. Shirley’s other passion was writing, but it was put on hold until the three sons and one daughter were in high school.

After developing a severe allergy to the equine species and having to give up the major part of horse involvement, Shirley wrote a weekly column for a community newspaper and a monthly column entitled “On the Wilder Side” for the California Horseman’s News in the which she recounted the humorous episodes that happened during the Wilder Family’s horse era. Shirley also published in college literary magazines, but her real quest was to write novels.

 After taking numerous writing classes and amassing many unfinished manuscripts, one of her writing instructors suggested she join Romance Writers of America. Taking that advice she also joined the local San Diego RWA chapter has since completed six novels.  She served on the Executive Board as Co-President of RWA- San Diego for 2006 and 2007 and held several other chair positions. She credits her fellow writers for the support and encouragement that has kept her writing during recent difficult times.

Shirley Ann was widowed in January of 2008 when her husband died of stage four colon cancer after battling it bravely for three years and four months. Three of her grown children live near her in suburbs of San Diego and one son lives in Kentucky.  They have blessed her with four granddaughters and one grandson.

Since her husband’s death, Shirley has become an advocate for colonoscopies and is currently working on a non-fiction book about the grieving process and all one encounters when suffering the loss of a mate. “John was my hero and I will miss him forever, but he always encouraged me to keep writing and to stay strong.”

Now for my interview with Shirley Ann Wilder

P: How long did you know you wanted to be a writer?
S: From early memory, I’ve always wanted to be a writer. My imagination couldn’t be turned off no matter how hard my mother wanted me to pay attention and not daydream.
I wrote stories on brown grocery bags as soon as I learned to hold a pencil and crayon. Of course, I did my own illustrating. Going to the library was a door to magic for me. I wanted more than anything to write something that people would take off the shelf and pour over it as I did with every book. I don’t ever remember putting a book down before it was finished.
Sometimes I became the main character in the book. I was especially fond of horse stories and in my mind, I was always the one who tamed the wild stallion or rode the less talented horse to victory.
I broadened my scope a bit when I discovered mysteries. Yes, Nancy Drew caught my attention. I was amazed that she was able get out of the house to solve the mysteries. I was the baby of the family and I never had any time when someone wasn’t checking up on me.
In high school, I wrote one act plays for my classmates to perform in class. I think it was English class and I’m not sure why our teacher thought it would be a good lesson to try. Perhaps because we were studying Shakespeare and she was drawing a comparison to his works and what we might come up with as playwrights. None of the presentations were applauded as great theater arts, but everyone who participated received a passing grade.
I’ve used writing to express myself when speech failed me. If I couldn’t get my point across with my husband, I found writing a note helped us to better understanding. I don’t know whether it’s a blessing or sometimes a curse, but I can’t NOT write. It’s ingrained in my soul.

P: In addition to writing, do you also read? What types of genres?
S: I learned to read before I started to school and seemed to always have a book in my hand. I visited the school library at every opportunity and found solace there that helped me to escape elsewhere. My childhood wasn’t exactly a day at the beach and I found I could lose myself in books and become someone else other than who I actually was.
I like such a variety of genres and I kind of go on binges. It could be deep, dark mysteries like Karen Rose, Brenda Novak for a period of time and then switch to something light and funny like Evanovich or one of my favorites, Christy Craig. I also like Kristen Hannah books as well as Debbie Macomber and any books that deal with contemporary life situations. And I would be remiss if I didn’t name the incomparable Nora Roberts who manages to weave multiple stories into wonderful series. Lastly, my heart will always find room for Romance books because I believe there is a little romance in every book and if there isn’t, I may not take the time to read it.
I like reading some historical novels although I never had the call to write them, probably because they call for research, which was never my strong suit.
Since I hate to get rid of my favorite books, e-­‐readers have become such a plus for me. I can have as many books as I want without them taking up space in my home and I can re-­‐read my favorites any time I want.

P: What made you want to write a love story?
S: Movies had a big impact on my idea of love and romance and again, my imagination would just take off. I fell in love with the big male stars and as a teenager dreamed of what it would be like to be in love. I fell in love numerous times, but never quite so hard as when I met my husband when I was just seventeen. There was absolutely no reason I should have met the handsome young man from California as I was engaged to be married to my high school sweetheart. Somehow, Cupid saw things differently and I fell so hard that I never recovered. He was older by almost six years, but there was that little boy quality that endeared him to me. He’d been around the world and I’d barely traveled out of Oklahoma. He had dreams of being a pilot and I got airsick. He was quiet and reserved; I couldn’t stop talking. We were as different as could be and yet, there was that force that we had no control over. It had to be love because no matter how rough things got during the courtship and marriage, I could never imagine life without him. Even after decades of marriage and grandchildren, he still made my heart speed up when he’d come home from a flight.
Love stories are a way of expressing that special feeling you have for someone else. The romantic love is the most complicated and the most exciting which is probably why it’s so popular to write stories about it. Everyone wants to be in love and Romance novels allow everyone to experience those emotions, if not in reality, at least in our dreams.

P: What kind of advice can you give aspiring writers?
S: The best advice is learn the craft. I found out it isn’t enough to have the burning desire to put words on paper, but they have to be created so they are understandable to the reader. You need to know the rules and if you are very skilled and lucky, you may even get to break some of the rules as your career advances.
You need to always keep learning by reading, taking classes, attending workshops and writers’ conferences and talking to other writers. Writers are the most generous people with their knowledge. They share the things they’ve learned and if you are able to take what they tell you and avoid some of the same errors, they have done you a great favor.
Besides learning the craft, one has to have the burning desire to write no matter what. It’s easy to get discouraged after you’ve received the umpteenth rejection letter. It would be easy to throw in the towel and do something else and I’ve known several good writers who’ve done just that. They find a substitute for the writing passion and they tell me they are content. I can’t imagine doing that. Not that I don’t enjoy other outlets. I enjoy sewing and quilting and used to be very active in a horse-­‐riding club until I developed allergies. The wonderful thing about writing is that I can still enjoy those animals through the written pages of books.
Lastly, never stop reading and keep on writing. It’s surprising to me that going back to works that I’ve finished some time previously, I can see how to make it better. It’s not just the initial writing that counts but the rewriting is when you finally polish that work to the point that an editor will say yes to publishing your book. There is nothing that is more rewarding.

P: Can we expect more books from you in the future?
S: Absolutely. I have seven finished novels just waiting to be polished and submitted. I did find a common thread throughout my books that seems to express what touches my heart. My writing tends to lean toward strong women with a deep desire to create a family in spite of hardship and complications. Of course there is always a hero because we all want the knight in shining armor to come riding in on the white horse to save the day, if not the heroine. Being a mother was always the most important job to me and in my books children play a huge part in the plot. Love is the glue that holds families together, the band-­‐aid that repairs broken dreams and the emotion that gives one the strength to move forward and not look back.

*Speed Round*
P: Tacos or Chicken? 
S: Tacos
P: Pens or Pencils?
S: Pencils (especially colored ones)
P: Night or Day? 
S: Day
P: Pepsi or Coke 
S: Coke
P: Sunshine or Rain? 
S: Usually sunshine, but love the rain in winter. 

Before I share the giveaway with you here are a few of the places where you can buy the book.
All Romance
Apple iBooks

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Great blog post, Shirley! I love hearing more about your journey as an author!

  2. Great interview Shirley!!!

    Congratulations on the new release! It sounds great...

    Lisa :)


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