Volume II: Fiction and a New Life for Beans, Greens, and Sweet Georgia Peaches
June 16, 2014Volume II: Fiction and a New Life for Beans, Greens, and Sweet Georgia Peaches
One of the handicaps of being a freelance writer with a second job outside of writing is that one tends to go from deadline to deadline, with very few gaps in the schedule. The rare day off ought to be spent catching up on things like this newsletter, but all too often, what we end up trying to catch up on is rest.
There’s a whole stack of wonderful new books by my desk, another stack of nearly-forgotten old ones, all patiently awaiting attention and at least a mention here on this page. And here I am, months after the first newsletter, not talking about any of them but doing exactly what I said I wouldn’t do in this space: talk about myself. But it seems like a good idea to explain what has been happening in the months since that one lonely newsletter volume debuted.
Most of that time has been given to a project that has been a dream for more than a decade: a revival of my second book, Beans, Greens, and Sweet Georgia Peaches. The revised manuscript was finally completed earlier this year and now, thanks to my wonderful editor, Amy Lyons, and the production team at Globe Pequot Press, that dream of a new life for this book is finally becoming a reality.
We’ve added more than seventy-five recipes, have fully revised many of those that were in the first edition, have updated information like mail-order sources, and have added color photographs throughout. The first proofs have passed my desk on their way to final layout and printing, and it’s just beautiful. The final book will be officially available on August 21st. I can’t wait to share it with you all!
After catching my breath, I’ve taken a little time to return to another love—fiction. There’s a completed novel and the solid beginnings of a sequel that I hope will soon see publication as well. To refresh my writer’s batteries, I’ve been doing minor edits and rewrites on them, and have added a chapter or two to that sequel. On learning about this, a friend remarked, and not altogether kindly, “what the heck is it about cookbook authors and fiction? How come you all want to write novels?”
Ah. But fiction has been a part of my writing life since I first picked up a pencil. Story-telling is what any cookbook author worthy of the title does: a good recipe is a story that does a lot more than merely tell someone how to make something, a tale that speaks of far more than technique and taste. So a novel is not a new thing. In a real way, I’ve already published eight episodic novels, or if you prefer, themed short-story collections. They just happen to be called cookbooks.
But I’ve also been weaving more conventional stories all along, stories that don’t involve pots, pans, and onions—stories that, until now, I have kept to myself. And now that the cookbook has been sent to press, I very much hope that those stories will soon begin to see something other than a cyber file on my computer.
Meanwhile, if you are anywhere near Savannah in August, I hope you’ll come help me celebrate this new life for Beans, Greens, and Sweet Georgia Peaches, when my friends Barbara and David Freeman will be throwing a publication party on Thursday, August 23rd, at Kitchenware Outfitters here in Savannah, the store where I run the culinary education program. We will love having you there!