The Chef and the Ghost of Bartholomew Addison Jenkins
Autumn, 1982. MTV is new, poodle perms are the rage, and life just might be getting better for Alma Kobel. Her ugly divorce is final at last. Her new job as chef at Bright Day School’s gorgeous old estate is actually fun. But the place is haunted—and so is Alma’s apartment. Bartholomew Addison Jenkins’ ghost has been invisibly watching her for months.
When he materializes one night, Alma discovers Bart—as he likes to be called—has talents she couldn’t have imagined…and a horrifying past. What happens if you have a one-nighter with a ghost? And what happens if one night is all you want—and you end up ghosting him?
Some spirits don’t like taking “no” for an answer.
When she opened the door to her apartment, her stomach sank. A dim square of light flickered in the hall outside her bedroom door. Yikes! Was I actually dumb enough to have left candles burning? Alma was scolding herself for having been dangerously spacey when she realized that the light from her room did not come from any sort of flame.
It came from Bart. He was standing beside her bed in his high-collared, loose-fitting shirt and his knee britches. And that was … not really strange at all. Just the friendly, resident ghost. No danger of burning down the house. A relief—and Alma had to be honest with herself—a pleasant surprise.
“Good evening, m’lady,” he said.
Alma opened her mouth to say hello back—and burped, instead. A Garbage Pie burp was an impressive burp. “Oh, wow. Excuse me.”
Bart chuckled as she dropped her purse in the chair next to her dresser.
“A Garbage Pie,”
she said. “It sounds awful, but it’s—you know what pizza pie is, right?”
residents of this apartment ate little else. I know well what Garbage Pies are,” he said. “I do not fear them.”
Then he stepped in front of Alma and slipped his arms around her, something else that should have been shocking but wasn’t. Just the resident ghost, after all. The resident ghost who can really kiss. Bart’s touch tingled with cold fire.
“Well, hello,” Alma said.
“I missed you,” said Bart, then he put his mouth over hers and kissed her. She felt something
feathery—his chest touching hers–and she nearly dissolved into it. His tongue
was cool in her mouth, and full of sparks. He tasted almost sweet.
1. If you were to describe your e-book/book in only one word, what would it be?Funny
2. What would you say inspired you to write it? ?I like ghosts! And I loved the old Topper TV series—and the original film. I wanted to write a book like that, but a romance.
3. What was the source of inspiration for your protagonist? What about your antagonist? ? I was a chef in the 80’s, like my protagonist. It was a crazy pirate- ship-like world, and I’ve often wanted to write about it. My antagonist? Ah—no spoilers! Things switch around in some spooky ways in this book. I’ll say that I did get writer’s revenge on someone who reminds me a bit of an ex…
4. Have you ever been hit by the infamous “writer’s block”? What did you do to escape it? ?I can write when I can’t do anything else. I write when I have the flu. I write when I’m happy and when I’m miserable. When I’m feeling uninspired, I switch genres. The Chef and the Ghost of Bartholomew Addison Jenkins is a romance for grownups, but I also write young adult books under another name—time travel stories. And I publish a fair amount of poetry, too.
5. Your all time favorite book? ? Can’t possibly pick just ONE!!! Maybe, just for today, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.
6. What made you pick that one above all others? ? Twain invented the modern American novel with that book: unreliable narrator, incredible sense of place—and it’s darkly funny and unafraid to tackle the issue of race bluntly enough that folks who don’t understand are still trying to ban it. I like books that are brave–and serious and funny at the same time. Especially funny.
7. What’s the longest time you’ve spent working on a project? ? My first novel, which was young adult time travel, took me about five years from conception to print.
8. Would you say becoming an author has changed you? In what way? ? I’ve been writing since I was seven, stories and poems both, although I have had several “for money” careers to support it: cooking, teaching. I can’t remember what I was like before I was a writer!
9. Was there ever a time, during your work on the e-book/book, when you felt like giving up? What made you change your mind? ? I was worried that I couldn’t take what I had done in young adult story telling to an adult level. But as I worked, I found that the young adult level of plot—lots—was actually a good thing. And the sex scenes, which made me blush at first, ended up being really liberating to write. I actually shocked my husband! And The Chef and the Ghost of Bartholomew Addison Jenkins ended up being an Editor’s Pick at Evernight.
10. What does your day-to-day life consist of? What else do you do, aside writing? ? I’m a retired English teacher. I run an internet radio station with some friends, so I listen to a lot of music. Sometimes I give writing workshops. I also sing in my husband’s choir. He’s an organist/choir director.
11. How do you deal with bad reviews or acid criticism? What would you advise other authors to that effect? ? I’m new to adult romance—and luckyk. I’ve never had a really mean review. I’m sure I will someday. The best advice I’ve heard is to ignore them and keep your head high. (That sounds hard!)
12. Is this title part of a series? Without giving us spoilers, of course, what can we expect from the next e-books/books in the series? ? I want to do a bunch of stand-alone romances with ghosts in them. I have notes and a first chapter for a book set in a tiny house with an older heroine.
13. What do you have stored for us in the future? What are you working on/planning on next, aside this title/series? ? See the above! Tiny house ghost story! I’m also working on (under my other name) another young adult time traveler, and I have a book of poems about dealing with my mother’s dementia called Unforgetting coming out in the spring on Kelsay Books.
Fun facts: :
1. If you could wish for any one thing, and it would immediately come true, what would you wish for? ? I’d like one of my books to hit mega-big and be a TV series. (Why not shoot for the moon?)
2. Name your favorite fruit. ? Honeydew melons
3. Coffee or tea? ? Coffee! Latte!
4. Favorite season? ? Winter!
5. How about fav time of 24 hours? ? Often early morning if I’m up. It’s a good time to write, especially if it’s snowing.
6. Were you a boyscout/girlscout? ? I went through to Cadet in Girl Scouts. Went to Girl Scout camp and everything. I still love to hike.
7. Favorite food for breakfast? ? I love a big gloppy brunch, but in reality I eat a buttered spelt English muffin with a latte.
8. Latest book you’ve bought and read? ? Just finished Bettyville by George Hodgman. Made me cry buckets.
9. Do you collect things like stamps, or key chains, or shoes? ? Jadeite dishes and old white diner plates with a green stripe around the edge of them.
10. Favorite color, you know you want to tell us! ? Cobalt blue
11. Drama or comedy? ?Comedy!
12. Have a fav quote or personal motto? ? From William Blake: “Energy is Eternal Delight.” It’s one of the Proverbs of Hell.
13. Cats or dogs? ? I am a devoted kittyhead.
14. Dinner by candlelight or a night out clubbing? ? Candles, please.
15. What song have you listened to most recently? ? Hah! I’m married to a church musician, so this is going to be frightfully obscure: a weird, Sacred Harp version of “Brightest And Best of the Stars of the Morning,” which is a hymn for the time after Christmas called Epiphany. Aren’t you glad you asked?
16. What first came to mind after reading question no. 1 of the Fun Facts section? I mean that thing that you reconsidered after giving it more thought 😛 ? I’d like someone reading this blog RIGHT NOW to be the contact that gets The Chef and the Ghost of Bartholomew Addison Jenkins optioned !!
1. Your top secret, uber guilty pleasure is… ? When someone—even someone I adore—cancels plans with me, and I have extra writing time suddenly.
2. Your oldest memory is… ? My sister being carried into the house as an newborn infant. Her face seemed very red to me.
3. If everyone would receive a prize for being best at something, you’d be no. 1 at… ? Being patient in traffic jams. Great alone time! I listen to the radio and daydream. I don’t get nutty.
4. The one thing you’d do anything to avoid/get out of is… ? Housework that is the same chore daily: I love to cook, but cleaning the fridge is not fun. I’m also not a big fan of placing the takeout order on the nights I don’t cook.
5. If a character from any book could become real and you could spend a day with them, it would be… from the book… ? Hester Prynne from Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter. I’d tell her to get out of town and take that wimpy preacher with her. (Can you tell I used to teach high school English?)
6. You were/are a hardcore fan of… ? An obscure psychedelic folk musician from England, Robyn Hitchcock. Terrific guitarist, great songwriter, the best surrealistic lyrics ever, and very funny in person. I don’t have a crush on him anymore, but man, when I was about 30…
7. You’d immediately fall for someone who… ? is a musician. I love music. And I’m married to a musician.
8. The one thing you could/can never get over is… ?Being lied to. It doesn’t matter about what. It’s the ultimate betrayal.
9. If you could have any one superpower, it would be… ? Time travel, natch!
10. The one thing that always brightens your day is… ? My two kitties, Dezzy (fat old black tomcat), and Bentley, a nutty Bengal mix boy. Both rescues.
11. The awesomest thing in your life is… ?My marriage to my husband Ken. I have a terrific, loving guy.