Happy Friday’s eve!
Please welcome Jazzy Mitchell. Jazzy is giving away one ebook copy of You Matter. More details are below.
Feeding the Soul
I grew up as a latch-key, neglected child in the inner city. Oftentimes, I went hungry, and I learned at an early age to make friends so I could eat at their houses. Countless times I curled up in my bed, listening to my stomach growl. During those dark nights, I imagined sitting at a feast, having the time and ability to eat, eat, eat. My insides ached, and I dreamed of the few times Mom cooked. Maple Leaf franks with B&M Boston baked beans; chicken fingers with duck sauce; and cheesesteaks with extra American cheese melted on them were some of my favorite meals. (Can you guess where I’m from?)
Mom boiled the hotdogs until they split down the middle, cutting them into small pieces and mixing them into a bowl of Boston baked beans. She always bought the Maple Leaf hotdogs directly from the butcher, not wanting any packaged brands. It was a good day if I got two hotdogs to myself. I also loved the days when my mom made chicken fingers, even when she substituted the chicken out for turkey since it was cheaper. She’d dip each strip in egg and dredge it through breadcrumbs before repeating the process and deep-frying them on the stovetop. And on special days, we’d get cheesesteaks from the local sub shop. These were no-frills sandwiches—thin, sliced beef grilled, covered with American cheese, and served on soft, long rolls.
As you may have surmised, food was a big focus in my life. If I got to eat, it was a good day. Like the morning my mom left a loaf of Wonder Bread for the three of us—me, my brother, and my sister. On top of each piece she spread margarine and sprinkled sugar and cinnamon on top. You’d think we were three savage beasts, the way we all ran for that food. I was the runt, but I secured four pieces. They practically melted in my mouth, and I thought my mom was the best in the world.
As I grew older and earned money (I started working at the ripe old age of twelve), I used my wages to buy my friends. Well, not really. I used it to buy food for my friends—the ultimate proof of my affection. I doubt it will surprise you to learn I was attracted to those who cooked for me. It was a strong aphrodisiac. I didn’t have to worry about my next meal, and the person was providing incontrovertible proof that I was loved. It could be something as simple as a sandwich or as complex as a multistep recipe—the intent to feed me was all that mattered.
Like many writers, I create rich backgrounds for my characters. Much of that doesn’t make it to the page, but their pasts seep into the story and color their thoughts, reactions, and perspectives. When I can tap into my own experiences to bring authenticity to my characters, I do. A good example is the protagonist in my latest novel, You Matter. Chrissy Kramer scrabbles to build a life after her parents throw her out of her home when she’s seventeen. They reject her once they learn she’s pregnant, and Chrissy has no one to help her. She must find a way to afford housing, food, and necessities. You’ll read how many of Chrissy’s interactions with her son, Ben, and her love interest, Reggie, have something to do with food. (In fact, my editor strongly suggested I remove some of the food scenes, which I did.) Chrissy enjoys food, and she equates affection with it.
As Chrissy and Reggie become closer, Chrissy gets to eat Reggie’s cooking. Even more important, Reggie wants to cook for her, provide for her, and take care of her. With each meal, Chrissy falls more in love. That’s not to say Reggie isn’t attractive when the food component is removed. In the story, their connection strengthens as they spend more time together outside of the workplace. Yet, after years of fending for herself, Chrissy’s able to sink in to the feeling of being loved by Reggie, and to Chrissy one of the more demonstrative ways Reggie expresses her love is through her willingness to feed her. When Reggie brings Chrissy to a favorite restaurant or cooks a delicious meal for her, Chrissy translates it to mean she’s worthy, she’s loved, and she matters. In the end, Reggie doesn’t merely fill Chrissy’s stomach—she feeds her soul.
by Jazzy Mitchell
A disgruntled former client attempts to kill Reggie Esposito, a senior law partner at Hawk, Esposito & Associates—a leading Boston law firm, after she loses his lawsuit. Chrissy Kramer, her paralegal, prevents him from shooting Reggie, but she is hurt in the process. While Chrissy and her son, Ben, stay with Reggie to recuperate, their connection deepens, and they embark on a romantic relationship.
Win an ebook copy of You Matter. All you have to do is leave a comment below telling me the name of the author of You Matter. Hint: It’s Jazzy Mitchell. One winner will be selected on June 28th.
MEET THE AUTHOR
Jazzy Mitchell loves telling stories, one word at a time. She knows words are powerful and loves to connect them in different ways. She’s the author of three contemporary lesbian romance novels: Lost Treasures, Musings of a Madwoman, and her latest, You Matter.
CONNECT WITH JAZZY MITCHELL
Thanks so much for stopping by today.