Thursday, April 22, 2010

Author Chat with Michael Lee West

Hi! So glad to have you at Author Chat, Michael Lee. We'd love to learn a little bit about you, and your book.

I’m delighted to be here. My website,, and blog,, both have information about how I started writing, along with recipes and food-photographs. (I’m a major Foodie.)

Grab a cappuccino and let’s chat. Unless you have another favorite drink (alcoholic or otherwise)?
I love coffee and Coke Zero.

Fur or feathers, petwise?
I live on a small farm, and we have donkeys, sheep, pygmy goats, chickens, geese, and ducks. Our indoor critters (though now and then we bring kids and lambs inside to bottle feed them) include 3 bratty Yorkies, a poodle, a Chinese Crested, and a Husky.

Sounds like fun. :) Any pet peeves? One thing that really burns your biscuits? 
When I’m writing, in flow, and my husband sneaks up behind me and says, “I’m out of underwear.”

Favorite quote?
"The best time for planning a book is while you're doing the dishes." -Agatha Christie

I'll have to stop using the dishwasher! What’s your ideal day like?
Morning coffee, write until 3 pm, break, back to writing. I always stop whatever I’m doing during “Blue Time,” when daylight and dusk collide into that wonderful, deep blue. If left uninterrupted, I’d continue writing/eating until eleven p.m. I don’t watch much TV except for Tuesday nights, I always watch “The Good Wife.”  Though if The Tudors rerun on HBO or BBC, I’ll get a box of Cheeze-Its and a Coke Zero and lose myself in Tudordom. 

If you could live out any fantasy, what would you do? 
I’d have a writing retreat: a mountain top with a gated driveway. A moat would be a nice touch.

That does sound wonderful. 
Beethoven, Beatles, Foo Fighters or Keith Urban?
Love  Foo Fighters. Also Coldplay, The Boxer Rebellion, and Jimmy Webb.

Do you have a music playlist for your book? 
Several. I post them frequently on Facebook and Twitter.

Which of your characters would you most/least to invite to dinner, and why?
Natalie—she’s not a Foodie. Plus, she and I wouldn’t get along!

While creating your books, what was one of the most surprising things you learned?
To trust the process. And if I’m pulled out of a book, I will lose my place—I’ve learned to ignore resistence and dive back into the cold, dark pages. That’s where trust is important.

Where can readers find out more about you?

Link to a free, downloadable e-book (cookbook)
Teeny Templeton an out-of-work pastry chef--a major foodie. Using photography and recipes from my blog, my publisher put together Teeny Templeton's Kitchen Notes, a free (downloadable) ebook for your readers.
Please share a book blurb and/or excerpt.
Teeny Templeton believes that her life is finally on track.  She’s getting married, she’s baking her own wedding cake, and she’s leaving her troubled past behind.  And then?  She finds her fiancé playing naked badminton with a couple of gorgeous, skanky chicks.
Needless to say, the wedding is off.  Adding insult to injury, her fiancé slaps a restraining order on her.  When he is found dead a few days later, all fingers point to Teeny.
Her only hope is through an old boyfriend-turned-lawyer, the guy who broke her heart a decade ago. But dredging up the past brings more than skeletons out of the closet, and Teeny doesn't know who she can trust. With evidence mounting and the heat turning up, Teeny must also figure out where to live, how to support herself, how to clear her name, and how to protect her heart. 
“GONE WITH A HANDSOMER MAN is fun, funny, and fabulous!” – JANET EVANOVICH 
"Full of dramatic action, clever red herrings, and humorous moments, this debut mystery by a well-regarded novelist (Mermaids in the Basement; American Pie) will please any reader but particularly fans of Jennifer Crusie or Mary Kay Andrews. [See Prepub Alert, 1/21/11; with a 75,000-copy first printing; author tour.]"—***Starred Review***  – Library Journal, Stacey Hayman, Rocky River P.L., OH
"GONE WITH A HANDSOMER MAN is hilarious, endearing, and tasty!"– Diana Gabaldon, New York Times bestselling author of the Outlander series and Lord John books. "West's diverting debut plays nice variations on several mystery subgenres—Southern, romantic, screwball, culinary… Readers will look forward to more helpings of Teeny Templeton." – Publishers Weekly

"Michael Lee West fans rejoice! Gone With a Handsomer Man has a fresh, funny and delightfully flawed heroine that you'll fall in love with from the get go. Teeny is a trouble magnet, and it is wholly diverting to follow her tumbling joyride through bad men and good recipes. By turns sweet and surprising, it's a wonderful quirky escape." – Joshilyn Jackson, NYT bestselling author of Backseat Saints.

"Great cook – thought reluctant detective – Teeny Templeton keeps the pot bubbling as she dishes out pathos, humor, and intrigue in equal measure. Gone With a Handsomer Man is a delicous debut to this new series."– Lee Smith, NYT bestselling author of The Last Girls.

"Plese tell me she is writing a sequel!! It was a wonderful read from beginning to end. And the last sentence only left me wanting more."– Wanda Jewell, Executive Director of SIBA.

"Teeny Templeton is small-statured and big-hearted, a heroine worthy of this novel, which is by turns acerbic and sweet, poignant and funny, whith great sex, bad boyfriends, and Do Not Try This At Home recipes. However you slice it, Gone With A Handsomer Man is as addictive as Red Velvet cake. I hope it sells as many copies as that other novel set in the South that starts with the words "Gone with.'"– Harley Jane Kozak, Agatha, Anthony, Maccavity award-winning author of Dating Dead Men and A Date You Can't Refuse.

"In a story as delicious as the food she describes, Michael Lee West introduces us to characters I want to invite over for dinner. Sprinkled with startling insights, Gone With a Handsomer Man, exposes secrets soaked with humor, mystery and redemption."– Patti Callahan Henry, NYT bestselling author of Driftood Summer.

"Michael Lee West turns her considerable storytelling gifts and her keen wit toward Charleston, where a lovable Teeny Templeton must negotiate romance, murder, and mayhem, all in the midst of polished cotton, poison, and fine southern cuisine. Gone with a Handsomer Man is sometimes funny, sometimes frightening, and always absolutely delicious!"– Darnell Arnoult, author of Sufficent Grace

Thanks for chatting, Michael Lee! Best of luck with Gone with a Handsomer Man.


Emma Lai said...

Fun chat. Why is it a bad thing when hubby says he's out of underwear? :) Oh, right, it means he wants laundry done. *Sigh.* So unimaginative, our husbands.

Foodie, "The Good Wife" fan...sounds like you're my kind of person. I'll have to check out your books! :)

Maria Zannini said...

Ref: I live on a small farm,...

A kindred spirit! Though you have far more critters than I do.

How do you divide your time between writing and taking care of the farm?