If you've read my blog entries, you may have seen my post about 'click' moments, and how food is important, because knowing what a character eats, and whether they cook, go out, or grab a pizza helps me understand them.
And if I don't understand them, I can't write them. For me, without well-developed characters, there's no story.
I wrote "Out of Sight" for fun, starting with a recollection of a visit to a friend as a writing exercise. From there, I turned it into a 'real' story (which meant giving it the dreaded 'beginning, middle, and end' structure), also as a learning experience. Some time later, after I'd sold "Words" to The Wild Rose Press, I thought I'd see if I could adapt it to squeeze into the confines of 'romance'. Since my heroine wasn't a wide-eyed twenty-something, I submitted it to their "Last Rose of Summer" imprint, where the heroines are more mature, more experienced, and thinking about changes.
A married-forever woman finds herself alone with a colleague she's never met in person. Wondering if she's simply 'comfortably' married instead of 'happily' married, she's worried she might be sending the wrong signals, and more worried she's not interpreting the ones she seems to be getting from her host correctly, especially when he cooks for her. He makes pasta puttanesca, and she's aware of the stories of how the dish got its name.
Jim, her host, agreed to share his recipe.
Jim's Pasta Puttanesca (Hooker Pasta)
From "Out of Sight"
Note – Jim cooks by 'feel', so amounts are approximate. Feel free to substitute, or just plain leave stuff out (like the anchovies if you're veggie people, but you might want to kick up the salt if you do).
For the sauce:
1-2 Tbsp. Extra Virgin olive oil (kind of goes against the name of the dish, doesn't it?)
1 clove garlic, minced
¼ cup Calamata black olives, pitted and chopped"1 tsp. capers, coarsely chopped if you use the big kind2 good-sized tomatoes. Peel and seed if you're so inclined. Chop coarsely.
(Nothing wrong with using canned tomatoes)
2 anchovy fillets, coarsely chopped.
Red pepper flakes, to taste
Salt & pepper, to taste.
Parsley for garnish
Heat the oil in a frying pan, and add the garlic, just until it starts to get golden. Burnt garlic is very bitter. Add the olives, capers, tomatoes and anchovies. Mix well, season to taste, and cook for about 8 minutes.
Serve over your favorite variety of pasta, cooked al dente. Garnish with the parsley.
Some crusty bread and a salad will round out the meal.
Vanilla ice cream with chocolate hearts is a good way to end--or start things.
Causes Terry Odell Supports
Pro Literacy Worldwide, The Nature Conservancy, The Adult Literacy League, The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society