Dan - Well, our first (unpublished) novel was a not-so-disguised autobiography that saved thousands of dollars in shrink bills and was a hoot to write. Once I got that out of my system I became a wee bit more covert. In Holy Guacamole, Trace Domingo is one cup me, one cup my best friend growing up, and one cup of dark roast espresso. Bonnie is Denise with attitude and money.
What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
Denise - I used to memorize license plates. Okay, sometimes I still do.
When did you first discover that you were a writer?
Dan- We are a little unusual in that we write as a team. Denise, a former stenographer and devourer of books, is the editor and technician. I (Dan) fine tuned my creative storytelling in high school as a way of explaining why I missed class whenever the surf was up. But I also began journaling and song writing at that time. Then it just expanded from there. We both love off-beat stories, both fiction and non-fiction, even allegory. But I love most stories that reveal part of the mysteries of God, like the parables that Jesus told.
Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
Denise - Almost anything Christian fiction. I also really enjoy a happy ending.
Dan - I like the classics—Calvin and Hobbes, Moby Dick. Yes, I read the whale biology section (okay — scanned it.) Recently I read Yann Martel’s Beatrice and Virgil. I cried. it was beautiful.
How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?
Denise - Sanity, what’s that? Our family of six lives on a ranch with 23 animals at last count. It’s always a little crazy around our house.
How do you choose your characters’ names?
Dan - I always tell my friends that if I use their name, or something close to it, that is a compliment, but in Holy Guacamole I used a friend’s name, and although she was a hero, she was a homely hero and that did not go over well. Lesson: If you steal a friend’s name, make them skinny, brilliant, and give them super powers.
What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
Denise - Teaching all four of my children to read. I wouldn’t trade that accomplishment for anything.
If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?
Dan - If? Just watch me devour a plate of spaghetti after a long day in the shop.
What is your favorite food?
Dan - This is funny, because there is a section in the book where the two main characters discuss their all-time favorite food. For Bonnie, it is a snow queen nectarine, peak of the season. For Trace, it is a ball park dog with mustard and kraut. What was the first question? How much do we put ourselves into the characters? Apparently there is a little bit slipping out here.
Denise - Anything dark chocolate! I’m a bit like our main character, Bonnie. No hot dogs in my top ten — or even on the list.
What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?
Denise - I think the whole aspect of getting noticed among so many talented writers. We really had to do something unique but something the majority of readers would enjoy. Who doesn’t enjoy good food?
Tell us about the featured book.
’s coast, the former romantic getaway of the silver screen’s most notorious lovers is now the sizzling hacienda of Bonnie Miller’s culinary boot camp. “If you are what you eat, make it hot, spicy and irresistible,” is her motto, and this queen of Southwestern cuisine enjoys quite a savory life; success, fame, and a reputation for the finest palate west of San Diego . That is, until a pot-rattling bang causes Trace Domingo, a washed-up sports writer, to crash into her life. His arrival turns up the heat at the culinary boot camp as Bonnie discovers in life’s recipe book, it is not the spices which add the most flavor, but how truly hungry you are. Barcelona
Please give us the first page of the book.
“Egg zombies. Flavorless egg zombies.” Chef Bonnie Miller’s voice cascaded from the flat screen mounted above the utensil rack. “Rotting in their little cardboard graves.” With a wrinkled nose she raised a store-bought egg, then cracked it against the bowl’s rim. The camera zoomed in as she held a suffering look. “Even the yolk is deathly pale. And notice the viscosity. Thin and runny. Eww.” She shook her head while she held the bowl at arm’s length and poured the contents into the trash.
“She’s such a snob, Trace. Isn’t there a game on?” O’Brien said as he diced tomatoes beside me.
“Shhh.” I raised a halting hand.
On the TV screen Bonnie now held a brown speckled egg. “Take a look at this one, fresh from our chickens this morning. Thank you, girls.” She smiled. “It’s still warm. Like a beach pebble a few minutes removed from the noonday sun.”
I caught myself smiling back at the television.
How can readers find you on the Internet?
You can find us on our website at www.jointventurebooks.com,on Facebook, Dan and Denise Harmer, Authors,
or on Twitter @SoCalWriters
Thank you, Dan and Denise, for the fun time we had today.
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