Interview ~ The Memory Of Lemon by Judith Fertig


How do you define success?

When I lived in London, England as a "trailing spouse" to my husband who was transferred there for his job, I took a seminar that changed my life. One of the exercises was to imagine yourself as an older person, looking back over your life–what did you see?  I imagined a light-filled room that looked onto a garden. And then I pictured a round, skirted side table displaying many framed photographs of my family. And a bookshelf filled with books I had written. To me, that's the picture of success.

How do you celebrate the completion of a book?

Sometimes I have a glass of champagne. Other times, I sleep!

What do you hope readers will get from your book?

I hope they feel a connection to Neely and her gift. 

How many books are in your TBR pile?

Too many.

Describe your book in 5 words  

A love story, lemon twist.

Where is your favorite spot to write?

I take my laptop in the dining room by a big window.

What do you enjoy the most about writing?

I love to lose myself in being creative. It's my happy place.

What was the hardest part about writing your book?

When the right thing doesn't come immediately and you have to wait it out.

How did you know you should become an author?

I actually had a feeling in the pit of my stomach when I wrote the proverbial first novel that remains in the desk drawer. It was a feeling of well-being, like "this is what you should do."

What is your favorite scene in your book?

I love the Augusta scenes. I wrote about my history with Augusta on my blog.

post-divider rightlemonPublisher: Berkley (June 14, 2016)
Genre: Women's Fiction
ISBN-10: 042527795X
ISBN-13: 978-0425277959
Buy: Amazon, Kindle, IndieBound, The Book Depository


The author of The Cake Therapist returns with another sweet and emotional tale featuring Neely, the baker with a knack for finding exactly the right flavor for any occasion…

A crisp tang of citrus that is at once poignant and familiar, sharpening the senses and opening the mind to possibilities once known and long forgotten…
Claire “Neely” Davis is no ordinary pastry chef. Her flavor combinations aren’t just a product of a well-honed palate: she can “taste” people’s emotions, sensing the ingredients that will touch her customers’ souls. Her gift has never failed her—until she meets a free-spirited bride-to-be and her overbearing society mother. The two are unable to agree on a single wedding detail, and their bickering leaves Neely’s intuition frustratingly silent—right when she needs it most.
Between trying to navigate a divorce, explore a new relationship, and handle the reappearance of her long-absent father, Neely is struggling to make sense of her own conflicting emotions, much less those of her hard-to-please bride. But as she embarks on a flavorful quest to craft the perfect wedding celebration, she’ll uncover a family history that sheds light on both the missing ingredients and her own problems—and illustrates how the sweet and sour in life often combine to make the most delicious memories…

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judithNovelist and cookbook author Judith Fertig grew up in the Midwest, went to cooking school in London and Paris, and now lives in the Kansas City area. Described by Saveur Magazine as a "heartland cookbook icon," Fertig debuts a new novel that engage the mind, the heart, and all five senses—and celebrates cookbooks that reflect her love of bread, baking, barbecue, and the fabulous foods of the Heartland.

Novels you can read like cookbooks. Cookbooks you can read like novels. That’s what you get when an English major studies at École de Cuisine La Varenne (formerly in Paris) and The Cordon Bleu in London plus The Iowa Writers Workshop. Fertig often weaves storytelling into her books.

The Cake Therapist (Berkley/Penguin, 2015), Fertig’s new novel, features Claire “Neely” Davis, a talented pastry chef who tries to push the restart button by opening her dream bakery after heartbreak in New York. Her blue collar hometown has startlingly reinvented itself as a chic bridal district, but it’s still a place layered with generations of secrets. Neely’s unusual gift—she can “taste” feelings that link to someone’s story—takes her down a dark path told in alternating flashback chapters. As an unofficial cake therapist, Neely has always been able to help everyone else. Finding the hidden message in a haunting flavor might be just what she needs to help herself.

Bake Happy (Running Press, 2015) offers dessert recipes full of color, flavor, and fun that can do what Neely does for her fictional clients—help you feel creative, luxurious, empowered, connected, satisfied, and, well, happy, in 100 different ways. (For a little sample, check out Fertig’s Bake Happy board on Pinterest.)

Coming home. In Heartland: The Cookbook (Andrews McMeel, 2011) and Prairie Home Cooking (Harvard Common Press, 2000), which was nominated for James Beard and IACP cookbook awards, Fertig celebrates the place she calls home in recipes and stories.

Constant cravings. Fertig’s delightful I Love Cinnamon Rolls! (Andrews McMeel, 2012), 500 Cupcakes (Sellers Publishing, 2011), and award-winning The Back in the Swing Cookbook (Andrews McMeel 2012) make you want to lick the page.

Where there’s fire, there’s smoke. It’s not every author who spends part of her working life in a real rhinestone tiara—as one of Kansas City’s BBQ Queens. With co-author Karen Adler, Fertig has written eight barbecue books, including their Patio Pizzeria (Running Press, 2013) The Gardener and the Grill (Running Press, 2012), in bookstores around the country as well as Williams-Sonoma, Anthropologie, Lowe’s, and Costco. She has a Ph.B. (Doctor of Barbecue Philosophy) from the prestigious, if fictitious, Greasehouse University.

Read all about it. Fertig’s food and lifestyle writing has appeared in Bon Appetit, Food & Wine, Vegetarian Times, Natural Awakenings, Better Homes & Gardens, Saveur, Country Living, Cooking Pleasures, Family Fun, Coastal Living, Southern Living, La Vie Claire, Spaces Magazine, and Cooking Light. Her work has appeared internationally in Country Homes and Interiors (London), The New York Times, and The London Sunday Times.

Fertig has appeared on the Food Network and many TV and radio stations. She gives talks across the country, blogs, tweets, and posts on Facebook. She is a member of Les Dames d’Escoffier, The Kansas City Barbeque Society, The Kansas City Novel Group, and IACP.


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  1. I loved visiting Lori's Reading Corner! Enjoy!

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