Dinner at Home

Friday, February 28, 2014

A Guest at the Table: Lorna Collins, Author of Ghost Writer

I wrote the recipe below into my fantasy/mystery/romance novel, Ghost Writer. Read more about the book on our websiteAs a family tradition, I always cook down the turkey carcass from holiday meals and make this soup:
Mulligatawny Soup
1 med. onion in
1/4 cup butter or margarine
1 med. carrot, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
1 bell pepper (green, red, or yellow), seeded and diced
1 med. apple (I like Granny Smith or Fuji), pared, cored, and diced
1 cup diced or shredded chicken or turkey
Stir in gradually:
1/3 cup flour
1 tsp. curry powder
1/8 tsp. mace
2 whole cloves
1 sprig parsley, minced
2 cups stock (chicken or turkey)
1 cup cooked tomatoes (I use canned diced ones)
salt and pepper to taste
Simmer for half an hour or longer. Serve hot.
When unemployed computer programmer Nan Burton inherits a California beach cottage from her great-great-aunt, she’s delighted. But she’s in for a huge surprise: The house is haunted by the ghost of famous romance writer Max Murdoch (pen name Maxine DuBois) who insists Nan complete his last novel, threatening to keep her from sleeping until she agrees. The ensuing clash pits youth against the long-dead but still egotistical author with humorous and moving results.
“I’ll just have to teach you some of my favorite recipes for leftover turkey. Max always loved my Mulligatawny soup.” She got that far-away look she always had when she mentioned Max.

“What’s that?” I asked.

“Just the most delicious soup you’ve ever eaten,” she replied.

“What’s in it?”

“That’s my secret—for now.” She smiled.

“Okay,” I groused. “But I’m going to have to know pretty soon so I can get the ingredients.”

“I’ll bring the recipe the day after Thanksgiving.”...
...“I remember some wonderful meals in this kitchen,” Max said. He sounded almost wistful. I didn’t know he had that tone of voice in his repertoire. “Helen always cooked a small chicken or turkey, and we ate right here at this table,” he added. “The next day, she cooked down the bones and made that delicious soup.”

“What’s so special about it?”

“She never revealed her secret and, of course, I never participated in the preparation. But it was hearty and savory and very different from anything else I’d ever eaten.”

“You think I’ll like it?” I asked.

“I doubt that you have a terribly sophisticated palate, but I suspect you will enjoy the flavor.”

“Great.” I was going to cook something I’d never tried. I wondered if I should practice making one of those happy faces in case I didn’t like it....
...“I brought the soup recipe with me,” she said as she pulled a slip of paper from her windbreaker pocket. She wore it over a sweater. I hoped she was warm enough, but she’d let me know from the beginning that she could take care of herself, so I didn’t pursue it.

“Steve won’t be coming today. Do we have everything?”

She smiled knowingly. “I added all the ingredients we’d need to my list for Thanksgiving.”
I looked at the recipe, and she was right. I had bought every item. A couple of them surprised me. “Are you sure this is good?”

She laughed heartily. Well, as heartily as an elderly woman with a serious heart condition can laugh. “I promise you’ll love it,” she replied.

She was right. We ate the soup for lunch with left-over rolls and dessert from the day before. Yummy!

“Helen, this is really good.”

“Perhaps you’ll trust me next time.”
About the Author:
Lorna Collins was raised in Alhambra, California and attended California State University at Los Angeles where she majored in English.

Between 1998 and 2001, she worked in Osaka, Japan on the Universal Studios theme park with her husband, Larry. Their memoir of that experience, 31 Months in Japan: The Building of a Theme Parkwas a finalist for the 2006 nonfiction EPPIE award and named as one of Rebeccas Reads best nonfiction books of 2005. They have written two mysteries together: Murder… They Wrote, and Murder in Paradise, a finalist for the 2012 EPIC eBook Award. They are currently working on at least two more in this series.

Along with authors Sherry Derr-Wille, Luanna Rugh, Cheryl Gardarian and Christie Shary, Lorna has co-authored five romance anthologies:Snowflake Secrets--finalist for the Dream Realm and Eric Hoffer Awards, Seasons of LoveDirections of Love—winner of the 2011 EPIC eBook Award for best romance anthology, An Aspen Grove Christmas, and The Art of Love. The group is currently working on three more anthologies.

Today she and Larry are retired and reside in Dana Point, California. They have just completed The Memory Keeper, a historical novel set in San Juan Capistrano between 1820 and 1890, to be published soon.

Learn more about Lorna on her website: http://www.lornalarry.com. 

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