Wednesday, February 5, 2014

What do 'Avatar,' 'Friends' and Dessert in Paris Have in Common?

by Joyce Lamb)
(Photo: Sourcebooks)

Today's featured authors: Sharon Sala, author of The Curl Up & Dye; Jenny Colgan, author of The Loveliest Chocolate Shop in Paris; and Megan Mulry, author of R Is for Rebel. We're talking favorite movies, TV shows and desserts. All the best things in life!

Sharon Sala, author of The Curl Up & Dye

Three of my favorite movies:

Three of my all-time favorite movies are Avatar, Last of the Mohicans (Daniel Day-Lewis version) and an old cult-classic, Eddie and the Cruisers, Part II.

• Eddie and the Cruisers has always been a top pick for me because of the music and the story line. The acting is less than Oscar worthy, but sometimes story transcends the people within it. I love the concept of fans believing a favorite musician is dead, and then finding out that he's not after all ... and the climax at the end of the movie just does it for me. No matter how many times I've seen it, and sometimes I watch just the last bit all by itself, I still get that surge of emotion that all romantics love — a happy-ever-after ending.

• Last of the Mohicans was an old classic I read as a child, and I liked it, because it speaks to my heart and my Native American ancestry. But it never came alive for me until I saw the Daniel-Day Lewis version. The cinematography in the movie was awe-inspiring. And the story line was one heart-stopping scene after another. The urgency of falling in love so quickly in the movie made sense because life was so hard and often too short. But it's the scene with the hero and heroine in the cave beneath the waterfall ... when they were running away from the Native American character played by Wes Studi, that stole my heart. When the hero turns to the heroine and tells her: Whatever you do, stay alive! I will find you. No matter where they take you, I will find you! And then he jumps into the angry rush of water to what could be certain death and leaves her behind.

• I left my best for last. Avatar. I say that with reverence.

I came out of the theater the FIRST time I saw it in tears. I wanted to be blue and 9 feet tall and live on Pandora. The first time the world popped up on the screen, it felt familiar. Like this is the way the world SHOULD be; everything connected to everything and everyone else. The simple manner in which they lived coupled with some of the most amazing special effects ever put on film, and a very pertinent and timely story about corporate greed and a disregard for people different from ourselves seemed completely possible. It speaks to everything I believe and everything I want to be. In all my life, it was and always will be for me, the perfect story made into the perfect movie.

Here's the blurb for The Curl Up & Dye:

Those were the best days of her life ...

"Poor LilyAnn," the local ladies lament. "She sure is stuck in the past."

Eleven years ago, LilyAnn Bronte was the Peachy-Keen Queen of Blessings, Georgia—the prettiest, smartest, and most popular girl in town, going steady with the star quarterback, a high school career on the fast track to success. Then Randy Joe was killed in Iraq, and somehow LilyAnn just let herself go to seed.

Ruby, Mabel Jean, Vera, and Vesta of the Curl Up and Dye have been itching to give LilyAnn a makeover, but she knows it would make more than a new hairstyle for her to get her life back.

Until one fateful day, when a handsome stranger roars into town, and LilyAnn has a revelation.

Maybe the best is yet to come ...

Find out more at

"The Loveliest Chocolate Shop in Paris" by Jenny Colgan.(Photo: Sourcebooks)

Jenny Colgan, author of The Loveliest Chocolate Shop in Paris

Three of my favorite TV shows:

• The characters from Friends are not that much older than me, and I moved to London just as it started. I didn't watch a lot of TV, but we never missed that. I had a party to celebrate the start of the second series; one of my friends came dressed as Marcel the monkey. They were having all the angst I was going through, but they made it look SO much fun. Matthew Perry very kindly helped me to the bathroom once when I was pregnant, and I managed not to gush all over him about Chandler. Everyone my age still talks like Chandler.

• Doctor Who has been part of my life since childhood — so much so that I now write books for the show. I love the incarnations, the way it is always yet never the same and the mysterious, playful character of the Time Lord himself.

• And my favourite show there has ever been was The West Wing. The plotting, the way they made working in an office look so sexy, the amazing performances and that dialogue. Such great lines.

The president: If we start pulling strings like this, Toby, isn't every homeless veteran going to come out of the woodwork?

Toby: I can only hope so, sir.

In my alternative life, Josh is real, and we're married. Oh no, hang on, except he was so much of a workaholic I never saw him and we ended up getting a divorce. But I still miss him.

Here's the blurb about The Loveliest Chocolate Shop in Paris:

It's true that Anna Trent is a supervisor in a chocolate factory...but that doesn't necessarily mean she knows how to make chocolate. And when a fateful accident gives her the opportunity to work at Paris's elite chocolatier Le Chapeau Chocolat, Anna expects to be outed as a fraud. After all, there is a world of difference between chalky, mass-produced English chocolate and the gourmet confections Anna's new boss creates. But with a bit of luck and a lot of patience, Anna might learn that the sweetest things in life are always worth working for.

Find out more at

"R Is for Rebel" by Megan Mulry.(Photo: Sourcebooks)

Megan Mulry, author of R Is for Rebel

What are three of your favorite desserts?

• Île Flottante at La Fontaine de Mars in Paris. I adore this dessert because it is so deceptively plain, like a fluffy puff of air atop a hint of vanilla. When perfectly prepared, as it is at this romantic café in the 7th arrondissement, it is utterly transporting. Like a wallflower romance heroine, this dessert is seemingly ordinary, but ultimately spectacular.

• Bento Box at Nobu in Las Vegas. Obscenely rich, which makes it perfect for Vegas. This combination of flourless chocolate cake, white chocolate sauce, and then this bizarrely satisfying green tea ice cream always makes me feel like I'm being meditative and healthy, rather than indulgent and sybaritic. I especially love going to Nobu in Vegas because it's an oasis in the midst of madness.

• Scandinavian Iced Berries with Hot White Chocolate Sauce at Le Caprice in London. This is a sentimental choice. In the early years of our marriage, my husband and I lived in London and went to Le Caprice … a lot. The place became our neighborhood hangout on Sunday afternoons. After a few hours at the National Gallery, it was such a treat to stroll over to Le Caprice and have a delicious lunch … which nearly always culminated with this dessert. Something about the combination of piping hot white chocolate over freezing cold tart berries … well, it's basically sublime.

As you can probably tell, for me food is very tied up with memory and travel and love. In my life, and in the lives of my fictitious characters, a delicious meal is often the perfect occasion to appreciate friends and loved ones, to experience a shared joy, and to celebrate being alive at a certain time and place.

Bon appetit!

Here's the blurb about R Is for Rebel:

Being royal isn't all it's cracked up to be...

Abigail Heyworth, youngest daughter of the 18th Duke of Northrop, is not your typical British royal — she'll take a recycling drive over a charity ball any day. She can't stand hats and heels. Abby's not getting much sympathy, of course, because everyone thinks the life of royalty is so charmed.

But to Abigail, keeping up appearances is unbearable, while running away doesn't seem to work either. Just when she feels like she's getting whiplash from swinging between flat-out rebellion to miserable capitulation, Abigail meets an all-American self-made millionaire who challenges her on every level.

It may turn out that what Abigail is searching for kind of resembles the American Dream ...

Find out more at