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Author Laura Bradford on why she bakes: “Because He Smiled”

Nov 4, 2016 Blog

Laura Bradford, author of several cozy mysteries, writes about how she came to be a baker: 

When creating a main character in what an author hopes will be a long-running series that character’s motivations have to make sense. So when it came to uncovering the reason behind Winnie’s (the main character in my new Emergency Dessert Squad Mysteries) passion for baking, I really only had to look to myself for the perfect answer…

I think I was only three or four when my big sister let me help make a “cake” in her EZ Bake Oven. I remember peeking in at the little pan as it baked, so excited that I’d helped. When it was done, we topped it with frosting and sprinkles and presented it to our grandfather with much pomp and circumstance. He, in turn, tossed it into his mouth and ate that entire “cake” in one bite.

If I try really hard, I can remember a pang of disappointment that he’d eaten it so fast. But what I remember most is the face-splitting smile he wore when he was done.

I’d made him smile.

With something I’d baked.

A Sunday trip through some of my favorite cookbooks led me to the recipe for Double Chocolate Brownies with Salted Butterscotch and Cherries in WHAT KATIE ATE ON THE WEEKEND… by Katie Quinn Davies.

Needless to say, I was hooked on baking from that moment forward. I didn’t care if it was cupcakes, brownies, cakes, pies, or cookies, I just wanted to relive that moment of utter satisfaction again and again. And I have. Many times over.

Baking has become a part of who I am in much the same way it is a part of Winnie. The only real difference is that she’s made a career out of baking, and I’ve made a career out of writing. But because I write her, I get to be there with her as she dreams up the perfect recipe (and emergency-themed name) for a new customer. Because I write her, I get to be there as she measures and mixes. Because I write her, I’m there, right beside her, as she pulls her baked creation out of the oven. Because I write her, I get to experience the smiles her desserts bring to the faces of her customers.

And best of all, because I write her, I have yet another excuse to sit at my kitchen table, scouring cookbook after cookbook for new recipes to try. Sometimes, the picture and the list of ingredients looks and sounds perfect just the way it is. Sometimes, I imagine how it might be if I added a pinch of cinnamon or a bit of caramel, or tried it without a certain taste entirely. But generally speaking, if a recipe has all the things I like, I’ll give it a whirl.

Preparing the salted butterscotch (which, by the way, was awesome!!!)

Funny thing now, though? No matter what I bake these days, I find myself trying to think what Winnie would call it if it had a spot on her Emergency Dessert Squad’s menu. For instance, my kids’ favorite s’more bar has become Winnie’s Worry No s’More Bar (for her most stressed customers), my favorite Black & White cookies have become Winnie’s Black & Blue cookies (for injured customers), my dad’s favorite peach pie is now Winnie’s You’re A Peach pie (for someone who needs to know they’re treasured). The more books I write in the series, the more desserts Winnie needs on her menu. And the more desserts Winnie needs on her menu, the more excuses I have to bake.

And just think… It all started with a smile.

So tell us, why do you bake?

Ta-Da—the finished product (sans cherries)!!!

Bio:

As a child, Laura Bradford fell in love with writing over a stack of blank paper, a box of crayons, and a freshly sharpened number two pencil. From that moment forward, she never wanted to do or be anything else. Today, Laura is the national bestselling author of several mystery series, including the Emergency Dessert Squad Mysteries, the Amish Mysteries, the Jenkins & Burns Mysteries, the Southern Sewing Circle Mysteries written as Elizabeth Lynn Casey, and the upcoming Tobi Tobias Mystery Series. She is a former Agatha Award nominee, and the recipient of an RT Reviewer’s Choice Award in romance. A graduate of Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio, Laura enjoys making memories with her family, baking, and being an advocate for those living with Multiple Sclerosis.

For more information, visit: www.laurabradford.com or, for day to day stuff, you can find Laura on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/laurabradfordauthor/  and occasionally on Twitter @bradfordauthor

Browse her books here:

The Silence of the Flans by Laura Bradford

The Silence of the Flans

By Laura Bradford

The second delectable Emergency Dessert Squad Mystery from the national bestselling author of Éclair and Present Danger.
 
Baker Winnie Johnson does her best work when the heat is on. As owner of the Emergency Dessert Squad, she has a deft touch in the kitchen and a soft spot for lost causes. So when her business... Read more >

Éclair and Present Danger by Laura Bradford

Éclair and Present Danger

By Laura Bradford

The first book in the delicious new Emergency Dessert Squad Mystery series from national bestselling author Laura Bradford.

With her rent rising faster than her pie crust, bakery owner Winnie Johnson had hoped to be rescued by an inheritance from her wealthy friend and neighbor Gertrude Redenbacher. Instead all... Read more >

Hearse and Buggy by Laura Bradford

Hearse and Buggy

By Laura Bradford

The simple life gets complicated when death comes calling in the first novel in the national bestselling Amish Mystery series.

Claire Weatherly has fled a high-stress lifestyle for a slower pace—in Amish country: Heavenly, Pennsylvania. She only planned a short visit but instead found herself opening an Amish... Read more >

Assaulted Pretzel by Laura Bradford

Assaulted Pretzel

By Laura Bradford

Claire Weatherly found the simple life she always wanted when she opened a gift shop in Heavenly, Pennsylvania—a small town in the heart of Amish country. But when murder disrupts her Heavenly home, it’s up to Claire and Detective Jakob Fisher to find the not-so-simple truth.The quiet town of Heavenly is buzzing... Read more >

Shunned and Dangerous by Laura Bradford

Shunned and Dangerous

By Laura Bradford

Living in the small town of Heavenly, Pennsylvania, Claire Weatherly has come to admire the Amish for their wholesome, honest way of life. But she also knows that nothing is as simple as it seems—especially when murder disturbs the peace.

Claire has always been game for a good puzzle, so when she hears that Mose... Read more >

Suspendered Sentence by Laura Bradford

Suspendered Sentence

By Laura Bradford

Visit the Amish community of Heavenly, Pennsylvania, where shop owner Claire Weatherly has come to appreciate a simpler, more peaceful way of life. But dark secrets are about to complicate things in this novel in the Amish Mystery series.

After the Stoltzfus barn catches fire, Claire is awed by the response of... Read more >

A Churn for the Worse by Laura Bradford

A Churn for the Worse

By Laura Bradford

The national bestselling author of Suspendered Sentence returns to  Heavenly, Pennsylvania, where shop owner Claire Weatherly and Detective Jakob Fisher must put on their thinking kapps to solve a string of robberies and a murder in the Amish community...

When an Amish farmer is found dead in his barn, his family... Read more >

Éclair and Present Danger by Laura Bradford

Éclair and Present Danger

By Laura Bradford

The first book in the delicious new Emergency Dessert Squad Mystery series from national bestselling author Laura Bradford.

With her rent rising faster than her pie crust, bakery owner Winnie Johnson had hoped to be rescued by an inheritance from her wealthy friend and neighbor Gertrude Redenbacher. Instead all... Read more >

The Silence of the Flans by Laura Bradford

The Silence of the Flans

By Laura Bradford

The second delectable Emergency Dessert Squad Mystery from the national bestselling author of Éclair and Present Danger.
 
Baker Winnie Johnson does her best work when the heat is on. As owner of the Emergency Dessert Squad, she has a deft touch in the kitchen and a soft spot for lost causes. So when her business... Read more >

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