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April 14, 2009

Sarah Addison Allen: Magical Comforts

Posted by carol
Sarah Addison Allen, today's guest blogger, talks about how the comforts of books, food and friendship enjoyed by the characters in her most recent novel, The Sugar Queen, are the same ones that hold many book clubs together. And be sure to visit Sarah's website, where five winners will be able to indulge their sweet tooth with the Sugar Queen Candy Contest. Now who can resist that?

Food always seems to find its way into what I write. My first novel, Garden Spells, involves the culinary art of edible flowers. My third novel, scheduled for release in 2010, explores the decidedly unique experience of North Carolina barbeque. But it's The Sugar Queen, my second novel now out in paperback, that will always hold a special place in my heart...because it is my ode to candy.

I am a candy addict. It's my comfort. My stress reliever. I remember once, after a particularly bad day at work, I couldn't wait to get home to a new pack of red licorice I knew I had there. Seriously. I daydreamed about it all day. Visions of Twizzlers danced in my head. But for some, it's not candy but books that give comfort. For these people, it's the thought of that new release waiting for them on the night stand that gets them through the day. For others, stress relief comes in the form of camaraderie with friends, looking forward to that upcoming girls' night out. I explore all three of these comforts, with a magical spin, in The Sugar Queen. There's a character in the novel who is so embarrassed by her passion for sweets that she feels she has to hide what she loves most. Another character mysteriously attracts books. And another strange character with a fairy godmother complex brings them all together to forge surprising friendships.

The nice symmetry here is that books, food and friendship are not just magical comforts found in The Sugar Queen --- they are the magic behind every book club I've ever been a part of. It's not just the book discussion, it's the eating and the camaraderie, the magic that comes when three of life's greatest pleasures come together.

So, in celebration of food, friendship and books --- and just in time for the new paperback release of The Sugar Queen --- I'm giving away autographed bookplates and party favors to spring and summer book clubs. I'm also holding a contest open to everyone to give away free candy. It's all on my newly redesigned website Come check it out.

Happy reading, and may your summer be filled with delicious anticipation.

---Sarah Addison Allen