I think life is filled with pivotal moments. The good moments, the bad moments, the painful and the surprising ones build the story that is my life and yours. As an author, I use these moments- good and bad, real and made up to create stories that entertain the reader. My own experiences include living in Kansas, having a huge family and living with a gluten allergy helped me create Oiltop and the people who inhabit it. Toni Holmes is a reflection of me. Her Celiac disease is worse than mine. My goal in creating this series is to help people understand that gluten-free living is not a fad for strange health nuts. Celiac was first diagnosed in the 2nd century Greek texts and reintroduced in the 1800’s when a text diagnosing the illness was translated. It’s estimated that 1 in every 100 people in the US has some form of this disease.
The question was how do you make a disease interesting and even entertaining? My answer is by viewing it as part of the human condition. Toni Holmes does not see herself as a victim or anyone out of the ordinary. In fact, it is the strange and often hilarious “regular” folks in the book that allow Toni to be the “straight man” in the comedy sketch.
When I was introduced at Left Coast Crime Conference this Spring I mentioned that I offer gluten-free recipes. A person in line stopped, looked at me, and said, “Thank you.”
The best part is that in the Baker’s Treat Mystery Series, you don’t have to be gluten-free to enjoy the antics of Toni’s Grandma Ruth and the craziness of a Midwestern small town. In fact, all the recipes can be retranslated with wheat flour and used by all.
The joy of writing this series, which starts with Gluten For Punishment, is—in my view—the joy of writing about the painful, humorous, optimistic human condition. Gluten-free or not, everyone has a family member who makes them cringe, a community which they are a part of and yet in which they feel out of place sometimes, and life goals that often take us places-good and bad- that we never imagined.
I hope you enjoy reading these books as much as I enjoy writing them.