Welcome lovely author Sharon Saracino to Child of Yden! She’s going to talk about her current release, Death Benefits… and I even managed to “squeeze” the recipe for limoncello out of her. ~ S.G. Rogers
First of all I’d like to thank Suzanne for having me on the blog today to talk about my new release, DEATH BENEFITS. While I’m here, she asked if I might also share a little about my life as an IBM. What is an IBM, you ask? Italian by Marriage. During her adventures in the afterlife, my heroine, Max Logan, discovers the utility of acronyms. I just thought I’d go with the flow! By birth I’m pretty much a Heinz 57, though I am predominantly Irish. I grew up in a large extended family that got together often and loudly, but nothing could have prepared me for becoming a member of la famiglia. When I first married into my husband’s large, boisterous Italian family it felt as though they got together en mass to celebrate everything from birth to death to how many rolls of toilet paper they used in a given week. Okay, I may be exaggerating just a little, but truly, not by much! Over the years I’ve come to appreciate these get togethers and embrace the Italian culture. Having traveled to Italy several times now, it has become clear that the hospitality, love of family and adherence to tradition isn’t just habit, it’s genetic! On to the questions!
What’s your favorite movie about Italians, or Italy, or starring actors of Italian descent?
Under the Tuscan Sun isn’t just my favorite movie about Italians or Italy, it really is one of my favorite movies of all time! Diane Lane is so incredibly gorgeous and talented and the story of a woman who has the rug pulled right out from under her and then finds the courage to take a gamble and build a new life is wonderfully inspiring.
What’s your favorite Italian food?
I am a fool for a really good spaghetti alla carbonara. But honestly, I don’t think I can choose just one favorite. Having married into a second generation Italian family, I never doubted that all of the wonderful food they prepared was any different than what native Italians ate in Italy. What I discovered when I finally went there, was that even ‘authentic’ Italian food in this country has been somewhat Americanized. We just do not have the same availability of ingredients here. No matter where I shop or what I buy, I have never been able to recreate the same freshness of flavor that the Italians achieve. I also have never been known to turn down a good bruschetta with fresh tomato, basil, and garlic drizzled with extra virgin olive oil. There’s nothing quite like it for a snack, an appetizer, or even a light meal.
To interject a taste of your book, how did your background as an R.N. contribute to the plot of Death Benefits?
I don’t know that it contributed to the plot as much as to the details. Having worked in healthcare for many years enabled me to portray the hospital environment accurately (I hope!)
Can you share your recipe for limoncello?
I’d claim it was an old secret family recipe, but I’m the only one in the family who’s ever made it and I’m only an IBM. It’s actually a recipe that I developed myself after watching Marcello and Frances sip the tempting brew on the beach at Positano in Under the Tuscan Sun. I mean, who wouldn’t be inspired by Marcello.. er, I mean, that stunning Amalfi coast scenery? After much trial and error and many resultant bottles of barely drinkable alcohol, I find this recipe works well. It may be a bit on the sweet side for some, so if you like your drink drier, omit some of the sugar and cut down the water accordingly. Limoncello is an amazingly refreshing after dinner drink, or something to sip on while sitting on the deck at dusk. Or after a hard day at work. Or poured over ice cream. Or as a topping for pound cake. Or …well, let’s be honest, I don’t really need a reason. Stored in the freezer and served ice cold, this will keep for months.
1 bottle plus 2 cups vodka (must be at least 100 proof to prevent freezing)
6 cups sugar
6 cups water
Using a vegetable peeler or very sharp paring knife, peel the skin from the lemons in long strips being careful to get only the yellow outer skin and avoiding the white pith. (the pith will cause the product to turn bitter). Place the lemon peels in a 2 quart or larger glass jar with a lid and pour vodka over peels. I often add the juice of one or two lemons as well, depends on my mood. Let the jar sit in a cool, dark place for at least a week. The vodka will turn yellow and the lemon rinds will pale. Strain the vodka to remove the peels. Bring the sugar and water to a boil in a large pan and boil for approximately 15 minutes to make a sugar syrup. Cool. Add the lemon infused vodka and mix well. Pour into bottles and store in the freezer. Enjoy in cordial glasses when well chilled! Salute!
Thank you so much for having me today, Suzanne! I hope your readers give the limoncello a try! It goes really well with a good book! *wink*
Max Logan’s insecurities have consumed her to the point that she has allowed them to skew her perceptions of people and circumstances. She has grown progressively more bitter, sarcastic, and solitary since her divorce and feels as though she has spent a lifetime getting the short end of the stick through no fault of her own; still she trudges on. Things can always get better, right? Of course, it’s hard to cultivate optimism when she finds herself dead; the victim of a D.I.E (Death in Error) caused by an overeager Grim Reaper in Training. She brokers a deal to be sent back to Earth as a temporary substitute for the Superintendent of Spiritual Impediment. Can a girl who can’t recognize her own problems rectify the issues of the living impaired? Or will she discover that concentrating on their issues gives her a new perspective on her own?