Interview with Elisabeth Barrett, Author of The Best of Me
07 Jan 2016
Tell us a little bit about your new release, The Best of Me?
Jane Pringle never meant to fall for her boss. After landing a job as a pastry chef at the exclusive Briarwood Golf and Yacht Club in Eastbridge, Connecticut, she just wants to keep her son in a good school district and find some peace and quiet, far away from her manipulative ex-husband. But when Preston North, Briarwood’s charismatic co-owner, takes an interest in her, Jane’s best-laid plans go awry . . . in the sweetest way possible. The Best of Me is the second book in my Return to Briarwood series but it can be enjoyed as a stand-alone.
If you could require the president to read one book, what would it be?
Interesting question. Of course I would recommend that the president read Deep Autumn Heat, the first book in my Star Harbor series, which follows the lives of four brothers as they live, work, and love on Cape Cod.
In all seriousness, though, I think a great book for any president of the United States to read is 1776 by David McCullough. It is a meticulously researched, exceptionally well-written account of the founding of our nation. Things were dire for the Continental Army as they fought the British, but over the course of a single year they were able to make significant gains (at an incredible cost) and change the course of history. George Washington’s leadership and his willingness to make difficult and potentially unpopular decisions also stand out in this book, and I think a modern-day president of the United States would be well-served to reflect on the difficulties and challenges associated with our nation’s founding.
BAM. You’re a superhero. What’s your superpower?
I so want to be a superhero. I have many superpowers (natch), but my most useful superpower is the ability to read the minds of small children. Oh, yes! With my incredible mind-reading ability, I can preempt tragic accidents, like my 5-year-old deciding to “fix” a clogged toilet by repeatedly flushing, or my 7-year-old poking his brother in the eye with a stick. I can also head off tantrums before they begin! Of course I only use my superpowers for good, not evil.
What is something you’re truly terrible at doing?
Oh, this is easy. Saying no. I should make it one of my new year’s resolutions: start saying no more!
Which book from your childhood or teenage years has stuck with you as an adult?
This is a tough one, because there are so many that have stuck with me, and even ones I re-read yearly. Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice definitely tops that list. It’s got family, romance, social issues…pretty much everything you could possibly want, all wrapped up in gorgeous prose. By the time I was actually assigned the book to read in high school I think I’d already read it something like 10 times. I also have a soft spot for Persuasion, which I used as inspiration for Once and Again, which is the first in my Return to Briarwood series. Another series that has stuck with me is Lucy Maud Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables. I can’t think of any book (or series of books) that so perfectly captures small town life.
What’s your favorite thing to bake?
I’m an avid baker, and I enjoy trying new recipes. Only problem is, my husband doesn’t have a sweet tooth, so I end up foisting much of my efforts off on friends. If I’m going to whip up a little something for my kids, it’s probably going to be cookies (chocolate chip and ginger molasses are Barrett house faves). If I’m going to make something for myself, it’s going to be something dense and chocolatey. For my most recent birthday, I baked a flourless chocolate cake topped with mascarpone whipped cream and fresh raspberries. It was AMAZING and is now my birthday cake of choice.
What’s your favorite quote or scene from The Best of Me?
Falling in love is a delicate dance. In my mind, I always envision two people circling each other, testing, trying to figure out whether there’s a fit, or if it’s going to end in disaster. One of my favorite scenes from the book occurs early in the characters’ relationship, when Press helps Jane relax by baking cookies together in the Briarwood kitchen. Jane doesn’t really trust him (to be fair, she doesn’t trust anyone), but she agrees to let him into her life. He doesn’t bake, but he’s willing to try, because he thinks it’ll help her. He’s extremely patient, and for the first time, Jane sees that he’s a good man who’s willing to wait until she’s ready. A tentative connection is made, and they share a kiss. Of course, Jane wants more, but Press backs off (delicate dancing, remember?). It’s a sweet, poignant scene that sets the tone for these two and their burgeoning romance.
Do you have a motto, quote or philosophy you live by?
Every day, even a little bit, try to live a life less ordinary.
Elisabeth Barrett is the author of the new book ArrowsBuy The Book
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