Local Author Rob Kaufman Releases Novel, Signs at Elm Street Books!

MelaniLust_KaufmanRob_PrintColor30-2Elm Street Books (www.elmstreetbooks.com) in New Canaan will host a signing for suspense novelist, Rob Kaufman, on Saturday, June 20 from 12:00 noon – 2:30 p.m., just in time for Father’s Day. Kaufman hails from Norwalk and is the author of the critically acclaimed books, One Last Lie and In the Shadow of Stone.

As a child, the author was fascinated by stories — and storytelling. He went on to major in Psychology and developed a penchant for thrillers, and writing at large. Kaufman’s studies gave him the foundation for understanding one’s motives, and he delves into the human psyche when creating his multifaceted characters. Kaufman has also tapped his promotional writing skills and launched RJ Direct (www.rjdms.com), the Norwalk-based, direct marketing and copywriting firm. The author now splits his time between business and creative writing, and is currently penning his third novel.

A page-turning, psychological thriller, One Last Lie is the gripping tale of Angela Shelton — a woman determined to get what she wants, at any cost. Desperate to have a child, Angela seduces her friend Phillip and his partner, Jonathan, into fathering a child. However, after the parenting agreement is signed, Angela’s deceit begins and she leads the fathers-to-be on a relentless, agonizing journey filled with lies and anguish that forever changes their lives.

The reviews are in:

“One Last Lie sets a new standard for psychological suspense by turning a woman’s most basic desires into a vehicle for villainous scheming and deceit. Rob Kaufman’s cutting-edge tale is reminiscent of Sandra Brown at her best, a suburban shocker on par with Lisa Gardner and Harlan Coben. Tugging relentlessly on our emotions, One Last Lie goes for the gut as well as the heart and hits both with a sharpshooter’s aim,” said USA Today bestselling author, John Land.

“One Last Lie in a word is awesome, an incredible psychological thriller” that has readers hanging on during the explosive and thrilling final pages,’ said Examiner.com.

With its dynamic plot and engaging characters, One Last Lie is the perfect read — and gift — for Father’s Day and beyond. The author meet/greet and book signing takes place from 12 noon – 2:30 p.m. at Elm Street Books, 35 Elm Street, New Canaan. Copies of Kaufman’s first novel, In the Shadow of Stone, will also be available.

One Last Lie is available in digital and print editions and can be purchased via Barnes & Noble, Amazon, iTunes and Kobo. For additional details on the author, visit http://authorrobkaufman.com

 

PHOTO CREDIT: Melani Lust

Westport Author Pens Farm Table Cookbook

12 08 14 CT Farm Table Final copyWe are never more excited than when a friend does something extraordinary! Today we are proud to announce the publication of the Connecticut Farm Table Cookbook, penned by Westport resident, Christy Colasurdo, an award-winning writer and former New York magazine editor.

Christy Back Cover_Somerville_1948(2) copy 2

It was almost two years ago when Christy announced that she was working on a cookbook that would showcase the best of Connecticut’s farm-to-coast inspired fare. Partnering with fellow food writer and cookbook author, Tracey Medeiros (The Vermont Farm Table Cookbook, Dishing Up Vermont), the Connecticut Farm Table Cookbook contains more than 100 recipes from the state’s best-loved eateries – including many local Fairfield County spots. The book also includes interviews with the chefs who created the dishes, artisanal food purveyors, and drool-inducing photographs.

Then there are the recipes…from simple weeknight meals to restaurant-worthy productions, the Connecticut Farm Table Cookbook is certain to inspire anyone who loves fine food and cooking to explore all that the Nutmeg State has to offer.

We spoke to Christy about the book, her favorite recipes, and the making of the Connecticut Farm Table Cookbook!

Fairfieldista: What prompted you to write the Connecticut Farm Table Cookbook?

Christy:  This book was a long time coming. The green foods scene in Connecticut has really caught fire over the past few years and was high time for Connecticut food producers and chefs to get some time in the spotlight! So, when Tracey Medeiros, author of The Vermont Farm Table Cookbook, sent me her book, I said, “We really need to do one of these for Connecticut” and that’s how our collaboration started.

Fairfieldista: How did you choose who would be featured in the book?

Christy:  That was the hardest part of the book, in my opinion. There are thousands of small family farms, fishermen, foragers, restaurants, etc. from Greenwich to Litchfield to Madison who are great representations of the local foods movement. How to choose? We used a gut approach, rather than a scientific approach. We went for some of the more representative examples of restaurants and chefs who were partnering with great local sources for oysters, beef, chicken, produce and so on. We talked to chefs, reviewers, food writers and others, and also trained our eye on some of the places we’d be drying to try, and we pulled together a list we were proud of. Our only regret is that we couldn’t have featured more.

Fairfieldista: Any favorite restaurants or recipes that stand out?
Christy: I am partial to some of the foods that are produced right here in my home town of Westport and in nearby Norwalk. I’m a sucker for some of the simpler dishes, as they speak to the fact that the best foods are created using the freshest local ingredients. I love the easy-to-assemble antipasto platter from Bar Sugo, the Polpette Alla Napoletana from Tarry Lodge, the Bacon-Jalepeno Oysters from Match, The Chicken Under a Brick from The Spread…

Fairfieldista: Seems like you are booking up a lot of tour dates and appearances!
Christy: Yes! The book launches on May 31 with our first event at The Greenwich Audubon Society, then, we’ll be at Stew’s signing books and doing a food demo on June 6, followed by our big kickoff party at Terrain on June 8. Our tour dates are on our website, www.ctfarmtablecookbook.com, and we invite people to come to any/all!

Fairfieldista: I want to pick up a few copies as gifts. Where can I find them?
Christy: They’re available at most bookstores, from small independent retailers, like Elm Street Books in New Canaan, to larger venues, like Barnes & Noble and Amazon and a variety of specialty retailers, like Terrain, Back 40 Mercantile in Old Greenwich, and a few local wine and cheese shops.

Westport Author Emily Liebert’s New Book!

when we fallThere’s a new author in town!  Fiction writer Emily Liebert moved to Westport less than a year ago and has been shaking things up in the publishing world with her new book, “When We Fall.”  The book follows widow Allison Parker as she leaves New York City and settles in a leafy suburban town of Wincourt with her ten year old son. Determined to start life anew, Alison develops a friendship with the charming Charlotte Crain and begins to settle into the rhythm of their upscale community, until cracks in Charlotte’s perfect facade start to show…
Intrigued? So were we!  “When We Fall” is a compelling story that closely examines women’s relationships, insecurities, and ultimately, their undeniable strength.
This is Liebert’s third book, her first, “Facebook Fairytales” brought to light real-life stories of Facebook users who used the site to locate biological parents, relay messages to loved ones, and hunt down criminals – she even snagged an introduction from Facebook founder and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg.  In her second book, “You Knew Me When,” she examines the depths of long-term friendships and the bonds that form between women.
We sat down with Liebert to learn a little about what she loves about living in Fairfield County, her writing process, and what’s next for this dynamic young author!
Fairfieldista: How long have you lived in Westport and what do you love about living here? 
Liebert: My family just moved to Westport at the end of December! There are so many things I love about living here—the beach is a big one! Also the fantastic restaurants. I’m obsessed with The Granola Bar and The Whelk. And I barely skip a day at Pure Barre Westport, where I get my workout on! Everyone has been so welcoming. We feel very fortunate. There’s always something to do, which I relish, because I’m someone who does not like to sit still.
Fairfieldista: Tell us about the setting for your new novel When We Fall…can we assume that it’s a fictionalized version of Westport? Will locals be able to read between the lines and spot some of their favorite locations?
Liebert:  I actually wrote When We Fall prior to moving to Westport, but the setting is certainly a fictionalized version of a suburban Manhattan town not unlike Westport! Stay tuned for the novel I’m working on now. In that, locals will definitely be able to read between the lines and spot some of their favorite locations and people. (And perhaps some of their not-so-favotire people!)
Fairfieldista: In both When We Fall and You Knew Me When, you explore women’s friendships and the changes they ultimately go through.  Why does this subject appeal to you, both as a writer and as a woman?
Liebert: I write about what I know and what I’m passionate about. I’ve always been interested in what makes women tick, why they choose the friends they do, and why some relationships work and others don’t. In both of my novels we see this firsthand. Women are often sensitive, emotional beings. Don’t piss us off!
Fairfieldista: As this is your third book, how has the writing process changed for you? 
Liebert: As I write each new book, I have a better understanding of the process and what to expect both from myself and my support team. That said, I’m a creature of habit. I always write for about four hours in the mornings after I drop my kids off at school and workout. That will never change!
Fairfieldista: There is an art to storytelling  – where do you think you developed this?
Liebert:  I have been a storyteller since I was a child. Very elaborate storytelling. I would come home from school or camp and regale my parents with every detail of my day, week, month. My parents and grandparents have always taught me to seek out various interests and to befriend people across all walks of life. And in doing so, I think my penchant for storytelling evolved.
Fairfieldista: Do you have a muse? What inspires you? 
Liebert: My family and friends inspire me. Success inspires me too. I always push myself to do better.
Learn more about Emily Liebert at her website, emilyliebert.com
liebert

 

Westport Author Book Giveaway!

pakkalaWestport-based award-winning children’s book author Christine Pakkala joins us today for a quick Q&A about her  “Last-But-Not-Least-Lola” series for children in grades 2-5, and her young adult novel, “Jasmine & Maddie” aimed at middle schoolers.  Pakkala was recently hailed as Highlights Magazine September Author of the Month and received the Green Prize for Sustainable Literature for her title, “Last-But-Not-Least Lola Going Green.”

lola

WIN A SIGNED COPY OF TWO “LAST-BUT-NOT-LEAST LOLA” BOOKS!  LEAVE A COMMENT BELOW BY OCTOBER 4, TO WIN! One winner will be chosen at random.

lola2

Fairfieldista: Tell us a little about the “Last-But-Not-Least Lola” series. Who is Lola and how did you develop the character?

Pakkala: First, thanks for this great opportunity to talk about Lola and writing. Lola Zuckerman is a second-grade girl who always has to go last but learns to make the best of it. She has a lot of spirit and the best of intentions. Sometimes she makes mistakes—okay, she makes a lot of mistakes! But she approaches the world with an open heart. She lives in Cloverdale, Connecticut with her dad, mom, her 6th-grade brother Jack, and Patches, the dog. Her best friend is Amanda Anderson, but she has also made some new friends, Jessie Chavez and Savannah Travers. Lola loves her teacher, Mrs. Debenedetti (Mrs D.) for short.

Fairfieldista: Why does this series appeal to kids? What have your harshest critics (2-5th graders) told you about the books?

Pakkala: I think (hope) the appeal is that Lola is like them. Kids have told me they think Lola is funny.

Fairfieldista: Why did you decide to write for children and young adults? What are the unique challenges of writing for young people?

Pakkala: I didn’t make a conscious decision to write for children and young adults. The writing arose from my son’s first-grade teacher’s request that all the parents contribute something to the Halloween party. I’m a terrible baker (ugh!), so I decided to write a Halloween story. It was about a substitute teacher who turned out to be a (friendly) witch. I loved the look on their faces as I read them the story. I was hooked!

Fairfieldista: How did your own childhood experiences inspire you to become a writer?

Pakkala: I was fortunate to have a wonderful stepmother, Rita, who brought my sister Kathy and me to the library every week. We checked out dozens of books. Not only were books an important part of my childhood, but Rita herself was central to my life as a writer. My sister and I would curl up next to her and listen to her tell stories about her childhood in Boston—wonderful stories that enter my writing to this day.

Fairfieldista: What is special about writing for a largely young female audience and how does that come across in your work?

Pakkala: As the daughter of a spirited, creative and intelligent stepmother, and as the mother of a spirited, creative and intelligent daughter, I have always sought to find books that feature strong female protagonists. I know from my own experience how powerfully stories can influence us and inspire us to be our best selves.

It’s my hope that I create characters who will inspire girls to believe in their power—not to be invincible or perfect—but to make mistakes (we all do) and learn from those mistakes. As Rita would say, the only thing that stays the same is change. So change for the better. Bring goodness into the world. Bring your light into the world.

Fairfieldista: Who are your favorite authors and how have they influenced you?

Pakkala: That’s a tough question because there are so many favorites. If I had to pick one, it would be Flannery O’Connor. I love the wit and depth of her writing. Other writers I admire: Milan Kundera, Barbara Kingsolver, Alice Munro, Julia Glass, Audrey Niffennegger, and Saul Bellow.

As a child, I loved the Little House On The Prairie series by Laura Ingalls Wilder and the Nancy Drew series. I also loved Island of The Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell and Where The Red Fern Grows.

Fairfieldista: What’s next for you? Any new books on the horizon?

Pakkala: I just finished the third installment in the Lola series, LAST BUT NOT LEAST LOLA AND THE HAUNTED MANSION, which is due out next September. Now I’m returning to a few writing projects that I began a while ago. I like to have several things going at once!

Fairfieldista: What advice do you give aspiring writers? 

Pakkala: Write every day.  Surround yourself with positive people.  Never give up.  Revise!

To learn more about Christine Pakkala visit her website!

 

CTBites Team Launches Fairfield County Chefs Cookbook

ctbitesI am tremendously excited to announce the launch of a new cookbook penned by the duo behind the award-winning website CT Bites“Fairfield County Chef’s Table Extraordinary Recipes from Connecticut’s Gold Coast,” published by Lyons Press, will go on sale tomorrow at local booksellers and Amazon.com.  

A beautiful representation of the area’s culinary treasures, the cookbook features more than 50 mouth-watering recipes and gorgeous full-color photos from Fairfield County’s diverse swath of restaurants – everything from four-star dining to burgers to ethnic specialties. Imagine being able to prepare a salad from Stamford’s Napa & Co, alongside an entree from Bonda in Fairfield, and dessert courtesy of Chocopologie – all in your own kitchen…it’s akin to Christmas morning for the food obsessed.

I had a chance to catch up with the author, Amy Kundrat and photographer, Stephanie Webster, to discuss the cookbook, their fortuitous partnership, and what’s next for CT Bites!

Fairfieldista: How did the two of you meet and how did you decide to launch CT Bites?

Amy: I’ve always been obsessed with travel and food and I realized I knew more about great food in other cities than my own back yard. I came across CTbites shortly after Stephanie launched it, and latched on for dear life. In those early days because it was one of the few places you could go to find like-minded gourmands who were curious and thoughtful about food culture. Stephanie and I work so well together because we are definitely food sympatico. For us, it’s about seeking out the best and the unique, not just casting a wide net.

Stephanie: I have always been obsessed with food. When I moved to Westport, CT in 2007, I immediately set out to find the best of everything edible in the 20 mile radius. Finding few credible culinary online resources, I decided the only solution was to launch my own. The site evolved into a multi-voice platform quickly as I realized, there was only so much I could consume or document alone. Amy joined the team very shortly thereafter, and together we created the blueprint and vision for CTbites.

Fairfieldista: How did you transition from Fairfield County’s favorite food bloggers to cookbook authors?

Amy: We’ve built the CTbites platform with the help of many great writers. Our goal has always to provide insight beyond what you may be able to glean yourself by walking into a restaurant and glancing at the menu and to go behind the scenes, do the legwork, and get to the deeper story. A book seemed like a great way to represent the essence of what we’ve accomplished in Fairfield County.

Stephanie: So much of CTbites’ success is relationship based. Our goal has always been to support the culinary community by highlighting the very best of the CT food scene. This book is a natural extension of the sentiment.

Fairfieldista: How did you select the restaurants and the recipes in the book?

Amy: If I could, I would have included everyone over the years that I’ve written about. Unfortunately print is not as forgiving as pixels. Our goal from the publisher was about 50 restaurants that represented the entire county, representing a spectrum of cuisines, approaches, and price points. I’m already thinking of how to update, reorganize and include even more chefs this in the next release!

Fairfieldista: The photography is absolutely gorgeous…what’s the secret to taking beautiful food photographs?

Stephanie: If you are not walking around with bounce cards and pro equipment, here are a few basics. 1. Always scout out a location with nice flat light, preferably near a window, but avoid harsh direct mid day sunlight. 2. Bring the focal point to the front, meaning don’t worry about keeping the entire frame in focus. Food shots look better if the Aperture is set large for a shorter depth of field. 3. As in any photography, you have to have a feel for the subject. I tend to get very up close and personal. It may just be a donut or bowl of pasta but make it the hero. 4. When in doubt, shoot overhead.

Fairfieldista: Speaking of photography…how did you get some of the more elusive chefs to pose for photos?

Stephanie: Perseverance…and patience. Chefs are a busy lot. You need to be flexible and work around their schedules. However, this challenge was made easier due to the fact that we have worked so closely with the local chefs via CTbites. We were able to leverage the relationships we had built with many of the local chefs over the past 5 years.

Fairfieldista: What was the biggest challenge in creating the cookbook? What was the most fun?

Amy: Wrangling, er, organizing the chefs was the biggest challenge. Reaching out to over 50 chefs and trying to convince them to give you a recipe was a bit of a challenge. Many of them don’t write down their recipes, or even want to. As a result there are some chefs missing that I would have loved to include. The most fun? Seeing it come together and hopefully reading/hearing about people making the recipes.

Stephanie: Ditto

Fairfieldista: What do you love to cook at home?

Amy: This will come as no surprise to those that know me, but I love cooking pizza. I’m constantly experimenting with dough fermentation and toppings. And I am also master of what I call the MacGuyver, cleaning out the refrigerator or pantry to create something worth calling dinner.

Stephanie: I prefer not to cook at all to be honest. I enjoy my food much more when prepared by someone else.

Fairfieldista: What do you love about the food scene in Fairfield County?

Amy: The people. I do this to meet and tell the stories of the people behind the food.

Stephanie: I would have to agree. The creativity and passion that drives our chefs, local vendors, and restaurateurs is inspiring. I have enjoyed getting to know each and every person in the CT food scene.

Fairfieldista: I realize this is like asking which child is your favorite, but what are your favorite restaurants?

Amy: There is no one absolute, so I am going to dodge the question by saying there are favorite restaurants for moments, cravings, and occasions and they are all in the book. For brunch, I adore Sugar & Olives. If I am craving Italian, I head to La Zingara. My favorite neighborhood restaurants (which are not in my ‘hood) are Match and South End. When I have out of town guests, which feels like once a month, we head to Community Table. For coffee, it’s Espresso Neat, hands-down. For a weekend errand lunch, you can’t beat a 109 Cheese & Wine sandwich….I can tell you a favorite for each craving!

Stephanie: Hmm….That’s a tough one. I can tell you where I eat most frequently these days. You will most likely find me weekly at Bodega, Valencia Luncheria, The Whelk, Rainbow Thai in Westport, Fortina in Armonk, The Spread and Match.

Fairfieldista: What else can we expect from the CT Bites team? Is there another book on the horizon?

Amy + Stephanie: Expansion. We have two new markets we are expanding to in the coming months. Stay tuned!

Fairfieldista: Where can people buy the book locally?

Amy: Local bookstores, online on Amazon and B&N, as well as Barnes & Noble in Milford and Westport, where we will be hosting two book signings in the coming months.

April 27: Barnes & Noble, Milford

May 17: Barnes & Noble, Westport

May TBD: 109 Cheese & Wine, Ridgefield

[Other events, To be scheduled but we are looking at Stamford and Norwalk]

Author Elizabeth Gilbert Comes to Fairfield

ElizabethGilbertOn Friday, October, 18, Elizabeth Gilbert, author of the acclaimed international best-seller, “Eat, Pray, Love”, will appear at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield as part of WSHU’s, “Join the Conversation” series hosted by marriage and family therapist and talk show host, Trevor Crow.  Gilbert will discuss her new book, “The Signature of All Things”, which is already receiving critical praise.

The event will take place at  7 p.m. at the Edgerton Center for Performing Arts on the campus of Sacred Heart University, located at 5151 Park Avenue in Fairfield. Tickets for this event are $35, and include one copy of the book. Tickets can be purchased at wshu.org .

The “Signature of All Things” is described as a “meticulously researched and beautifully written story, spanning multiple decades and countless countries.” It tells the story of  the daughter of Alma Whittaker, an independent girl born to a family of privilege who aligns herself with the world of botany and quickly comes into her own within the world of plants and science. Alma is a clear-minded scientist of dogged perseverance, while Ambrose Pike, a mysterious painter of orchids, is a utopian artist who longs for purity and communion. The couple shares a desperate need to understand the workings of this world and the mechanisms behind all of life.

“I am thrilled to be interviewing Elizabeth Gilbert for WSHU Public Radio,” said Trevor Crow. “She is one of my favorite living authors. Elizabeth is a voice for compassion, love and thoughtful inquiry.”

Trevor Crow, LMFT, hosts “Keeping Connected with Trevor Crow,” a weekly radio show about building, transforming and maintaining relationships. Trevor Crow and Maryann Karinch coauthored “Forging Healthy Connections”, published in 2013. Crow has a Masters in Marriage and Family Therapy from Fairfield University, and also holds an MBA from Harvard University and a BS from Parsons the New School of Design. She currently practices and resides in Southport, CT.

 

Locals Team Up For Cookbook Series

cookbooks4_horizontalDr. Peter J. D’Adamo, New Canaan based naturopathic doctor and best-selling author of Eat Right for Your Type, a diet book that recommends foods based on your blood type teamed up with Ridgefield native, chef Kristin O’Connor to create a series of cookbooks based on his weight loss program.  The collaboration has resulted in four soft-cover cookbooks, Eat Right for Your Type Personalized Cookbook (Type O, Type A, Type B, and Type AB).  The books are published by Penguin Group, who also published D’Adamo’s previous work.

The books will be unveiled at a pre-launch celebration at the New Canaan Outback Teen Center on Thursday, September 26.  The event, from  7pm to 9pm, will include a cocktail reception, a sampling of selected recipes from the books, a brief lecture from Dr. D’Adamo & O’Connor, and a book signing.  The launch party will be co-hosted by D’Adamo Personalized Nutrition, his Wilton-based nutritional supplement company, and two New Canaan businesses, Pryority Wellness Center and Elm Street books.  For more information on the event, please contact D’Adamo Personalized Nutrition (203)761-0042.

peter_d_adamo

D’Adamo, a New Canaan resident for more than 15 years, explains that his goal in creating the cookbooks was to simplify eating and living according to blood type.  Each book includes more than 150 easy to prepare recipes, menu planning strategies, and pantry-stocking tips.

oconnor

Says author Kristin O’Connor, “To combine my philosophies on health with my love of cooking by writing this series of cookbooks is sincerely a dream come true.  I came to see Dr. D’Adamo as a patient and I have never been healthier; but more than that, I have been able to see first-hand how dramatically he changes the lives of so many patients who walk through his door, read his books or follow his web forums.  My intent with this cookbook and series is to make life a little easier (and certainly tastier) once you have started eating right for your blood type.”