Christine Young

I am a writer and avid reader of romances particularly historical romances. Please join me on my journey through time

Christine Presents ~ Simmer and Smoke by Peggy Lampoon

Please welcome Peggy Lampman author of Simmer and Smoke.

Peggy Lampman will be awarding a $50 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour, and a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn host.

VBT_SimmerAndSmoke_Banner copy

Simmer and Smoke: A Southern Tale of Grit and Spice

by Peggy Lampman


GENRE: women’s contemporary fiction



  1. What or who inspired you to start writing?


Since I was a child, I always imagined I would write stories. So it was no one person or event that inspired me; I started writing in my diary when I was nine, and haven’t put down my pen since. It was cathartic to me then as it is to me now; a way to getting at the pain and pulling it out. This is how Mallory (one of my protagonists) feels, as well, about her food writing in “Simmer and Smoke”.


2. How did you come up with ideas for your books? 
What expertise did you bring to your writing?


I write about what I know. Particular experiences in life changed me, and there was no closure until I wrote about them. “Simmer and Smoke” reflects many of these experiences––albeit twisted, tortured, distorted and exaggerated. As far as expertise, I grew up in the South and know intimately her landscape and people; I’ve met some version of all of the characters in my book. I’ve worn many hats in my day, which was great fodder for my novel: I’ve owned a specialty food store, I had a by-line as a food writer for a newspaper and then a dot com. I’ve been writing a food blog ( for years, and I’m a mother to two glorious children.

3. What would you want your readers to know about you that might not be in your bio?


That I love writing and performing humorous country/western songs. I had fun with this in my novel writing songs my characters enjoyed and enhanced the story line. Whammy Whynot is my stage name (-:


4. As far as your writing goes, what are your future plans?


I’m currently working on my second book in the Squash Blossom Trilogy: “Where There’s Smoke”. I also enjoy writing my food blog––––on a regular basis.


5. If you could be one of the characters from any of your books, who would it be and why?


Shelby. She has grit, spunk and she’s mother to a lovely little girl. The future is bright for Shelby; the lessons of Coryville will take her places that she only thought possible in her dreams.


6. If you were the casting director for the film version of your novel, who would play your leading roles?


It would be a high-budget film with the actors I have in mind. Courtney Cox (with bad makeup and a pot belly) would play Mama (Note: one of my best friends growing up, Virginia Cox, was Coutney’s sister.) Billy Bob Thornton or John Hawkes would play Lester; John James Preston would play Tony; Jennifer Lawrence (with brown contacts) would play Shelby; Julia Roberts would play Mallory; Reese Witherspoon would play Itchy; Chris Hemsworth (with dark hair and green contacts) would play Cooper. I’m stuck on Miss Ann. Do you know any great six-year-old girl actresses that can do tricks with their eye movements?


7. Do you belong to a critique group? If so how does this help or hinder your writing?


No. I pay for and rely on professional, first-rate editors who enjoy editing high-concept fiction. It’s not cheap, but the time wasted on bad advice would be more expensive.


8. When did you first decide to submit your work?


After I’d quit the newspaper (in the aftermath of an icky transition). My kids were out of the house, my world slowed down and I had time to write and then publish this first novel.


Please tell us what or who encouraged you to take this big step?


No one person encouraged me to begin my book. The story sparked after a visit to my ancestral graveyard in Stewartsville, a back-woods, Confederate flag-waving town in Alabama, and then caught fire after visiting a colorful relative.

When I expressed my intention to write a novel to my husband, he was very supportive. I didn’t tell my friends about my project, as I didn’t want the distraction of their asking, “how’s the book going” whenever we met. As I mentioned, there were life-altering experiences that changed me, and there was no closure until I could write about them and put it out there in novel-form. I write about what I know, and the truth I’ve found that helps me to defeat despair. I write to get to the pain, pull myself out––and, in the end, find hope, joy and laughter. All of this is reflected in “Simmer and Smoke”, and I hope that my readers will have the experience of an engaging read.

9. What is the best and worst advice you ever received? (regarding writing or publishing)


Best advise: Write what you know and for yourself, or just have one person in mind when writing. Kurt Vonnegut said: “Write to please just one person. If you open a window and make love to the world, so to speak, your story will get pneumonia.”


Worst advise: Change your English major to Communications.


10. Do you outline your books or just start writing?


I craft an outline first, which reinvents itself through the writing process. Occasionally I let the story rip and ride, seatbelt unfastened, but I prefer using a road map.


11. Do you have any hobbies and does the knowledge you’ve gained from these carry over into your characters or the plot of your books?


Absolutely. Cooking and photography. And, like Mallory, I had a food-byline in a newspaper and later, a dot com. Having owned a specialty food store, I hired and got to know many Shelby’s through the years.


12. Do you have an all time favorite book?


“The Magus” by John Fowles. In the book, the protagonist, Nicolas, loses his ability to determine what is real and what is artifice. I work on this notion with my protagonist, Mallory. The epigram I wrote sums it up: If reality is an illusion, then is self-perception a deceit?

13. Have you started your next project? If so, can you share a little bit about your book?


Yes. It’s the second book in the Squash Blossom Trilogy; “Where There’s Smoke.” Before the holiday season, I was averaging 500 words a day. If readers enjoyed S&S, they will love this next book in the series. It opens two years after the conclusion of S&S and finds Mallory and Shelby business partners.


14. Who is your favorite actor and actress?


After I saw Winter’s Bone, I fell in love with Jennifer Lawrence and John Hawkes. No one has surpassed them since.


15. Can you tell us a little about the black moment in your book?


Mallory and Itchy leave a wine tasting a bit tipsy. They hit a man on his bicycle, in the country without papers, and this sets Mallory off on a spiraling downward slope.


16. What is your favorite reality show?


I’m not a big fan, except for those on the Discovery Channel. Particularly one show this past year’s show on Discovery Channel: Epic Bar Builds. My daughter, Greta de Parry, is a furniture designer and she was part of the cast.


18. Anything else you might want to add?


Thank you for inviting me to your book club. I am continuously updating my food blog and author page. I would love hearing from you @






A single mother who dreams of becoming a chef.

A food writer who just lost the love of her life.

Two women discover what’s worth fighting for in this deliciously rendered novel that illuminates the power of food, love, friendship and family on the human heart


Shelby Preston–a young, single mother trapped in a hardscrabble life in rural Georgia–escapes her reality as she fantasizes herself a respected chef in a kitchen of gleaming stainless steel and pans shimmering with heat. Mallory Lakes–an Atlanta newspaper food writer–may lose her job, and searches for her muse in a shot glass of illusion.


Mallory secures her job by crafting a zealous doppelgänger to satisfy the expectations of an illusive cyber audience. This also mollifies the memories of her lover who recently bolted; no warning. Shelby persuades her mother to take care of her daughter so she can pursue her dream of going to chef school in Atlanta. She cooks them a special dinner said to bring good luck; Lord knows her family could use a pot of something good.


Chasing desires and ambitions, the women’s lives unravel down a path beyond the kitchen, then weave together in an unsettling culinary landscape of organic farms and shadowy borders–some borders not meant to be crossed. As Mallory combats her demons with booze and pills, and Shelby battles the odds stacked against her for becoming a chef, the women discover what’s really worth fighting for.








Ashes in a box vanished into the ground. All my life I’ve yearned for something more, something I struggle to define. An image lies in wait, appears in a flash, then gone. It’s in the brushed edge of a dream that leaves behind no memory, only a warming prickle of joy. It’s in the smell of fresh-turned soil after a frost, ancient and newborn. It’s in the taste of honeysuckle nectar—what the wood nymphs drink, I tell my child—that we dot onto our tongues every spring.







AUTHOR Bio and Links:


Peggy Lampman was born and raised in Birmingham, Alabama. After graduating from the University of Michigan with a degree in communications, she moved to New York City, where she worked as a copywriter and photographer for Hill and Knowlton, a public relations firm. She moved back to Ann Arbor, her college town, and opened up a specialty foods store, The Back Alley Gourmet. After selling the business, she wrote under a weekly food byline in The Ann Arbor News and MLive. This is her first novel.


Amazon Buy Link


Goodreads Link



Author Page









Peggy Lampman will be awarding a $50 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour, and a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn host.





26 comments on “Christine Presents ~ Simmer and Smoke by Peggy Lampoon

  1. peggylampman
    January 14, 2016

    Thank you, Christine, for inviting me to your blog! So happy to report that on Monday my agent called with an offer to buy “Simmer and Smoke” from Lake Union Press also including an advance to write a second novel! Sadly, they want something totally different than what I’d started writing as an indie. What a ride this book has been!

    I’ve enjoyed answering your questions, Christine. They got me thinking about things that I’ve never pondered before–I look forward to answering any questions your readers may have.

    Have a wonderful day! Peggy

  2. Goddess Fish Promotions
    January 14, 2016

    Thanks for hosting!

  3. nikolina84
    January 14, 2016

    I am really enjoying following this tour, thank you!

    • peggylampman
      January 14, 2016

      Thank you, Nicolina! Do you have any questions for me that you haven’t seen answered? Peggy

  4. achristay
    January 14, 2016

    Welcome to my blog. I hope you have a great tour.

    • peggylampman
      January 14, 2016

      Thanks very much, Christina!

  5. Rita Wray
    January 14, 2016

    I enjoyed the interview.

    • peggylampman
      January 14, 2016

      Thank you, Rita!

  6. Trix
    January 14, 2016

    Entertaining interview!

    • peggylampman
      January 14, 2016

      And the questions entertained me, as well! Peggy

  7. tiago rosado
    January 14, 2016

    you say that Jennifer Lawrence and John Hawkes are your favorite actores,but do you thing they could pull off a movie version of your book!!

    • peggylampman
      January 14, 2016

      Hi Tiago! I would only be so lucky. I LOVED them in Winter’s Bone; that story/movie was great inspiration for my character, Shelby. Peggy

  8. Eva Millien
    January 14, 2016

    Enjoyed the excerpt, sounds like a fantastic read, thanks for sharing!

  9. momjane
    January 14, 2016

    Enjoyed your comments. This sounds like a very good book.

    • peggylampman
      January 14, 2016

      Thank you, mom jane!

  10. Betty W
    January 14, 2016

    I really enjoyed your interview, Peggy! I like strong female characters who have grit and spunk, too!

    • peggylampman
      January 14, 2016

      Thank you,Betty. I’m so glad you enjoyed the interview. That Shelby has spunk for sure! Peggy

  11. Victoria
    January 14, 2016

    Great interview!! I’m also a Discovery Channel junkie, so much cool stuff can be found 😀

    • peggylampman
      January 14, 2016

      I know! I love those crazy shows filmed in Alaska–our last frontier. You couldn’t convince me…

  12. Dario
    January 14, 2016

    I really enjoyed this intervju, thank you!

  13. Dario
    January 14, 2016

    I really enjoyed this interview, thank you!

  14. Ann L
    January 15, 2016

    Fun interview. If you weren’t writing, what would you do?

  15. Patrick Siu
    January 22, 2016

    I have enjoyed learning about the book. Thanks for sharing it.

  16. Ree Dee
    January 26, 2016

    I enjoyed the interview and the entire post. Thank you.

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