Margaret: Welcome back Laurie. We visited with you about Free Men and Dreamers, historical fiction, a few months ago. It looks like Awakening Avery is a different genre.

Laurie: Awakening Avery is contemporary – a nice diversion from my historical work.

Margaret: Tell us about the main storyline.

Laurie: Our lead character is an LDS author/wife and mother who gets catapulted from her comfortable support role in the family to the lead after the untimely death of her wonderful husband. Although her husband, Paul, had been slowing fading for a long time, Avery had closed her eyes to the toll his illness and death had taken on her and her family.  Her oldest son tells her he needs to get away to deal with his grief, and she is forced to face some hard truths—things are falling apart in her once perfect family, and instead of preparing for the eventuality of Paul’s death, she has been shriveling away.  Avery needs to step up and take action, a daring thing that requires her to grow and stretch in ways she never imagined.

Margaret: I hear the dedication of Awakening Avery is also very personal to you.

Laurie: It is. It reads, “To my father, Allen K. Chilcoat, the chef behind the magic of slumgolian and peanut-butter balls; and to my mother, Bernice, who kept us alive despite his kitchen exploits.”

Of all the books I’ve written, or that I will ever write, this one probably best reflects my childhood memories of my father. He is the model for George because when Dad went into the kitchen to cook we knew it was going to be an adventure.

Margaret: So Slumgolian is a real dish? You actually ate it?

Laurie: Oh yes! I think the recipe had its beginnings in Iceland where my father was stationed for a time. The men threw whatever they had into a pot and called it Slumgolian. One evening when we were camping, after a long day of crabbing in the Chesapeake Bay, my dad offered to make dinner. Mom was horrified at what was being thrown together—baked beans, chicken noodle soup, corn, peas, you name it—but Dad insisted we’d love it. It looked dreadful, but Dad’s presentation and sales pitch transformed it from slop to Slumgolian, a very exotic foreign dish.

Margaret: Sound like he was very convincing and much more of a cook than my father. What about the Kool-Aid pancakes and Peanut Butter Balls?

Laurie: Yeah, they were all my dad’s recipes.

Margaret: Yum. I remember Kook-Aid and Peanut Butter cookies my mother made – but this sounds even more fun.  Where can we find Awakening Avery? It sounds like a great gift.

Laurie: You may read the first chapter here. You can purchase it at Deseret Book and other LDS book stores.

Margaret: Thank you for dropping by. We will be looking forward to having you back when book four comes out for Free Men and Dreamers.