December 29, 2012

Character Interview: Too Many Cooks @ShirleyAWilder #rlfblog

Too Many Cooks.

Shirley Ann Wilder, welcome to Romance Lives Forever. Let's talk about your book, Too Many Cooks.
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Boroughs Publishing Group
Buy links:
Boroughs Publishing Group
Cover artist: Kim Killion
Length: 80,000 words
Heat rating: mildly sensual
Tagline: Bitter news leads a San Diego widow and widower to true love--and to a scheme to marry off their adult children, a plan that goes deliciously awry.
Gaetano Lorenzo was the sweetest man that the widowed Estelle Bennett had ever met. That morning began terribly, with awful news, but now the owner and head chef of a local San Diego ristorante was offering up Italian delights: red wine, delicious food, walks on the beach, laughter when she’d never thought she’d laugh again…. Estelle felt twenty-five. She and Gaetano had found the recipe for love, and a simple variation might just get their adult children to settle down, too. A scoop of sugar, two ladlefuls of lust, a pinch of deception and a whole 24 oz.-can of danger-- Suddenly, ingredients were coming from everywhere! But kitchens are crazy places, and variety is the spice of life. And for anything to get cooked, things have to get hot.
What are your main characters' names, ages, and occupations?
Estelle Bennett is a 50+ widow.
Gaetano Lorenzo is a 50+ widower the owner and head chef of a popular Italian restaurant. Estelle’s son Alex, 29 year old son, Alex, who traipses all over the world as a photo-journalist
Gaetano’s 28 year old daughter, Gina, an up-and-coming attorney who can’t boil water.


“Oh, why did I ask a chef to dinner?” Estelle asked herself.
What had she been thinking? It wasn’t that she was a bad cook. She’d certainly garnered her share of compliments over the years, but inviting Gaetano to dinner had not been the best decision she’d made recently. And yet, she’d wanted to thank him.
The doorbell rang and Estelle’s heart quickened. When the door opened, it revealed the hugest bouquet she’d ever seen, a riot of color and fragrance. Peeking through lavender irises and yellow roses were two deep brown eyes twinkling with mischief and humor.
“Gaetano, you shouldn’t have. They’re beautiful.” Estelle took the flowers and leaned into the handsome Italian. His lips found hers, and because her hands still held the flowers, she could do nothing but submit. In fact, she not only submitted but responded in such a way that parts of her anatomy suddenly woke with the vigor and enthusiasm of a girl in her twenties. Indeed, for the first time in ages every nerve in her body felt as if it were doing cartwheels and back flips.

Interview with Estelle Bennett

Tell us about yourself. What are you like?
I was widowed about a year ago and I miss Marty, but I try to keep busy. I have one son who travels everywhere so the little time I spend with him is precious. I helped Marty in his business until we had Alex. Then I was a stay-at-home mother and active with his school and other projects. I have my Garden Club now and some friends, but there are times, I admit I get lonely.
What do you think is your strongest point?
I don’t give up. I pride myself on being able to overcome problems. I had to be strong when Marty was ill--for Alex’s sake. Now, I must be strong again because I may very well be at the end of my life.
Do you have a weakness? (If so, what do you think it is? What does your lover think it is? What does your enemy think it is?)
Weakness? Goodness, I never thought about it. I guess if I have a weakness it would be wanting my son to be happy and maybe a bit more settled in his life. My lover? Oh, well, oh my, lover? I never placed Gaetano in that role, but I guess in a way, we are lovers. God knows he’s opened up a part of my life I thought was gone forever. It’s been quite wonderful; actually, I mean I have something, someone to look forward to. Gaetano would probably say my weakness was him. He is persuasive. I’m not sure I have an enemy--unless of course you count this illness. My doctor says it’s nothing but I heard what he said.
What drives you to do the things you do? What makes you want to be the "good guy?"
Instinct drives me to do the things I do. I always want to do what’s right. I’ve always played by the rules.
What's your favorite guilty pleasure?
Oh, I wish you hadn’t asked that question. My guilty pleasure is Gaetano. I wouldn’t tell everyone this, and especially not my son, but that man has awakened parts of my body and soul that I forgot I had. He’s so charming and so handsome and …oh well, I’ve said enough.
If you didn't know how old you were how old would you be?
While I enjoyed being a young mother, I like being just the age I am now, but I’m sorry I’m not as healthy as I used to be.
A biography has been written about you. What do you think the title would be in six words or less?
Love knows no age limits.
If money were not an object, where would you most like to live?
Right where I live now--in the beautiful community of La Jolla, the suburb of San Diego that is known as the jewel of the ocean.
What song would best describe your life?
Misty -- It describes what I feel when I’m with Gaetano.
If you were a tool, what would people use you to do?
I’d probably be some sort of kitchen tool--maybe a hand mixer because I do like to stir things up.
Picture yourself as a store. Considering your personality and lifestyle, what type of products would be sold there?
Oh, it would have to be a store like Williams Sonoma--you know the one that features lots of cooking appliances and little items that make a kitchen special. Items that people can do without but the ones that add just a special touch and show their personality. Maybe a sterling silver coffee measure, or an imported honey utensil with a special jar of organic honey.
As a child, what was your favorite thing about school?
Tell us an embarrassing story that has to do with a pet. If you have no pets, a story about a significant other will do.
Well, we never had a lot of pets, Marty was so busy and didn’t think Alex could take the responsibility. However, you know as mother we see things differently and I knew how much Alex wanted a puppy, so I told a little white fib and told Marty that we were pet-sitting for the Nelsons’, thinking that he’d get used to the dog and then we’d tell him it was really our puppy. Unfortunately, we ran into the Nelsons’ at a social function and Marty asked them when they were picking up their dog. Obviously, I had to confess but Marty relented and we all loved Snickers for a long time. He did dig up a few of my prize plants, however.

If you came with a warning label, what would it say?
Oh, my, I never thought about having a warning label. Perhaps it would be “Handle with care. Excessive shaking could result in an explosion. I do have red hair and you know what they say about a red-head’s temper.

I love pizza with green bell peppers and pineapple.
I'm always ready for adventure which Gaetano seems to produce no matter where we go.
When I'm alone, I usually like to read or catch up on taped TV shows.
You’d never be able to tell, but I’ve cheated death.
If I had a halo it would be lopsided.
If I could turn back the clock, I'd say all the things I meant to say to Marty and never did.
I can never regret all the mistakes I’ve made because they have made me a better person.

About the Author

Shirley Ann Wilder
I grew up with a love of books and read before starting school, which was not always welcomed by my mother. She passed me off as under five so she didn’t have to pay bus fare for me and then was embarrassed when I read all the ads on the bus. I fell in love with my husband at first sight, even though I was just three weeks away from my wedding to my high school sweetheart. Needless to say, that marriage never took place. I had almost a half-century with my soul mate. He’s gone now, but remains my hero forever. We raised 3 sons and a daughter and I now am the proud grandmother of four granddaughters and one grandson. Writing is my passion and saves me from going crazy when loneliness threatens to creep into my life. I dream a lot of my plots and when I write, I become each character.
Hmmm, does that mean I have multiple personalities?

Books Coming Soon

“Fly Me” and A Son by Any Name

Find Me Here


  1. Glad to have you here today, Shirley. Thanks for being part of our blog!

    1. Thanks for inviting me. It was such fun.

    2. Come back any time! You are always welcome.

  2. Shirley, I loved Too Many Cooks, but Estelle and Gaetano's adventures kept me up late on a work night! Kept telling myself one more chapter ....

    Looking forward to your next story,


    1. Pamela, that's good to hear. Authors love hearing things like that!

    2. Thank you Pam. I loved writing Too Many Cooks and now I'm looking for a Gaetano of my own. Thank your for the nice comments.

  3. Great character interview Shirley!!!

    Looking forward to reading Too Many Cooks!

    Lisa :)

    1. Hello, Lisa! ^_^ Thanks for popping in today. Happy New Year.

    2. Thank you Lisa for your comments. Hope you enjoy the book as much as I did writing it.

  4. This blog has been a wonderful experience and I loved doing it. I apologize for waiting so late to comment but my life got crazy for a while. Thanks to Kayelle and all those who made this possible for me to reach out. Hope to have a new book out soon.


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