“Behind the Story of Smothered” Terry Ambrose’s Mysteries with Character

Ideals are behind the story of Smothered

“One morning I was sitting in a neighborhood coffeehouse, imagining lives for the employees and other patrons, when I suddenly realized that it would make the perfect setting for a murder mystery,” G.P. said. “Maybe not actually in the café, but somehow connected so that I could write a ‘culinary’ mystery, with recipes. But I knew that I wouldn’t use the quantities of sugar and fat that typical bakeries use – I’d replicate the recipes I used to make for my children, the kinds that included vegetables and fruit in just about everything I served to those picky little eaters. And they never knew.”

G.P. added that when she began writing the series, she wanted to describe a business that was both a workplace and a warm hearth for those who spent their days baking, serving, and cleaning up. “In jobs I’ve held, I was always happiest when there was a feeling of camaraderie rather than a competitive or professional atmosphere that lacked caring. And I wanted to create a café that had a moral center Alene, the owner, wants to help her employees reach their potential, and Ruthie, the pastry chef, is opposed to using any part of an animal for food.”

In holding to that philosophy, she not only created the recipes in the book, but also made most of them vegan and gluten-free.

On a personal note

G.P. Gottlieb, author of Smothered

“My degrees are in piano and voice,” G.P. said. “I ran children’s choirs, taught high school music, and performed, then administrated a law school center until the day I was diagnosed with an aggressive breast cancer. During a year-long battle to eradicate it, I vowed to get healthy and fulfil my dream of completing a novel and getting it published – which happened in 2019. I’ve been cancer-free for six years now and hope to write as many books as I can with the time I have left!”

Doing food research is definitely something G.P. has enjoyed doing. “I used to conduct food tests in which I’d pick up 6 to 10 different versions of a pastry, like, say ginger molasses cookies. We’d usually have friends over to help with the tasting, and I’d take notes about what people liked best so that later, when I created a vegan, gluten-free version, it would still be chewy and gingery. What I learned about myself is that even if I don’t love a cookie, I’ll still eat it, which probably means I’m a helpful, accommodating kind of person, right?”