Sunday, August 11, 2019

The Rogues' Reveal Their Go-To Writing Snacks

by Gayle Lynds
K.J. Howe's Sacher Torte, for research of course!

What do we authors snack on while creating adventure, danger, and, yes, violence?  So far, I’ve found no one chomping nails or bullet casings.  For instance, Franz Kafka, who wrote the dystopian crime novel The Trial, drank milk, milk, milk.  Settling an upset stomach because of his upsetting subject matter? 

Truman Capote, author of the brilliant and brutal In Cold Blood, had a routine of coffee at 11:00 a.m., mint tea at noon, sherry at 2:00 p.m., and martinis at 4:00 p.m.  Terribly civilized, and methinks by the end of his writing day he easily could’ve felt he really, really needed medicinal alcohol.  On the other end of the literary spectrum is Emily Dickinson who baked bread between writing poems.  Can’t you smell the delicious aroma of yeasty bread – giving rise to all sorts of ideas and insights?
Jamie Freveletti's French Press = Great Coffee.

So what about you, dear fellow Rogues?  What is your go-to snack while you write?  Do you love the taste?  Are you looking for inspiration or procrastination?  And why choose it?

K.J. Howe: Okay, we've all heard of method acting, where the actor goes fully into character while performing in a play or acting in a film. I'm a big believer in "method eating"! Because I write international thrillers, I like to immerse myself in the culinary delights of the country I'm writing about. For example, in SKYJACK, part of the story took place in Salzburg, Austria, so imagine my sacrifice in having to delve into the world famous Sacher Torte to make sure that I was in the right milieu. I've also sampled the cuisine of Greece, South Africa, Turkey, and a host of other locales. Wherever your imagination can go, your appetite can follow!

Chris Goff's favorite Swedish bowl holds pistachio nuts today.
Jamie Freveletti:  My drink of choice while writing is coffee. Which also happens to be my drink of choice all the time. Even when marching around the recent Lollapalooza music fest here in Chicago I located and found some coffee sold in a can by High Brew. After years of trying different brewing methods, I've settled on the French Press for now. Someone recently raved about the glass siphon method. At first I was confused, but once I saw the contraption, I recognized it as something my great grandmother used to use to make her coffee! Siphon makers are really expensive, so I'm on a mission to find one of the older ones at a flea market or garage sale just to see if I like the method. In the meantime, it's a French press for me!

Karna Small Bodman's cap has lift!
Chris Goff:  I alternate between Good & Plentys and pistachio nuts. As you can see from the picture, the bowl sits right above my mouse pad, close to my cup of coffee. Though, truth be told, I'm almost more obsessed with having the right mug and some treats in my Swedish bowl than I am with the actual contents.

Karna Small Bodman: The thing is, I NEVER snack between meals. However, in the morning I am inspired to write AFTER I've had my caffeine fix – actually a daily cappuccino made by spooning frothed skim milk on top of my (large) cup of coffee.  Writing after lunch means I've had my "daily" piece of chocolate for dessert. I figure, if a dessert doesn't involve chocolate,  "It's not worth the calories" – and yes, I used that line in my last novel, TRUST BUT VERIFY.
Valerie Constantine takes her a.m. coffee hi-test.

Valerie Constantine: I drink coffee when I write, starting with hi-test in the morning and graduating to decaf later on.  My coffee never looks as beautiful as the cappuccino in the photo, but I thought the flower was too pretty to pass up.  I’d much rather be munching on cashews or pretzels!

Robin Burcell:  I love Cheez-it crackers. I used to buy them by the big box (two pack) and also the 30 snack pack size from Costco. I had to stop buying them when I started using them for meal replacement while on deadline many books ago. (Still trying to lose that weight!) Now I try not to keep "snacking snacks" around. I do, however, pick up the occasional Justin's Peanut Butter Cups, dark chocolate, of course. (I prefer them over Reese's, because they don't add sugar to the peanut butter. The catch, though, is no preservatives, so you have to get them fresh. Sometimes the older ones, or those exposed to heat/cold cycles, can dry the peanut butter.)
Robin Burcell fills her freezer with these.

And in the summer, dark chocolate frozen banana slices. Dole makes the best ones, but they're a bit pricey.  Costco carries Chok’s Organic in the summer, and the price is very reasonable. We fill the freezer in the summer. One pack is 4 slices and 100 calories, so I don't feel too guilty. The only thing that keeps me from chowing down on the whole box (thank goodness) is that I prefer them slightly thawed. That 10–15 minutes I let them sit is enough to keep me from constantly getting up and grabbing another pack!

Lisa Black: 
     What I dream of snacking on: cheese and crackers and wine, preferably on a terrace overlooking the Mediterranean. But both wine and the Mediterranean would seriously impede productivity.
Lisa Black's final go-to is tea and chocolates.
     What I'd like to snack on: Fritos (original flavor). But they're too many carbs.
     What I usually snack on: hot tea with some sort of chocolate piece accompanying. Not really less carbs but something I always have on hand.

Lynne Constantine:  I'd love to snack on Hershey kisses but that would be a disaster considering how many hours I write ... so instead I drink lots of Jack Reacher coffee in my favorite mug.

Gayle Lynds: My go-to is popcorn, which I pop myself.  In the early stages of a spy thriller, I'll eat the popcorn plain, but after a few weeks of writing, I feel driven to add salt.  By the time I finish a book, I'm eating a huge bowl of it a couple of times a day, laden with not only freshly ground Pure Himalayan Ancient Sea Salt (you know it's the best) but also much-too-much melted butter.  Yum.
Never underestimate Jack Reacher OR Lynne Constantine!

 I rationalized the craziness of my excess by thinking all that chewing sparks my dendrites and neurons and makes me smarter.  I'm so smitten (addicted?) that I named a software program I invented in one of my novels, POPCORN.  And no, there's no photo here of a bowl (very large) of my popcorn.  I’d have to pop some.  Then I'd eat it.  All of it.  All.  Bad idea, bad idea.


So dear Rogue Readers ... what’s your favorite snack?  We’re starving (er, eager) to know!

15 comments:

  1. I love this post!! I love the idea of method eating...definitely going to try that on the next book, because in my current WIP the food is consistently bad (have to do it, it figures into the plot).
    My favorite non-chocolate candy is Good n Plenty’s.
    Karna, I have a piece of chocolate with every meal, breakfast, lunch, dinner. Often more than one. I consider this a well-balanced diet. But when it comes to dessert I have the same policy only with ice cream. if a dessert doesn’t involve ice cream, it’s not really a dessert.
    Who doesn’t love popcorn? And it’s even healthy in many ways—so if it’s any consolation, Gayle, my sister also has a daily popcorn addiction, and her doctor recently told her she has the colon of a woman 30 years younger. So, see? We SHOULD eat popcorn.

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  2. Ohhh, I am so relieved about popcorn, Lisa. Thank you! :)

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  3. Aside from Gayle's "addiction" to popcorn which I'm sure we all love too -- what in the world would we writers ever do if there happened to be a drought or shortage of coffee beans as well as chocolate? Could we survive?....(Thanks for a great post!)….Karna Small Bodman

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    1. I agree, Karna ... Coffee is my fave fuel for writing, and a good hot cup of herbal or g-force tea is second. And the coffee has to be really really good! Loved the foam on your cuppa!

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  4. I may have to go and visit Chris and snatch some of her Good & Plenty's. And Lisa - I'll meet you on that terrace in the Mediterrean and I'll bring the wine! Lynne

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    1. I agree, those Good & Plenty's are sure good! As for the Mediterranea ... swoon! :)

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    2. Another road trip idea! We've yet to work one out, but we Rogues can dream!

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  5. It looks like we've come up with some new and exciting nutrition rules for good health, and I'm all in! Chocolate, popcorn, Good & Plenty's, ice cream...all washed down with wine and coffee...now this is living! Thanks all!

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    1. Ah, yes, Valerie. Couldn't agree more! I'd forgotten about the ice cream.... how could I do that?????

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    2. I love ice cream One of my favorite indulgences is Drumsticks, and now you can buy them in mini form. Actually small form. The minis don't taste the same.

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  6. Coffee in the morning, coffee in the afternoon, coffee all day long while writing! I really love hearing what authors snack on, but, darn it, I'm on Jenny Craig maintenance. But Cheez-its (and Mother's Iced Oatmeal cookies) are my road trip foods. Of course, I'm still writing (in my head) while I'm driving.

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    1. I've never had Mother's Iced Oatmeal cookies. I used to love the Ginger Snaps. Man, I'm getting hungry.

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  7. Just when you think it's safe to go to the store! I'm glad I didn't read this post before heading off to Costco today! Yes on the coffee. Several years ago, I indulged on a high-end espresso machine, because I wanted to make my own cappuccinos. And now that I own it, I rarely make them, because the milk is too high in carbs! But it sure makes great coffee, and it's finally paying for itself, as I rarely drink coffee out any more. Lindor Balls chocolate, love! (Saw it in a photo up there.) And Good N Plentys, Good 'n Plentys, Good 'n Plentys!!! (Is that showing my age that I recall that commercial jingle?)

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    1. I'm now yearning for Oreo cookies. I have to avert my eyes when I go into grocery stores!

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