Local restaurant serves up real-life inspiration for my manuscript

Teranga's Stephane Lamour

Teranga’s Stephane Lamour

One of the characters in my yet-to-be-published novel is a restaurant owner from Senegal. He serves sumptuous meals that keep the other characters coming back to patronize him. Not so coincidentally, many of the dishes served are inspired by selections on the menu of real-life Senegalese restaurant Teranga in Boston’s South End.

Owner, Marie-Claude Mendy, has been a great help to me in learning more about the Senegalese culture, taking the time to gather her friends for lively conversations with me. Teranga serves as the inspiration for the restaurant in my manuscript. I’ve done my best to accurately depict what it’s like to go to a Senegalese restaurant and how appealing the food is.

Pictured above is Teranga’s Stephane Lamour, who studied at Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts,  preparing a delicious coconut appetizer from the m

 

Announcing the winner of the literary trivia quiz!

A few weeks ago I posted a literary trivia quiz about famous writers. The prize was an autographed copy of Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Dating Game. The contestant with the most questions answered correctly is Reshma Kodandaram. Reshma is a university student majoring in journalism and business. She hopes one day to become a foreign correspondent for a major news organization. Being able to answer all of the questions correctly in this trivia quiz will give her a great start!

Here are the trivia questions with the correct answers.

  1. Which 19thcentury writer continuously got his wife pregnant and then got mad at her when she was too tired to travel with him overseas on his lecture tour? (Charles Dickens)
  2. Which writer, who in later years became famous during the Harlem Renaissance, strung along a high school romantic interest through letters for years with no intent of having a relationship with her? (Langston Hughes)
  3. Which married 20th Century writer invited other women into his bed while his wife was in it, knowing that the wife would lie there in humiliation and pretend to be asleep? (Ernest Hemingway)
  4. Which contemporary author spent much of his youth getting into bar brawls and street fights, partially because of his anger at his father, also an author? (Andre Dubus)
  5. Which contemporary author spent much of his youth being raised by the regulars who frequented his neighborhood’s bar? (J.R. Moehringer)
  6. During the 1800s this author helped a financially struggling African-American law student pay his tuition at one of the most prestigious universities in the country. The law student in later years mentored Thurgood Marshall, who later because U.S. Supreme Court Justice.(Mark Twain)
  7. This writer was tossed into jail repeatedly for what was called “The love that dare not speak its name” (Oscar Wilde)
  8. This writer was a college dropout who moved in with reclusive writer J.D. Salinger. The relationship ended when he announced to her that he didn’t want anymore children. (Joyce Maynard)
  9. This prolific writer’s relationship with prison inmates inspired the two novels that launched her career. (Danielle Steel)
  10. Oprah sought advice from this author and poet. (Maya Angelou)

Will you join me on my writing blog tour?

I have been invited by writer Barbara Beckwith to participate in a writing process blog tour. I have enjoyed getting to know Barbara through her work with the National Writers Union. During the years that I was the president of the Women’s National Book Association Boston chapter, she and I conferred on joint activities. Barbara is an accomplished essayist. You can read more about her on her blog. This tour has included Leslie Brunetta, Ken Wachsberger, and Adina Schecter.

Lisa Braxton’s Writing Blog Tour

What am I working on?

I’m working on a novel. I’m completing final revisions and plan to begin sending the manuscript out to literary agents before the end of July. The manuscript is set in the 1970s in a struggling New England urban community. The two sets of main characters are from different sections of the same town and are profoundly affected by an urban redevelopment project taking place. The novel explores issues of race, class, culture, and social responsibility.

In addition, I had a story published in the Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Dating Game and have written three additional stories that I’ve submitted to the editors of the Chicken Soup Series that I hope will be accepted. I have also written an article for Guideposts magazine that I hope will be accepted.

Why do I write?

I enjoy expressing myself creatively through the written word. I write short stories, magazine articles drawing from my journalism background, and essays. When readers tell me that my writing inspired them, gave them hope, made them cry, made them reflect on their own situations, then I feel that I’ve done my job well.

How does my work differ from others in the genre?

My professors at the MFA program at Southern New Hampshire University told me that no two people can tell a story the same way. I hope that I bring something unique to the reading experience.

How does my writing process work?

I write with my feet up in the bed. I write on the couch. I write in the library, during my lunch break at work, at the crack of dawn at the kitchen table, while I’m under the hair dryer at the hair dresser, while on airplanes. Whenever I can fit in a few moments of writing, I write.

So now it’s your turn. What do you think of the writing blog tour? Care to join me? How about some fellow alums of the Southern New Hampshire University MFA program. Let me know.