Today’s guest is Leona Buquet from Marian P. Merritt’s Deep Freeze Christmas, one of the excellent Christmas Extravaganza novellas published by White Rose Press. Leona, please tell us a little about yourself, where you live, what you do?
Hello Ms. Fay. Thank you for having me here. I live in New Orleans and work as a Sous Chef at the famous Mayeux’s Restaurant. I grew up on the bayou and my parents moved to our New Orleans Lakefront home when I was eight.
I can imagine that being a sous chef in The Big Easy has to be a very interesting and demanding job, especially apprenticing under Chef Julian Mayeux. What exactly is a sous chef, and how did you become interested in the culinary arts?
A Sous Chef is the second in command in a professional kitchen just under the executive chef. It can be stressful when things don’t go as they should in the kitchen or when the food orders aren’t correct. My interest in the culinary arts began as a child. My grandmother opened a restaurant, Leo’s, in New Orleans on the south shore of Lake Pontchartrain. My dream is to re-open and run that restaurant which was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina
I found you to be a very level-headed woman. When another isn’t very kind, you let it go, and you worked hard to be nice to her. How difficult was it for you to turn the other cheek?
Well, dat hasn’t always been the case! Not too long ago, I would have cut her with a sharp tongue and harsh words. Thankfully, a few years ago, I recommitted my life to Christ and made an effort to really understand what that meant. Chef Julian has helped in that area. In our business we meet people from all walks of life and sometimes, as Chef and I remind one another, we may be the only character of Christ some of them may ever see. Why take the chance and miss that awesome opportunity?
Your story has some misunderstandings in it between you and Mr. Cameron Fleming. I can see how the paths of a man who has been raised in the Hollywood culture would clash with your Deep South spirit. And I loved the twists in your stories, but tell me how does a woman raised in Louisiana find common ground with a man pretty much raised in the Hollywood culture?
I believe Cameron’s formidable years were spent in New Orleans and that ole Southern spirit seeped in there. Despite his glittery environment, deep down Cameron’s spirit is genuine and his faith got derailed for a short while. Our common ground is our faith in Christ. That transcends any geographical or environmental differences.
And, because I’m from the Deep South myself, I have to ask: how does a girl from New Orleans handle the frosty winter days and nights in the Colorado Mountains? Is it a place you think you’d like to visit more often?
My mom asked the same question when I got home! Having never left New Orleans or seen snow, it was one of those life experiences that we all hope to have. I loved the crisp clear air and the way the snow covered so much making for a Winter Wonderland. I enjoyed it and would love to visit again BUT don’t think I could permanently leave my family, Gulf Coast seafood, Chef Julian, and the crazy wild culture of New Orleans. This Cajun gal is perfectly content to eat Shrimp po-boys from the neighborhood café, deal with the humidity in the summer time, and thank God for the time I can share with my family.
Thank you for being with us today, Leona. I look forward Wednesday’s interview with your author, Marian P. Merritt.
More about Deep Freeze Christmas:
Louisiana Chef Leona Buquet agrees to cook at a Colorado mountain lodge during the Christmas holiday. When she meets the son of a movie producer, she is taken by his striking good looks and warm personality. Trouble is, with glamorous actresses clamoring for his attention, why would he even notice Leona?
Cameron Fleming struggles with being in a career he hates in order to please his famous father. When he meets Leona, he feels a connection to her and wants an opportunity to get to know her. That is hard to do while dodging starlets…and the woman he wants is avoiding him.
Can love sizzle, along with the Cajun dishes, in subzero temperatures?
About Southern Fried Christmas, another Christmas Extravaganza novella:
Love: purer than Colorado snow, deeper than a Louisiana bayou.
The Colorado Rockies have always been home to journalist Kelly Shepherd, but after the death of her father, and facing her first Christmas alone, she accepts an assignment that leads her deep into Louisiana’s Cajun country.
Since his wife’s death, Denny Labouve has focused his attention on his ten-year-old daughter and the family business, but Kelly sparks the dying embers of his heart even as a Christmas cold front moves through his beloved Cajun country.
Will Denny and Kelly be able to trust God to bridge the span between the Colorado Rockies and the Louisiana bayou?
About A Cajun Christmas Miracle
“Who knows anything about love at seventeen? All those hormones raging, and life decisions to make.”
Thirteen years ago, Mandy St. Pierre and Bridger Mathews were in high school and hopelessly in love. When his parents moved to Colorado in his senior year, Mandy was left behind with a broken heart and a secret. When Bridger never contacted her, she questioned the reality and depth of their love.
While neither has forgotten the other and the deep first love they shared, their lives took different paths. Mandy married and became mother to a child with special needs. Bridger married only to loose his wife to cancer three years later.
Now Mandy and Bridger are thrown together for the wedding of her cousin and his best friend. Mandy, abandoned by her husband, has moved back to Belle Camellia, the River Road, Louisiana plantation home of her youth with Daniel, her three-year-old son who has autism. Bridger is working next door with a rescue horse his best friend has saved.
When Mandy’s son bonds with Bridger and his horse, Mandy is torn. She wrangles with letting Bridger back into her life, letting him into her son’s life, her unnatural fear of horses, and her wavering faith in God.
Through Daniel’s fearless attachment to the horse and Bridger, both Mandy and Bridger are forced to confront the past. Revealed truths present perfect opportunities for forgiveness. Will they let go of the past hurts? Can they open their hearts to trust one another in order to give Daniel an experience that may unlock his world and allow him to interact like never before?
About the Author:
Marian Pellegrin Merritt writes stories that blend her love of the mountains with her deep Southern roots. She is an author and freelance writer with over ten years experience. Her work has appeared in newspapers, magazines and online websites and garnered a first place award in ACFW’s Genesis contest.
Marian is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Women’s Fiction Writers Association.
She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in physical therapy and an accounting certificate from the University of South Alabama. This Louisiana native writes from the Northwest Colorado home she shares with her husband and a very spoiled Labradoodle. Connect with her through her Website, Blog, Facebook, Twitter.