Welcome to my Friday bonus feature called Karen’s Killer Fixin’s **Author Special**!! Today, in lieu of one of my own recipes, I’m going to introduce you to a new author who will share one of her favorite recipes. Not only will you and I occasionally learn how to make something new and delicious, but we’ll get a chance to check out some wonderful authors. Introducing author, CLAIRE L. FISHBACK, and her favorite recipe for WHITE LASAGNA!
THE BLOOD OF SEVEN
BY CLAIRE L. FISHBACK
Static filled her ears. Through the crackle, a voice compounded of many voices said, “Protect her.”
When Detective Ann Logan sees a shimmering vision of a young girl, she tries to dismiss it as a trick of mountain light. But she can’t dismiss the arcane symbol that rose like a brand on her chest and burns with life when the vision becomes reality. Then townspeople begin to disappear, and Ann’s investigation plunges her into an eternal war between two secret societies, one serving the malevolent designs of a mysterious deity, the other trying to keep them at bay. How can she know what to do, who to trust? The answers lie in the tattered pages of an ancient manuscript and in the heart of the little girl Ann must protect.
In the sleepy town of Harmony, Colorado, darkness gathers strength to unleash vengeance upon the world. Can Ann embrace her destiny in time, or will the Child of Chaos arise?
Before we get started talking about your writing, tell us a little about yourself, where you’re from, what you do for a living (if you’re not a full-time writer) what hobbies you have, etc. Whatever you’d like to share to introduce yourself.
Hi! I’m Claire L. Fishback, and I live in Morrison, CO with my husband, Tim, and our pit mix, Kira. I have a full-time job on the side as a project manager at a medical device manufacturer. When I’m not working or writing, I’m spending time with my husband and dog, usually hiking. I also enjoy reading, baking, playing the ukulele, adding to my bone collection, and poking dead things with sticks!
1. What appeals to you about the genre that you write?
I started writing when I was six. The first story I wrote was fashioned after THE JOLLY POSTMAN. It was about a squirrel (or skworel, as I spelled it) and a chipmunk who were pen pals. Other stories were about my pets at the time. When I turned eleven, I started writing scary stories fashioned after those found in SCARY STORIES TO TELL IN THE DARK compiled by Alvin Schartz. I have all three of those volumes on my desk at home, the originals with the super creepy illustrations. I started writing scary stories in my school “reflections” journal, to scare my teacher, who I didn’t like. Alas, she loved them. Though I don’t consider THE BLOOD OF SEVEN to be straight horror (I categorize it as supernatural suspense), my short story collection is about 90% horror. I also dabble in fantasy and near-future science fiction. What I love most about writing darker stories, though, is when I tell people I write horror. The shock on their faces is priceless!
2. Are you a plotter or a pantser (one who writes “by the seat of your pants”)?
I am a Pantser through and through, despite many attempts to outline. My first drafts are usually long and meandering. It’s like I have to write 50,000+ words to find the story and get to know the characters, really sort out who they are and what they want and why they are asking me to tell their story. I’ve tried to do character sheets and all that, but I end up not even looking at them ever again, and deviating from them, too.
Once I feel like I know the characters and the real story, I scrap most, if not all, of the initial draft (sort of like a Draft Zero) and start over. Then its various cycles of writing and rewriting. It’s not a very efficient process to say the least, but it’s what works for me, and I’ve learned to accept it. THE BLOOD OF SEVEN had no less than 5 full rewrites from scratch. It is a very different story today than it was when I started it in 2007 (I worked on it off and on for all those years, so don’t worry! It doesn’t take 11 years for me to write a book, haha!)
3. What is your favorite part of writing?
The discovery that happens during the first draft is the most magical part for me. I love how I can head into a story with one idea, and the characters take over and basically dictate how the story really SHOULD be. It’s a thrill to have epiphanies and to figure out twists and turns for the story in real time like this.
4. If you had to give up writing and do something else, what would you do instead?
Probably die. I write on my lunch break, so I probably wouldn’t take one anymore? Or I’d read instead? I honestly have no idea!
5. What’s your favorite meal of the day?
6. Which are your favorite characters to write, the female characters or the male characters? Why?
The main characters in THE BLOOD OF SEVEN are both female, but I did enjoy writing the secondary male characters, too. In the past I used to write a lot of males, but they tended to have female body language, haha. I enjoy writing both, but writing females is easier, since I am one.
7. If you had a superpower, what would it be, and how would you use it?
I would love to be able to talk to animals. I’d use it to train my dog, Kira, and tell her to be quiet when dogs barking in the distance get her riled up. That, or teleportation so I could pop up to Alaska to see my twin whenever I wanted.
8. Many writers dream of having the ideal location to write. If you could live anywhere in the world or live a particular lifestyle, where would you be answering these questions right now?
Our most recent trip was to Portugal, and I fell in love with Lisbon and the surrounding cities. I would be writing from a large, previously abandoned estate on a cliff overlooking the beach in Setubal. And during the hot Portugal summer, perhaps a house in Juneau, AK where my twin lives, though my husband wants a summer home in Crested Butte, CO. 😊
9. Do you have any rejection stories to share? Reviews that meant something special to you?
THE BLOOD OF SEVEN was requested (partially and in full) by several agents but never accepted. Back in 2018, I got a fortune cookie that said, “If you wait too long for the perfect moment, the perfect moment will pass you by.” I had already been toying with the idea of independently publishing. This fortune was the kick in the pants I needed. And now, THE BLOOD OF SEVEN is a finalist for the Colorado Book Award! I feel like my dreams are coming true!
I also get a lot of people who tell me they loved my book and ask if there is a sequel. That always excites me!
10. Tell us about your next book & when is it being published?
My next book is my second short story collection due out in November 2020. I’m feverishly working on all the stories I want to include!
Award winning author Claire L. Fishback writes horror novels and short stories from beautiful Colorado, where she resides with her husband and pit bull mix. She is the author of The Blood of Seven and Lump: A Collection of Short Stories. In her “spare” time she enjoys adding to her bone collection and poking dead things with sticks. You can find more about her and her books at clairelfishback.com.
I hope you enjoy the recipe Claire is sharing today on Karen’s Killer Fixin’s. Happy Eating!
P.S. We’re at 475 recipes and counting with this posting. Hope you find some recipes you like. If this is your first visit, please check out past blogs for more Killer Fixin’s. In the right-hand column menu, you can even look up past recipes by type. i.e. Desserts, Breads, Beef, Chicken, Soups, Author Specials, etc.
NOTE FROM CLAIRE: This is a recipe I put together from a couple other places and have “perfected” over the past few years. I’m not a vegetarian, and actually prefer the lasagna I make that has meat in it, but this one is also REALLY good. 😊
5 TBS butter
4 TBS flour
3 cups of milk (or 2 cups of whole milk, 1 cup of cream)
2 tsp salt
Pinch of nutmeg
Pinch of pepper
1/2 big can of San Marzano tomatoes, crushed by hand
A bunch of dry oregano
A bunch of dry basil
A bunch of garlic powder
2 cloves garlic roughly chopped
Lasagna noodles – fresh is best! I sometimes make my own noodles, but in a pinch, I’ll buy fresh ones.
Vegetables – thinly sliced zucchini, thinly sliced mushrooms, spinach
2 cups of parmesan or pecorino Romano or whatever hard salty cheese is your favorite
Heat olive oil in pan, add garlic. Crush tomatoes by hand in a bowl. Add dry ingredients. Warm up. Take off heat, put in a bowl and set aside (to cool).
Melt butter in pan. When fully melted add flour and whisk. Cook flour for 7 minutes or until golden brown, whisking occasionally.
Meanwhile, heat milk to nearly boiling.
When roux is light golden brown, add milk 1 cup at a time whisking frantically to avoid lumps. When all milk is added, cook until it coats the back of a wooden spoon. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Cook lasagna noodles half way (al dente). Lay on a clean towel to dry the excess water off.
Heat oven to 375 F.
Coat the bottom of a 13×9 inch pan with Bechamel sauce. Lay noodles to cover the bottom of the pan. Add a spoon of Bechamel on each noodle and spread evenly. Add veggies in layers: zucchini, spinach, mushrooms. Sprinkle a little bit of cheese. Add noodles. Spread with white sauce. Add vegetables. Sprinkle with a little cheese. Add noodles, etc. until you are almost to the top of the pan! Top with red sauce and cheese. If you want more red sauce to help cut the creaminess of the bechemel, you can substitute the last layer with red sauce.
Bake for 45 minutes, or until golden brown and bubbly. Let stand about 15 minutes before digging in. As Lidia Bastianich would say, “Tutti a tavola a mangiare!”
Thanks, Claire, for sharing your book with us!
Don’t miss the chance to read this book!