I’m delighted to welcome Bestselling Author THERESA ROMAIN to Rakes and Rascals today for an exclusive interview.
Hi, Carol! Thanks for inviting me to join you today.
Could you tell us where you were born and what it was like growing up there?
I was born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and lived there until I was almost ten years old. A lot of my school friends lived nearby, and I remember walking or riding a bike to a friend’s house all the time. The weather there is very humid but pretty mild, so my family always had a big fruit and vegetable garden. I also played outside with my friends a lot—though even as a kid, I liked to have a friend over just to read with me. I’ve always been a bookworm.
Me reading at the age of six
Louisiana is a great place to try out new foods. My father is of Cajun descent (his parents both spoke Cajun French as a first language), and those food traditions were a big part of gatherings when we got together with his side of the family. Think roasted pig, duck sausage, dirty rice, pralines, fried catfish, crawfish etouffée…oh, yeah, and sweet potato casserole. One of my uncles was a sweet potato farmer, and he was jokingly offended that I never wanted to eat sweet potatoes. Sorry, Uncle Ray!
My dad’s side of the family lives mainly in the rural centre of the state. In Baton Rouge, we were near my mom’s side of the family, which is Sicilian. Every Christmas, my aunts got together and made homemade ravioli and cuccidatis, a holiday pastry. There was lots of arguing too, since everyone had a different idea of how to make the ravioli! The arguing is still an annual tradition when my relatives make the ravioli, and by now it’s a proud one. I live near my parents in the Midwest, and now my mom and I have taken up the tradition of making the cuccidatis together. We ship some to Louisiana several times a year. My grandfather is 92, and they’re his favourite treat. How can we not send them all the time?
How would you describe yourself – temperamental or easy-going?
I’m a not-always-delightful blend of easy-going and anxious. When it comes to myself, I lean more easy-going. I’m flexible about plans, I don’t worry too much about appearance, I don’t care about having a lot of stuff. But over the years, my husband and I have dealt with some weather-related destruction, and I’ve become far more anxious about severe weather. I also have a young daughter, and I get anxious about her well-being, because there’s nothing more important to me. If I could keep that anxiety in check, I’d be better off, because I know worrying never did a bit of good.
When it comes to my writing, I hope I’m more easy-going than temperamental. I’ve been fortunate to work with a fabulous agent and editors. We all want to give readers the best books possible, and that’s the mind-set with which I approach revisions and pitches.
When it comes to food do you like sweet or savoury or both?
Both, please! My family has teased me that nothing is ever too salty or too sweet for me. I like everything from bouillon cubes to maple candy, and if there’s anything saltier than the one or sweeter than the other I’d probably like that too. I don’t care for sweet and savoury mixed, though—like applesauce with pork, or grapes in a chicken salad. I guess I like flavours that are intense. Maybe it’s my Louisiana upbringing?
What is your most treasured possession?
That would have to be my laptop and my backup hard drive. They both contain every picture I’ve ever taken of my daughter, every draft of each of my books, and all the emails I’ve sent for the past 14 years or so. I can’t think of another item that would mean more to me than those stored memories and accomplishments. But the files are what’s really important, not the drive or laptop itself. Er…does that mean I have thousands of treasured possessions?
If you were able to afford a second home anywhere in the world where would you choose and why?
That’s hard to say, because I’m not a good traveller at all—especially by air. But if I could be provided with a wormhole that would lead me directly to the second home (it could happen, right?), then the answer would be Venice. When my husband and I got married, we talked about going there for our honeymoon, but we ultimately couldn’t afford the international travel. Still, it’s always fascinated me. It’s such an old, beautiful, fragile, and unique city.
(Venice photo credit: By Norbert Nagel, Mörfelden-Walldorf, Germany (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) ] , via Wikimedia Commons)
Finally, what has been your most embarrassing moment?
Ages 11 to 15 or so were almost constantly embarrassing for me! I never seemed to know if I was doing or saying the right thing. But rather than tell you a tragic story about a middle-school dance–of which there are several–I’ll share about my second date with a guy I met in grad school.
On our first date, we had played trivia games in a sports bar. Low-key, not too stressful. But our second date was a DATE date, with dinner at a restaurant. It was a Cajun restaurant, which was cool, but I was so nervous I could hardly think of anything to say. I could hardly eat, either. (My apologies to the oyster po’boy.) Since I really liked the guy, I felt like a fool for being so shy. And for forgetting my oyster po’boy takeout bag with him. I guess he didn’t mind too much, because that meant he got to eat the oyster po’boy later. And eventually we had a third date, and a few more. And then eight months later, we got married. 🙂 Sometimes embarrassment has a happy ending!
Thank you for taking time out to be here today and sharing these interesting facts about yourself, Theresa.
Thank you for the chance to visit Rakes and Rascals, Carol!
If you would like to find out more about Theresa and her books, here are the links: