Love and the Apple Blackberry Sonker with NANCY SCROFANO

EDITORS NOTE:, I have been having fun reading Nancy Scrofano’s new book AMERICAN HONEY!  Nancy joins us today with a sweet recipe for the sonker,  a dessert that is just as  fun to say as it is delicious to eat.  Check out this Southern cobbler-like dessert that  is inspired from her new novel!

Thank you  to Nancy for joining us and for more information on her new novel, go to: www.nancyscrofano.com

American Honey.jpeg (1)

  The Book:

In my new novel, American Honey, recent high school graduate Olivia “Ollie” McKenna leaves her small town roots in Summerville, Georgia, to pursue her dream of becoming a professional singer. With her best friend and older sister in tow, wholesome Ollie travels to the big city to compete in singing contest Atlanta Idol where she meets nineteen-year-old Jack Bradley, a fellow country singer who quickly becomes a close friend. The connection between them is magnetic and an opportunity to sing together could change their lives forever.

The Inspiration: 

I’m a fan of American Idol. I’ve been watching it since the first season, and I wanted to write a story involving a singing competition. I started working on American Honey after watching the season ten finale of American Idol in May 2011. I was inspired by winner Scotty McCreery and runner-up Lauren Alaina. I also found inspiration for this book from Disney Channel’s Austin & Ally and ABC’s Nashville. I love country music, and the title American Honey comes from a song of the same name by country music trio Lady Antebellum. The message of the song really coincides with main character Ollie’s journey.

 The Recipe:

The sonker is native to North Carolina, Jack’s home state, and his mother’s version of this deep-dish cobbler is legendary. Sonkers are often made with blackberries, a favorite local fruit. Jack tells Ollie that his mom’s famous baked fruit dessert is an Apple Blackberry Sonker. Maybe he would make it himself for Ollie as a friendly gesture or possibly as something more… Wouldn’t that be sweet? Or maybe Ollie would try to impress him with her own version.

 

The following recipe is courtesy of the Hallmark Channel.If you decide to make a sonker, please send me a picture of your finished product. I would love to see it!

appleblackberryINGREDIENTS

Pie pastry for 2-1/2 nine-inch crusts (Store-bought or your favorite recipe. NOTE: If you use pre-rolled store-bought pie pastry, piece it together to make a rectangle. Use the scraps to make the lattice.)

1-1/2 pounds Golden Delicious apples (3 or 4)

1 tablespoon of lemon juice

5 cups of blackberries

3/4 cup of sugar

1/ cup of flour

1 teaspoon of cinnamon

3 tablespoons of butter (cut into small pieces)

DIRECTIONS

Divide the pie pastry into two pieces–one about four-fifths of the dough and the other about one-fifth (for the lattice top). Flatten into disks, wrap in plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes.  Cut up the apples and place them in a large bowl. Toss them gently with the lemon juice to keep them from browning.

Add the blackberries and gently toss. Preheat the oven to 400°F. On a lightly floured surface, roll the larger piece of dough into a 12 x 16-inch rectangle. Line a 9 x 13-inch glass baking pan with the dough. Roll the remaining piece of dough into a rectangle about 10 inches long. Cut it into 1/2-inch-wide strips to use as a lattice top.

In a small bowl, blend the sugar, flour and cinnamon. Sprinkle a light layer of the sugar-flour mixture over the bottom of the crust. Layer the fruit into the baking pan, sprinkling with the sugar-flour mixture as you go. Dot with the butter. Arrange the lattice strips in an open basket-weave pattern diagonally across the sonker, trimming the dough strips to fit where necessary. Fold in the side pieces of dough to cover the ends of the lattice strips. Bake for 10 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 350°F. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, or until the fruit is hot and bubbling and the crust is browned. Let it cool for 10 to 20 minutes, then serve.

Makes 12 servings.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAdd American Honey to your Goodreads shelf! Follow along with the American Honey Tour via Fictionella! Connect with Nancy at nancyscrofano.com

Writer’s Muck

I am trying not to call what I am currently experiencing … writer’s block.  Once you say that  out loud, it becomes real ya know. I read The Secret.

But I’ve been stuck.  Stuck in the muck of a character’s transition and I am having trouble getting out of it.

I lost my muse and I can’t seem to find her, so instead I’m eating candy. Lots and lots of candy, chocolate and stone fruits. But I’m worried. Worried that I’ll be stuck without feeling inspired for a while.

In the last couple of weeks, I’ve  started a new job that has changed my work hours and moved me from part-time to full-time hours.  This is taking a toll on my energy and my writing.

The reality is that I have to work a day job, because I am not independently wealthy and neither is my partner. We gotta work to pay the bills.  In my life before Baby G, I would work my day job and then come home and write late into the night. But now  I am a mom. A mom who hasn’t slept through the night in 9 months.

My person is a culmination of all my different roles in life: A woman, a lover (an occasional fighter) a mother and a writer.

I haven’t gone more than a few days without writing since I was about 10 years old. And now life and all of its responsibilities are making me prioritize, and writing is being pushed aside a bit.

I figure things will balance out once again, i just have to keep my eye on the prize. Squeeze writing in whenever I can, an hour everyday and a bigger chunk of time on the weekends.

In the meantime, as I wait for my tired muse to come back to me, I read a great article on http://www.chicklitbee.com/2012/06/5-ways-to-find-your-writing-mojo.html that just happen to come out  last week, written by author Malena Lott.

It gave me some ideas on how to get past my current lack of writing mojo. I also asked a few writer friends of mine what they do when they find themselves staring at a blank screen or not feeling as inspired.

Here were some of the tips I got:

1.  Lucie Simone  Do something physical like going for a walk to get the blood pumping to your brain. Take deep breaths. And try meditating. It may not happen immediately, but you will find the answer. You can also try working on other story-related activities like creating a scrapbook or doing character interviews. Or, just read a book, watch a movie. Let your brain relax and play for a while. The worst thing to do is to try to force your way thru it. Get some breathing room between it and you and then return to it when you’re reenergized

2. Laura Sheehan When I do get stuck, however, I like to go back and edit what I’ve written.  Not only is it a good use of time if you aren’t feeling your muse, but it sometimes helps get your head back in the story. You’ll be spell-checking a paragraph and you’ll read something your character said and – WHAM! – you now have a great idea for how to start the next chapter.

Some people suggest skipping to a different part of your story (e.g., the end) when you get stuck somewhere in the middle, but I am such a linear writer, I just can’t do that.  As a pantser, I’m not always sure where the end will be for my characters, so skipping to the end is simply out of the question… but for some of my writer friends, this works wonderfully for them.  Then they just have to connect everything in the middle (like Stephanie Meyer, who wrote the last half of Twilight first, and then went back to the beginning and connected things up).

If all else fails: I step away.  If I’ve been staring at a blank computer screen for more than half an hour, I step back. I’ll discuss it with my husband or mother (a fellow writer), read a book, go for a walk, take a dance class… anything to get me out of my head and hopefully get the juices flowing again.

3. Christina Pazsitsky: Comedienne.  I get out of the house. Go get my nails did. Go for a walk. Or eat something I shouldn’t. But don’t do that!

4. Nancy Scrofano: When I’m stuck and looking for inspiration, I listen to music. Music really helps my writing. It helps me clear my head, refocus, and generate new ideas. I’m always on the lookout for new songs and new artists, even if they aren’t necessarily “new” but just new to me. Music helps to keep the creative juices flowing.