What inspired you to write your book?
This was a learn as you go experience with lots of ups and downs. I had never thought about writing a book before. I had the idea for the coffee table book of the stories from the shows when I was getting ready to go on stage for the first show. I was in the gift shop/kitchen of the Myrtles Plantation and there were coffee table books on a table for sale. I thought to myself, “This would be a great book with the stories, recipes and pictures”, I turned one of the books over and saw Pelican Publishing had published that book. I invited Pelican Publishing to come to a New Orleans show the next month as I knew they would be a good fit. They came to the show, loved it and gave me a book deal. Soon I had a literary agent, entertainment attorney and was learning the ropes of a book contract. Gathering material from 67 people (stories, recipes, pictures and the releases) was a huge task and then editing, marketing and promotion. Now I’m in the midst of book launch parties, book tour and it is very overwhelming but thrilling. I’m trying to stay centered, focused, excited and enjoy the ride. It has been an amazing journey. The book has been hitting #1 on Amazon (Hot New Releases-Louisiana books) for months in pre-sales and now consistently since it came out. We are getting lots of press inquiries from across the country and people are loving it! We have received great reviews and endorsements from famous New Orleans chefs, Emeril and John Besh, as well as Pulitzer Prize winning author, Jeffrey Marx.
About your Book:
Created and Edited by Peggy Sweeney-McDonald, a self-professed “drama queen southern belle” Louisiana native and is a 15 year resident of Los Angeles. The former actress turned corporate event producer was suddenly out of work and depressed with the downturn of the economy in late 2009, when a friend told her a funny “Coconut Pie and a Bottle of Wine” story. Sweeney-McDonald was inspired to create a food monologue show, her own “event” and the journey began. The show snowballed and over 230 people have shared their food stories in restaurant venues across the country from chefs, actors, writers, politicians, musicians, athletes and more. The book includes humorous and heartfelt personal stories from the shows and all have the common thread of food – our culture and relationships, personal life stories, past love affairs, and more. “We’ve all experienced the highs and lows of life, which mostly revolve around our food experiences,” says creator/producer Peggy Sweeney-McDonald. “Everyone has their own “Café Du Monde” experience—the place where they know what they are ordering, they know it is delicious, and they know they are with good friends and family and for that hour, life is really wonderful!”
Cuisine Style or Food Genre
Food Stories with Recipes
Sample Recipe or Food Advice
Tequila Shrimp by Marlyn Monette
Food Columnist of Shreveport Times and Cookbook Author of So Good Make You Want to Slap Your Mama, Vol. I & II
This simple to make, Tequila Shrimp, served with fluffy long-grain rice or angel hair pasta, is a delectable entree for any meal–luncheon for the ladies or dinner party for twelve. Serve with steamed fresh asparagus and/or Caesar Salad.
2 lbs. unpeeled, large fresh shrimp
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced
2 Tbsps. pure olive oil
¼ cup orange juice
¼ cup lime juice
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. ground cumin
¼ cup tequila
½ cup whipping cream
1Tbsp. tomato paste
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
Hot cooked rice or thin spaghetti
Peel shrimp and devein.
Sauté onion, garlic and jalapeno peppers in hot olive oil in a large 5-quart sauté pan over medium heat 5 minutes or until tender.
Add shrimp, orange juice, and next 3 ingredients; sauté 3 minutes.
Stir in tequila and next 3 ingredients, and cook until slightly thickened. Serve over rice or pasta.
Yield: 4 servings.
What formats are your books in
How do you see writing a food/cookbook as different from writing other genres of books?
I’m just beginning on this journey and hope to begin writing about my spiritual and personal journey of Meanwhile, Back at Cafe Du Monde… from inspiration to idea to shows to book and beyond. I’m ready to take the leap of faith and make it unfold.
Advice to someone that is thinking about or currently working on a food book or cookbook
I would definitely research the book business and talk to other authors first and get a mentor! I learned the hard way! It is a full time job! I’m lucky I have a husband who has been very supportive and my family in Louisiana have all been so helpful. My event producing has basically taken a back-burner position so financially it has been challenging! However, I wouldn’t trade it for anything as it has been so rewarding.
How did you decide how to publish your book and where is it published through:
The book is published through Pelican Publishing. They came to see the live Meanwhile, Back at Cafe Du Monde.. show in New Orleans and I ended up getting a book deal with them. They are the only ones that I approached as I knew they had a good reputation for publishing southern coffee table books. I now have a literary agent and an entertainment attorney who helped guide me through the publishing world. I’m always learning and still very “green”! I hired my own publicist for four months, Jill Browning, who helped me get publicity for the book and she has been great. From radio, tv interviews, newspapers and magazine feature, I’m still getting great press!
Peggy Sweeney-McDonald, President of Superstar Events-L.A & Creator/Producer of “Meanwhile, Back At Café Du Monde…”shows and Creator/Editor of the Meanwhile, Back At Café Du Monde…Life Stories About Food coffee table book featuring 67 of the Louisiana food stories, recipes and pictures published by Pelican Publishing. She grew up in Baton Rouge and resides in Los Angeles with her husband, James McDonald, a stock broker. Her high level of creativity produces unique and memorable red carpet, non-profit and corporate events. She is a graduate of Louisiana State University and worked in film, theatre, commercials as an actress for more than 25 years. She is developing southern film projects, including a television pilot of the “Meanwhile,…” show. She recently was the Associate Producer of the acclaimed play addressing human trafficking, Innocent Flesh, at the Zephyr Theatre in Hollywood, California. She presented at the 2012 Louisiana Book Festival and the Faulkner Society’s Words & Music conference. She has recently been invited to speak about her journey from idea to inspiration to shows and beyond at the Louisiana Culinary Society, Culinary Historians of Southern California and Women of Infinite Possibilites.
www.peggysweeneymcdonald.com & www.superstareventsla.com
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