Tea Time With Amanda Cooper
I’ve thought about this a lot. If I was ever to run any kind of eating establishment, it would be a tearoom. I love everything about them; the pretty furnishings, the teapots (glorious teapots! Transferware, figural, chintz… too many to love!) the fare, tasty sandwiches, soups, cakes, and the ambiance. There always seem to be groups of ladies chatting, excited about a day out.
I wonder, though, what would running a tearoom be like? I imagine dressing nicely and going shopping for food at farmer’s markets and upscale grocery stores. I can picture working in a sunny kitchen, making dainty sandwiches and delicious soups, and overseeing the baking of Napoleons and puff pastries. I picture presiding over the tea tray, pouring fragrant cups of tea, weaving between tables chatting with guests.
And then I wake up. I have seen enough reality TV to know how hard those in the food services industry work, and I’m not cut out for it. It is long hours and a wire thin profit or loss line. For every pot dirtied, one has to be scrubbed. Patrons are not always polite, nor are they always appreciative. I can imagine that.
But that’s what writing is all about. Writers throw a glossy veneer over tedious truth. In my Teapot Collector mystery series I feature several tearooms, among them Auntie Rose’s Victorian Tea House, and the next door neighbor’s Belle Époque. Sophie Taylor, professional chef from New York, who once ran an upscale dining establishment in the garment district, now helps her grandmother run Auntie Rose’s. In my books it’s not an easy job, but it is as pleasant as the tearoom entrepreneurs I have witnessed make it seem! And that’s how I choose to imagine it.
Amanda kindly agreed to answer some questions for me about her writing and love of tea here are highlights from our conversation...
Karen: When you found yourself writing Shadow of a Spout and the Teapot Collector Series did you draw from personal experience or did you find you had to do a lot of research in to the tea pot collecting community?
Amanda: "I did a lot of research. My teapot collection, such as it is, is extremely small simply because of space restrictions. I was surprised by how many people collect teapots, and yet that there is NO collecting group dedicated to it!"
Amanda "Ooooh, food? One thing I adore that’s not really too sweet is scones. I find them easy to make, and delicious fresh out of the oven. I love all kinds of sweets though, particularly brownies!"
Karen: Do you have a favorite tea pot? If so kindly send me a photo of it...
Amanda:I do have a favorite, for many reasons. It is a lovely red transferware pot, and I love everything about it: the color, the transfer pattern and most specifically the shape! I think it’s perfectly elegant. Also, I bought it on a day when I went to the tearoom that inspired the creation of Auntie Rose’s Victorian Tea House. It’s called Sparta House, in Sparta, Ontario, a tiny village near me. The owner has hundred of teapots displayed all over the tearoom, and the lunch was delicious. I bought the teapot in a quirky little shop called Anything Used, even though nothing in the shop is actually used. They’re famous for their candles and fudge!
Karen: When you think of making a pot of tea what is your tea of choice?
Amanda: "I am such a traditionalist. I have always drunk Tetley tea, the round teabags. I love it; there is no other tea that says relaxation to me like it does. That being said, I also enjoy fruit zingers (black tea with fruit flavor), Rooibos, (an African herbal tea)on occasion, and some others. I’m not into chamomile, nor mint, nor do I like Earl Grey, which I find too perfumey."
Karen: "One of the things I like most about this series (other than the tea pots and tea theme) is the different ages and the points of view you tell the story from, the different ages of the characters and personalities. Do you have a favorite resident in Gracious Grove?"
Amanda: "Oh, yes! I like humorous mysteries with quirky characters. Joan Hess is one of my favorite authors, as is Donna Andrews. So naturally I love creating Thelma Mae Earnshaw, an eighty year old drama queen, star of her own in-her-brain black and white movies. She’s such a hoot, getting into trouble for what she says and does all the time. Some of the things she says and does remind me of my Mom, who wasn’t as difficult as Thelma can be, but was every bit as stubborn and funny."
I ordered my copy of Shadow of a Spout on The Book depository Click here to order for yourself
Here is a bit about Shadow of a Spout...Avid teapot collector Rose Freemont takes a break from her Victorian tea house only to find a new mystery brewing elsewhere...
Leaving her home in Gracious Grove behind her, Rose is off to the annual convention of the International Teapot Collector’s Society. Her granddaughter Sophie is minding the tea house while she’s away. Rose is eager for tough cookie Zunia Pettigrew to appraise a prized antique teapot she believes may be a holy water vessel from China. But when Zunia declares the pot a fake, Rose is really steamed. After Zunia’s found dead beside Rose’s dinged-in teapot, Sophie must rush to her grandmother’s aid and find the real killer—before Rose is steeped in any more trouble…
To be entered into our Super Prize Pack Give Away from Amanda Cooper, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with SHADOW OF A SPOUT in the subject line along with your mailing address. Contest is open from today April 6- April 11th 2015 to all Canadian and American Fans of A Cup of Tea and A Cozy Mystery. *Void where prohibited
Thank you to Amanda Cooper for this wonderful opportunity for my readers! Be sure to find out the latest info about Amanda Cooper by visiting Victoria Hamilton Mysteries.com
as well visit and "like" as Amanda Cooper's Facebook Author page by clicking here
Victoria Hamilton/Amanda Cooper on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorVictoriaHamilton
Teapot Collector Mysteries on Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/vintagekitchenm/teapot-collector-mysteries/
Thank you to Amanda Cooper for sharing with us this wonderful give away and joining us for A Cup of Tea and a Cozy Mystery.
As with all my posts I would love to hear from you so please leave me a comment here or email me at email@example.com
** About Amanda Cooper:
Amanda Cooper is the pseudonym for bestselling mystery author Victoria Hamilton. She writes the Vintage Kitchen Mysteries and the Merry Muffin Mysteries as Hamilton, in addition to the Teapot Collector Mysteries as Amanda Cooper.
Cooper’s long time love of mystery novels started at age twelve when her mom handed her an Agatha Christie book and said ‘Read!’. Thousands of novels later Cooper is still reading. And writing.
But besides those two favorite pastimes, Cooper also enjoys collecting vintage kitchenalia, old books, teacups, teapots and other ephemera. Perfume is her secret addiction. She likes to cook, hates to clean, and enjoys time spent with friends chatting over wine or tea. She loves crafts, loathes boredom, and her guilty pleasure is ‘reality’ TV, which she knows is largely fake but enjoys anyway.
Cooper thinks that people are the most interesting study of all, and more than anything, she loves to hear from readers, not just about her books but about anything and everything.