Friday, December 2, 2011

with Roxanne Rustand

Welcome back to the Barn Door Book Loft, Roxanne!
People talk about life before children—what was your life before writing?

I was a mom, wife, registered dietitian, active in 4-H and helping the boys with Boy Scouts, taught Sunday School for many years, and raised and showed quarter horses for many years also. I worked in clinical settings--hospitals, long-term care, a residential psychiatric facility--and as an assistant food service administrator for a large school system.

I had read very little fiction until a dear friend, Judy, introduced me to Judith McNaught's early historical romances and dared me to put them down. Immediately addicted to romance, I evolved into writing it when Judy invited me to join her critique group. I owe her so much!

I'm not so sure my husband thought it was so great, however, because it really changed my life. :) I have always been totally dedicated to our children, but the neat-as-a-pin house and all the fancy dinners that satisfied the creative part of my soul soon took a distant backseat to my new addiction--writing every moment, staying up until two or getting up at four in the morning to carve out time for writing. I started writing in 1993 and didn't sell until 1998, so honestly, it took a lot of determination to keep going, but I'm so glad I did!

I finally quit my day job in 2010, the kids are all in college (at various stages of graduate school), and my husband and I are in a new phase of life. I thought I'd be totally bereft when the kids all left, but I still get to see them often, and now I have lots of time for writing, playing with the three horses we have here just for fun, photography and travel.

What book have you recently enjoyed reading?
Lee Child's The Affair. I love Lee Child's books--especially his first, Killing Floor, which was one of his very best.

I never miss a book by Kristan Higgins, and read Until There Was You the day it was released. Couldn't wait! It was a great read. I especially loved her book My One And Only, which was out earlier this year.

If you were a dessert, what would you be?
I'm not sure what sort of dessert I would be--something sumptuous and decadent, maybe. :) Here's a dessert that's a favorite at our house--one I have heavily adapted from a Bon Appetit magazine recipe back in 1983:

Banana Cream Pie For A Crowd ---Rustand

2 cups flour
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp nutmeg
2 Tbsp. sugar
1 cup real butter

Filling--layer #1:
1 ½ cups whipping cream--whipped (could substitue low-fat Cool Whip for this layer)
4 oz cream cheese (reduced fat--but not fat free)
½ cup powdered sugar

Filling--layer #2
Two small boxes sugar free instant vanilla pudding
2 ½ cups skim milk

Topping--layer #3
3 bananas, sliced thin
1 cup whipping cream --whipped (not Cool Whip!)
3/4 cup pecans chopped, toasted
3/4 cups flaked coconut, toasted

1. Mix crust ingredients, pat into well grease 9x13 pan and bake at 350 degrees until browned. Cool completely.

2. Beat the 1 ½ cups whipping cream until stiff peaks form. Soften the cream cheese, beat with sugar until very light, then fold into whipped cream. Spread on the cool crust.

3. Make the vanilla pudding with just 2 ½ cups milk (NOT what the boxes say)
and spread over cream cheese layer.

4. Spread thinly sliced bananas over the pudding.

5. Whip the final cup of whipping cream, fold in the pecans and spread over the bananas--make sure none of the banana is peaking through or it will turn dark. Sprinkle the toasted coconut on top. Chill for several hours.

This recipe is best with real butter in the crust, because it then has a "short" type of crumb, like Scottish shortbread. Margarine doesn't have the same effect in this recipe, and doesn't taste as good. Use butter.

You could substitute thawed, frozen whipped topping in layer #1, if you wanted to save calories, but it will certainly taste the very best for company if you do use the real whipped cream on layer #3.

If you were to find a purple polka-dotted monster in your kitchen one morning, how would you respond?
I've read entirely too much Stephen King and have seen too many previews for those awful Chuckie-the-Doll movies, so I'd probably freak out! When I was in college I played around with writing horror stories, but managed to terrify myself entirely too much---especially since I was renting the very top floor (the servant's quarters) of an old, crumbling mansion near the campus, which was a perfect setting for terror. Dark, musty flights of stairs; steep ceilings and oddly shaped, curtainless windows; creepy little doors leading to dark spaces under the eaves for storage, in which anything could be hiding--at least, in my imagination. The house creaked and whined at night, and during storms, lightning would send terrifying shadows dancing across the walls.

Funny thing is, that huge place has been completely restored to its old glory, and was recently on the market for over a million dollars!

Tell us about one of your favorite memories or moments in your life.
I loved my college years. I loved taking classes, the campus atmosphere, the freedom. The University of Minnesota was perfectly located, so in the winter, I could drive just across the Wisconsin border and go skiing on the afternoons when I didn’t have class, or drive a little ways north to where I boarded my horse. I was so blessed. My parents had put me through college to become a dental hygienist, and that career was in demand. Though I soon found I wanted to find a different career, that job meant I could support myself, pay for ongoing college, and continue my interests.

What's one of your dreaded things to do?
Cleaning my office is very high on the list!

What is the Lord teaching you, or recently taught you?
For a number of years, a good writer friend encouraged me to move from writing secular to inspirational fiction. I just didn’t see it, until a set of circumstances pushed me in that direction. And then I realized that my friend Lyn had been right all along. I am so happy to be writing for the Christian market! It gives me such joy, so much more fulfillment. I wish I'd listened to that nudge a lot sooner!

When is your next book due out and can you tell us about it?
My plate was really full over the past year. From November, 2010 to December, 2011 I have had six new inspirational books out, plus two Superromances released in the Harlequin Heartwarming line that required editing to fit that "sweet" but not inspirational line. It was a busy time, and during 2010 my dear mom declined and then passed away. I've had about five months to regroup since finishing my last contract, and now I am looking forward to getting back to work on some proposals. I hope there will be more books to come!

You can purchase Duty To Protect from Amazon.

Roxanne is giving away a copy of Duty To Protect. To be entered in the book giveaway, leave a comment. You can enter the book giveaway twice--once on each spotlight post.


marybelle said...

Without your determination I would not have the opportunity to read DUTY TO PROTECT, among others.

The Dessert looks delicious.


Rebecca said...

This book looks absolutely amazing. I would love to win this. This looks great. Thanks for the chance to win this.


Marianne said...

Although i don't have a relative in the protection career, i have friends who were and are, and i love reading about them! Thanks Esther and Roxanne for the post and giveaway


Merry said...

Roxanne is a talented, busy lady! I've enjoyed getting to know her a little better.
worthy2bpraised at gmail dot com

ann said...

I like reading cop or police based books and this one sounds like a good one for me.

amhengst at verizon dot net

Robin said...

I love suspense books. Your banana cream pie sounds just deadly and great. I'd love to win this book

robinribbit at yahoo . com

RoxanneRustand said...

Yep--that dessert is yummy. I love making it for a houseful of company, because there's no way I can dare being alone in the house with it! A little corner here, a little slice there......

But the tiny pieces don't count, right? :)

margie said...

That Banana Cream Pie sounds to die for!!!! I love your books and would love a chance to win a copy of Duty To Protect. Thanks!! margie at mijares dot net

apple blossom said...

recipe sounds yummy thanks for sharing

ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

Jo said...

Great interview, Roxanne. Sounds like you have had plenty on your plate lately. Thanks for the opportunity of winning your book.


RoxanneRustand said...

It's so nice to see all of you stopping in here at the blog.

Happy holidays!!


Laura J said...

Reading this made me hungry!

laurelprincess12 at gmail dot com

Lane Hill House said...

Thank you for the Banana Cream Pie recipe. It looks luscious! The kind of recipe you can taste by reading it.
I would like to have a copy of your book, Duty to Protect.

Books Are A Blessing said...

Another book that sounds great! and I love the recipe!

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