Character Spotlight: Carla Laureano’s Alex Kanin & Rachel Bishop (with giveaway)

The Writer & her Book (5)

It’s happy release day to Carla Laureano! The Saturday Night Supper Club is a fabulous read and Carla Laureano’s clever characterisation is pivotal to the story’s appeal. I’m delighted she chose to share more about essayist Alexander Kanin and chef Rachel Bishop here at Relz Reviewz. Both characters are intriguing, brilliant in their fields, and electric together. Enjoy every morsel of this spotlight, before and after you have read the book! Read my review of The Saturday Night Supper Club if you need any convincing, and be sure to enter the giveaway below, courtesy of Tyndale House Publishers.

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Alexander (Alex) Kanin

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Physical Stats

Height: 6’1”

Hair colour & style: Medium brown, “artfully mussed”

Eye colour: Hazel

Dress sense: Outdoorsy but stylish. Rachel refers to him once as an L.L. Bean model.

Resembles…

Stephen Amell. I always bury a reference to the inspiration actor somewhere in the book. See if you can find this one! You’ll probably need to be an Arrow fan to pick it up.

Can’t live without…

His laptop computer.

Strengths

Strong value for honor and responsibility. High emotional intelligence from his psychology background.

Vulnerabilities

Always wants to fix everything for everyone around him. Strong sense of responsibility can lead him to make choices that might be honourable but aren’t the best for him.

Passions

Rock climbing! He’s found it’s the best antidote to his sedentary writer life.

What book or movie would he recommend?

He’s into the unapologetically cheesy action movies. After all day trying to write intelligently about the foibles of modern man, he just wants to see something blow up. Though he might occasionally be found watching some thinky sci-fi like Arrival or a war movie like Black Hawk Down.

Your inspiration for the character

I’ve always joked that writers are part inventors and part psychologists. We are constantly looking at people, trying to figure out what makes them tick, and putting them in our stories. When I set out to write an essayist/satirist, I thought what better backstory than a clinical psychologist who learned he wasn’t cut out for practice? (Conveniently, this also makes him a very patient suitor for a woman who isn’t yet quite aware of all of her relationship hangups.)


Rachel Bishop

Torrey_DeVitto

Physical Stats

Height: 5’9”

Hair colour & style: Dark brown, long and wavy

Eye colour: Brown

Dress sense: She’s still finding her sense of style. After fifteen years of living in “professional pajamas” as she calls her chef uniform, she doesn’t own more than jeans and concert tees.

Resembles…

Torrey DeVitto. Seriously, I didn’t even know who she was until I came across a photo and my jaw dropped. She’s exactly how I pictured Rachel from the beginning.

Can’t live without…

Her journal and her Japanese kitchen knives.

Strengths

Discipline, attention to detail, perseverance.

Vulnerabilities

Perfectionism, the tendency to bury her emotions and her needs in her job.

Passions

Food! Is there anything else?

What book or movie would she recommend?

For her friends who want to know what her life is like, she’d recommend Chef. The chaos, the hours, the divided attention, the 24/7 obsession with food, the language in the kitchen. Also, it’s pretty entertaining for the non-foodies. The social media disaster hits a little close to home now, though. (Incidentally, I saw this movie after I wrote the book, so it wasn’t the inspiration for the social media trolling plot point, but I was pleased that we’d independently come up with the same idea! That’s when you know you’ve tapped into the zeitgeist.)

Your inspiration for the character

I was inspired by a number of female chefs and intrigued by the raw grit and determination required to succeed in what is still a relatively male-dominated industry. It’s not an easy job for anyone—the long, strange hours and total devotion with little time off makes having a normal life and healthy relationships difficult. I asked myself, what happens when a woman who has given up everything for her culinary career loses that too? What’s left for her?

Background to the story 

The idea of sexism and feminism in the culinary world is hotly debated—you’ve got people like Gabrielle Hamilton, who displays reluctance to address the issue in her memoir Blood, Bones, and Butter, contrasted with Michelin-starred chef Dominique Crenn, who is one of the most outspoken feminist chefs in today’s culture. I started asking questions like: What responsibility does a woman have to speak out about her challenges in a male-dominated industry? Does drawing attention to the fact she’s a female help or hurt the desire for equality, when the gender of the person cooking is largely irrelevant to the dining experience?

Add to that the idea that social media outcry can destroy someone’s career without there being any substance to the accusations, and I had the perfect modern “riches-to-rags” story. Though there’s rarely any real riches involved in professional cooking!

Thank you, Carla! You always provide such wonderful insight into your characters.

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Denver chef Rachel Bishop has accomplished everything she’s dreamed and some things she never dared hope, like winning a James Beard Award and heading up her own fine-dining restaurant. But when a targeted smear campaign causes her to be pushed out of the business by her partners, she vows to do whatever it takes to get her life back . . . even if that means joining forces with the man who inadvertently set the disaster in motion.

Essayist Alex Kanin never imagined his pointed editorial would go viral. Ironically, his attempt to highlight the pitfalls of online criticism has the opposite effect: it revives his own flagging career by destroying that of a perfect stranger. Plagued by guilt-fueled writer’s block, Alex vows to do whatever he can to repair the damage. He just doesn’t expect his interest in the beautiful chef to turn personal.

Alex agrees to help rebuild Rachel’s tarnished image by offering his connections and his home to host an exclusive pop-up dinner party targeted to Denver’s most influential citizens: the Saturday Night Supper Club. As they work together to make the project a success, Rachel begins to realize Alex is not the unfeeling opportunist she once thought he was, and that perhaps there’s life—and love—outside the pressure-cooker of her chosen career. But can she give up her lifelong goals without losing her identity as well?Carla Laureano 2018

Carla Laureano is the RITA® Award-winning author of contemporary inspirational romance and Celtic fantasy (as C.E. Laureano). A graduate of Pepperdine University, she worked as a sales and marketing executive for nearly a decade before leaving corporate life behind to write fiction full-time. She currently lives in Denver with her husband and two sons, where she writes during the day and cooks things at night.

Relz Reviewz Extras
All Things Laureano @ Relz Reviewz
Visit Carla’s website and blog
Buy at Amazon: The Saturday Night Supper Club or Koorong

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29 Responses to Character Spotlight: Carla Laureano’s Alex Kanin & Rachel Bishop (with giveaway)

  1. Favorite restaurant: Maggiano’s
    Favorite meal: Rigatoni D followed up with either cheesecake or apple crostada

  2. Fave restaurant & meal: We used to go to this wonderful German restaurant in Upstate New York and I got the Chicken Kiev. It was amazing. The restaurant is closed now. :(

  3. My favorite restaurant is Outback. I love their coconut shrimp and their salad is always so fresh! 😉

  4. My favorite restaurant is an Italian one. My favorite meal is cake. Lol that’s a meal right?

  5. That’s really hard! When we lived in Pennsylvania, we went to a small restaurant down the road from us called Rivieras. Their pizza was okay, but their stromboli was amazing! I really miss them!

  6. I don’t know that I could pick a favorite restaurant. But of all the places I’ve travelled, Charleston and Savannah stand out in my mind for great dining memories.

  7. I love this little Mediterranean Deli in Charleston, SC. Their curries and flatbread and shawarma are all amazing. It’s grown in recent years, so it doesn’t feel like a local secret anymore, but I’m happy for them.

  8. These are both great choices! The female actress is on Chicago Med and she’s a favorite! Great post, dear Rel!

  9. OHMYGOSH!! There’s an Arrow reference in the book?? How DID I miss this!? Oh, well, just means a re-read will be in order – *that* will be a tough feat. 😉 (She says with sarcasm, of course.)

    CONGRATS and happy release day, Carla. (Great post, ladies.)

  10. Thanks for hosting me today, Rel! I admit, it was a great hardship to do the research for Alex…. :)

  11. My favorite is a small local Mexican restaurant in my town. I don’t really have a favorite meal.

  12. My favorite restaurant would have to be the local Italian, Trattoria Uliveto. I don’t have a favorite dish, but I try something new every time & have yet to be disappointed 💜

  13. I love Red Lobster and I love the lobster and shrimp scampi from there.

  14. I love Red Lobster and always love the shrimp scampi.

  15. Ooo! Favorite restaurant? That’s kind of hard…I really like Biaggi’s and their bacon wrapped dates!

  16. Favorite restaurant: The Log Cabin Inn, favorite meal, would be their Apple Pecan Salad with a grilled chicken breast, and the house balsamic blue cheese vinaigrette.

    YUM!

  17. HALLELUJAH!!!!!! I have been waiting for the release of this book since 7 Days in Skye. I will “savor” ever bite of this book. This was my world – I am a chef – a female retired chef. I lived and breathed this world for 25 years. And it’s a tough one – especially swimming upstream in a male dominated profession. You can’t out-muscle them but you can out-palate them. And this is the weapon of choice – your palate. I can teach a student knife skills – but a discerning palate is something you’re either born with or not. You can learn herbs, seasonings, textures, technique – you can even learn how to pair them – – but the ultimate test is the discerning taste in your mouth. What makes an excellent chef is how it tastes and knowing your herbs and seasonings so well that from that one taste, you know if it’s right or if it needs “tweaking” and what to use and how much to use to bring it to perfection. And the other ingredient to being a great chef is passion. When you can bring all that drive and energy to the kitchen everyday and leave that night knowing you left nothing on the table. Passion is infectious and when you translate that into your food, you have magic! Soooo…… It is with great anticipation that I made my reservation to “The Saturday Supper Club” and now sit down to slowly enjoy my meal.
    Oh – and my favorite restaurant is “Morton’s” – for a chain restaurant, they focus on everything to make a dining experience very memorable from atmosphere to serving to execution of every morsel – – and my favorite meal is duck – crispy skin, moist meat, with a perfect sauce – SOMEBODY STOP ME!!!!

  18. Danielle Hammelef

    My favorite restaurant is Aijishin and they serve the most delicious Japanese noodles and sushi combination for lunch and dinner.

  19. My favorite restaurant is a local Mexican one named Mercados. I love their chicken enchiladas with sour cream sauce. I could eat it every day.

  20. My favorite restaurant is Deets. It’s a BBQ joint in a strip mall but their food is worth the trip! I’m a fan of the pulled pork with Cole slaw and fries. Mouth watering!

  21. My favorite meal is at ‘ohana restaurant at Disney World. We go there every trip, and always book our reservation so we can watch the fireworks from the restaurant’s windows.

  22. We have several favorite Italian restaurants but our current favorite is The Sultan Lebanese restaurant and their spinach manakeesh.

  23. Two “favorites”: Matzalan Mexican and their enchiladas and West Lake for their Chinese cuisine (anything goes)! I think really, I just like to eat, lol!

    Thank you for the giveaway chance!

  24. My favorite restaurant is La Cocina, a place that has great Mexican food, especially the nachos.

  25. My favorite restaurant is probably Cinzetti’s Italian Restaurant. My favorite meal there is chicken spiedini and their chocolate souffle cakes.

  26. My favorite restaurant is Hula Hut; I love their fajitas , a delicious Mexican Polynesian mix.

  27. I love P.F. Chang’s and their lettuce wraps are delicious! One of my favorite places to go, but there are plenty of other yummy restaurants too.

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