The best part about being a fiction writer is becoming “an expert” in a topic about which I have no formal knowledge or training. I’m very good at procrastination, so when I get to take a deep dive into the internet, discovering new websites, new places, new people and new occupations, I relish the opportunity.
LUKE LA FONTAINE, the hero of WISHING FOR MR. RIGHT, is an artisanal cheesemaker. He and his sister, Sophie, own a dairy farm on Harvest Moon Bay on the other side of the peninsula from Christmas Tree Cove, the home town of the Adair family.
Since Luke is a cheese expert (studying cheesemaking at legendary creameries in Europe) and a figment of my imagination, I have to know as much about cheese as he does. I worked in a gourmet cheese shop during graduate school. I sold my body weight in cheese curds. And I came to understand that the higher the fat content in cheese, the better it tastes. When I decided my hero would be a cheesemaker, I was certain I knew everything I needed to know about cheese.
Oh, but I was wrong.
To learn about artisanal cheesemakers, I watched countless YouTube videos about making cheese in Switzerland, Gloucestershire, and the Italian Alps. And I watched Stanley Tucci eat his way all over Italy. Honestly, watching Stanley Tucci is a pleasure that cannot be overstated. I’ve always enjoy learning something new, and I’m certain the hours I spent gathering information I gathered made Luke a believable cheese expert helped to bring him fully to life. It’s part of the reason why sparks fly in this excerpt when Luke meets DACEY ADAIR for the first time.
Luke glanced around the room. “Okay. Before we move on to the aging cave, does anyone have any questions?”
A little girl in the front row put her hand up in the air. And so did Dacey, but Luke ignored her. Instead he bent down to the little girl’s level to listen to her question.
“Are you famous?” she asked.
“Only on TikTok.” He laughed.
“Can I buy your cheese at the grocery store?” the girl next to her added.
“No. Not yet.” He shook his head. “I’m not worried about fame or fortune. All I want is to be a master of my craft.”
An older student put his hand up in the air. Luke nodded.
“How long have you been making cheese?
“As a business, Harvest Moon Bay Creamery has been operating a little over two years,” Luke said, hoping to end Dacey’s questions with a definitive response. “Are there any other questions?”
Dacey put her hand up in the air again. Luke’s shoulders stiffened as he reluctantly acknowledged her. “Dacey Adair?”
“Did you do an accurate market analysis before you started the creamery?”
“No,” he answered quickly.
He glanced around the room again. Dacey still had her hand in the air.
So smart and so obnoxious.
About the Author
Sarah Vance-Tompkins was born in a small town in northern Michigan. She received an MFA in Film Production from the University of Southern California, and went on to work in feature film development for ten years. Prior to film school, she worked as an on-air radio personality. She is a lifetime reader of romance and is excited to be writing in the genre. She and her husband live in Southern California with a glaring of unruly cats.