Character Interview ~ Emma Rae Travis

I am so
excited today because I get to spend a little time (and so do you!) with one of
my favorite fictional characters of all time: Emma Rae Travis, the pastry chef at The Tanglewood Inn (a fictional
wedding destination hotel here in Roswell, GA) from the Another Emma Rae Creation series of novels by author Sandra D.
Bricker and Abingdon Press.

Sandie
says she came up with the idea for these Laugh-Out-Loud books while on a quick
“potty break” during an all-day Amazing
Wedding Cakes
marathon one Saturday afternoon. “I remember thinking about
the phenomenal design of those delectable cakes and wondering, ‘Wow! What if
God gave those unbelievable cake skills to a diabetic who couldn’t enjoy them?’
And three hours later, Emma Rae was born.” And we’re so glad she was!
Sandie
has graciously agreed to let us spend a little one-on-one time with Emma today.
So sit back and relax; let’s enjoy the company of someone who has become an old
friend to us all. And watch between what Emma says for some good tips on
finding characters. And if you have a comment or question for Emma Rae, you’ll
be entered in a drawing for a package of all three books in the Another Emma Rae Creation series. Continental U.S. only please.
ANE: Emma Rae, we’re so thrilled to
have you with us today, and we really do appreciate you taking time away from
your work at The Tanglewood Inn to join us. I’ve always wanted to ask you about
your relationship with Sandie. Your story and friendships are so interesting; they
just keep us turning the pages to see what happens next. It’s kind of a chicken
versus egg kind of question, but which one of you calls the shots?

EMMA: Well, I would definitely say it’s
her. I mean, those are her fingers on the keyboard. But she says it’s me.
Sandie’s an interesting sort in that she’s a Type A – like my best friend
Sherilyn from Always the Wedding Planner
Never the Bride
– and is first to admit that she plans out every aspect of
her life with schedules and lists. But when it comes to writing, she flies by
the seat of her pants. She says that every book is a surprise to her and that
she writes them “on a wing and a prayer.”

ANE: So you’re telling me that the
vivid details of The Tanglewood Inn…those are a figment of a writer’s imagination?
EMMA: (laughing) No. I’m not telling
you that at all! Sandie says that everything she’s done in her life, every
place that she’s ever visited, every random person she’s passed while shopping
or waiting in line at the bank…little details about them have been stored away
in her memory for use at a later time.
For
instance, back in the ‘90s, Sandie was an entertainment publicist in Los
Angeles. The demands of her job had gotten particularly stressful, and her
business partner went looking for somewhere they could go – far enough from
L.A. to give Sandie a decompressing vacay experience, but close enough that
they could get back quickly if necessary. That’s when they found The Horton
Grand Hotel in San Diego.
ANE: So the Horton Grand…
EMMA: You guessed it! That hotel, with
its carved staircase and vintage rooms, all surrounding a courtyard of chirping
birds and twinkling lights, later became The Tanglewood Inn. Sandie says she
just picked it up (mentally) in San Diego and dropped it down in Roswell, GA,
where she dedicated a year of her life working publicity and event planning for
a children’s charity many years later.
ANE: I guess it’s too much to hope for
that your fiancé Jackson Drake is actually out there somewhere?
EMMA: Sandie tells me that Jackson is a
combination of several men she’s known over the years, but she’s quick to add
that she turned her back on their more negative qualities and only borrowed the
great ones to construct the man I love. Bless her heart!
ANE: What about the more minor
characters appearing throughout the series? There are some really interesting
and fun people, like Russell the Aussie actor and your wonderful Aunt Sophie. Are
they based on real people?
EMMA: Sandie says they’re each
compilations of several different people. Russell, for instance, is the sum of
three different, really cute Aussie men she’s known over the years, with a
little dose of naughty from each of them. She says that’s the way her writer
mind works. Often, after meeting someone new, you’ll notice her pulling out the
notebook she carries in her purse and scribbling fast notes about something
that struck her about that person.
ANE: That’s kind of scary!
EMMA: Tell me about it.
ANE: Emma, can you tell me about the
various books in the Another Emma Rae
Creation
series?
EMMA: Speak for Sandie, you mean? I
don’t think she’ll mind. Book #1 is my book, Always the Baker Never the Bride. It starts right before I step
foot in The Tanglewood, and takes readers through my initial fall for Jackson,
his family, and his hotel. Book #2, Always
the Wedding Planner Never the Bride
, is my best friend Sherilyn’s story as
she moves back to Atlanta to marry a doctor and join the Tanglewood staff. Book
#3, Always the Designer Never the Bride,
introduces Audrey as a wedding dress designer who joins the family when she
comes into town for her best girlfriend’s wedding.
ANE: And there’s another one coming
up, right?

EMMA: Always the Baker FINALLY the Bride comes out in the spring, and it
will wrap up the series with my engagement to Jackson. I can’t tell you whether
you’ll actually get to attend our wedding, despite the title of the book, but I
can say you’re going to have a blast finding out.

ANE: Emma, that’s cruel!
EMMA: Come on now. You know Sandie
would kill me if I told all of the secrets!
ANE: Well, thank you so much for
joining us today. I know there are a lot of loyal fans of you and your cohorts,
so come back any time.