When I was young, our front door was never locked. Family and friends would knock and pull the door open at the same time, yelling my mom or dad’s name. They’d sit at the kitchen table visiting—drinking coffee or munching cookies or cake. My mom always had something homemade and sweet for guests.

Today, my kitchen isn’t much different—maybe a little more cluttered than my mother’s was. And the sweets aren’t often home-made. On weekends during the early morning hours, while I’m still sleeping, husband sits on the wicker garden sofa to eat his oatmeal.  In the evenings, he and daughter visit there while I cook.

The kitchen is the heart of the home.

In my novella, The Last Daughter, it seemed natural for my characters, Rayna and Trent, to begin their day by meeting in the old country kitchen of Wounded Heart, the 100 year old house Trent purchased in Oklahoma City.

He consumed cup after cup of coffee, visualizing what he might do with the house … until Rayna came into his life. Then, he consumed cup after cup thinking about her.

Trent loved to cook and enjoyed preparing her breakfast. While Rayna was accustomed to eating nothing but dry toast, she savored Trent’omelets cheese and black olive omelets. Many of their serious discussions took place at the scarred kitchen table. And though it’s not in the book, Rayna (being from Louisiana) introduced Trent to her muffuletta pasta dish.

olive dishSometimes when I see the scarf display in a department store, I’ll picture Rayna choosing one she likes. Sometimes she hovers over the jewelry counter, squinting at a ring or necklace.  I’ll hear a song on the radio and I can see Trent encouraging Rayna to dance with him across the scuffed wood floors in his living area. It will be awhile before I get Rayna and Trent out of my mind and heart … and especially out of my kitchen.

Try RaTheLastDaughter_w7831_300yna’s Muffuletta Pasta she prepared for Trent. He liked it.  Sometimes she creates it from scratch … but this dish is simple and from a jar. Enjoy!

Do your fictional characters eat? Do they cook at home or do they travel to their favorite restaurant and hold hands in the candlelight? Are your characters so real that you visualize them enjoying life outside your books?  Share!

The Last Daughter, book ten in The Scrimshaw Doll Series will release early Fall. Watch for it! In the meantime, you can follow author Jessica Ferguson on her blog or like her Facebook page or eye her few tweets Here.