Brenda answers your questions:
Q. Are you Cara in Julia's Kitchen?
A. No, but we do have a few common traits. Even though I never experienced a fire or the loss of a close family member, I identify with parts of Cara. When I was a child, I worried the way Cara does. I worried about plane crashes, car crashes, divorce, death, everything. Nothing terrible ever happened to me, but that didn't prevent me from worrying. I also felt very close to God. I felt we sort of worked in tandem. I worried, and he watched out for me. When I grew up, I realized all that worrying was a waste of energy. Even though bad things sometimes happen, worrying doesn't change anything. I could make good choices in my life and hope for the best. I replaced fear with faith. I knew that God would be by my side in the good times and the bad.
Q. Where did you get the idea for Julia's Kitchen?
A. In 2001, we lived in Austin Texas. A house in my neighborhood burned down, and a father and son died in the fire. Every day I would drive past that burned out house, and I would think about how the surviving family members were coping. I imagined how I would feel if I were a young girl and my house burned down like that. I wondered how that would have changed my ideas about worrying and God. And so Julia's Kitchen was born.
Q. Is it true that a fire can start from a toaster oven?
A. Yes, it's true. Although it's rare, there have been documented cases of fires starting from toaster ovens just the way it happened in Julia's Kitchen. Any small appliances that have heating elements should be unplugged when not in use. But be sure to always grasp the plug, not the cord, when you are unplugging something. For other fire safety precautions visit the National Fire Prevention Association website.
Q. How long did it take you to write Julia's Kitchen?
A. It took about 1 year to write and another six months to revise.
Q. Was it hard to find a publisher for Julia's Kitchen?
A. Actually, no! I submitted the manuscript to the Sydney Taylor Manuscript competition, and it won. Then I submitted it to my first choice publishing house, Farrar Straus & Giroux, and they bought it!
Q. Will you write a sequel to Julia's Kitchen?
A. No. But I will write other books!