Welcome to Barbara O’Neal! I served with Barbara on the board of the Women’s Fiction Chapter of RWA for two years, and her wisdom and insight helped us immeasurably. Barbara has been a guest on Magical Musings before, and it’s great to have her back. One of our review team reviewed Barbara’s latest book this Sunday, so check it out after reading this post, if you haven’t already, and find out more about Barbara’s latest novel.
A big basket of things came together for me to write The All You Can Dream Buffet: my passion for vintage Airstream trailers, a visit to an organic farm where I really mingled with chickens for the first time; my love of road trips, and the power of travel to change us for the better, in profound ways. I love food blogs, and I’ve been online a very long time, participating in communities that have led to some of my deepest friendships.
Oh, and lavender. Did I mention how much I love lavender? It is one of the most delicious, healing, beautiful fragrances on the planet. It’s also a plant I can grow with a modest amount of success up here at 7000 feet; it loves the hard sunlight and the dry days, and doesn’t even mind the short growing season.
But the main inspiration, the moment of germination, came from my adoration of Artful Blogging, a magazine that celebrates some of the most beautiful, artistic blogs on the planet. I buy each new copy with delight and settle into my living room chair to go through it very slowly, greedily devouring the photos and stories.
Over and over, bloggers say something like, “I had no idea how my life would be transformed when I started blogging. I didn’t know I had this in me. I had no idea I would become part of a community.”
I started to wonder what it would be like to be someone who had never really left a smallish town in middle America to start a blog and find her voice through food or photographs or crafts…whatever. What if her life was changed by blogging?
How would it be transformed? Would everyone be happy for her? Who would be her new friends? Who would she touch?
Ginny was born, a supermarket cake baker in a small Kansas farm town who starts a blog on her fortieth birthday because she’s bored. It transforms her life, leading to a trip to a lavender farm in a vintage, maybe haunted, Airstream Bambi to meet her friends, the Foodie Four. Lavender Wills is 85 and writes a blog about lavender and organic farming and bees. Val used to write a wine blog but her life was shattered by tragedy and she’s looking—literally and figuratively—for the next stage of her life. Ruby is a young vegan, pregnant and broken-hearted, who is trying to figure out what life wants her to do and be.
There is food and blogging, friendship and men, lavender and clucking chickens, mead and bees and Airstreams. Mostly, it is a tale of friendship and the Internet and what might happen if you open a file on your computer one day and write a blog, or a book, or shoot a photograph you share with others. What happens then? What happens if you become yourself, fully?
Have you ever taken a road trip that turned your life upside down? Do you have deep friendships with people you’ve met online?
Popular blogger and foodie queen Lavender Wills reigns over Lavender Honey Farms, a serene slice of organic heaven nestled in Oregon wine country. Lavender is determined to keep her legacy from falling into the profit-driven hands of uncaring relatives, and she wants an heir to sustain her life’s work after she’s gone. So she invites her three closest online friends—fellow food bloggers, women of varied ages and backgrounds—out to her farm. She hopes to choose one of them to inherit it—but who?