Writer Megan Caldwell and pastry chef Emily Isaac collaborate on new romance novel

Megan Caldwell, photo by Scott Frampton

Brooklyn Eagle recently featured a unique Park Slope pair. Writer Megan Caldwell and pastry chef Emily Isaac have teamed up on “Vanity Fare,” Caldwell’s new romance novel, as the book  includes five recipes inspired by the story.  While Caldwell’s protagonist works at a fictional Brooklyn bakery, the writer worked Isaac of Park Slope’s Trois Pommes Patisserie to include recipes for the pastry puns that appear throughout the novel.

“Vanity Fare” tells the story of Molly Hagan — a struggling mother who lives in Brooklyn with her six-year-old son. After her husband leaves her for a younger woman, Molly is desperate to make money. She lands a copywriting position at a bakery, working alongside an attractive pastry chef and his intimidating business partner. Molly’s love life is not her priority but, of course, elements of romance sneak in to the story — as do aromas of cinnamon and sugar — making this a warm winter read.

The recipes that Isaac and Caldwell created for “Vanity Fare” include Much Ado About Muffins, Tart of Darkness, Gravity’s Rainbow Cookies, Lord of the Tea Rings, and Dorothy Parker House Rolls.

Brooklyn Eagle spoke to Caldwell about her idea to team up with Isaac, and learned of the author’s favorite Brooklyn neighborhood and coffee shops.

Your partnership with Emily Isaac and her bakery adds such a unique yet genuine quality to the book. How did the idea originate?

My William Morrow editor loved the bakery puns that begin each chapter, and asked if we could provide recipes. Since I am not a cook (though of course I love a good pastry!), and I live in Brooklyn, I thought it’d be neat to work with a local Brooklyn chef to provide recipes that would actually taste good. I sent the manuscript to Emily, who read it and liked it, and she agreed to work on recipes to match the pastries I wrote about.

Brooklyn has so many great cafes and bakeries including, of course,  Trois Pommes Patisserie; where are some of your favorite places to go when you’re writing?

Honestly, I write mostly at home, where the coffee isn’t nearly as good as it is at De Luxe, Cafe Grumpy, or Roots.

When did you move to Brooklyn, and in which neighborhood do  you live?

I moved to Brooklyn in 1989, and lived first in Windsor Terrace. Then I moved into Park Slope, and five years ago moved to Park Slope South, where I plan to live for as long as I can. I love the neighborhood, and I love that I can get whatever I want just by going for a walk.

How many pastries did you eat while writing this book?

Hm–I wrote the book in a year and a few months, so if I had a pastry for each of the weeks I wrote, that would add up to sixty pastries! Yikes! No wonder it’s good I walk everywhere.

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