Today we're excited to spotlight The Doughnut Fix by Jessie Janowitz, plus author guest post, excerpt, and giveaway!
Meet Jessie Janowitz!
Jessie Janowitz is a graduate of Princeton University’s undergraduate creative writing program and holds a J.D. from University of Pennsylvania Law School. She’s currently in the Writing for Children MFA program at Vermont College of Fine Arts. This is her debut novel. She lives in New York City with her husband and three children.
Meet The Doughnut Fix!
Inspiration for The Doughnut Fix
A lying sign really got my imagination going. What kind of character would advertize selling something he or she didn’t have and why? What kind of character would would go gaga over chocolate cream doughnuts, and what would he or she do if it turned out there were none to be had?
I can’t tell you if the sign was actually lying because I never went inside. I was too afraid that the real story might get in the way of the one that was percolating in my brain about a twelve-year-old boy, Tris, a serious baker and NYC foodie, who stumbles upon this sign and gets seriously excited about finding mind-blowing doughnuts in the tiny, middle-of-nowhere town with no restaurant his parents have just moved him and his two sisters. But of course, the sign in my story is lying, and when Tris discovers that there are no chocolate cream doughnuts, it sparks an adventure, one that only a boy who knows how to make a perfect chocolate chip cookie is up to, one that’s about more than just doughnuts.
So keep your eye out for interesting signs that can spark a great story. Traveling recently, I came upon a particularly intriguing road sign. It read, “I’m curvaceous. Be careful.” Hmm…
I hope The Doughnut Fix makes readers laugh. And bake! Some of Tris’s (and my!) favorite recipes are included in the book. For those of you who don’t get your hands on the ARC, here’s something to get you started on the baking:
Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies
Makes about 3 dozen
1 cup of light brown sugar
¼ cup of granulated sugar
2 sticks (½ pound) of unsalted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1 pinch of salt
2 cups of all-purpose flour
½ cup of unsweetened shredded coconut
1 cup of chopped walnuts
18 ounces of semi-sweet chocolate in bars, not chips
Put oven on 350 degrees.
Take butter and eggs from fridge to bring to room temperature.
Break chocolate bars into chunks.
Cut parchment paper to cover cookie sheets.
Cream the sugars and butter together in an electric mixer on medium.
In a small bowl, crack the eggs and mix them with the vanilla, then dump into the butter/sugar mixture and mix thoroughly on medium.
Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt in a bowl, then add to the butter mixture and mix on low.
Dump in the walnuts, coconut, and chocolate chunks and stir with a spoon.
Scoop the batter out with a tablespoon and drop onto the cookie sheet. Cookies will expand as they bake so make sure to leave enough space between them, about two fingers width.
Bake for 12 minutes. Leave cookies on the sheet for one minute, then transfer to a wire rack to cool.
Chapter 2 of The Doughnut Fix by Jessie Janowitz
It was as if my parents had made up this story about some other family, one that loves ice skating and nature and is bored of living in the greatest city in the world, and we were just supposed to play along and pretend that was us even though none of it was true.
Three hours later, Dad turned off Country Road 21B into woods so thick they cut out the sun.
“We’re here!” he practically sang as we started up a steep, zigzagging dirt road.
But “here” wasn’t where we were. “Here” was at the top of the mountain, and we were still at the bottom. We had another whole vomit bucket to go before “here.”
Finally, we came out of the trees and rolled to a stop in front of a sagging, purple house.
Dad was wrong. We were here now. I was seeing it, the land, the house and all of it, and I wasn’t getting it. Not the broken-down, grape-colored house with windows popping out in all the wrong places. Not the shed that really was only half a shed because the other half looked like someone had burned it to the ground. Not the miles and miles of lonely sky and house-less, people-less fields and woods trapping us on top of this cliff.
“C’mon, guys, don’t you want to come check it out?” Mom said. Jeanine, Zoe, and I didn’t move.
“Can I have your phone?” Jeanine asked, sniffling.
“Why?” Dad said.
“To call Kevin.” Kevin Metz, chess champion, is the male version of Jeanine. They met in Gifted and Talented in kindergarten and have been best friends ever since.
“You can call Kevin on the way home. Now you’re seeing the house,” Mom said. “Where are we?” I asked, looking out the window.
“Petersville,” Dad said.
“Is there an actual town?” I didn’t see another house anywhere.
“About six miles away,” Mom said.
“How are we supposed to get there?” I said.
“Car or bike,” Dad said.
“We need to get in the car just to get milk?” I said.
“What do you think of the house? Big, right?” Mom was smiling that huge smile again.
Clearly, that was a “yes” on needing the car to go get milk.
“No more sharing,” Dad said as he and Mom got out of the car. “You guys each get your own room. Don’t you want to go in and look around?”
Jeanine, Zoe, and I still didn’t move. For once, I’m pretty sure we were all thinking the same thing: if we went inside, that was it. The house was ours. From the outside, it could still belong to someone else.
Mom opened the door to the back seat. “Come on! Come see.”
“Why are the windows all different sizes?” I said, staying put.
“It’s neat, right?” she said. “An artist and her husband built it. They wanted something completely original. Something that would surprise you.”
“Were they color blind?” Jeanine asked.
Mom laughed. “No, the artist’s name is Iris, you know, like the flower. Most of their furniture was purple too. Pretty zany.”
“Is that code for crazy?” I said.
“They aren’t crazy,” Dad said. “We met them. They’re great.”
“Mmm, like everything else here,” I said into my T-shirt.
Dad opened the back door on the other side. “Enough! Everybody out.”
Jeanine, Zoe, and I obeyed but in slow motion, and we didn’t go to the house. We just stood beside the car on the brown lawn. Even the grass looked unhappy to be there.
Jeanine leaned back against the car and studied the house. “Did they give it to you for free?”
“Of course not,” Mom said.
“How do you know it’s safe?” I plopped down on the grass next to Jeanine’s feet. It wasn’t just that I didn’t want to get any closer to the house than I had to, I needed to stick with my side. This was us versus them, and we were going to lose—we’d already lost, even if Jeanine didn’t realize it yet. And if we were going down—maybe even because we were—we had to stay together. Jeanine must have felt it too, because a minute later she slid down the car until she was kneeling next to me on the ground.
The Doughnut Fix
By: Jessie Janowitz
Release Date: April 3, 2018
Two winners will receive an advanced reader's copy of The Doughnut Fix with a signed bookplate (US & Canada only).