Friday, October 21, 2022

FOODFIC: Please Welcome Michelle Tanmizi, Author of Late Dawn

Food in the year 4848 

I come from a culture that reveres food and the ritual of eating. Passed around like a fortune cookie is the saying that ‘One lives to eat, and not eat to live.’ But what happens when food becomes scarce in the far-future, dystopian world of Late Dawn, in the year 4848? That is the timeline of my novel.

 It is so far in our timeline, it lies on the other side of the horizon of perception where eyes and minds cannot yet reach. I chose such a far timeline for a good reason. I wanted to project an image of a transformed Earth, where climate change had ravaged and damaged it, and where Earthlings (wildlife, nature and insects included) who survived, are living through yet another global disaster. It is a world where humans are no longer Mother Nature’s favourite children.

In this world, we are no longer the apex predator because animals have taken over our territories, and our domestic meat source, like chickens, cows, ducks, etc., have perished. So, for those who crave flesh protein, it becomes necessary to find an alternative solution to animal meat. In the world of Late Dawn, people eat Bio-Meat, a government, laboratory-produced protein. But it creates long term illnesses for those who consume it, side effects from non-natural food products. I believe in eating only fresh, unaltered food, and so it is normal I would write this into my novel. Today, the once popular trend of Genetically Modified foods has lost advocates as people are realising it is healthier to eat natural, unaltered products.

The focalising character of the story, Marra, belongs to an environmental and animal protection agency whose members are all vegans. I am an advocate of eating vegetables because it helps the planet and for me, it also helps the animals. Since January 2021, I’ve become a vegetarian myself and loving it. Environmental issues interest me and like the protagonist of Late Dawn, I believe in trying to help the planet as much as I can.

So, while Late Dawn is not so much about food, it is about wildlife protection and what happens when we ignore the fact that we share this planet with other living beings.

Thanks for stopping by to share your food for thought, Michelle!

You can find Michelle here:

Twitter @MTanmiziAuthor

Facebook Fan Page

Books on Amazon

Friday, October 14, 2022

FOODFIC: Please Welcome MK Schultz, Author of Kassius Kanex

Kassius Kanex Culinary 101

As a consumer of stories, I frequently reflect on the ingredients that are consistently present in the ones I love. Sure the story has to be interesting, but how is that achieved? The story has to be good. Well, yes! The story has to take the reader on a trip of the mind. Of course it does! The scenes must contain all, or at least some of the genres of action, comedy, drama, suspense and horror. The story must intrigue, interest, bewilder, sadden, anger or cheer the consumer, regardless of the medium - film, score, theatre, audiobook or the written word. How does it achieve this? What is that most important ingredient - the holy grail of story, or so to say? Character investment! The viewer, the listener and the reader must become invested and they must come to care about what happens to the characters. They must laugh at their jokes, they must cry when they suffer and they must cheer when they succeed. There are an endless multitude of ways readers become invested in characters. One of those ways can be answered by the question, “But what are they eating?”

Enter the protagonist, Kassius Kanex. This sci-fi / thriller / horror story begins with the main character’s realization of his inability to continue spending so much time and focus on a job that does not bring him fulfillment. One of his many coping mechanisms is the preparation of his lunches for the week - all five prepared ahead of time. The simpleness and controlling nature of these lunches seem insignificant at first, but they provide a link to the ongoing theme of the coexistence of the simple and the complex as the preparation and contents of the lunch is explained in detail. The ingredients for the lunch are tuna, hot sauce, almonds, yogurt, and cottage cheese. A breakfast is also described, but then there is the fruit.

His search for the destiny he believes to be out there begins very suddenly, following a mysterious call for help. Without knowing why at the time, he intuitively places four pieces of fruit in the palm of his left hand while alone at work. The fruit - two apples and two oranges, are stacked in a pyramid form and as he walks to his desk, he ritualistically holds the fruit pyramid, outstretched as far and as high as he can in front of him, as a kind of plea to whatever god or force that may be out there. Remarkably, this call for help is answered and a path to his destiny comences.

As his new involvement with a secret organization begins to replace his current work life, the regular part of him - his family life, must continue. This is where the complex is joined with the simple. As Kassius becomes overwhelmed with his new experiences, he takes refuge in his joy of cooking in order to cope.

When he begins to question the changes he is experiencing, he starts the prep for a homemade pizza that he will cook on time for when his family comes home. In this long and therapeutic scene of the chopping and organization of the ingredients into a neat row of containers on the counter, he finds peace of mind to ponder all that is happening. The beer helps too. When his family arrives, he assembles the pizza for them and cooks it on an outdoor grill while enjoying their company. Every single step of the prep, assembling, cooking instructions and serving is explained like a cookbook, further emphasizing how food is therapy for Kassius as he struggles with change.

The food references don't stop there. Throughout the trilogy, Kassius and other characters seem to possess a love of all things culinary. From award worthy breakfasts, to homemade subs, pizzas and burritos, the theme of the simple alongside the complex continues. There are fresh caught fish prepared over a bonfire, the agave fruit, pirozhki and pineapple chicken skewers basted with bbq sauce. There is a mind blowing quiche, hot dogs, poutine, burgers and even supernatural garlic that affects time.

There are food and drink parties, breakfast meetings, family suppers and friends meeting at pubs. There is also Rock’s amazing microbrewery which provides a steady supply of the most amazing beers on the planet!

In the Kassius Kanex series, food provides a backdrop of simplicity to anchor the reader in a comfy chair to view the danger, chaos and complexity constantly unfolding around them. This chair comes with a seat belt, so buckle up because it’s one hell of a ride!

Thanks for stopping by to share your food for thought, MK!

You can find MK here:

Twitter @Makemali


Books on Amazon

MK Schultz is the Canadian author of The Kassius Kanex trilogy. A father of two young adults, he lives in a wooded area in the outskirts of Ottawa. He and his wife are avid outdoor enthusiasts in all seasons. Although formally educated in Architecture, his true passion is writing. Schultz is currently writing a new, stand-alone novel in a different genre.