Wednesday, March 9, 2011
Miss Scarlet's School of Patternless Sewing GIVEAWAY
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Format: TRADE PAPERBACK
Publish Date: 3/8/2011
Sometimes to find your life's true path, you have to stray outside the lines . . .
Scarlet Santana is never happier than when creating fabulous fashions for women of all shapes and sizes. Now, after years of hard work, she finally has the chance to live her dream and study under the hottest designer in New York. To raise money for her move, Scarlet opens an after-hours sewing school in a local record shop, teaching a type-A working mom whose rigid parenting style is causing her family to unravel and an enigmatic seamstress with a mysterious past.
But as stitches give way to secrets and classmates become friends, the women realize an important truth: There is no single pattern for a good life. Happiness is always a custom fit.
Q: What inspired this book?
A: I have always loved to sew. I think I get it from my Nana Eleanor,
who was a master seamstress, a perfectionist. However, I’ve
never been able to successfully use a pattern. For some reason, it
never works out and I end up taking the project in a whole new
direction. I thought it would make a fun story to see these different
types of women tackle a patternless sewing class.
Q: How different is the fi nal book from your original idea?
A: Oh, wow. Very different. Once I started writing it, it became
clear that “patternless sewing” doubled as a metaphor for our
lives. We are all born into this world with some kind of pattern
or tradition to follow. Some of us want a fresh pattern, some
want to alter theirs, others want to stay exactly on the lines.
Once I realized that, it allowed me to take my characters to a
Q: This seems to be a lighthearted book at fi rst, but there
are several instances of death. Why did you feel that was
important to include?
A: It might have to do with my father passing away around
the time that I wrote this book. I had so many issues to work
through. I learned that it is important to celebrate the lives of
our loved ones who died, but at the same time, we have to let
them go. It was also important for me to present their crossing
over in a positive light.
Q: Were any of the characters based on real people?
A: Texas purse designer Enid Collins is my inspiration for Daisy.
Not so much Enid’s life story, but her crazy purse designs. I wondered
what kind of woman in the ’60s would be so bold to make
such awesomely kooky handbags dripping with gems and stones
in the shapes of animals and fl owers and cars. However, I took
it to the next level and added costumes, gowns, and accessories
to her résumé. Also, by the time I fi nished the book, I saw a lot
of my father in Rosa. The way she was so smart and calm and
talented and loved to travel. She knew about so many issues and
always put love fi rst. That is 100 percent my dad! Nana Eleanor
is a blend of both my nonas.
Q: Why Carmen Miranda?
A: I love Carmen! A lot of people don’t know that she used to
be a hat and purse designer before she was discovered. When
she became famous she sketched and sewed all her own costumes.
I really felt that, given the era and sparkle factor I had
going on with Daisy de la Flora, Carmen would totally be her
Q: You live in Phoenix, Arizona, yet this book takes place in
Glendale, Arizona. Why is that?
A: I was raised close to Glendale, so I’ve spent a lot of time
there. I also set the book during the holidays, because I love the
season of Glendale Glitters when all the downtown streets are
lined with lights and decorations. The area is so charming and
old- fashioned. Lots of thrift stores, Mexican bakeries, candy
shops. Marco’s record store is fi ctional, but I could totally see it
on Fifty- seventh Avenue and Glendale!
Q: Did you listen to any music while writing the book?
A: Oh, yes! Every time I worked on Mary Theresa and Hadley,
I listened to John Coltrane, because that is what triggered
everything. With Scarlet, I always listened to Glenn Miller or
other Big Band groups when she was happy, and when she was
confused and frustrated I listened to an English band called
Marina and the Diamonds. Daisy and Rosa— mambo all the
way, as well as Carmen Miranda albums. For Marco, he was so
dark and deep, I played Fleet Foxes over and over. My favorite
song for this book is Sam Cooke’s, “Nothing can change this
Love.” It reminds me of Scarlet and Marco!
Q: What is the main takeaway you want readers to close the
A: To step outside their normal boundaries, or in some cases,
step inside boundaries. Basically just try something new to mix
up your lifestyle. And to stay true to your family, and they will
stay true to you!
Thanks to the fabulous folks at Hatchette Book Group, I have two prize packages up for grabs! They include two books by Kathy Cano-Murillo.
It's a crafter's dream! Fill out the form below then go glue glitter all over the cat.
Extra point for making a comment.