Hungry for a fantasy heroine that’s as relatable as she is badass? Look no farther than Beth Cato’s newest novel, A Feast for Starving Stone. Come along in her Big Idea as she shares a bit about the story she’s cooked up.
I sometimes joke that people can tell I write fantasy novels because my heroines have functional clothes with pockets. Good pockets are an important criteria for my clothes as well (and a reason I reject many pants and coats before even trying them on), and my protagonists tend to be like me in a lot of ways, practical attire included.
To that end, Adamantine Garland is one of the two leads in my new Chefs of the Five Gods series. She’s in her mid-forties, like me. She’s going through perimenopause, like me. She loves cooking, like me–though she’s even better at it, because she’s not only trained in food arts, but has a divinely-touched tongue. She has an empathetic understanding of food and how it tastes, not only in her mouth, but how other nearby people in proximity to food will sense flavors. Even more, Ada can tap the potential of rare ingredients, calling on the Five Gods of Cuisine to imbue foods with abilities that will then empower whoever chows down on the meal. Those powers include regeneration, stone-like skin, speed, and so much more.
Oh yeah, and because the Chefs (that’s with a capital C) in my secondary world are essentially trained as food-focused priests/soldiers, she’s also proficient in fighting and killing, when necessary. I daresay, such things are not within my skill set.
My first book, A Thousand Recipes for Revenge, established my setting inspired by 16th and 17th century Europe. The focus is on France, which I’ve renamed Verdania. There is a lot of swashbuckling action along with requisite feast scenes. As the story begins, Ada is in a tough spot. She deserted the army years ago, and has since lived in hiding with her grandmother, who is slowly succumbing to dementia. When assassins show up at Ada’s door, her first concern is to get her grandmother to safety–and her next is to find out how these assassins found her and why they want her dead.
The second book is A Feast for Starving Stone, out today. Ada has found her answers–and a whole mess of additional trouble. War is descending on the continent, and Ada has made enemies of two Gods…
Source: The Big Idea: Beth Cato