Monday, July 2, 2018

Dark 'N Stormy with a Twist: Guest Post by Sheena Kamal

Sheena Kamal has just won the 2018 Kobo Emerging Writer Prize in the mystery category for her 2017 debut, The Lost Ones. In addition, The Lost Ones has been nominated for best debut novel for four of the top crime writing awards thus far – The Strand Critics Award, The Barry Award, The Macavity Award, and the Thriller Award--not to mention that Time Magazine and Bustle singled out the debut at publication. 
   Sheena Kamal holds an HBA in Political Science from the University of Toronto, and was awarded a TD Canada Trust scholarship for community leadership and activism around the issue of homelessness. Kamal also worked as a researcher into crime and investigative journalism for the film and television industry. 
   Kamal’s highly anticipated second novel in the series, It All Falls Down (7/3/2018, William Morrow) received a starred review from Kirkus.

Sheena Kamal:

The main character of my suspense series, Nora Watts, has a drinking problem. When we first meet her in The Lost Ones, she’s sober and has been for years. But as things heat up in the narrative, the desire to drink comes back with a vengeance. There are reasons for it, grounded in the circumstances of the book, so I try to make her struggle real.

I’ve witnessed people around me, some in my inner circle, who have also struggled with alcohol and other addiction issues to make me want to write that into the character, but I do have to admit that it bums me out. Especially given how much I enjoy a drink every now and then. Maybe one of the reasons I write her this way is to deal with my own fears of alcoholism. Largely ungrounded fears, because I could never be a functional drunk. Just a happy one.

Personally, I like my alcoholic beverages in wine form, which I prefer to drink out of mugs—because why put on airs? Also, wine glasses aren’t safe around the likes of me. Mugs are sturdy. I’m particularly fond of Japanese tea cups because fit nicely in the hand and they don’t have handles to knock off and break. Plus, Japanese tea cups are good for every liquid drink, no matter the temperature.

One day, when I settle down, I will invest in some nice Japanese tea cups, maybe even a set specifically for wine—who knows what interesting developments life will bring?

Which brings me to this. When I was asked to do a post on Mystery Fanfare, one of the suggestions was for a recipe. I fell in love with the idea, even though I don’t know how to make anything special.

I hit upon a signature drink, because I just read a Bond novel that had a signature drink recipe. Due to Nora’s addiction issues, I can’t give her one that would fit into the series, but there’s no reason I can’t have it for myself. At the very least it could be something to drag out at boring parties to pass the time

“Why yes, I am a writer of fiction. Let me tell you about my signature drink.” 

This sounds like a completely acceptable way to kill three to five minutes, right?

If I’m being honest, my signature drink is plain old vino but since I would like to be known for something a bit more exciting than that, I have concocted a recipe for a cocktail that I genuinely do enjoy, though I’ve only had it once in my life. I might not be capable of going through all these steps often so maybe it can be my special occasion drink. If I ever get married and then (probably, knowing me) divorced, it will be my celebratory cocktail for both occasions.

It’s your average Dark ’N Stormy, but with an extra flair.

Here goes:


Ice, no more than three cubes*
2 parts dark rum
3 parts strong ginger beer
Dash of Angostura bitters
Garnished with a lime wedge and a piece of candied ginger 

Sounds delicious, no? I can’t wait to tell people at parties about it so that they know I’m a person with a signature drink. If you do try to make this, please send me a message to let me know how it turned out.

As I was writing this I was seized with inspiration and planned to go to the store to purchase all the ingredients, but I will probably stick with the wine I have in the fridge. I’m sure one day I’ll make this again or, more likely, order it at a bar. Maybe when I get married and then divorced. In the meantime, I hope someone else enjoys it, and I hope that someone is you. Unless, of course, you’re in the same boat as my character Nora, then please ignore this entire post and drink some yummy tea. Preferably out of a Japanese tea cup.

*This is an arbitrary number of ice cubes. I have no idea what the appropriate amount is.

No comments: