Today we’re talking with Dev Bentham’s characters in her new book, Bread, Salt and Wine!
What are your names? And tell us a little about yourselves?
I’m George Zajac, L’Ouest’s new catering chef. It’s a second career for me. A few years ago I traded on Wall Street and had an apartment overlooking Central Park. That all went to shit, which is what it is. In Los Angeles no one really knows me and it’s better that way. There is this waiter, Kenny Marks, who… well, I like his company. I’m too messed up to get involved anyone, but I keep thinking maybe he’d go for a friends with benefits kind of thing.
How did you meet? Was it love at first sight?
We work together. And hell no, it wasn’t love at first sight. I don’t do relationships. Can’t. But Kenny’s a great guy. He’s smart and funny, sexy as hell, makes me feel good when I’m around him. But no, it’s not love.
What do you believe is your worst or most frustrating quality? What about his?
Ah shit, do I have to talk about this? Let me just say, I’ve got issues. Sexual issues. Let’s leave it at that. As for Kenny, the thing that frustrates me most about him is that he’s so out there. I mean, you wouldn’t need to spend two second with him to know he’s gay. Which is okay for him, but I don’t want anyone making assumptions about me because they’ve seen me with him. I don’t need to shout out to the whole world that I’m gay, okay? I mean, it’s none of their business, right?
What is your best quality? What about his?
My best quality? I don’t know, I’m good cook I guess.
Kenny, he’s the bravest man I’ve ever met.
If you could have one wish come true, what would it be and why?
That the nightmares would stop and I could be with someone like Kenny without breaking into a sweat or needing him to—that we could just be together like normal people. Like, well, lovers.
Now, let’s talk to the author!
Dev, what other book/series would you compare your current offering to?
This is the fourth, and last, book in my Tarnished Souls series. Each story in the series highlights a particular Jewish holiday. They are all stand-alone novels, independent in that you can start anywhere in the series but linked by characters who float between books. For example, Kenny showed up as a childhood friend of the main character in Learning from Isaac and George employed the protagonist in Sacred Hearts and yet none of that history is important for understanding Bread, Salt and Wine.
What’s next for you?
What’s immediately next is that I have another story coming out next week from Amber Allure, Painting in the Rain, a novella set on the Oregon Coast. The story I’m working on right now involves a small town veterinarian, a big city artist and a bunch of dogs.
What was the hardest part of writing this book?
George had a terrible childhood. He wonders if perhaps some wounds never heal. And while George is a fictional character, far too many of us are wandering around with our own bleeding hearts. Thinking about that makes me sad.
Some wounds never heal. George Zajac grew up in a religious family with a father who beat “the swish” out of him. Now he’s a troubled man. At thirty-eight he moves across the country to start a new life in Los Angeles, working as the catering chef for a prestigious French Restaurant. Kenny Marks, a writer who’s currently waiting tables, is everything George cannot be—flamboyant, proud and sexually confident. Enthralled by Kenny, and against his own better judgment, George agrees to a date. Sparks fly. The sex is better than good. But even after the two get close, George remains crippled by humiliating sexual hang-ups. Still haunted by his childhood, he lingers in the closet and can’t commit to a relationship with Kenny. Love is the great healer, but is it enough? George’s emotional scars could drive Kenny away, and with him, George’s last chance at happiness.