Guest Post: To Small Town Bakeries and Majestic Old Popcorn Palaces
In SWEET DREAMS, the second book in my Dreams Come True series, the hero Jake Sutton has an interesting hobby: he restores Art Deco movie theaters. As the owner of Sutton foods, Sutton Property Development, Sutton Global Security and Texas’ second largest newspaper, Jake’s got money to burn. Saving old popcorn palaces like the Regal from ruin is pricey, but the work inspires him. Plus, the Regal is right around the corner from feisty, fascinating Maggie Roby who owns a bakery full of treats almost as scrumptious and tempting as she is. Heck, that’s just a Jake Sutton bonus.
From the first moment Jake beholds the Regal, he’s smitten:
Jake looked up and went a little lightheaded.
It was an old Art Deco movie theater, probably built in the early thirties, but boarded up now, a grande dame past her prime and sadly neglected. The Regal it said in broken, unlit neon.
For most of his thirty-one years, Jake had dreamed about renovating an Art Deco building.
Uncle Marty had taken him to see “The Adventures of Robin Hood” in a lushly romantic Art Deco theater when he was a kid. The city bulldozed it ten years later and built a parking garage. But ever since, Jake had vacuumed up every scrap of knowledge, lore, history and hearsay he could find about the period. Something about its extravagance and naïveté strongly appealed to him.
Now here he was standing in front of what could be a lifelong dream come true. He could easily imagine there were cartoon Valentine hearts floating out of his eyeballs.
I’ll admit to being just as crazy about Art Deco movie theaters as Jake is. Think about it: when theaters such as the Regal were first built, admission for a silent film accompanied by an eight-piece orchestra was no more than a quarter. It was the early Golden Age of Hollywood and megawatt stars like Clark Gable, Judy Garland and Shirley Temple delighted audiences the world over. Popcorn was a nickel. A nickel! And in many small Texas towns like Cuervo, which is where SWEET DREAMS is set, the only air conditioning you could find during the summer was at one of these wonderful old popcorn palaces—a fact that was proudly advertised in snow-packed letters on the ticket window.
The great fun of writing virile, male characters like Jake Sutton, oddly enough, is depriving them what they want while at the same time giving what they need. Jake needs the love of a strong woman like Maggie. He also needs the satisfaction of restoring his piece of history and making it beautiful again. I hope you enjoy reading Jake and Maggie’s love story as much as I enjoyed writing it.
Old places, like satisfying romances, are abundant in soul.
About the Book
Title: Sweet Dreams
Author: Stacey Keith
In a little town in the heart of Texas, the same old story can turn into happily ever after . . .
On any given day, Maggie Roby has cake batter on her sleeve, flour where the blush supposedly goes, and sore feet from standing since dawn. For her sister’s wedding day, she’s added a side of heartache. Maggie’s failed marriage taught her that love is a lie and commitment a mistake, and it was an expensive lesson. But with her bakery thriving and her life simplified to work, family, and knitting for her pug, Maggie thinks she’s bought some peace. Until Jake Sutton walks in and she realizes she isn’t safe from desire at all . . .
Jake has model-perfect looks and about a billion dollars to throw around, but Maggie also sees the same never-say-die grit she prizes in herself. The attraction between them is hotter than her oven in July. But when Jake decides to restore the old Art Deco movie theater right around the corner from her bakery, she worries that temptation is a little too close for comfort. And the added ingredient of a man from her past only complicates the mix. This time nothing less than true love will do. If she can learn to listen to her heart, she just may be able to have her cake and eat it too.
Award-winning author Stacey Keith doesn’t own a television, but reads compulsively—and would, in fact, go stark raving bonkers without books, most of which are crammed into every corner of the house. She lives with her jazz musician boyfriend in Civita Castellana, a medieval village in Italy that sits atop a cliff, and she spends her days writing in a nearby abandoned 12th century church. But the two things she is most proud of are her ability to cook pasta alla matriciana without burning down the kitchen, and swearing volubly in Italian with all the appropriate hand gestures.