Thursday, December 8, 2011

Guest for the Day- Brenda Whiteside talks about HONEY ON WHITE BREAD

Honey of White Bread

Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers tap across the stage, her glittery dress flows around her ankles, and he bends her backwards in a graceful maneuver that nets him a kiss. I sigh at the black and white images.

Saturday morning, I carry my cup of hot cocoa and my white bread toast dripping with butter to the blanket spread in front of the television to watch an old movie starring Shirley Temple.

The actor with the funny nose makes cracks and the pretty redhead bats her eyelashes. I laugh at an old black and white Bob Hope and Lucille Ball movie on television while curled up with my little sister in a corner of the sofa.

I watched a lot of old movies on television when I was a kid. They were reruns to my mom but delightful first runs for me. Between the old movies and my mom’s tales of growing up in the 1940’s, I fell totally in love with that decade. So romantic, so colorful.

Honey On White Bread is the result of my infatuation with an era and is truly the book of my heart.
When seventeen-year-old Claire Flanagan is wrenched from her father and deposited at the Good Shepherd’s Home for Wayward Girls, all dreams for Hollywood stardom are lost. But when twenty-year-old Benjamin Russell helps secure her release, she starts to believe in a happy future with him…until she discovers his ex-girlfriend is pregnant.

In this post WWII coming of age novel, Claire discovers the silver screen can’t compare with the fight she takes on for the leading role in her own life.

When girls were girls and men were men. The time period following World War II is the setting for Honey On White Bread. The two families, the Russells and the Flanagans are the people who move through the novel. Both families are poor but rich with love and family. I had so much fun writing this book, doing the research and using some of the stories my mom told me about her childhood.

“I’ve never snuck into a theater before. Sneaking into a dark theater with Arnold …” Paulie laughed. “Are you sure this isn’t supposed to be a date?” Paulie appeared at once timid and suspicious.
“I’m sure. He’s getting me … us in to see a movie for free. Dick Hames! He’s so dreamy.”
Arnold’s dreamy.”
“You know, Paulie, Arnold is a dear friend …”
“Oh, pooh, Claire.” Paulie batted at my skirt.
“Okay, okay, a special friend. We haven’t made any promises to each other or anything. He’s cute, he’s fun … but …”
“But what?”
“Oh, I don’t know.” A hint of guilt over the difference between how I felt about Arnold compared to how he felt about me passed like the breeze drifting over the porch boards. His were childish whims of infatuation, pushy, uninvited. “It’s kind of hard to explain…” I toyed with the folds of my skirt. If most of the girls at North High were stuck on Arnold, a great catch I didn’t appreciate, then I wished my best friend could change places with me. If only …
“Hey, ladies.” The blur of a male figure in jeans had ascended the porch steps, not pausing to pass pleasantries.
He opened the screen door and stepped into the house. Benjamin. My second encounter brought on an unexplained reaction; my heart pattered even though I’d barely caught a glimpse.
“Oh, hey, Ben,” Paulie said. “You look tired, big brother.”
Her words stopped him. “Little bit.” He paused behind the screen door.
“This is Claire.”
He tipped his head to me. “Nice to meet you, Claire.” He continued on into the house.
 “Same here,” I muttered as the screen door shut.
“Now, where were we?” Paulie put a finger to her mouth.
I looped an arm through my friend’s. “We were going to see if your momma could use some help. Come on.” I pulled her from the seat. “Let’s help then freshen up before dinner.”
We let the screen door slam behind us and turned into the kitchen in time to see Benjamin lift his mother from the floor and spin around twice.
“You stop that, Benjamin Willis. Man or no, I can take a hand to your hide, if I need to.” Her hands flailed gently at his chest.
He laughed as he set her down, steadying her before letting go. Taut muscles on the back of his arms flexed with the effort; his deep laugh filled the kitchen. I couldn’t help being drawn into this entirely pleasant scene, comical and radiating warmth, inviting me to take part in their joy. His mother snatched a dishtowel from the counter and swiped at his legs.
“Hold off now. I give, I give.” He withdrew what appeared to be a check from his back pocket.
Mrs. Russell accepted the paper without comment and stuffed it into the frayed pocket of her red checked apron. He kissed her on the forehead, took the bottle of beer she offered him, and leaving the kitchen, nodded in my direction.
I sniffed the sweat of hard work and the yeasty smell of beer as he passed by. My head reeled for a moment with the warmth of the kitchen and the people within, combined with the essence of what I labeled man.

Brenda Whiteside
Do you have a favorite time period outside the present? How did you come to be interested in your favorite era and why? I’d love to hear. Leave me a comment and I’ll draw one commenter to receive an e-copy of Honey On White Bread. Be sure to leave your email address so I can reach you.

Brenda loves to hear from readers and can be reached at
For information on her other December releases and her latest contest news, visit
You’ll find her most days on Facebook at

Warm Christmas Wishes
Other new releases by Brenda Whiteside.
Tattoos, Leather & Studs


  1. Hi Jerri, You have such a lovely sight. I'm happy to be here today.

  2. Brenda,
    Love having you. You have been a busy lady! Congratulations on Honey on White Bread! Seems you have a couple of other books just released also.

  3. I'm a 50's girl, Brenda. Probably because of my parents influence and listening to the music. I'm a girly girl, so I'd fit right in with having to wear skirts. My book is on its way in the mail and I'm looking forward to reading the full story.

  4. Brenda,
    I love the title, congrats on your new book. Looking forward to reading this one!

  5. Brenda,
    I love this time period. Looking forward to another great read. Congrats!
    Linda Engman

  6. Yes, Jerri, I have. It's a mixed bag. Honey On White Bread is a full length novel while Tattoos, Leather and Studs is a long e-story. Warm Christmas Wishes is an anthology and I have two stories in that book.

  7. Jody, Hi! Do you mean you've order Honey On White Bread?

  8. Hello, Brenda
    I'd be very interested in reading this. Read your stories in Warm Christmas Wishes and loved them.
    I'm just finishing a 1940s novel myself. Well, part of it's in the 1940s.

  9. Hi Jenny. Aren't the 40's interesting. So much was happening to the American way of life. In my mind it was such a romantic time. "men were men and girls were girls". Glad you like the Christmas stories. Your story in Warm Christmas Wishes was absolutely delightful. Made me cry and laugh.

  10. I love the tone of your book, Brenda, and agree the title is absolutely fabulous. Best of luck with it.

    As for favorite historical period... Hmmm, the settlement of the west. Think Little House on the Prairie. I love the raw newness everyone faced.

  11. Hi Jannine. I think that too is a great time period for the US. Another one I'd like to explore with a book. So many ideas, so little time.

  12. Brenda,
    Thanks so much for stopping by today. Love your books. Come by any time. Good luck with your releases!

  13. Thank you so very much for having me, Jerri. Good times.

  14. I love the title of this book! Congrats on the release, Brenda.

  15. Thanks, Calisa. I had so much fun writing this book.