Executive Chef Mercer Mohr found me via an old website of mine, SedonaPR, by searching Google on the keywords “Ghostwriter Sedona.” He and his business partner had just taken over a popular Sedona, AZ restaurant called Ken’s Creekside. They wanted a cookbook — something that would represent the restaurant’s bistro ambiance, the fine dining, the creative and unique recipes that evolved into menu items; something that would be elegant but wouldn’t break the bank.
My first assignment was preliminary research. (Full disclosure: I had no experience in producing a cookbook.) Early on I sat down with Mercer to discuss the basic concept of the cookbook, some possible articles, some themes, some goals.
I soon discovered that most big ticket cookbooks (in fact, most hard cover books) these days are now printed mainly in China and Korea. I found a printing agent, who led me to the undisputed Southwest Queen of Cookbook Design, Editing and Production, Carol Haralson.
The cookbook was on its way, in good hands. My first writing assignment was to do the biography of Chef Mercer himself: his upbringing, his education, his career trajectory, how he came to be one of the top chefs in America. We had several hours of interviews, and then I did what ghostwriters do. I wrote his personal story in first person, as Mercer Mohr, using facts, anecdotes, milestones, insight, guesswork, and research.
It took six rewrites and revisions to get it right, but the end result, I must admit, is awesome. Ghostwriters often must invent and improvise and draw on our own database of knowledge.
I also wrote several articles for the cookbook in Mercer’s voice reflecting his expertise in preparing food for the public, and his opinions on healthy food and the food business.
All contents from Mercer Mohr’s Wild Thyme Tavern Cookbook on this page © 2013 by Wild Thyme Restaurant Group.
P.S. I wanted a different title for the cookbook, but this one won out. Moral: You can’t win ’em all.