Cassia gets her name from the flowering acacia tree. The honey locust is a related species.

Bella is a grandmother Cassia never meets in the flesh in my new novel, What’s Left, but she’s a vivid figure in the granddaughter’s life all the same.

Bella comes to be the colorful face of the family restaurant, Carmichael’s, a woman who seems to know everybody in town and brightens their lives as soon as they walk through the door.

She may be the mother of five children, but somehow she manages to juggle both work and family – perhaps thanks to the older generation’s active support.

Do you ever find yourself surprised when you go into a restaurant for the third or fourth time and one of the wait staff asks you if you’re having your usual? I’m always amazed. Most of them must have hundreds, maybe thousands, of customers each week, but somehow, you’re special? How do they do it?

I doubt I’d ever be so talented. Perhaps it reflects a special personality outlook.

Do you know somebody who seems to know a world of people? Someone who greets them warmly, asking about something of interest? (Often their kids?) Someone who brings a spark to their day? Care to tell us a bit about them?

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