Like Sweet Buttermilk, set in the suburbs of the Washington DC metropolitan area, is a story of betrayal, deception, and love. The story explores the emotional boundaries within what appears to be an ordinary marital relationship.
Rick Phillips loves his family. To him, family is everything. He is leading what he considers a comfortable home life with his wife, Viv, and their young daughter, when Viv tells him that she wants to separate; that she is romantically involved with someone else.
Rick’s jealously gets the better of him; Viv’s lover is soon found dead… and Rick is a changed man. The boring suburban husband is now a spontaneous, fun-loving man with an intense sexual appetite.
Through therapy with Dr. Alexander, Rick and Viv attempt to salvage their marriage, and events lead to the couple finding renewed passion for each other. Naomi, however, knows everything is not as lovely as it appears … and she fears Viv may be in danger.
Rick’s irrational devotion to family and his recent changes in personality have Naomi worried for Viv’s safety. The no-nonsense psychiatrist becomes the reluctant semi-detective…
The question sat there among them.
Naomi needed to move on to the next session. She didn’t want to answer Rick’s question. It was a fair one. So what? Naomi decided she would need a shot of Hennessy before sitting down with Mr. Rayburn. “My husband was murdered, Mister Phillips.” No matter how many times she said the word, “murdered” always felt cold, foreign, and heavy on her tongue. She always seemed to spit the word out at people.
Viv placed a hand to her chest. “Oh. Sorry, Naomi.”
Rick’s silence served his apology.
It was enough for Naomi. “No problem. See you in two?” Naomi stood and moved behind her desk. Earlier, she would have shaken their hands. The moment for that was gone now. She sat down and opened Mr. Rayburn’s file.
Rick and Viv made their way to the door.
Naomi found it within herself to ease the tension. “Viv, be prepared to expound on that last outburst. You too, Rick.”
Viv’s eyes flickered with anger before she nodded solemnly.
Rick nodded as well.
“And, guys, seriously: take a vacation.” Naomi smiled.
Rick and Viv smiled, yet Viv’s smile was half-hearted. Rick let Viv out before him and closed the door behind them.
Before the door closed completely, Naomi took a last look at Viv’s rear. Once the door closed, Naomi opened her top desk drawer, reaching into the back for the familiar.
What inspired you to write this book?
After taking a few creative writing classes at the local community college, I had seeds for stories, but nothing that ‘popped.’ Sitting on a park bench working on some of my poetry, I noticed a couple being romantic, engaged in a little excessive PDA. Watching them, I had questions about relationships and the role of forgiveness, and decided to explore aspects of forgiveness through a story. I finished Like Sweet Buttermilk after taking the Writer’s Digest novel course.
Summarize the story.
Like Sweet Buttermilk is mainstream commercial fiction centering on the sleuth-type skills of African American psychiatrist, Dr. Naomi Alexander and her approach to treating a married couple in which the husband has killed someone—unbeknownst to the wife. The dynamics of the married couple’s relationship provide a bit of suspenseful romance.
What is the overall theme of this book?
The power of love and forgiveness in the worst of circumstances.
Who are the main characters? Why are they important to the story?
Dr. Naomi Alexander: A psychiatrist with her own set of personal problems. Naomi’s talents as a therapist help Rick and Viv Phillips repair their broken marriage, and her uncanny reasoning skills aid her in solving a murder investigation.
Rick and Viv Phillips: Married couple in therapy with Dr. Alexander. They explore the pain of infidelity and the harmful effects of complacency in their marriage. Because of Rick’s actions outside therapy however, the test of true forgiveness becomes the crux of their story.
Why will Like Sweet Buttermilk appeal to readers?
If readers enjoy suspense tales, romances, mainstream works that straddle the line of various genres, or books with occasional touches of erotica, they’ll enjoy my stories.
I think readers will get a kick out of Naomi, her quirks, and her approach to treatment. At the same time, readers will enjoy ‘experiencing’ the romance between Rick and Viv in the face of their marriage trials. It’s fun rooting for love conquering all, isn’t it?
How is the book relevant in today’s society?
The growing trend/need for psychiatric counseling in today’s society, coupled with the challenged but tried and true institution of marriage has plenty of avenues for exploration. Marriage and Therapy: the two aren’t mutually exclusive.
Name elements of your story you find special?
Like Sweet Buttermilk has: painful truths and sweet moments; funny moments and sexy encounters; thought-provoking moments, and touch of suspense to keep things interesting.
A native of the Washington DC Metropolitan area, S.F. Powell writes fiction with works focusing on life, relationships, and sometimes love. Her stories touch on the elements of several genres because life is sometimes a suspenseful mystery carrying moments of romance and humor, maybe with enough drama that it seems right out of science fiction.
A writer since her teens, as an adult she was stirred to write her first novel. Taking a chance, her submission for Like Sweet Buttermilk won first place in the Black Expressions Fiction Writing Contest, and inspired her to write the follow-up, Obscure Boundaries. She is a member of the Black Writer’s Guild of Maryland and currently working on books three and four.
A wife and mother of three, when she isn’t writing, reading, or spending time with family, S.F. Powell likes watching documentaries, a good orange soda, working puzzles, or enjoying something in the horror genre, be it books or screen.
Obscure Boundaries, another Dr. Naomi Alexander novel, is also available. This time, Dr. Alexander is providing grief counseling.
I’m currently working on a third work featuring Dr. Alexander: Broken Benevolence, in which Naomi is treating a woman trying to overcome the effects from a violent attack as well as the oppressive relationship that is her marriage.
Find the author:
Facebook (profile page): https://www.facebook.com/sfpowell.author
Facebook (fan page): https://www.facebook.com/author.sfpowell/
Blog (S.F. Powell: Sans Serif): blog.sfpowellbooks.com