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What made you write Yes, Chef!?
I was having dinner with some writer friends and we got talking about my days in the restaurant industry and the high profile chefs I’ve worked with over the years. We landed on some pretty amusing stories and one of the writers, a bestselling British author and mentor of mine, suggested I work them into a novel. I’d never thought about writing from life, and even though Yes, Chef! is a work of fiction, I’ve been told the details about the restaurant industry make it an authentic read.
What was your favourite part of writing Yes, Chef!?
I really enjoyed writing the scenes between the heroine Becca and her friends. Especially when they are dining out in a group. The characters are so warm towards each other and yet they aren’t afraid to tell it like it is and give each other sass. Writing these scenes made me feel as though I was hanging out with my own friends, even though I was alone, laughing into my computer screen.
Is there anything you found particularly challenging while writing your book?
This story flowed very easily. It made a nice change from a previous novel I had been working on that I struggled with. Often, overcoming the fear of failure is difficult when writing. It’s easy to think you can’t do it and become overwhelmed by the notion of having to write a whole book. I never really expected Yes, Chef! to be published. I wrote it more to prove to myself that I could finish a book. So there was none of the usual hang-ups and therefor nothing was particularly challenging. I just enjoyed writing it.
Who designed the covers?
I love the cover for Yes, Chef! but I can’t take any credit. Penguin have an incredibly talented art department. I remember being delighted when I heard they had decided to go with an illustrated cover and I always pictured a red backdrop so I was super happy with the final art work.
Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
I do try and travel to all the places I write about. I think it gives the reader a greater sense of place and a better feel for the destination. Before writing Yes, Chef! I was working on a young adult fantasy story set in a world based on ancient Egypt so I took a trip to visit the pyramids and temples. It was one of the best holidays I have ever been on. Next month I’m heading back to London and Italy as my next book will be set there. I can’t wait to be in the European summer as winter has really kicked in here in Melbourne. With Yes, Chef! I was fortunate in that I’d already been to the places I wrote about and I lived in London for over seven years so it felt like writing about home.
What was the funniest experience you had working in the restaurant business?
Oh man, there are quite a few, but I’m not sure if I should say as I’ve elaborated on them in Yes, Chef! and don’t want to ruin it for any potential readers. I think some of my funniest moments have been working with chefs. They spend so much time at work and in the company of other chefs that they sometimes forget how to behave in normal social situations. Theirs is such an insular world that they even have their own language of sorts.
What are your current projects?
At the moment I’ve been blessed by a good deal of interest in Yes, Chef! which means I’m doing a lot of PR for it. Fortunately this is something I really enjoy. I love hearing how the book has made people laugh or how they felt they could relate to the characters. When I’m not guest blogging or taking interviews I’m working on my next novel. It’s early stages but I do know it’s going to be another foodie adventure-romance set in the UK and Italy.
Can you share a little of your current work with us?
I’ve had such a great response from the food-related sections of Yes, Chef! that I’m keen to write about food again. It’s also something I enjoy writing about and that always helps. My finance and I have recently moved from a one bedroom apartment to a nine acre organic vegetable farm and I’d like to draw from my huge learning curve and write a tale less about restaurants this time and more about growing produce and possibly set in an Italian agriturismo. Think young, handsome, shirtless Italian farmers and learning to cook from hilarious old nonna’s. Essentially it will be a romantic adventure about discovering what you truly want from life and then doing everything you can to achieve it, even if it’s not what others want or expect of you.
Do you see writing as a career?
Yes, I do hope Yes, Chef! is the start of a long publishing career for me. As I said, I’ve begun writing my next novel and would ideally like to publish at least one book a year for as long as I still feel passionate about it. Of course you never know what the future holds. I currently work part time alongside writing and will continue to do so while I can maintain both because I like the people I work with and my job as PA to a well known chef is very varied and interesting. Fortunately for me, my boss is nothing like the egomaniac Damien Malone from Yes, Chef!
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Thank you! I hope you enjoy reading Yes, Chef! as much as I enjoyed writing it.
About Yes, Chef!
Sassy foodie Becca Stone is over her job taking reservations in one of London's most successful restaurant empires. So when she is unexpectedly catapulted into working as PA to celebrity chef, Damien Malone, it seems like the opportunity of a lifetime.
Becca is quickly caught up in an exciting whirlwind of travel, reality TV and opening nights, and even her usually abysmal love life takes a turn for the better. But as Becca is slowly consumed by the chaos of life in the spotlight, she begins to lose touch with her friends, her heart and even with reality. Working with Damien has its challenges and she is soon struggling with his increasingly outrageous demands and sleazy advances, all while managing the ridiculous requests of his self-centered wife. It takes a disastrous trip to Italy for Becca to realize that she may have thrown away exactly what she's been looking for all along.
Inspired by real-life adventures, this deliciously funny and romantic story reveals a tantalizing glimpse of the trendy restaurant scene: a world where chefs are treated like rock stars, and cooking isn't all that goes on in the kitchen.
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I'm a bookwhore, yes I said it, I have no shame, I will wander off with any old book I'm not even a little bit ashamed. Twenty Seven, Mum, SEND Teaching Assistant, general beauty hoarder and lover of the Irish.