I am so happy to let you all know that the wonderful Dana Bates has taken the time to write a guest post for my blog! The Secret Supper Club is her debut novel which will appeal to a lot of you readers, especially chick-lit fans! Here, Dana has provided an insight into writing.
"Before I even sat down in front of my computer to write The Secret Supper Club, I knew I wanted to write a story about food. I love food. I’ve always loved food – cooking it, eating it, thinking about it. So combining my two loves – writing and cooking – seemed like a natural fit. Easy, right?
Wrong. Problem #1: I not only wanted to incorporate food into my story, but I also wanted to do it in a way that felt fresh. Every idea I came up with left me feeling…well, less than excited. A chef who…? No. A bakery owner who…? Definitely not. I started one story that had potential, but if I’m being honest, I was never all that excited about the idea.
Then one night, as I lay in bed, an idea popped into my head and wouldn’t go away. I was living in London at the time, away from my home in the States, and that morning I’d read an article online about a woman called “MsMarmitelover” who ran an underground supper club out of her flat. She basically turned her apartment into an unlicensed restaurant, and people from all over would pay to eat there. How cool was that?
The story of MsMarmitelover and her supper club stuck with me all day, and that night in bed, I started thinking about what it would take to run an operation like that. It would be pretty stressful, right? And, since supper clubs aren’t technically legal, what would happen if you got caught?
The more I thought about running the supper club, the more excited I became, and then I realized, bingo: I had the premise for my book.
With Problem #1 solved, I sat down to write, and about a quarter of the way into the story, I encountered Problem #2: how much food is too much?
The thing is, even though I was passionate about food, I realized not everyone shared my intense and semi-obsessive interest in all things culinary. So I decided to pull back the reins on the food talk. No one but me would want to read about the process of frying risotto balls, right?
Wrong. The biggest criticism by one of my early readers was, “More food, please!!” Wait…other people wanted to read about food as much as I did? Really?
Hearing this was like hitting the jackpot. I dug back into my manuscript and peppered it with food descriptions: carrot cake, brisket, cinnamon buns, risotto balls. When I stopped censoring myself, the story finally came together. I let food become its own character, which is what I’d really wanted from the start.
That, of course, introduced Problem #3: the need to take numerous writing breaks to snack on muffins and chocolate and cookies because fictional carrot cake does nothing to sate one’s appetite. For the record, I still haven’t solved that problem, and honestly? I’m not sure I ever will. "
Huge thanks to Dana for her post and I hope that you all enjoyed it.
The Secret Supper Club is out tomorrow (6th December) so please be sure to check it out!