carolematthews~ By Carole Matthews

A Note from Melina (aka Melissa): 

I may not bake as well as Mary Berry (though not for lack of trying). But I’m proud that that we have one thing in common. 

We both adore Carole Matthews. 

It was from Carole Matthews that I learned about The Great British Bake-Off, and I’ve been an addict from the first episode I was able to get my hands on. 

The show is so soothing, with its rivers, fields, and adorable animals walking around.

Even the music relaxes me. 

The encouraging atmosphere in “the tent” reminds me of RWA meetings and conferences. Writers and bakers are clearly among the world’s loveliest people. 

Writers and bakers are clearly among the world’s loveliest people. 

And of course, the show is a great injection of enthusiasm for my muses (as is kneading bread dough and mixing batter). 

The Great British Bake Off is the perfect show for a writer, and Carole has graciously offered to share some of her thoughts on the show. 

Thank you so much, Carole! 

It’s the time of year in Great Britain when everyone goes a little bit cake bonkers. As the nights draw in and the trees turn to gold, the nation becomes hooked on the latest series of The Great British Bake Off. Never has there been so much tension involving cake. We weep with them over their biscuit disasters. Empathise when their bread fails to rise. Commiserate with their soggy bottoms.

We all love Mary Berry’s wisdom, Paul Hollywood’s steely blue eyes and the terrible innuendos from Mel and Sue, the comfort that comes from nothing more complicated than a bit of cake.

For me, it’s a great time of marketing activity too. As well as keeping my eye on the trials and tribulations of the bakers, I live tweet during Bake Off while simultaneously balancing a plate of biscuits on my lap – for no one can possibly watch Bake Off without having something cakey-based to snack on.

Star Baker!
Star Baker!

Every week during the show we also give away signed copies of my book, The Cake Shop in the Garden, which has been one of my most popular novels worldwide. Helped in no small measure by having a glowing quote from THE Mary Berry on the cover. I also throw in a bit of chocolate for good measure.

I had the pleasure of meeting Mary when she was doing a book signing in my local bookstore. When it was my turn for my books to be signed, I gave one of mine and thanking her for all the pleasure gives to me and my readers – we are all Bake Off fans and chat about it on social media. She said she would love to read it and I thought no more. So I was very surprised when, a few months later, I saw a piece from her in a magazine and she said that she was ‘addicted’ to my books. Go me! Now, of course, she can have free books for life as far as I’m concerned!

You can keep all your celebrity chefs, for me there is only one cook. Her recipes always work and don’t have any weird and wonderful ingredients. I was chatting to a friend about her yesterday and we were saying, that in an age where it’s still very unusual to see older ladies on the television, Mary is a fabulous role model. She’s elegant, refined and a complete style icon. Long may she reign!

And, of course, with all that fabulous cake on the telly, my diet goes completely out of the window as I reach for the flour and try a few new bits and pieces. I’ve always loved baking, but too often find that I’m doing it against the clock. In the winter, I feel happier to set time aside for a bit of baking therapy.

Perhaps that’s why my books, so often, have a cake or chocolate theme.

This week on Bake Off is batter week. Looking forward, already, to pancakey goodness. What could possibly go wrong?

Carole’s latest book is The Chocolate Lovers’ Wedding. 

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