‘Write about what you know,’ people would tell me when I first started writing. The problem is, I didn’t know about anything…or so I thought! I knew I loved food, but I wasn’t a chef, or even one of those foodie types with fancy knifes and a cupboard full unrecognisable ingredients. I just loved to feed my friends and family. I loved the way food brought us around the table together. But what could I really write about?
Then, my husband was asked to go and work on the west coast of Ireland. We went over on a research trip and I had never seen so much rain. But whilst I was there we went to a seafood restaurant. It looked like a fisherman’s cottage at the end of the pier. When we stepped in, it was like walking into someone’s front room. The fire was roaring and there were candles on the tables and on the windowsills. We sat by the window and just for a while, it stopped raining. The moon threw out a silver shadow across Galway Bay and as I sat and ate oysters from the same waters I thought, this is sexy. This is what this place is all about. I began to realise that where ever you go, when you discover the food of the place, it takes you by the hand and introduces you to its people, history and culture. It was there I wrote my first book, The Oyster Catcher, set amongst the oyster beds of Galway Bay.
I was then researching my second book in Southern Italy, in Puglia, where my brother owned a small place. We were in one of our favourite restaurants, a family run tavern in the middle of a rural olive grove. After dinner, the owner joined us and brought a bottle of homemade limoncello, pouring us each a glass. He didn’t speak English and I didn’t speak Italian. But somehow, we had this conversation. He asked me what kind of books I wrote. I told him I wrote about food and love. He explained that, for him, life was all about the food they grew on their land, and he held out an arm; to cook in the kitchen; to put on the table, la tavola, and he banged his hand down on the scrubbed wooden table; for the ones he loved! Then he placed his hand on his heart. ‘That’s it!’ I replied. That’s what I write. Stories about the food that’s grown on the land, cooked in the kitchen and put on the table for the ones we love. I write about la tavola, because it’s there that I share my love. We have our arguments, share our problems celebrate and show our love, at la tavola. Given that I’m from partIrish and part-Italian heritage, I think there must be something in the genes! It is the heart of my home and that’s what I know about.
Since Italy, I have written about wine making in south west France in Late Summer in the Vineyard, honey making and herbs in Crete in The Honey Farm in the Hill and I have just finished my new book set in Spain, Sunset over the Cherry Orchard. The more books I finish, the more places I want to explore through their food and the more tables, wherever they might be, I want to write about.
Jo Thomas worked for many years as a reporter and producer, first for BBC Radio 5, before moving on to Radio 2's The Steve Wright Show. In 2013 Jo won the RNA Katie Fforde Bursary. Her debut novel, THE OYSTER CATCHER, was a runaway bestseller in ebook and was awarded the 2014 RNA Joan Hessayon Award and the 2014 Festival of Romance Best Ebook Award. Jo lives in the Vale of Glamorgan with her husband and three children.
And How Real Virtue Came To Be~ By Katy Lee Thank you for inviting me to your virtual home today to talk about the gaming aspect of my novel, Real Virtue. Did you know video game addiction is becoming an increasingly difficult problem with the youths in America today? It can affect the everyday life and social situations of children through young adults. Video game addiction can hinder a child's learning skills, cause real life problem solving to become more difficult, and cause a child to spend far less time with family and friends. In Real Virtue, the story opens with my heroine, Mel Mesini, reaching the highest level in this online interactive game she plays. A game that promises her a life she can love. She’s playing while she is supposed to be working. She plays because she doesn’t feel so great about her real life. She plays because it’s a world she can control. Or so she thinks. During my research, I read many interviews with gamers, mostly teens and young adults, where they admit to preferring their virtual lives over their real ones. Video games can become super appealing, especially if their real life is not so great. In a game, a player can zap out of a situation they don’t like. They can’t do that in real life. In a game, a player is rewarded for beating the next level or quest. In real life, it’s hard to accomplish things, and even when you do, people don’t always notice, or for some, care. And that is where my character, Mel Mesini, comes in, and this is how Real Virtue came to be: So there I was, flying cross-country, when the older gentleman to my right asks me if I have a virtual life. “A virtual what?” came my reply. He then continued to explain the details of his job of creating virtual possessions that gamers on interactive game sites can purchase for their avatars. “Seriously? People spend money on a fake character?” And apparently enough for this guy to make a living on. So, the remainder of my long flight was spent plotting out the story that would become Real Virtue. My questions to myself were what would happen to someone who took their virtual life just a little too far? What would happen if that said someone lost all these possessions to, say, a villain bent on revenge? How far would someone go to protect their virtual life? Would they be willing to give up their real life for it? Just what would drive a person to do it? Who would this person be? And since I write romance, my next question was just what kind of person would be their perfect match? And Voila! Mel Mesini and Jeremy Stiles were born. Thank you for having me on your blog! Readers, I love comments and would love to hear from you. Please leave a comment here and let me know what's sparked the ideas for your stories, and how you've woven real life issues into fictional stories. Please keep in touch with me at my website: www.KatyLeeBooks.com, Twitter and Facebook and Goodreads. Let’s connect and get to know each other! Katy Lee writes higher purpose stories in high speed worlds. As an inspirational author, speaker, home-schooling mom, and children’s ministry director, she has dedicated her life to sharing tales of love, from the greatest love story ever told to those sweet romantic stories of falling in love. Her fresh and unique voice brings a fast-paced and modern feel to her romances that are sure to resonate with readers long after the last page. Her debut novel Real Virtue is a finalist in many writing contests, and took second place in the 2011 Georgia Maggie Award of Excellence. Katy lives in New England with her husband, three children, and two cats.
The Agent Search – Another Perspective
- He or she might choose to let some time pass and then try to identify more applicants at a later date.
- Or, the writer might choose to consider the reasons for feeling unqualified that were offered by the past applicants', and then revise their product to better suit the tastes and skill levels of the available pool of applicants.
- Or, the writer might choose to return to the research and development stage and create an entirely new product. Then, with a new product in hand, they may return to the want ad stage.
* Sandy has kindly offered to give away an ARC of "Twist of Fate" to one lucky commenter! *Sandy lives in a quiet suburb of Indianapolis with her husband of over twenty-five years and is a high school social studies teacher. She is represented by Maureen Walters of Curtis Brown, Ltd. Look for her two new books coming soon - Twist of Fate (Damaged Heroes 5) from BookStrand on Oct. 25, 2011 and Rules of the Game from Carina Press in April 2012. Please visit her website at sandy-james.com for more information or find her on Twitter (sandyjamesbooks) or Facebook (facebook.com/pages/Sandy-James/280548586384)