Posted by Juliet Madison
1. Welcome Dianne, can you tell us a little about your book, THE SECRET INGREDIENT?
Thanks for having me! THE SECRET INGREDIENT centres on Andie, who gave up her dreams of being a chef when she married Ross. He left a wife and three kids for her, so Andie feels she must put their relationship first – but in reality that translates to putting Ross first. After ten years she’s feeling restless and dissatisfied, Ross seems distant, and not a little secretive … After her marriage implodes, Andie sets about to take back her life, and fulfil her original dream, whatever the obstacles – one very large one being Dominic Gerou, the head chef in the restaurant where she finds work.
2. What do you think attracts readers to stories with a food theme?
Perhaps it’s because it’s something we can all relate to – we all have to eat! Our lives revolve around food to a greater or lesser extent, we celebrate with food, families come together around food, people romance each other over food.
3. How long does it usually take you to write the first draft of a novel?
Probably about 5-6 months of ‘real’ writing – now that I don’t have young children. But there can be anything up to 3 months of faffing about.
If there is, can you share it with me? Basically I think it’s a mixture of talent, discipline, and just plain luck!
5. What do you enjoy most about being an author?
I love most when I’m totally in the zone, writing as fast as I can to keep up with my characters. Oh, and being able to wear tracksuit pants to work!
6. Is food a big part of your family life? Do you have a signature meal or recipe that’s a favourite in your household?
With four boys, food was certainly a big part of family life, but it was generally about quantity not quality! Fortunately as they grew older they began to appreciate more variety, though on birthdays and special occasions they still always ask for a regular baked dinner. But I reckon I cook a mean baked dinner, exactly like my mum’s. My ‘signature dish’ would have to be the plum pudding icecream I have been making in vast quantities for extended family and friends every Christmas for more than twenty years.
7. If you could have dinner with anyone in the world, who would you choose?
Gosh, only one? I had to go through a whole list in my head first: George Clooney or Brad Pitt, so that I could ask them all about their humanitarian work (translation: so I could stare at them); Meryl Streep because I adore her; Barack Obama would make an interesting dinner companion, I would imagine, and Jon Stewart (U.S commentator & comedian) would be fascinating and hilarious … Too many interesting, intelligent, stunning people to choose from! But if I must narrow it down to one, I think it would have to be Aaron Sorkin, who is my favourite living writer. No, he doesn’t write novels, he writes for film and television (most notably The West Wing). I would love to hear all about his process, gather any tips, and just hope some of the magic rubbed off!
8. Do you find it difficult to keep coming up with new ideas for books?
It does get more difficult – there are plenty of ideas floating around my head, but executing them in an original way is the challenge. I am wary of writing the same characters, treading the same ground, repeating myself.
9. Do you have any words of wisdom for aspiring authors?
Read and write. Read as much as you can, then think about what worked in the book, and also what didn’t work. Try to establish a writing routine. Timetable it like anything else – paid work, exercise, housework, whatever you spend time doing on a regular basis. If you can’t find the time to write regularly, you’re not really serious about it.
10. Are you working on another book, what’s next for you?
Speaking of establishing a routine, I’m settling into one after an extended break spent selling up and moving house. I’ll be doing little else for the next few months. For several years now I have had a book out in the second half of the year, but the move made that schedule impossible. So I’m working towards a March 2013 release, all going well.
~ Dianne Blacklock has been a teacher, trainer, counsellor, check-out chick, and even one of those annoying market researchers you avoid in shopping centres. Nowadays she tries not to annoy anyone by staying home and writing. She is the author of Call Waiting, Wife for Hire, Almost Perfect, False Advertising, Crossing Paths, Three’s a Crowd, The Right Time, and most recently, The Secret Ingredient. Visit Dianne and check out her fantastic books on her website here.
Thanks for visiting the blog, Dianne!
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