I’m so excited today to be apart of the blog tour for A Recipe For Disaster by Belinda Missen! Thanks so much to Rachel for including me in the tour and to Belinda for answering my questions! I always love hearing the authors’ perspectives on their books and learning a little bit about their lives. Please enjoy our Q&A below. Ps. Belinda – I love naps too!😉
Meet Lucy, master wedding cake baker, idealistic school canteen crusader, and someone whose broken heart just won’t seem to mend…
Lucy is quietly confident that she has made the right choices in life. Surrounded by friends and family in a small country town, Lucy can easily suppress the feeling that something is missing from her life.
But when a blast from the past arrives in the form of her estranged husband, international celebrity chef Oliver Murray, Lucy’s carefully constructed life begins to crumble beneath her like overbaked meringue.
Is Oliver’s return all business or is it motivated by something more?
A Recipe for Disaster starts long after most love stories would have ended, proving it is never too late to offer someone a second slice of cake or a second chance.
Perfect for fans of Carole Mathews, Mhairi McFarlane and Carrie Hope Fletcher.
1) When/how did you know you wanted to become a writer?
Writing is something I’ve always done, which doesn’t sound too exciting – sorry! My path to writing began with Jurassic Park fan-fiction as an eleven-year-old girl. I remember walking out of the cinema being completely mesmerised by what I’d seen. It was the first time I’d really had an experience like that in regard to storytelling. I remember binge-reading the book in a weekend and while I obviously wouldn’t have understood some of the thematic issues, I was completely sold. I was a writer from then on.
2) How do you come up with the names of your characters?
Good question! Usually, I look to my bookshelves for inspiration, or the rolling credits of film (IMDb is great for random names). The characters in this book were a little different though. Oliver Murray was a name I plucked form the Number 8 Tram from Swanston Street to Lygon Street in Melbourne. As we passed Melbourne University a male student jumped on the tram with all his admission envelopes. His name, Oliver Murray, was printed on the front and I remember thinking, ‘I love your name. I must have it. You’re a character somewhere’.
3) What was the inspiration for your book?
A Recipe for Disaster was a funny little book in the way it began. Early 2017 had proven to be a dry period, at least creatively. I was struggling with where I was going, what I was doing, and what I wanted my next steps to be. Over Christmas and New Year, I ended up baking a lot of cakes for friends and family and, while I’m nowhere near as good as Lucy and Oliver, someone suggested I write a book about a girl who bakes.
The idea rattled around in my head a little bit, and it wasn’t until I remember the old butcher, baker, candlestick maker poem that things started to fall into place, and Lucy came to life for me.
4) Who/what are some of your favorite authors/genres to read?
One of the first romance novels that really brought me back to the genre was David Nicholls’ One Day, but I read from a lot of genres, especially thrillers. This is mostly because I love the way thriller authors craft their stories, and there are a lot of things to be learned and applied to romance. In the last few years, I’ve loved Caroline Kepnes (YOU) and Lucie Whitehouse (Before We Met). In terms of romance, I will read anything by Lindsay Kelk (Always the Bridesmaid), and Mhairi McFarlane (You Had Me At Hello). If I feel like literary fiction, it’s Edward St Aubyn (Patrick Melrose) for me.
5) What’s your favorite place to write? Do you need complete silence or do you like to be surrounded by sounds/music?
I write in my home office with headphones on and music cranked. This morning’s tunes of choice belong to Billy Joel. It’s strange, I’ve done the whole writing group thing, but find it incredibly difficult to write out in open spaces with a lot of noise. I need to just be able to concentrate on what I’m doing without the outside world annoying me. Maybe that’s to the detriment of my books, maybe not.
6) Do you have any pets?
We have two cats that couldn’t be more different to each other if they tried. Princess Puss (original names over here!) is terribly smoochy and wants to be carried everywhere. Gibbies is a little more anxious and, while she likes to be brushed, she doesn’t want to be picked up or fawned over. She’s most happy as long as she can simply see someone in the room with her – even if she mostly ignores us anyway.
7) If you could go anywhere in the world, where would it be?
Definitely London. I first visited in 2015 and fell head over heels. I returned in May 2018 with my husband in tow, and it was still as beautiful as I remembered. London just has this amazing pulse that pushes everything and everyone along. I’m not one for large crowds, but it didn’t seem to bother me there, ever. I love the rush of the Tube, the grandeur of buildings, and the culture that’s steeped in so, so much history.
I’d love to spend a good six months there, wandering around and writing, perhaps explore the English countryside and base a novel there.
8) What were your favorite books as a child?
Very early on, I loved Enid Blyton’s Bimbo and Topsy. All I can recall is that it’s a book about a cat and a dog. I’m sure I have a copy of it around here somewhere. Also, I was totally into science, and I had this series of easy to read science books that spoke about brand new, up and coming technologies like CD’s (who knew, right?). For some reason, I loved them. Then, of course, there’s Michael Critchton’s Jurassic Park. I’m here because of that book, so I owe it a lot.
9) Top 3 favorite foods:
Ohhhhhh – tough one!
Let’s not even pretend to be healthy here. Our favourite restaurant is Season’s Provedore on Lygon Street, Melbourne. Their garlic bread is the stuff of legend. I often joke I’m going for a main meal of garlic bread and a chaser of red wine.
I bake a lot, so my favourite cake is anything that’s really simple but tasty. Lately, I’ve been making a lot of slab cakes – orange zest is a favourite flavour. It’s light and fluffy with a fresh tang – you don’t quite get bogged down in the sugar content.
Anything lemon flavoured goes here. From curd to meringue, tarts, cakes, and hollandaise sauce, it’s all welcome.
Is that too many? Oh well. Food is great – it’s the stuff of communities.
10) What book character would you want to go out to dinner with?
Can I be incredibly self-indulgent and say that I want to go to dinner with Oliver? I’m sure he could cook up a mean feast. If he wasn’t available, I’d go to dinner with Ben from You Had Me at Hello, or Tom Wheeler from Always the Bridesmaid.
And, because I can’t help myself, I want to sneak in Christopher Tietjens from Ford Maddox Ford’s Parade’s End. What a character . . . what a book!
11) Do you ever write characters based on someone you know? Do you ask them first? Has anyone guessed it?
I think whether we want to or not, certain people are absorbed into characters – it’s just a matter of being conscious enough to not make it too obvious. Although, everyone seemed to think my first self-published book, Red, was about my husband. That couldn’t have been further from the truth!
Recently, I had a friend ask if she could be in my next book. She’s obsessed with chocolate and wanted to know if I could write a character just like that, so I did. She’s a side character who appears in only one or two scenes, but she’s there.
12) What do you do when you get stuck?
Nap. Naps are great. At home, I call them ‘Creative Naps’, where I lay in bed, think about what I want or need from a story, keep my phone close so I can take notes. A lot of the time, this works for me. I don’t know if it’s the simple fact I’ve walked away from the computer and given my eyes a break, or if there’s something more complex at work.
If that doesn’t work, I reach for the comic books. I’ve particularly loved Warren Ellis’ James Bond series – it’s wonderful escapism. Then, of course, there’s the joy of a cosy romance to recharge the batteries and refuel the vocabulary while getting lost in someone else’s love story. After all, it’s what makes the world go around.
about the author:
Belinda Missen is an award-winning and best-selling author, screenwriter, and freelance writer from Geelong, Australia.
A reader from an early age, Belinda began writing her own stories shortly after her love affair with Steven Spielberg’s film Jurassic Park began. What began as fan-fiction soon took deeper root, and she was scribbling out strange little stories in empty notebooks she found laying around the house.
With qualifications in transport and office administration, and a combined career of fifteen years in these industries, Belinda decided to uproot everything in 2013 and return to her first love of writing. She now writes full-time, between cups of coffee, binge watching television, and feeding her cats and husband.
In April 2016, she was awarded the JOLT Courthouse Youth Arts Award in the Inspire 26+ Category for her piece Obsession.
In February 2017, her book Love And Other Midnight Theories clawed its way to the top of the Amazon charts in its category of Performing Arts, beating JK Rowling’s Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. True story – she has the screenshots to prove it.
When not dabbling in the written word, Belinda can be found mentoring other writers, beta-reading, reviewing, helping others to ready books for publication, and sleeping. In the digital world, she can be found online at Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest