This interview was written in 2009, when One Apple Tasted was on the brink of being published.
Q. You are a new author. What was it like to get your first book deal?
A. Wonderful. The first draft of One Apple Tasted was written a few years ago, and then slung in the proverbial bottom drawer after my agent could not find a publisher – although he was very enthusiastic. Like so many authors, I had to wait and read numerous rejection letters before publication.
Q. Food and fashion play big parts in One Apple Tasted. Are these big interests of yours?
A. I have always loved fashion, its cultural and social history as well as current style. I am fascinated by what fashion represents, and what clothes tell us about the people wearing them. And starting my career at Vogue helped foster this interest. As for food, I worked my way through Cambridge and low income periods as a cook, doing smart dinner parties and business lunches. I also published an online organic cookery book in the 1990s, which we are going to relaunch as a blog.
Q. Why did you initially decide to self-publish One Apple Tasted?
Quite by chance, I was interviewing the PR guy from US self-publishing giant Authorhouse, which had just launched in the UK. He was trying to explain the process and asked if I had a manuscript to upload to test it. I remembered OAT and off we went. But I didn’t complete the process or produce or promote the actual book until I had landed a real publishing deal.
Q. Where did the idea for One Apple Tasted come from?
Like most writers of fiction, ‘what if?’ is a strong plot driver. You think of situations in the lives of people around you, and extrapolate what might have happened if things had been just that tiny bit different.
Q. Why did you decide to write a romantic novel?
A. It wasn’t really a decision, the story just poured out. And there are only a very few plots out there – between three and seven is the usual consensus. And the female reading audience is way bigger than the male, so it made a kind of sense.
Q. Are your characters based on real people?
A. We can only write about what we know about, and characters are built of blocks that include people we have met both in real life, in books and in newspapers and magazines.
Q. Are the locations real places you have actually been?
A. Of course. I am not writing fantasy fiction yet! Although I am thinking of setting a story on the planet Disrobia any time now.
Q. What are you working on now?
A. I am now working on my new novel, Sail Upon the Land. It is a painstaking process that includes waking up in the middle of the night and scribbling things in my notebook, and then not being able to read my writing in the morning.