Monday, 10 December 2012

Author Spotlight - Q&A with Sue Perkins

STEPH: I don't know much about "Recipe for Romance." What's it about?

SUE: It's absolutely beautiful on the Whangaparaoa Peninsula north of Auckland and when I this area instantly sprang to mind for the location of this book. In a small hotel the sous chef Kirsty and the new manager Reeve clash from day one. Attracted to one another but pulled apart by circumstances Kirsty and Reeve must solve the mystery surrounding the hotel before they can achieve any sort of future together.

STEPH: How long did it take you to write?

SUE: Not that long really. It seemed to flow once I'd got the original idea firmly fixed in my mind. Probably about three months from start to finish, followed by edits of course.

STEPH: How much research did you have to do? When I first began this story I lived in the northern area of Auckland and from the local beach I could see the peninsula. So location wise I didn't have to do much research. My husband used to work for one of the big hotel chains so I know the basics of what went on behind the luxury facade. The cooking and intimate working of the kitchen proved the major hurdle, but luckily I had friends who had worked in the catering industry for decades so they were able to help.

STEPH: How does the cover reflect the story within?

SUE: Don't be me started about the cover or I'll never stop. Carol, the artist, got it right first time and I love how she took what was in my mind and made it reality. The kitchen implements give an indication of where the main story takes place, with the Chef's hat indicating a professional kitchen. The rose was Carol's idea and takes the cover one step further to show it's a romance. Absolutely gorgeous. I can't thank her enough.

STEPH: Kirsty is the heroine. What are her strengths? Weakness?

SUE: I wanted a strong female who believed in herself. Kirsty knows her strength lies in her cooking skills, but is wise enough to know she needs more practical experience before applying for an upmarket job. Her weakness comes when she begins to believe the catastrophes around her are her fault.

STEPH: What does Reeve find appealing about her?

SUE: He's attracted to her beauty, independence and feisty nature. Somehow she intrigues him and irritates him both at the same time. He is frustrated by his need to keep business first but can't help being drawn to Kirsty.

STEPH: What is the theme of the novel?

SUE: Reeve's company has recently purchased the hotel but when he takes over he finds the restaurant has been losing money for the last six months. He believes Kirsty might be to blame. Kirsty begins to doubt her own capabilities when things go wrong in the kitchen and all errors point to her. The mystery of falling revenue must be solved and Kirsty must clear her name before they can think of themselves.

STEPH: As a writer, where do you draw inspiration from?

SUE: Everywhere. Scenery, overheard conversations, unusual names. Sometimes I'm lying in bed and a story comes to me out of the blue. I very seldom write about people I know, or events that have happened. The one exception is my book "Blitz" which was based on my parents love story.

STEPH: Do you have an ebook reader? If so, which one?

SUE: Yes, I have a Sony reader. This is mainly because until recently Kindles were not available in New Zealand and you still can't purchase a Nook here. However I mainly read on my iPad using the Kindle app and the iBook app. I can't really understand why people think the ebook will push the print book into oblivion. I love reading whether it's in hard copy or ebook format.

STEPH: Fun question: Do you have an artificial Christmas tree or a real one?

SUE: Blush. We have an artificial one. We've moved a few times in the last twenty years and it seemed easier to keep one in a box during the year. Now of course there's only my husband and I, so we tend to put the tree up just for us. We have a lovely semi circular full length window where we place it with the lights all twinkling. What's Christmas in New Zealand like? Absolutely lovely. Imagine all the things you enjoy doing during summer, including good weather and throw in Christmas as well. Days at the beach, the beginning of the long summer holidays - all these happen from Christmas onward so it's a very happy time. Dinner is quite often a barbecue either at the beach or in the back yard, with family and friends invited. Some of us who have emigrated from the northern hemisphere still have the traditional turkey and trimmings (that's the way for England - turkey) but also some have adopted the Kiwi way.



Buy Link:

Review by Maria Sadowski¬if_t=share_comment


  1. Sounds a fun book, Sue and I loved getting a hint of your New Zealand Christmas traditions - quite different from drizzly Plymouth!

  2. Hi Sue, Loved getting to know you better today. I remember seeing your cover and was so impressed with it. There is just something special with the DBP covers that catches your eye. How fun that you could draw from your hubby's experiences in your story. I know I am always asking mine questions for my story.

    Wishing you the best of luck with your sales and that you have a great holiday. I have a dear penpal who lives in New Zealand and she always has her Christmas dinner on the beach.

  3. Sue, enjoyed the interview. Glad to get to know more about you. The books sounds like such fun.

  4. Great interview. I have an artificial tree also.
    It's easier.

  5. Thank you ladies, this is one of my favorite books. Angela, Plymouth England? My home town.

  6. Sue, I love the cover, too! Sounds like a good story and plot line. My feet have touched the ground in New Zealand and I walked outside, but that's it!