Published by HQ Digital on 7th August 2018
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Life’s not always a piece of cake…
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 town by the sea, 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.
This is another book I am gutted I was not able to read in time for the tour, instead, I am glad I have had the opportunity to have Belinda on my blog writing about the inspiration behind “A
Baking for Friends – the inspiration behind A Recipe for Disaster by Belinda Missen
When people ask authors where their stories come from, the answer can range from sprawling holidays along the Amalfi coast to a sleight of conversation overheard in a bar. For me, A Recipe for Disaster started in my very own kitchen.
As a wee bit of background for you, I left full-time employment five years ago. It wasn’t a spur of the moment decision, but it certainly wasn’t a well thought out decision borne of long hours of number crunching. Suddenly, our household income had halved. That meant getting creative in the kitchen.
Armed with nothing more than an internet connection and my new uniform of pyjamas, I set about diving into the world of cooking. And, while I’d always cooked family dinners as a teenager, this was a different kind of learning. It was economising, experimenting, and making dollars stretch further.
I taught myself to make pasta (which is simple and fun), different breads, and cakes. And, while my baking is nowhere near as elaborate as the wedding cakes, desserts, or geometric beauties my character Lucy likes to whip up, they’re still a lot of fun. And my husband doesn’t complain when he gets to take a slab cake to work with him to share with co-workers. This week’s favourite flavour is orange cake.
From late 2016 to early 2017, it felt like I was making cakes continually. At Christmas, I got from the very subtle, ‘B, my mum really loves that baklava cheesecake you make, and she’ll be at Christmas lunch if you want to bring one with you’, to a simple, ‘Do you think you can whip up a birthday cake for my husband?’. There was a raft of other desserts thrown in, it was Christmas after all, but the cakes were something that stuck with people.
Around the table at the birthday party, conversation turned to my writing. I’d been through a bit of a dry period and wasn’t entirely sure what 2017 held for me. ‘You should just write about a girl who bakes cakes,’ was the suggestion from my neighbour. While the idea had crossed my mind, it wasn’t one that had stuck particularly well. Again, I put it to the back of my mind for the time being.
A few days later, I came across an old rhyme. I think I was working through old childhood books at the time, rereading old favourites, and finding homes for them as I rearranged bookshelves. The Butcher, the Baker, the Candlestick Maker stood out like a sore thumb, and A Recipe for Disaster was born.
My first draft was titled The Butcher, the Baker, the Single Male Caterer. It was fun and catchy, and I was quite in love with it. By the time we’d finished editing, it didn’t quite suit the book anymore, so it was changed to what it is now, A Recipe for Disaster.
So, I had my book. I had the husk of three characters: Seamus (the butcher), Lucy (the baker), and Oliver (the kind of single male caterer). What I needed now, was a scenic backdrop.
My favourite local bookshop, The Bookshop at Queenscliff was holding an event for a local author. I was particularly keen to chat to her, as she’d set her books in her hometown. It was something I’d always shied away from.
Ninety minutes south-west of Melbourne, Inverleigh is a bustling little hub of food and wine goodness, and while I’d often thought about setting a book there, I often wondered if the idea would gel with anyone else. Did anyone want to read about Inverleigh? And, gasp, what would the locals think? All it took was five minutes with another author to decide that A Recipe for Disaster needed to be set in Inverleigh. After all, we had all the perfect ingredients: food, wine, a casual environment, and the ever-present prospect of change. I went home that afternoon and opened a new Word document. Lucy and Oliver were coming to life.
Fun Fact: Oliver got his name from the Number 8 tram in Melbourne. I was on the tram heading towards Lygon St with some friends, and a lovely young lad from Melbourne University boarded the tram. He was carried a large yellow envelope that bore his name: Oliver Murray. I liked it so much, I wrote it down. Thus, a character was born.