It’s Monday again but to get you through those Monday blues I am joined by Daisy James.
A message from Daisy: A huge thank you for having me as a guest on your blog. I love to write stories with a strong sense of place so I had lots of fun creating the story and the characters for The Paradise Cookery School which is set on the fabulous Caribbean island of St Lucia.
Can you tell us about your new book?
Sunshine & Secrets is the first in a series of stories set at the cookery school high on the hilltop overlooking the spectacular Pitons. Millie Harper has arrived to oversee the renovations to the dilapidated plantation house before they open to a group of foodies eager to lean the secrets of creating delicious Caribbean cuisine. But, with only two weeks to have the kitchen installed, cocoa pods going missing from the plantation, and the notoriously relaxed island workmen to contend with, she’s going to need some help. Gruff but charming estate manager Zach Baxter, is only too happy to offer his opinions. As the two clash heads can they remain focussed on the job in hand and get the cookery school finished in time?
Can you tell us about the characters in this book?
The two main characters are Millie and Zach. Millie is a pastry chef who has recently been dumped by her boyfriend at their engagement party. She jumps at the chance to spend a couple of weeks in St Lucia. Zach is the estate manager responsible for maintaining the cocoa plantation, along with his faithful cocker spaniel who takes a shine to Millie. Initially they rub each other up the wrong way, but there’s clearly a spark between them.
Who is your favourite?
I love all the characters in Sunshine & Secrets! Each one becomes like a close friend when I’m writing their story. If I had to chose one, then I really like Ella Johnson who is the Caribbean chef who guides Millie through the kaleidoscope of delicious food and drinks on offer in St Lucia. She’s well-padded, wears amazing, colourful attire and has an infectious belly laugh.
Do you have a favourite scene from this book? What is it and why?
I think one of my favourite scenes to write was when Millie and Ella went to Castries market. It’s an open-air market in the capital of St Lucia where they explored the local produce, sniffing, squeezing, tasting everything that was offer – fruits such as guava, passionfruit, pineapples, mangoes, as well as locally grown spices like nutmeg, cinnamon and allspice. Ah, the aromas that must float in the air!
What is your favourite place to write?
In the summer months, I have a little peppermint-and-white summerhouse (more of a shed, really) in the garden where I live that I can escape to when I ned some peace and quiet. However, in the winter it’s freezing so I decamp to the kitchen table, which isn’t ideal but beats getting frostbite!
Where do you get your character inspiration from?
From everywhere! Sitting in a café having a coffee, waiting for the bus, listening to colleagues chatting about what they did at the weekend, talking to friends about their families, reading the newspaper, watching the news. Anything can spark an idea for a character.
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
I read! I love all kinds of genres, but my favourite genre is travel memoirs, especially stories where authors have travelled to far-flung places in the world and made their way home on bicycles, on motorbikes, on horseback, or in one story I read in a Tuk-tuk!
Chocolate or sweets?
My absolute favourite sweet treat is After Eight mints – I got five boxes for Christmas this year!
You have a free flight and accommodation to anywhere in the world where would you go?
I love this question! And I didn’t hesitate for a minute over the answer. I would fly to Hawaii. I was married there – at a little church on the beach – it was amazing and I’d love to go back.
What is your favourite season?
That’s an easy one – summer! I’m a real sun worshipper – I thinks it’s because I was born in July. Like Millie in Sunshine & Secrets, I love sandy beaches, endless blue skies, rippling palm trees and sitting by the pool with a good book and a cocktail. I can’t wait until winter is over!Sunshine & Secrets by Daisy James
Series: The Paradise Cookery School #1
Published by Canelo on 19th March 2018
Genres: Chicklit, Love & Romance, Women's Literary Fiction
When newly heartbroken, michelin-starred chef Millie Harper is offered a job overseeing the setup of The Paradise Cookery School she jumps at the opportunity. Leaving London and her memories of heartbreak behind she hops on a plane to the hilltop cocoa plantation in St Lucia.
But this beautiful island break might be more work than she’d expected…. With only two weeks to have the kitchen installed, cocoa pods going missing from the plantation and the notoriously relaxed island workmen to contend with, she’s going to need some help. Gruff but charming estate manager Zach Baxter, is only too happy to offer his opinions. As the two clash heads can they remain focussed on the job in hand and get the cookery school finished in time?
Pack your bags and jump right into the sun and secrets of The Paradise Cookery School. Perfect for fans of Sarah Morgan, Jenny Oliver and Kat French.