Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Blog Tour - Interview with Dana Bate

Too Many Cooks

What They Say:

Marion Keyes meets Gwyneth Paltrow in this heart-warming novel about a cookbook ghost-writer who takes a leap outside her comfort-zone into a world of celebrity, politics and scrumptious food.

Kelly Madigan seems to have it all: a fabulous boyfriend, a supportive – if eccentric – family, and a flourishing career as a cookbook ghost-writer. But after finding a letter from her recently-deceased mother, criticising her stable but undeniably unexciting life, Kelly knows she needs to make a change.

“A person only gets one chance to make a dying wish, so listen up! Here’s what I want: I want you to walk away from the beaten path and, for once in your life, do something unpredictable and a little crazy.”

So when a mysterious new writing opportunity in London presents itself, Kelly takes her mother’s words to heart and jumps at the chance to get away from it all.

Enter Natasha Spencer – Oscar-winning actress and health nut, not to mention a total nightmare. She’s working on a new cookbook and has asked for Kelly’s help. What Kelly didn’t factor in was meeting Natasha’s dishy MP husband, Hugh Ballantine. Away from her family, friends, and the life she knows – will this fish out of water ever get back in and swim?

Perfect for fans of Jenny Colgan and Alexandra Brown, Too Many Cooks is a charming romantic comedy about facing your fears and fulfilling your dreams.

Hi Dana

Welcome to Comet Babe’s Books.

Can you tell us about your book?
The story is about a cookbook ghostwriter named Kelly Madigan who gets the opportunity to work on a cookbook for a famous Hollywood star living in London. It seems like the opportunity of a lifetime, but Kelly soon discovers the job isn’t all it seems, and she develops a surprising – and potentially dangerous – friendship with her boss’s husband, who is a British MP…

If you had to write a bio for yourself, what would it say? (5 words or less)
A hurricane of tiny fists.

Can you tell us about your writing process?
Once I have a kernel of an idea for a book (which may come from anywhere – an article in the paper, a cookbook I’ve been using, etc), I start thinking about who my protagonist is. What does she do for a living? What is her lifelong dream? Where does she live? What is her family like? What color is her hair?

Then I start doing research on all of those things: her job, her hometown, her current city of residence. Once I have a handle on her, I do the same for the other main characters. And then once all of that is written out, I sketch out a loose outline for what happens in the story. And then…I write!

How old were you when you started writing?
Gosh, I can’t remember, to be honest. I think I wrote little stories and things when I was quite young, and then I started writing a lot of poetry (of questionable merit) when I was about 12 and 13. In high school, I spent a summer at Oxford taking a creative writing course. I wrote a poem there that I’m still proud of, but the short story I wrote was total rubbish.

Who are your favourite writers?
I love so many – the list could go on forever! But here are a few: Liane Moriarty, Jojo Moyes, Nick Hornby, Jonathan Tropper, Jennifer Weiner, Jane Austen, and Charles Dickens.

What books did you read as a child?
When I was young, I loved series like The Babysitter’s Club and Trixie Belden (I’m not sure if either of these are known in the UK). When I was older, I loved books like A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving, The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, and, of course, classics like To Kill a Mockingbird, Catcher in the Rye, and 1984. I tore through 1984 – it was one of my absolute favorites.

What's the best/worst thing about social media?
The best: You can connect with your readers in a really personal way. My readers live all over the place, and without social media, I’d probably rarely be in touch with most of them.

The worst: It’s a time suck.

Have you ever heard a strange/different story that you thought would be great in a book?
Yes, for sure! The FBI scene in my last book, THE STALL OF SECOND CHANCES, was based on a situation my friend encountered in real life.

What do you like to do when you're not writing?
Cook, spend time with my family, read, eat at good restaurants, and cook some more.

What advice would you give to someone who is considering writing a book?
If you really want to do it, do it! There will be no “perfect time.” Just sit down, and start writing. But be prepared to revise a million times over – writing, as they say, is rewriting.

If one of your books was made into a film/TV series, who would you like as the leading lady/man?
I’d probably leave those decisions to a casting director, but…for TOO MANY COOKS, I wouldn’t mind seeing Matthew Goode as Hugh Ballantine. Frankly, I wouldn’t mind seeing him in any movie or TV series, based on any book, at any time.

Thank you for answering my questions today.

About The Author

Dana Bate graduated from Yale University with a degree in molecular biophysics and biochemistry, she then became a broadcast journalist for the PBS Nightly Business Report, where she won the Gerald Loeb Award. Her writings have appeared in numerous outlets, including McSweeney’s, Culinate and Dana gave it all up to write romantic comedies in 2009, beginning with The Secret Supper Club and following with The Stall of Second Chances. This is her third novel novel. | @danabate | authordanabate |

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