Sarah-Kate Lynch has recently released her 7th novel and visited our lovely country on a book tour to promote Dolci di Love, an enchanting novel set in Tuscany.
We asked her to answer some questions so we could get to know her a little better.
You have done many things with your life, what made you choose to be a novelist?
To be perfectly honest, I slightly ran out of other career choices when I was made redundant from a magazine job, fired from a radio job, and made redundant again from the newspaper where I had been Food Writer.
My husband works in film and at that time was offered a job on The Lord of the Rings and so I went on the road with him and while he was fiddling about with hobbit houses, I wrote my first novel – and never looked back.
Dolci di Love is your seventh novel and latest release, what can you tell us about it?
Dolci di Love is the story of Lily Turner, a busy executive with no children of her own who discovers her perfect husband is keeping a secret family in Tuscany, although when she goes there to find him she instead gets caught up in a web of interfering old widows who are bungling their biscotti baking business as much as their behind-the-scenes matchmaking.
Who do you think is going to love this book?
Anyone who feels like a holiday in Tuscany but can’t quite make it at the minute. Or indeed ever. But wants to feel as though they’re sitting in the sun, smelling the jasmine, watching the ancient widows of a hilltop town scuttle past while the aroma of baking biscotti lingers in the air and the sense that something slightly odd is going on wafts around the prosecco glasses.
All of your novels seem to be set in far away places, do you visit them all for research purposes?
I most certainly do! It’s my favourite part of writing. And it pays off too. The storylines don’t necessarily require such intricate research but to really set the scene and explore the smells and sensations, there’s nothing like being there.
Where is the most exciting, and the most beautiful, place your writing has ever taken you?
Most exciting would be New York because it’s such a busy, vibrant city that I feel fully charged when I’m there – plus it is excellent for eavesdropping and people watching. Most beautiful? That would be Tuscany. I went there twice during the writing of Dolci di Love and both times I wanted to stay forever, just gazing at the green valleys, the distant pines, the rolling vines, the terracotta villas peppered around the astonishing countryside. And the food!
Where do you get your inspiration?
From eavesdropping and people watching and from travelling. And from taking long walks on the beach and thinking.
Food seems to play a large part in your writing, why is that?
The last job I was dumped from was as food writer of a major newspaper and I met so many wonderful people, largely involved in the artisan food movement, that their passion ignited a ferocious appetite within me to find out more. Whenever someone is doing something for love, not money, there’s a story in the air.
Which, I think, begs the question – what is the most amazing food you have discovered through your writing?
I was addicted to Irish washed rind cheese after writing Blessed Are The Cheesemakers. And then to French sourdough bread (pain au levain) after writing By Bread Alone.
Actually, I still make my own pain au levain and just about everyone who has tasted it agrees that it’s the best bread you can get. With blue cheese, quince paste and fresh walnuts, it’s even better.
You career has been quite varied, what has been the highlight of your working life to date? Either as a novelist or in any of your professions prior to that.
I guess one of the highlights was when my second novel was optioned by a Hollywood film company and then sold to a UK publisher and a US publisher. I took an overseas trip shortly afterwards and when it came to writing my occupation on the departure form, I put down WRITER and didn’t feel like I was being fraudulent.
I had a launch party for Dolci di Love in New York in April which was a recent highlight because I love that city so much and even though I’m a small fish in a big pond, it’s a great pond.
What is next for Sarah-Kate Lynch?
I’m currently close to finishing my eighth novel which is about a mysterious southern woman who arrives in Manhattan with nothing but a hive of bees and sets about healing everything but her own broken heart with honey. In this book, it’s the bees who end up playing matchmaker.
Have you got any advice for aspiring novelists?
Yes, don’t talk about writing, write. I myself am an excellent talker but let me tell you, it does not get a book written. Sitting down and getting on with it is the hardest thing about writing because it takes discipline and determination but is nowhere near as much fun as having ideas. Write, write, write. And if what you write isn’t right, just keep writing.
What does being a woman mean to you?
You know I have more trouble answering this question than any of the others! I’ve had to really think about it and I’m still not sure I know the answer.
I don’t know if I see myself particularly as a woman. Is that terrible? I don’t mean I’m not feminine, I just see myself as a writer, a wife, a sister, a friend, a daughter, an aunt, for example, rather than specifically as a woman. I write FEMALE on the departure forms though. Definitely.
I devour books, vampires and supernatural creatures are my genre of choice but over the past couple of years, I have broadened my horizons considerably. In a nutshell – I love to write! I love interacting with a diverse range of artists to bring you interviews. Perhaps we were perfect before – I LOVE WORDS!