And at last I can tell you that my sixth novel is out. Food of Love, Laura's Story is the first book of a trilogy (I'm just delivering Book Two but since it seems to take as long to publish a book as to write it, that will follow in a year's time.) I'm ridiculously excited about it, not least because it has been optioned for a TV series by Stephen Fry's company Sprout in partnership with Parallel Films. They are combining forces in the hope of making a big fat multi-series.
Of course I know that not all options turn into films -- I've been here before and more often than not they can't raise the money, can't get the actors they want, or something.. But at the moment it's honeymoon time, they love the book and are confident they can pull it off, so it's hard not to hope! And would it not be great to start a new career, film writer, in my seventies?
The background to the trilogy is the change in food, farming, cooking and the restaurant trade since World War Two, from rationing to Heston. The story follows the lives and loves of three generations of the Oliver and Angelotti families, most of whom are cooks, restaurateurs and farmers. Laura's story begins with her falling in love with Italian ex--prisoner of war Giovanni.
I set this website up in the hopes that it would persuade the world that I’m not a cook or restaurateur anymore, but now a full-time novelist. I doubt if it has done that. I still get more website requests for recipes than questions about how to be a published writer. But I do find myself doing far more talks about books than food these days, and I do have the occasional joy of a reader coming up to tell me that she (it’s usually a she) has read all my novels, and where is the next one?.
But a lot of readers still ask if I will write more cookbooks. Sadly, the answer is No! I haven’t the time to do both, and frankly, there are SUCH good cooks and chefs out there, with brilliant new ideas and modern takes on the way we eat, that I feel thoroughly out of date. But the website is still full of food. Of course it is. One way and another I am still involved in food, and I’m just so greedy I can’t resist still appearing on the Great British Menu which just goes on and on – and of course I still love cooking. So there are links to my other activities, past and present and to my blog, and the opportunity to tell me what you think. Of course I would prefer bouquets to brickbats, but any attention is better than none!