Monday, 14 July 2014

UNCOVERED INTERVIEWS: Lisa Joy

It's publication day for Lisa Joy, and her new book novel Yes, Chef!, which follows Becca; a London foodie who is given the once in a lifetime opportunity to work for a celebrity chef. We were intrigued by this debut novel and couldn't wait to put our weekly questions to Lisa!

Tell us about your latest novel in 15 words or less.
Deliciously funny and romantic, Yes, Chef! reveals a tantalising glimpse of the trendy restaurant scene.

What inspired you to write Yes, Chef?
I attended a commercial fiction masterclass in April 2013 with the inspiring author Fiona McIntosh. When I arrived on day one I was a wannabe fantasy writer. The final night of the masterclass I was telling stories around the dinner table of my days in the restaurant business and I realised my new writer friends were fascinated. I discovered that what seemed ordinary for me was interesting to others. I had a lightbulb moment, as they say, and Fiona encouraged it. I went back to my hotel room and began writing Yes, Chef! that very night. One year later I had shelved my fantasy novel, changed genres, finished Yes, Chef! and was offered a contract with Destiny Romance an imprint of Penguin Random House.

Where do you do most of your writing?
My fiance and I have recently moved from a one bedroom flat in the city to a nine acre property about an hour outside Melbourne in the picturesque Dandenong Ranges. It’s so beautiful and quiet here and the sky is so expansive. I do all my writing from a desk overlooking our vegetable patch and citrus orchard.

What is your favourite book?
Bridget Jones’s Diary by Helen Fielding. I’ve lost count how many times I’ve read it. A writer friend of mine told me she thought Yes, Chef! was for the next generation of Bridget Jones fans. It was probably the highest compliment anyone could have paid me - ever.

Which part of Yes, Chef! did you enjoy writing the most?
I enjoyed developing the friendships most. I feel like Yes, Chef! has a great cast of warm, sparkly characters (if I do say so myself). As I wrote this story the relationships between Becca and her work mates often made me laugh out loud at my computer screen.

Who is your favourite literary heroine?
I’m not sure if this counts as she was the heroine of her own memoir, but I very much admire Frances Mayes, author of Under the Tuscan Sun. The first time I visited Italy I promised myself I would live there some day. Restoring a house full of history in a beautiful region like Tuscany and cooking from produce grown in my own garden is a dream of mine. I’m fortunate that part of that dream has already come true. I live on an organic vegetable farm, but even though I travel to Italy as often as I can, I do wonder if I will ever live there.

Do you have any tips for readers who are looking to become published writers?
Don’t write because you want to get published or because you think it will make you a lot of money so you can quit your day job. Write because you love it, because it makes you happy and keeps you sane. I used to put so much pressure on myself to become a published author that the fear held me back from even finishing a novel. When I stopped the angst my writing freed up. I had so much fun writing Yes, Chef! that I believe it came across in the voice and story and that was enough to catch the attention of a major global publisher.

Are you working on anything else at the moment and if so, can you tell us?
Absolutely I can tell you! I’m working on a new novel, although I won’t tell you the title as I’m a little superstitious in the same way people don’t like to tell others the name they have chosen for their unborn child. I can say it will be a lush foodie adventure-romance set in the UK and Italy about realising what you truly want from life and then doing everything you can to achieve it.

Thanks, Lisa!

You can find out more about Lisa Joy and Yes, Chef! by visiting her website or Facebook (and the Facebook page for Yes, Chef!) You can also follow Lisa on Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram.

Yes, Chef! by Lisa Joy
Sassy foodie Becca Stone is over her job taking reservations in one of London's most successful restaurant empires. So when she is unexpectedly catapulted into working as PA to celebrity chef, Damien Malone, it seems like the opportunity of a lifetime.

Becca is quickly caught up in an exciting whirlwind of travel, reality TV and opening nights, and even her usually abysmal love life takes a turn for the better. But as Becca is slowly consumed by the chaos of life in the spotlight, she begins to lose touch with her friends, her heart and even with reality. Working with Damien has its challenges and she is soon struggling with his increasingly outrageous demands and sleazy advances, all while managing the ridiculous requests of his self-centered wife. It takes a disastrous trip to Italy for Becca to realize that she may have thrown away exactly what she's been looking for all along.

Inspired by real-life adventures, this deliciously funny and romantic story reveals a tantalizing glimpse of the trendy restaurant scene: a world where chefs are treated like rock stars, and cooking isn't all that goes on in the kitchen.

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