Today is my stop on the Mistletoe & Mystery blog tour and I am pleased to welcome Daisy James on to the blog with a quick interview! She’s come up with some fascinating answers!
What is your favourite thing about writing books?
My favourite thing about writing books has to be the initial research, when I’m playing around with ideas, with a new cast of characters and deciding where to set the story.
Mistletoe and Mystery is the third book in the Paradise Cookery School series which starts out in St Lucia. I really enjoyed researching the setting; the glorious white sandy beaches, the swaying palm trees, the lush rainforests, the picturesque villages and the local markets. The story takes place in a villa perched high on a hill overlooking the Caribbean Sea which used to be an old cocoa plantation house, so, of course, there’s lots of references to chocolate and chocolate-inspired recipes!
Another thing I love to do is taste-test all the foodie treats that Millie, the main character and also a pastry chef, bakes with the students at the Paradise Cookery School. I found a fabulous recipe for pineapple & Coconut bread which my family love!
Who is your favourite character in your book and why?
That absolutely has to be Millie. She’s an amazing chef with lots of fabulous ideas for quirky new recipes and desserts, but she’s also nursing a broken heart so she’s wary of embarking on another romantic relationship. She’s also a bit of a messy cook, just like me. I have good intentions of keeping the kitchen tidy when I’m baking, to wash up the utensils as I go along, but you can guarantee that there’ll be a splodge of marmalade on the fridge door, or a trickle of golden syrup down the cupboards, and I wouldn’t like to count how many glasses I’ve broken in the last month!
However, I also love Ella, the local Caribbean cook who has been engaged to help Millie at the Paradise Cookery School. I love her dress sense – lots of vibrant tropical colours, chunky necklaces, and an amazingly talented chef with a kaleidoscope knowledge of the St. Lucian cuisine.
What is your favourite drink to consume while writing?
I’m an avid tea drinker. I’m also from Yorkshire, so my favourite brew is Yorkshire tea, but I also love Earl Grey, and camomile in the evenings. I try not to add a chocolate hobnob every time I boil the kettle, but it’s difficult not to succumb to temptation.
Do you have any bad habits while you’re writing?
Apart from chocolate hobnobs, I wouldn’t call it a bad habit, but I love stationery – notebooks in particular. My family and friends are never short of ideas for what to get me for my birthday or Christmas. My favourite notebook, which I really can bring myself to write in, is one that covered in Chinese fabric – I love it!
How do you research your books?
I usually try to set my books in places that I’ve visited – that way I hope I can bring a little bit extra to the story. I also spend time reading lots of things about the setting, sourcing photographs, trying out recipes. As far as the characters are concerned, I spend a lot of time creating their personalities, gathering details about their occupations, speaking to people who work in that industry, asking what a day in their life would entail. For the Paradise Cookery School books, the research also included lots of baking – which was amazing!
Are you a plotter or a pantser?
Great question! I think I would have to put myself in the category of plotter. I do like to know all about my characters before I start to write, their hopes and dreams, their likes and dislikes, who their friends are, what’s happened in their lives before the story starts, what they like to read or which music they listen to, where did they have lunch, or go to school. I also like to have lots of information about the setting; where my characters live, where they work or go to school, or go for a night out. As far as the plot is concerned, I do need to know what happens at the end, so I suppose that makes me a plotter!
If you could live in any fictional world, which would you choose and why?
It would have to be somewhere sunny. I’d just love to step into Millie & Ella’s shoes and run a cookery school in St Lucia! Once the hard work is over, I’d like nothing better than to read a book in a swaying hammock, or swim in the Caribbean Sea or grab a cocktail at the local beach bar!
If you could befriend any fictional character, who would you choose and why?
I would really like to be the best friend of Elle Wood from legally Blonde. What a treat that would be! I love how she determinedly follows her dreams irrespective of the obstacles that people put in her way.
About the book
Fresh off the successful opening of the Paradise Cookery School in St Lucia, Millie Harper is headed to the Cotswolds for Christmas!
Co-presenting Claudia Croft’s famous Festive Feast cookery course at Stonelea Manor is a dream come true for Millie…as is reuniting with gorgeous estate manager Zach Barker.
But arriving in a winter wonderland Millie learns the manor is under a mysterious threat. It’ll take a holiday miracle, but Millie is determined to save the school and get Zach under the mistletoe to finally finish what they started in the Caribbean!
Daisy James is a Yorkshire girl transplanted to the north east of England. She loves writing stories with strong heroines and swift-flowing plotlines. When not scribbling away in her summerhouse, she spends her time sifting flour and sprinkling sugar and edible glitter. She loves gossiping with friends over a glass of something pink and fizzy or indulging in a spot of afternoon tea – china plates and teacups are a must.