Today, Sue Watson is here to share her writing space with us in our latest Authors at Work post, and with her trademark sense of humor that we love so much! Sue’s short story, “The Heart-Shaped Secret of Raspberry Jam,” is featured in our collection of short stories all about cake, Petit Four. Read on to hear how Sue stays focused (or not) on her work.
Love, Lies and Lemon Cake, was my third book, and as I’d written my first two books on the kitchen table, I felt I had earned myself a writing space. So I came over all ‘Virginia Woolf’ and demanded ‘a room of one’s own.’ I couldn’t possibly write my masterpieces in a kitchen while the washer whirred, the cats meowed for food, and people asked where their clean socks were. So I turned the spare room into a ‘writer’s loft.’ When I say ‘writer’s loft,’ it was a box-room with a desk and a lamp covered with a scarf (my futile attempt at Bohemia in a Barratt Home) but a girl can dream. I would say, ‘I have to be alone,’ and would ‘swish upstairs Greta Garbo style,’ and the family (even the cats!) respected my wishes, and didn’t disturb me. This continued for two more books and I realised I hated my exile upstairs; and on hearing laughter or the smell of toast, I was drawn back into the hubbub downstairs, my life’s work abandoned. Any thought of writing lost in the lure of cake and Coronation Street. So I moved back downstairs and positioned myself on the sofa where I could write, eat cake, stroke cats, bark orders and watch TV – all at the same time.
But my multitasking literary haven didn’t last. Harry our big fluffy cat loves sitting on my knee – even if there’s a laptop there – and in his eagerness to be fussed, erased much of my work on a regular basis. Perhaps he was just doing a brutal edit, but I didn’t appreciate his editorial contribution. So my husband suggested a compromise: a return to my favourite place, the kitchen. But this time I would have a designated area not just a laptop on the kitchen table by the washing machine. Here I could look out onto the garden, make toast, feed cats, load the dishwasher, procrastinate deeply and other glamorous things us writers do all day.
And so… my ‘writing room’ was born. It’s pink and black, has a swivel chair (my daughter likes to ‘race’ on) and I’ve lots of cupboards to hide counterfeit cake and chocolate (I’m not a sharer). Yes it’s untidy, but I know where everything is and that’s all that matters. I wrote my short story for Petit Four here and was able to bake cakes and imagine I was in the kitchen of a busy tea rooms. And recently I wrote my latest book The Christmas Cake Cafe, gazing onto the garden, imagining a snow-covered Swiss landscape, sparkling with fairylights – while the cats meowed, the washer whirred, and people asked where their clean socks were.
Virginia Woolf would be horrified…
Sue Watson was a journalist on women’s magazines and national newspapers before leaving it all behind for a career in TV. As a producer with the BBC she worked on garden makeovers, kitchen takeovers, and daytime sofas – all the time making copious notes so that one day she might escape to the country and turn it all into a book. She is the author of Fat Girls and Fairy Cakes; Younger Thinner Blonder; Love, Lies and Lemon Cake; Snow Angels, Secrets and Christmas Cake; Summer Flings and Dancing Dreams; Bella’s Christmas Bake Off; We’ll Always Have Paris, and The Christmas Cake Cafe. To learn more about Sue, visit her website here!
Cake is often a major part of life’s celebrations, both big and small. From birthdays to wedding days, cake, in all its delectable concoctions, marks joyous occasions with a sweetness that can’t be beat. But even better is the love that is shared when two people connect over a sweet confection. Maybe it’s a cute new guy wreaking havoc on a broken heart, or a beautiful woman testing the limits of love, or an old beau stirring up long lost desires. Whatever the circumstances, cake can always be relied upon to save the day when it comes to affairs of the heart. In this collection of short stories, cake is the delicious center around which each tale unfolds and romance blooms.
When single mom and journalist, Olivia, sets out to find romance in Cindy Arora’s “Cake Therapy,” she gets a little help from her friends and more than a few slices of cake to coax her off the couch and into the arms of a truly great love. Lucie Simone’s “Aprez Vous” finds success-driven Tara in Paris reminiscing of her long lost love, Jean Marc, and her niece bound and determined to reunite them. In “The Heart-Shaped Secret of Raspberry Jam” by Sue Watson, cake enthusiast, Milly, meets her match in the kitchen, and other places, when new owners take over the tea rooms where she works and her talents and her heart are put to the test. And Scott, mayor of a small seaside community, flirts with political suicide in Joel Zlotnik’s “Her Charms” when he falls for new-in-town Nicole, an entrepreneur with a passion for cupcakes and whose latest venture proves a little too sexy for the sleepy beach town.
From San Francisco to Paris, from small towns to tea rooms, this anthology tempts readers with humor, style, romance, and the powerful aphrodisiac that is cake. Petit Four is four stories, frosted with love.