A Recipe for Disaster has just turned two, so I thought it might be fun to revisit those heady days of pitching books, disappearing to Sydney to write the first chapters, procrasti-baking, and how this book almost didn’t happen.
1. I never intended to write a book set in my home town, but that’s exactly what happened when I went out on a lark and pitched my idea to HQ.
2. It was written at a time where I wasn’t sure I wanted to keep writing. That year (2017) had been horribly dry for ideas, so I was considering heading back to the workforce and getting a ‘real’ job.
3. If you follow any of my social media accounts, you’ll know that I procasti-bake a lot. For that reason, someone mentioned to me that I should write a book about a girl who bakes.
4. At first, I laughed the idea off. But by the time I’d walked up to my general store and back, I’d pulled together basic plot points and themes – and collected my mail.
5. The original title was The Butcher, The Baker, The Single Male Caterer. I was procrastinating (again) and trying to work through some ideas by cleaning up bookshelves (what else), and came across the nursery rhyme The Butcher, The Baker, The Candlestick Maker, which helped to sort out a few knots in my ideas.
6. In the same week, a friend (@hannahplusbooks – go follow her on Insta) mentioned that HQDigital were running a pitch competition on Twitter and that I should pitch. What did I have to lose, right?
7. I pitched three stories to them – one of them being A Recipe for Disaster, a book about a girl who bakes. As it turned out, HQDigital liked all three of my ideas and requested samples. Yikes!
8. With a holiday to Sydney already planned, I spent the next week in a hotel room with @hannahplusbooks as we nutted out the first three chapters. We had the same document open and, while I wrote, she critiqued. This method works really well, by the way.
9. A few weeks later, I submitted the first 10k words along with a query letter that might have mentioned the rest of the book was written. It wasn’t. They asked for the rest of the book the very next morning. Ooops.
10. I signed my contract in November 2017, but was sworn to secrecy. HQDigital didn’t announce their acquisition until March 2018, when I was racing through the streets of Dublin looking for a 3 Mobile store. My SIM card decided it wouldn’t work in Ireland and I desperately wanted to see the announcement on Twitter. I scrounged up a new SIM, ordered a burger and got everything working with five minutes to spare.