‘One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.’
― Virginia Woolf, A Room of One's Own
Never were truer words said! And never was there a more delectable assortment of authors to discuss food and travel than bestsellers Tasmina Perry, Stella Newman and Jo Thomas at the inaugural Bookends Rooftop Book Club.
After sipping champagne cocktails, (the answer to the question ‘Peach or raspberry bellini?’ always being ‘Yes’), I surveyed my surroundings. The roof terrace of Carmelite House, Hachette HQ, is mightily impressive. With views stretching from Tower Bridge, to the Shard, up to the London Eye and beyond, it was the perfect place for industry insiders and keen book fans alike to meet their favourite authors.
With the room simmering with excitement, we gathered in front of the authors, budding writers keen to hear their writing secrets. For THE OYSTER CATCHER and her most recent novel, THE OLIVE BRANCH, Jo starts with place, digging into the particular delicacies of an area before trying to find her characters amongst them. Setting is so important to Jo that when she writes, she has to isolate herself in her car, although for her latest novel she upgraded to a campervan! Stella, meanwhile, creates her central heroic character and then draws the story around her. For THE DISH, she wanted a protagonist who was ‘feisty and sharp’; someone to clash with the macho swagger of the many male food critics writing today. However, Tasmina declared that we should be asking those around us about their lives, as ‘they have the most incredible stories’. Her latest bestseller, THE PROPOSAL, was inspired by a trip to a museum and a conversation with her aunt, rendered delightful by her gorgeous modern writing.
As a book fanatic, events like these are the highlight of my calendar. I love the chance to connect with authors I love, and meet fellow bloggers and readers passionate about female authors and their writing. Where else could you learn that to research for THE DISH, Stella went to Paris for the day just to sample as many croissants as she could? Or that while travelling in Georgia, Tasmina found her dream home: the Savannah College of Art and Design?
To end the evening, each author gave a one sentence pitch of their books.
Read Jo’s THE OLIVE BRANCH if you want ‘the feeling of belonging if you are lost’.
Check out Stella’s THE DISH if you like the sound of ‘emotional depth and lots of pastries’.
And pre-order Tasmina’s THE LAST KISS GOODBYE as ‘Mum cried and said “This is your best one yet”… And mothers know best’.
Up on the roof we were treated to a taste of intelligent female characters, heartbreaking secrets, and exotic locations. That certainly sounds like a potent recipe for a bestseller or three…
Headline VIPs on the roof top!
THE DISH and THE OLIVE BRANCH are available now from Headline Review.
THE LAST KISS GOODBYE is on sale 10th September.
The next Rooftop Book Club event is on 16th September, celebrating the 10th anniversary of Victoria Hislop’s THE ISLAND. Follow @RooftopBookClub and @TeamBookends for regular updates on all your favourite authors!