I’ve been working with food for around 15 years now and writing short stories for six of these years. Why not marry the two together I thought in 2008 and headed off to Devon to do a week’s residential food writing course run by Arvon. This was a turning point in my writing career and since then I’ve had non-fiction food articles published and a foodie/love short story published in a USA magazine. This success spurred me on to write another nine stories to form into a collection.
I began writing these stories on the train one day as I thought through the theory of ‘show don’t tell’ and realised in my job as a food technologist when evaluating food I use our four senses of taste, smell, touch and appearance on a regular basis. As I’d been working on some recipes for Mediterranean lamb I put together the sensory terms for the first story in the collection called, ‘Lamb in a Pot’ and weaved them around a story of a chef’s new boyfriend cooking the dish for her. My pen flew across the pages as I was so used to writing these terms and found it very easy to tempt the reader with the culinary flavours and images.
Each story has a different food group, i.e. seafood, bread, vegetables, etc. and I’ve tried to create as many different eating venues as possible. Although they are mainly love stories I’d like to think I’ve also informed the reader about the cooking, recipes, and ingredients of each food involved and have portrayed the link between eating good food and feeling ‘loved-up’.
My collection of stories are certainly not literary works of art but they are the contemporary type of love stories that magazine readers buy and I do believe my eBook is unique as there is nothing else likes it on the market at the moment. The popularity of celebrity chefs i.e. Nigella Lawson, have changed the old staid perception of cooking to its new, sexy, chic image and as I haven’t been able to get the glossy magazines interested in publishing the stories in a monthly ‘reader’s brunch’ type of series, I’ve decided to go down the self publishing route. But, I am hoping that if sales are good I might get it published in paperback at a later date. I’ve had a digital publisher create a chic jacket cover and there is a black & white illustration at the beginning of every story to depict each food commodity which I think looks lovely.
Excerpt: ‘As he helps himself to another ladle full and offers me the same, I politely refuse and watch his lips, the alluring dimple in his cheek, and his bright, shining eyes while he eats. These few moments gives me time to reflect, is there a connection between food and lust? And, although he hasn’t chosen foods that have an aphrodisiac intensity like oysters, I suppose there will always be certain foods that awaken memories of sexual events. Or, is it simply the primeval act of eating good and satisfying food together which helps to produce these erotic feelings. As, there again, would I have felt the same if he’d given me a mediocre take-a-way pizza?’
Champagne & Oysters by Susan E. Willis is available via Smashwords.