Lucy Beresford writes about food and love in her latest novel, Hungry for Love.
1. Can you tell us a bit more about your latest release Hungry for Love?
Hungry for Love is about a girl called Jax who cancels her wedding on the day by text. She’s also the daughter of a famous TV chef and, as a result, both she and her sister Caryl have rather unhealthy relationships with food and cooking. So when Jax’s boss bounces her into going onto a cookery course for the times she booked off for her honeymoon, Jax can’t begin to imagine how it will change her life for the better.
2. If you have to pick one favourite character from the book, who would it be and why?
I fancy all three of the men that Jax finally has to choose between, and I love the efficient yet kind nurse Jax meets when tragedy strikes, but my favourite creation is Jax’s mother Majella. She’s a brilliant cook (snippets of recipes from her cookbook top each chapter) as well as being spectacularly self-absorbed and controlling (I based her on the 1960s TV chef Fanny Craddock), but underneath it all, she has tried hard to overcome a very early sadness which makes her very human.
3. Why did you decide to write about the combination of love and food?
All my books deal with love in some way, but I’ve long wanted to play around with the ideas of food and sex and having fun and being playful. Also, many people have issues with food (diets not working, eating too much or too little) so I wanted to explore that angle, with a light touch. Plus, I also host a Sex and Relationships show on LBC and I often talk about how keeping sex playful and fun is the key to a great sex life. And now I’ve got at least 5 characters in this novel arguing the case for me!
4. Do you listen to music while writing and if so, is there a particular kind of music that inspires you or works best for you?
No music! None. Ever. Last year, some builders were working on the house opposite and their radio was on full bore. I waved from my window to catch their attention and they turned down the radio with the words, ‘what were you saying? We can’t hear you.’ I was like – exactly! Too loud, matey. It really brought out my inner Majella. But my hobby is musical theatre (especially Stephen Sondheim) so when I’m not writing, I’m doing jazz hands.
5. What does your average writing day look like?
Rather dull, I’m afraid. I write every day. That’s it. However, I try always to have non-writing things to do in the evenings, to allow my brain time to switch off and other ideas I’m working on to settle.
6. What is your favourite women’s fiction book of all time and why?
It has to be The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy. I adore India (my second novel Invisible Threads was set there) and she writes such elegant prose, letting the narrative unfurl so subtly. It’s the kind of book you can read over and over again and still find new delights.
7. What was the best piece of writing advice that has been given to you?
I used to belong to a writing group run by Jill Schary Robinson and you had to arrive for supper at her house each Thursday with three pages of something you’d written. No pages, no supper – although in fact Jill was too kind to turn page-less writers away. But if you didn’t have pages, you did feel a fraud. Three pages a week, it’s not very much. So the message was subtly conveyed – you need to write. If you don’t write, you can’t become a writer. It’s that straightforward.
8. What are your future plans?
Wearing my Sex & Relationships hat, I’m working on a non-fiction book at the moment, plus I’m nibbling at the edges of another novel. That’s all I can say for now…
Jax is about to cancel her wedding to Jonty. On the day. By text.
A scrumptious celebration of survival for anyone who’s longed for love or felt unworthy of it, Hungry for Love will show you the importance of self-respect and that love can be found where you least expect it.
Lucy Beresford is a a writer, broadcaster and psychotherapist and hosts a phone-in show on LBC Radio every week, and a regular on Sky News Press Preview and Sunrise, and blog for Huffington Post UK Lifestyle. Hungry for Love is her fourth novel.