1--What is the title of your latest release?
My latest book is called GOOD TASTE. It came out in paperback in the US in November.
2--What’s the “elevator pitch” for your new book?
It’s set in 1932, at the time of the Great Depression, and the main character is Stella Douglas, a food journalist who has been commissioned to write a history of English cookery. Stella’s publisher wants this to be a book that will raise morale, that will make people feel good about their national story and their cuisine. But as she sets out on her research, travelling around the English countryside and speaking with the public, Stella discovers that this history is rather more complicated – and then she comes under the influence of certain people who have their own agendas and want to manipulate what she’s writing.
It’s a book about food, about what it means to be English and it’s the story of a career-minded young writer trying to make her way in a society which still has lots of boundaries for women.
3--How did you decide where your book was going to take place?
This book takes the reader on a culinary tour around England, pausing in picturesque places and locations that have unique and curious dishes.
4--Would you hang out with your protagonist in real life?
Definitely! Stella is charming company; she has a nice sense of humor and she’s pursuing a fascinating project. I’d like to walk around a food market with her and then go out to lunch together.
5--What are three words that describe your protagonist?
Diligent. Loyal. Conflicted.
6--What’s something you learned while writing this book?
I did a huge amount of research into British culinary history, so I learned a lot of things. Did you know that eels were once a staple of our diet? I’ve read hundreds of recipes for eels in the course of my research. Our ancestors were surprisingly inventive!
7--Do you edit as you draft or wait until you are totally done?
I write my first draft with pen on paper and begin to edit as I type up my words. Once I get to the end, I read through again and I’ll then edit it a dozen times more – absolute minimum!
8--What’s your favorite foodie indulgence?
If I could choose anything, I’d like to be sitting by a harbor in Italy eating a big plate of fritto misto. More prosaically, I’m also obsessed by gingerbread recipes.
9--Describe your writing space/office!
I write at my dining table, usually with my dog underneath. My laptop and papers get pushed aside at mealtimes.
10--Who is an author you admire?
There are so many authors I admire! Right now, I’m particularly enjoying Claire Keegan, Maggie O’Farrell, and Edward Carey.
11--Is there a book that changed your life?
I read Angela Carter’s The Magic Toyshop as a teenager and adored its dark, glittering style. I thought, ‘I want to write like this!’
12--Tell us about when you got “the call.” (when you found out your book was going to be published)/Or, for indie authors, when you decided to self-publish.
Every year Simon & Schuster UK has a one-day submission window. After months of near-misses with other publishers, I decided to chance my luck and I was thrilled when I got a full-manuscript request. Then, when I heard they wanted to offer me a contract, I didn’t know whether to scream or sob. It’s a feeling that I’ll never forget. They published my first novel The Photographer of the Lost in 2018 (it was released as The Poppy Wife in the US) and will be bringing out my fifth book later this year.
13--What’s your favorite genre to read?
I default to historical fiction or literary fiction. I’m a member of a book club in my village, which obliges me to read books from outside my habitual genre (Sci-Fi! Dystopia!), but I feel ‘at home’ with a good historical novel.
14--What’s your favorite movie?
Withnail & I - it has the most brilliant script, performances, look, soundtrack and a delicious irreverence.
15--What is your favorite season?
Spring. I love the optimism instilled by the sight of new shoots, lighter evenings and changing birdsong. Everything is pristine and full of promise.
16--How do you like to celebrate your birthday?
I’ll often go out for lunch with friends, but I’m not really into big birthday celebrations.
17--What’s a recent tv show/movie/book/podcast you highly recommend?
I’m hooked on ‘The Traitors’! I tried to resist getting drawn into the second series but seem to have found myself binge-watching this week. I’m compelled by the deceitfulness, the group dynamics and Claudia Winkleman’s fabulous wardrobe.
18--What’s your favorite type of cuisine?
I probably ought to say British, shouldn’t I? But I live in southwest France and am surrounded by good restaurants and wonderful produce. This is the land of truffles, walnuts, and confit de canard. The cuisine is one of the reasons why I chose to live here.
19--What do you do when you have free time?
I love cooking, travelling, antique shops, historical houses, food markets, working on my garden. I wish I had more free time!
20--What can readers expect from you next?
My next novel is called GREENFIELDS. It’s set in the English countryside in the 1930s and the cast are a utopian community who live in the grounds of a stately home. They’re a group of idealists, artists and bohemians who have come together to make a better life, but their idyll, unity and principles are tested when the parkland is sold a building company which plans to construct a housing estate. It’s a comic novel about the NIMBY moral dilemma, social class, and snobbery.
With delectable prose, a sharp heroine ahead of her time, and an adventure across the English countryside in search of great food, Good Taste is the perfect historical novel for fans of Dear Mrs. Bird and The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.
You can tell a lot about a person from what they like to eat…
England in 1932 is in the grip of the Great Depression. Stella Douglas, author of a much-loved but not very successful biography, is a bit depressed herself. When she’s summoned to see her editor in London, she expects her writing career is over before it’s even started.
But much to her surprise, she is being commissioned to write a history of English food. It's to be quintessentially English and intended to lift the sprits of the nation. There's just one problem: a lot of English food is actually quite terrible (and anything good is usually imported from elsewhere).
So Stella travels across England in hopes of discovering a hidden culinary gem. What she discovers is oatcakes and gravy and lots and lots of potatoes. But when her car breaks down midjourney and the dashing and charismatic antiques dealer Freddie springs to her rescue, she is led in a very different direction . . .
Full of wit, life, and—against all odds—delicious food, Good Taste is a story of discovery and one woman’s desire to make her own way as a modern woman.
Literature and Fiction | Historical | Fiction Women's Fiction [William Morrow Paperbacks, On Sale: November 7, 2023, Paperback / e-Book, ISBN: 9780063325814 / ]
Is it true that we are what we eat?
After completing a PhD in History, at the University of Durham, Caroline Scott worked as a researcher in Belgium and France. She has a particular interest in the experience of women during the First World War, in the challenges faced by the returning soldier, and in the development of tourism and pilgrimage in the former conflict zones. Caroline lives in southwest France and is now writing historical fiction for Simon & Schuster UK and William Morrow.
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