Until a dear friend says to me, “I have a new book out that I need to promo.”
Then I put aside my own work and grab a pencil and paper. “Right. Tell me about it.”
So today I’ve dusted off the interview chair **achoo**, washed the mouldy coffee mugs in anticipation, and laid out the welcome mat. And for my favourite interviewee – Ms Nic Starr!
**pause for applause**
Nic: **Listens to the crickets chirping** Thanks so much for having me, Renae, and for going to the effort of dusting off the interview chair. I’m sure the last think you need as we approach the holiday season is to do more cleaning!
Renae: Hi, Nic. Don't mention Christmas to me okay? We're doing your book which is about... oh, Christmas. **embarrassed blush**
Would you like a drink? What are we doing this time of year? Caffeine hit because we need it to keep up with the rush? Or something festive to celebrate the season? Or something cool because it’s summer in Australia and damn hot?
Nic: How about we share a bottle of bubbles? That way we can celebrate the end of a big year and toast to a fabulous 2016 just around the corner.
Renae: Bubbles? Oh, you mean champagne, not bubble bath. Sorry, mummy-mode needs to be turned off. Champers. Right-o. Give me a sec. Don’t peek at the questions in my folder. **dashes off**
Nic: **peeks at questions**
Renae: Back! **hands Nic her drink and places the bottle in the tupperware bowl of ice** Sorry, it was all I could find. Okay. Let’s get started. You didn’t peek did you?
Nic: **cough** Of course not! **takes a big sip of champagne**
Renae: I guess the proof of whether you peeked will be in the pudding? **preens at her own wit**
The Proof is in the Pudding
Released 4th December 2015
Steve never expected making a Christmas pudding would bring him the man of his dreams.
Steve Hayes is away with a group of friends who are spending the Christmas break together. He's determined to put his two-timing ex-boyfriend in the past, and enjoy his week away. Steve is happily surprised to find that Corey Oh, the guy he's been admiring from afar, has been invited along too. But Steve knows there's no way someone as wonderful as Corey, who could have any man he wanted, would be interested in him.
However, thanks to a misadventure with a Christmas pudding, Steve will find that dreams can come true .
Nic: Writing a Christmas story in the middle of the year wasn’t hard at all. As with all my stories, I get lost in the characters and the plot, so I could be anywhere at any time of year. This story is also based on my own misadventure when making a pudding, so perhaps that aided the process.
Renae: Just for all of us to celebrate Christmas. Thank you! I’m a little wary of the line “thanks to a misadventure with a Christmas pudding.” I’m getting all American Pie thoughts, and then the proof would be in the pudding. It’s not that type of story is it?
Nic: LOL. No, this is definitely not that type of food porn.
Renae: Oh **reassured** Right. Moving on. **consults list of questions** You’re Australian (yay!) but you write stories based in both America and Australia. What about this one? Is it a snowy Christmas book? Or a get-in-the-pool-it’s-too-hot Christmas book?
Nic: This story is set in Australia so there’s not a snowflake in sight. The setting is a house in the country, surrounded by Aussie bush. Think mountains, tall trees, warm weather. There isn’t a pool but there is a hot tub, and it gets some use **wink**
Renae: So do you get to put in some Aussie Christmas themes? Shrimp on the barbie?
Nic: **tamps down desire to curse at Renae for bring up the dreaded ‘shrimp’**
I have to admit to the barbecue, but no prawns . The Proof is in the Pudding is about a small group of guys who rent a holiday house for a week over Christmas. Like good Aussie boys, most meals are cooked on the barbie. They aren’t overly Christmassy, apart from all chipping in to make Christmas lunch, which is where the pudding comes in. Steve has offered to make the pudding using his mum’s recipe from the Australian Woman’s Weekly (that interestingly enough has been a monthly magazine for years – I guess Australian Woman’s Monthly doesn’t have the best ring to it!) Anyway, there are a few carols, and Christmas tree made from a bare branch from a gum tree.
Renae: From reading your other books, cooking and baking is often mentioned. Your characters seem to enjoy the pastime which leads me to believe their author does too. Would this be accurate?
Nic: My characters are usually ordinary guys who do ordinary things. They’re not involved in car chases, or blowing things up. They have jobs, they watch and play sport, they have hobbies, they cook meals, they like to go out to the movies, and restaurants, and have parties. So yes, food does feature a lot. And food definitely plays a big role in my life. I love to plan and cook special meals. I’m also lucky enough to dine out – a lot. There’s so much cooking and eating in my life, I’m thinking of starting Food Porn Friday on my blog – recipes and drool-worthy pics. What do you think of that idea?
Nic: Did you peak at my manuscript? **grin** Actually, there aren’t any chefs in the story, not professional ones anyway. However, Corey’s parents own a suburban Korean restaurant, and it’s thanks to them that Corey has great kitchen skills. Steve is known to let the odd curse word fly, so much so, his friends think he’d give Gordon Ramsey a run for his money.
Renae: So what about your family? What Christmas traditions do you do? Foods? Gifts? Anything special?
Nic: We always get together as an extended family on Christmas Day – grandparents, kids (I’m in that group), and grandkids. Plus we usually have a few extras from the wider family, or some people without family who join us. The day is about giving presents, contacting the family members who can’t be with us, laughing in the kitchen as we prepare too much food, eating too much food and then relaxing. We are quite informal. No one dresses up, in fact the kids spend most of the day in their cossies (err, swimming costumes). We drink, eat, nap, swim, read, eat, drink, and keep repeating until we’re so tired and full, we collapse into bed. We then get up on Boxing Day to do more of the same but instead of exchanging presents, the highlight of the day is watching the Boxing Day test match (cricket).
Renae: The saying “the proof is in the pudding” actually came from saying, “the proof of the pudding is in the eating.” And that just brings some really vivid imagery… No! It’s not this type of interview. Where was I? Ah, yes. So does the full saying change what the title is referring to in the story?
Nic: This story is about Steve learning to trust again, or at least not closing his heart off to the possibility of love because he’s been hurt in the past. “The proof of the pudding is in the eating” means you can’t really judge the quality of something until you’ve tried it. The accident with the pudding brings Steve and Corey together, providing an opportunity for Steve to experience Corey’s caring nature and see the type of man he is. Without the time spent together making the pudding, or the time spent with Corey taking care of Steve, Steve might have missed seeing that Corey was nothing like the people who’d not treated him well.
Renae: I adore Corey’s surname—Corey Oh—it brings some delicious jokes to mind. Please tell me Steve cracks at least one of those jokes?
Nic: The story has a few jokes but unfortunately none about Corey’s name. Damn, and it’s too late for me to change that now! **makes note to use Renae as a story consultant in future**
Renae: Oh. Um. Awkward. Moving along **consults questions** Here’s one. Is Christmas your favourite holiday season? Why, or why not?
Nic: I love Christmas. It’s definitely my favourite. There are two main reasons. Firstly, it’s the longest holiday period in Australia. My kids get nearly eight weeks off school, from the beginning of December all the way through to February. Plus it’s summer. So the Christmas holiday season is about going away on holidays, the beach, swimming, lots of entertaining, and of course, the big day itself. Secondly, it’s the season of giving. My teenage daughters and I love to plan the perfect gift for everyone we love. We also look to see what charities we can help. This year it’s Twenty10, an organisation in New South Wales, that provides support to LGBTIQ youth. Here’s the link if anyone is interested in helping out. www.twenty10.org.au
Renae: When coming up with a story, where do you find most of your inspiration comes from?
Nic: I get inspiration from all over the place. I’ve been inspired by a photo, or a song. I’ve seen YouTube clips that have resulted in me noting down a story idea. I once got inspiration from seeing two guys in their hi-vis gear, buying their lunch at the supermarket. I even snuck a photo of the two of them but don’t tell anyone as it makes me sound like a stalker! My inspiration for The Proof is in the Pudding came from my own experience making a pudding, but was triggered by a submission call from a publisher. In my case, I was injured while making a pudding and my hubby (then boyfriend) spent all of Christmas night trying to distract me from my pain. He didn’t use the same techniques Corey used with Steve in Pudding, but my imagination provided the rest **wink**
Renae: Do you prefer prompts to start a story, or do you like to wait for inspiration to hit on its own?
Nic: I prefer my own inspiration because it’s so much easier to write if you really feel a story and have a passion for it. I look at my list of ideas and see which one calls to me.
Renae: Just checking – HEA?
Nic: Is that a serious question? **grin** Although, more accurately it’s probably HFN as Steve and Corey have just got together and are in the early stages of their relationship.
Renae: What are you working on now?
Nic: I’m so glad you asked! I’m super excited about my new series – Rustic – set in country Australia. I’m currently juggling editing and writing. The first book is Rustic Melody and it will be released in January and I’m writing the third book now. Rustic Melody tells the story of Adam, a man from Sydney, who’s taken a year off to sort out what he wants to do with this life. He works for his father but doesn’t agree with his dad’s business practices so needs to make some big decisions. He’s escaped the corporate life and his been travelling, picking up work as a waiter and busking. He ends up in Tamworth at the Country Music Festival, where he meets Joey. Joey comes from Armidale, a large country town, where he and his mum run a struggling country pub. Joey helps Adam realise what he really wants out of life, and Adam provides the support Joey needs and deserves.
Nic: I certainly hope so! **crossed fingers, toes, and everything else that’s crossable** Rustic Melody comes out in January, followed by Rustic Memory in February, and then Rustic Moment in March. I’m also writing the 3rd story in my Heroes series, Patrick’s Savior, and the 3rd book in my More Than series, More Than Money, which is Jamie’s story. There are a couple of standalone novels in the works, and also a paranormal trilogy. So a busy year ahead!
Renae: Where can people contact you?
Nic: I’ve on most social media, although I have to admit I haven’t really figured out Tumblr **grin**
Website & Blog: http://www.nicstarr.com
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Nic-Starr/e/B00MAWRRQG/
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/NicStarrAuthor
Renae: Yay. Great. Thank you for being such a great interviewee. Good luck with the release.
Nic: Thank you for being a wonderful hostess. **hiccup** Is there any more of that champagne before I go? **runs off with the bottle**
Renae: Hang on, what’s this last question on my list? I can’t remember this one. **reads question** “Nic’s stories are the best ever and she deserves a million dollars, so I promise to help her achieve this.” I didn’t write this. Hey. Who wrote that one? Nic? Nic? Where did she go?
I guess the proof is in the pudding.