TELL US YOUR BACKSTORY with Danielle Hawkins
I started trying to write – trying properly, not just thinking vaguely that one day when I grew up I’d quite like to be a writer – when I was at home on maternity leave with a small baby. Katherine was a champion sleeper, bless her, so I had a fair bit of spare time, and I wanted a project.
So I wrote a book. It wasn’t very good, but I enjoyed it so much that as soon as I’d finished it I started another one. And after a year or two of writing in the evenings and while the children had their afternoon naps, I started to wonder if I was getting good enough to be published.
I sent the first chapter of my latest masterpiece to Allen and Unwin’s Friday Pitch, and they asked to see the rest. Wow, I thought as I emailed it off. Aren’t I clever? I always suspected it, but how nice to have it confirmed by the professionals. After reading the rest of the manuscript they decided that it wasn’t good enough to publish, but they sent such a kind, encouraging rejection letter that I sat down and got right on with the next one. And they accepted it!
That was six years and three books ago. I still love writing, but not in quite the same way. I used to write because it was my absolutely favourite pastime – now it’s a job. It’s hard work, and whenever I sit down to start I immediately think of all the other things I could be doing (weeding the garden, farm work, reading a book… on really bad days even cleaning the oven starts to look quite attractive), but it’s immensely satisfying, and I miss it badly when my writing days get sidelined by vet work or school holidays or shearing.
My third book, The Pretty Delicious Cafe, is the story of Lia Leslie (small, curly-haired, intermittently overworked and slightly psychic), who runs a cafe with her best friend. It grew from the small and spindly idea that it might be quite fun to have a heroine who was psychic, but didn’t want anyone to know on the grounds that she’d hate to be considered a New Age, long-flowing-skirt-and-raw-foods type. I turned the idea around in my head until I had a character I liked, gave her a cafe so I could work plenty of food into the story (I love food) and set the book in Northland, New Zealand, where I first worked as a vet, because Northland is one of the nicest places in the world.
The Pretty Delicious Cafe
Food, family and fresh beginnings. For fans of 800 Words, Offspring, Josephine Moon and Monica McInerney.
On the outskirts of a small New Zealand seaside town, Lia and her friend Anna work serious hours running their restored cafe. The busy season is just around the corner, and there are other things to occupy them. Anna is about to marry Lia’s twin brother, and Lia’s ex-boyfriend seems not to understand it’s over.
When a gorgeous stranger taps on Lia’s window near midnight and turns out not to be a serial killer, she feels it’s a promising sign. But the past won’t let them be, and Lia must decide whether events rule her life or she does.
The Pretty Delicious Cafe will remind you of those special, good things we love about living. And the food is great.
A warm, witty novel, brimming with the trademark romance, friendship and eccentricity that Danielle Hawkins’s fans adore.