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Author Interview with Sarah-Kate Lynch

Author Interview with Sarah-Kate Lynch by Victoria K. (dolfynstar)


Victoria: How are you inspired to write a novel?

Sarah-Kate: Generally it is a collision of ideas that come together for a variety of reasons about the time I am needing to start thinking about a new book. With Dolci di Love, one of the ideas was about secret families, as years ago I heard of one that appeared at a funeral then more recently I found out a friend of mine was part of a secret family which got me thinking about it from a more sympathetic angle. Separately, I had been deeply affected by seeing a friend of mine have her heart broken over a failed adoption when the biological mother wanted her baby bake. Finally, I discovered the gorgeous hilltop town of Montepulciano in Tuscany and once I had my setting, the overall idea of the book fell into place.


Victoria: Generally speaking, what is your writing technique?  Do you work from an outline or just start with an idea and let it grow organically?  Type vs. long hand?  Do you write from the same location? In a short time frame or over several months?

Sarah-Kate: I start with the idea, as above, then work out an outline, then take it from there although often the finished product has little to do with the outline but because I have worked as a journalist my whole life, I like to know where I am headed when I start out, even if I end up deviating for a different end result. I type, because I’m a fast typist and my fingers can keep up with my thoughts which is actually pretty helpful. We have a city apartment and a beach house and I have an office in both, which I like to keep quite tidy, and I need it to be quiet. I seem to write in bursts because that’s how life works out. Working on a novel you can’t do it for half an hour at a time, or I can’t. I need to have at least half a day if not a whole day where nothing else is required of me so I tend to block out months at a time, over a year, generally, to write a novel.


Victoria: Food is a common theme in your books, almost a character in itself.  Why?

Sarah-Kate: I really like food. I worked as a newspaper food editor for a couple of years before being made redundant at which point I decided to take what had recently inspired me so much and turn it into something else.

Victoria: How do you decide what culinary delight will be the focus?

Sarah-Kate: I generally think about this years in advance. I stumbled upon Irish artisan cheese, which featured in Blessed Are The Cheesemakers, and then I literally thought, what goes with cheese? I came up with sourdough bread for By Bread Alone. My next book, not published in the US, was about a restaurant critic, which I used my own experience to develop, and then I developed a terrible thirst for champagne. In fact, for a year I drank only champagne. Then I looked into why it was so expensive and found out what a unique product it really is, which inspired House of Daughters.



I next wrote a book about a woman who runs a tea rooms in London (also not published in the US), and then I went to Italy and discovered cantucci, the biscotti peculiar to Tuscany, which features in Dolci di Love. Basically I am always on the lookout for a food story that will reflect a personal story. The book I am writing now is about a woman who keeps bees on her Manhattan rooftop so I’m all about honey!


Victoria: How do you research your novels?  Did you spend time in Tuscany for Dolci di Love?

Sarah-Kate: I went twice, once when I discovered the town of Montepulciano on which the fictional town of Montevedova is based, and again when I was half way through the book to fine tune my research. I love traveling to the places I write about. Not only is it a true joy if you have wanderlust like I do, but I think the more you can describe the sights and sounds and smells, the more you can transport the reader there too.

Victoria: Infertility is a central theme to the relationship between Lily and Daniel.  How did you learn the sometimes devastating effects of infertility on marriage?

Sarah-Kate: I’ve watched a lot of people battle infertility and as an observer of human nature, I’ve seen just how devastating it can be and what havoc it can wreak. I have a very close friend who had to give her baby back when the biological mother changed her mind and her heartbreak had a huge effect on me. But also, I have seen how for some people what they do not have has become the sometimes obsessive focus, when what they do have is still sitting there quietly waiting for them to notice.

Victoria: The relationship between sisters is also key.  What draws you to familial relationships in your novels?

Sarah-Kate: I am one of five children and we all get along fantastically, plus we have a wide network of cousins and second cousins and indeed, old family friends. You can’t be part of a network like this and feel lonely. Loneliness is my biggest fear and one way or another, most my books are about avoiding it. I have two sisters and we pretty much prefer each other’s company to anyone else’s. Actually we used to laugh at our mother and her sister for talking on the phone 10 times a day and then catching up at night too but now we are like that! I sat next to someone at a dinner recently and she was one of four sisters and she and I got on like a house on fire because I think women with sisters love the company of other women. Actually we were dressed a little alike too, and agreed we could indeed be sisters. It’s such a lovely relationship I am always sad when I hear of one that has gone awry, the way Lily and Rose’s has. But in a book, I can fix it.


Victoria: In both Blessed Are the Cheesemakers and Dolci di Love, the husbands were unfaithful and had children with other women while being married to the heroine – was this coincidence?

Sarah-Kate: Yes, totally. It’s 10 years since I wrote Blessed Are the Cheesemakers and those characters and their stories are well behind me, especially the cheating husband in Blessed Are because he was such a nincompoop. Daniel is a far more developed character, I think, and a main character whereas Martin was almost a throwaway. It’s actually quite funny how much a writer can forget. The honey book I am writing now involves someone fleeing a wedding, which actually happened in my very first novel Finding Tom Connor but I don’t even see it in the same light. Each book is a world to me and exists totally on its own. Either that or I am the world’s best recycler!


Victoria: Also in both books, the heroines reinvented themselves in new environments.  Why the need to completely abandon their prior lives?

Sarah-Kate: I think it’s a wonderful dream to reinvent yourself although these two characters are going about it in very different ways. Abbey, who is more of a victim, is returning to her spiritual home in Blessed Are The Cheesemakers, and Lily, more of a warrior, is discovering a new one in Dolci di Love. In both cases though the women are accepting new families, maybe not the ones they dreamed of, but the ones that are sitting there quietly waiting for them to notice.


Victoria: What do you think of the notion of women wanting to ‘have it all’ – marriage, career, children?

Sarah-Kate: I think that in many cases a lot of “some” is better than a little bit of “all” but to each her own.

Victoria: What is next?  Are you working on another book?

Sarah-Kate: I am working on quite a romantic book now, about a mysterious woman from the American South who turns up in Manhattan with nothing but a hive of bees and an insistence on good manners. She uses honey to help and heal all she meets, while her own heart remains broken until her bees take charge and find her someone to love.


Victoria: Do you have a blog or website for members to get more information about you and your books?

Sarah-Kate: Yes, my website is www.sarah-katelynch.com and I also have a blog at www.sarah-katelynch.blogspot.com and I have a facebook page, which is Sarah-Kate Lynch – Writer, and I am a haphazard Tweeter.


Thank you Sarah-Kate and Victoria for a wonderful interview!

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2 Responses to “Author Interview with Sarah-Kate Lynch”

  1. Jerelyn H. (I-F-Letty) says:

    Yay Victoria! You did a good job, I have several of Ms. Lynch’s books on my TBR shelf because of you. They have just moved up in the cue. 🙂

  2. Jade K. (Jade4142) says:

    Wonderful interview!

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