The Worst Case Scenario Cookery Club by Chrissie Manby
Published: 21st September 2017
Publisher: Hodder Paperbacks
Available in Paperback and on Kindle
Today I am super excited to be welcoming one of my favourite authors to the blog Chrissie Manby. Thank you so much Chrissie for taking the time to answer some of my questions about her writing and in particular her latest novel The Worst Case Scenario Cookery Club. So please enjoy this first stop on the blog tour for The Worst Case Scenario Cookery Club and make sure you follow along with the other stops all week.
Q & A with Chrissie Manby
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and what inspired you to become a writer?
What inspired me to become a writer? Failing at becoming anything else! Growing up in Gloucester, what I wanted to be was a fashion designer. Unfortunately, I didn’t get much support for that career plan so I went off to Oxford to study Experimental Psychology instead, with a view to becoming a clinical psychologist. I dropped off that career pathway when I got a 2:2, which meant I couldn’t get onto a graduate training course. In a moment of desperation, I moved to London and became a temp. I got a temp job at an audio book company, which is where I met science fiction writer David Garnett. He dared me to write a novel (I’d already written and published several short stories). I took the dare up. He passed my manuscript to his editor. She liked it. And the rest is history!
The Worst Case Scenario Cookery Club is your seventeenth ( I think) book, is it difficult to keep coming up with new ideas for books after so many?
It’s actually my twenty-second book as Chris / Chrissie Manby and my thirty-sixth book overall (I think!). I also write as Stephanie Ash, Stella Knightley and Olivia Darling. Coming up with ideas isn’t a problem for me (obviously). Seeing them through to the end sometimes is. I am always suspicious of people who can’t come up with at least ten book ideas in a day. It suggests to me that they’re really not engaged with the world around them. Ideas are everywhere and if you’re going to be a novelist, you better learn how to spot them.
Can you sum up The Worst Case Scenario Cookery Club in one sentence?
Three strangers, hopeless both in and out of the kitchen, find friendship and happiness through a beginners’ cookery class.
What was your inspiration for writing The Worst Case Scenario Cookery Club?
Well, not cooking. I’m a totally terrible cook and have very little interest in becoming a better one. I was inspired more by all those smug healthy eating blogs in which twenty-two year olds bang on about their ‘journeys’ and call a slice of apple with a blob of peanut butter on it a ‘recipe’. They make me howl. At twenty-two, you could live off chips and Tizer and still look like a goddess. They should all sod off and come back when they’ve hit the perimenopause, then tell us about the healing powers of kale.
Liz, John and Bella are very different characters, which was your favourite and why?
Liz is my favourite because she gets all the laughs. I love writing mad-cap funny characters.
How did you want readers to feel after reading The Worst Case Scenario Cookery Club?
Inspired to post a five star review on Amazon? J
What can we expect to see from you next?
More Newbay (my made-up Devon town), more laughter, more cooking (totally made up. Do not try any of my recipes at home).
Who are some of your favourite authors?
I will read anything by Lucy Dillon, Juliet Ashton, Michele Gorman, Fiona Walker, Rebecca Chance and Alexandra Potter. Also Anne Tyler, Carl Hiaasen and Michelle Lovric. Oh, and Alex Marwood writes amazing thrillers.
Which three books have you enjoyed reading the most so far this year?
Juliet Ashton’s The Woman at Number 24 was smashing. We read it at my book club. Everybody adored it! I’ve also enjoyed rereading Michelle Lovric’s Carnevale, which is set in the Venice of Casanova and Byron. It’s a huge book but every page just sings. And last week I devoured The Other Woman by Laura Wilson, which is the cleverest, funniest thriller I’ve read in years.
How do you intend to celebrate publication day?
By working. Unless someone buys me a bottle of champagne. Hint hint!
Describe your writing process?
What a terrible question. Worse than ‘how long is a piece of string’. It’s impossible to describe my writing process except to say that I plot really carefully, I work out how long I’ve got until my deadline, then I set myself a word count and stick to it.
What advice would you give to anyone wishing to pursue a writing career?
Write. Too many would-be writers spend more time worrying about how to get an agent than actually finishing their first book. Having a whole manuscript ready to go puts you at a huge head start when it comes to getting an agent anyway.
Quick fire questions:
Tea of Coffee? Tea.
Sweet or Savoury? Both.
Cosy fires or summer sun? Both.
High heel or flats? Flat. Though I wish I could wear heels.
Drive or be driven? Drive. Definitely. Hate being a passenger.
BlurbIn the quaint seaside town of Newbay, a beginner's cookery course is starting. And three very different students have signed up...
Liz's husband has left her for a twenty-something clean-eating blogger, and she's determined to show the world - and her daughter - she's just as capable in the kitchen. John, newly widowed after fifty years of marriage, can't live on sympathy lasagnes forever. To thirty-year-old workaholic Bella, the course is a welcome escape from her high-pressure job. Their only common ground: between them, they can barely boil an egg!
Enter talented chef Alex, who is determined to introduce his pupils to the comforts of cuisine. As Liz, John and Bella encounter various disasters in the kitchen, the unlikely trio soon form a fast friendship. Their culinary skills might be catastrophic - but could the cookery club have given them a recipe for happiness?
The Worst Case Scenario Cookery Club is the latest novel by Chrissie Manby and features four people brought together at a cookery course run by chef Alex. Liz has joined the course after daughter Saskia has started has started taking more interest in the food cooked by Brittany, her husband’s new girlfriend who is a health food blogger rather than the luxury ready meals Liz dishes up. Bella has joined up to reignite her passion for cooking which has been lost since her father died and John has joined as he’s getting sick of not being able to fend for himself after his beloved wife Sonia has died. Throughout the six week course the three become friends along with Alex and all begin to deal with problems they’ve been hiding from.
The characters in this book are a little stereotypical but I think the way Chrissie Manby has added comedy to this novel makes the characters work perfectly together. Liz is your typical working mum in her late forties who’s having trouble with her philandering husband Ian and difficult teenager Saskia. Saskia seems to have started idolising Ian’s new girlfriend Brittany, deciding to be a vegetarian and turning her nose up at everything processed that Liz tries to feed her. Poor Liz, despite trying her best for her family she never seems to get it right and more than one cooking experience ends in disaster. My favourite moment involving Liz was the processed meat incident which had me in hysterics and still makes me smile when I think of it, I would so love to have been a guest in the hotel watching the whole scene. I also loved the inclusion of the Waggy Weight Loss club for Liz’s poor dog Ted, the rivalry at the meetings reminded me so much of weight loss groups I’ve attended for myself, brilliant fun to read about.
Liz was by far my favourite character in the book, both Bella and John seem to have more serious less chaotic lives. Bella has joined the cookery club to regain the passion she once had for food and despite numerous interruptions from her work as a duty solicitor, her love for food isn’t the only thing that gets reignited. It’s not long before Bella has decided to make some big changes in her life. Even John has a little secret which he’s been keeping which added a little mystery to the book.
I loved everything about this book, it has a little romance, a little mystery, and great insights into family dynamics but most of all its hilarious. It’s Chrissie Manby at her absolute best and is the funniest book I’ve read all year. Thank you so much to Hodder and Netgalley for sending me a copy to review and inviting me to be part of the blog tour for The Worst Case Scenario Cookery Club. Thank you also to Chrissie Manby for taking time to answer my questions, I can’t wait to read your next book.