As a part of the blog tour for Watch Over Me by Claire Corbett, I am excited to share this guest post written by the Claire herself! Check out my review here.
A special thank you to Allen & Unwin for providing me with this opportunity.
From the beginning of thinking about the story that became Watch Over Me I had this stark image of freezing, foggy night with a tiny refuge of warmth and light that was the Half Moon Café. I had this vision of a little café by the Arctic sea and of course my main character, Sylvie, had to work in that café. It was obvious that this public space would be where she encounters the Garrison lieutenant Will, who plays such a large role in her life. So, Sylvie was not only a waitress but also had to work in the kitchen and this plunged me into memories of one of my own first jobs, when I was Sylvie’s age, which was working in a little café at Palm Beach in Sydney.
It was a good job –physically tough as I was on my feet eight or ten hours a day – and I made close friends and learned how to bake fabulous cakes: sour cream coffee cake and whisky cake and lemon poppyseed. I learned how valuable these cakes are, how much money each slice had to earn and that was great for the novel – the cakes become a sign of love and a kind of abundance and yet in Port Angelsund under occupation they’re part of economic survival too.
I loved writing that aspect of Sylvie’s character and researching the cakes from that part of the world. Cakes are a big deal in Scandinavia and I tried to capture some of that cultural importance in the book. I researched cakes like the Kvæfjordkake, which is layers of sponge with berries and cream.
Sylvie’s a warm and nurturing person; I enjoyed writing that side of her, honouring the more traditionally feminine aspect of her, if you like. She’s not a kickass heroine though she is brave, which she shows in many different ways. In a war zone those qualities cannot be valued enough, I think.
Kvaefjordkake, voted World’s Best Cake by Norwegians
Watch Over Me by Claire Corbett is published by Allen & Unwin, RRP $29.99, available now.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Twitter: @ccorbettauthor • Facebook: @clairecorbettauthor • Website: http://www.clairecorbett.com
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