Friday, 19 August 2016

Food & Drink Month: Cover Reveal & Q&A with Heidi Swain

Today it's my pleasure to welcome Heidi Swain back to the blog as the latest author to take part in the foodie chat for this Food and Drink feature month.  But Heidi is also spoiling us by sharing the gorgeous cover for her new Christmas book Mince Pies and Mistletoe at the Christmas Market which is being published on 17th November.


Ruby has been away at university but now she's back in Wynbridge. With Christmas around the corner, she takes on a stall at the local market, and sets about making it the best Christmas market stall ever. There'll be bunting and mistletoe and maybe even a bit of mulled wine.

But with the new out-of-town superstore just opened, the market is under threat. So together with the other stallholders, Ruby devises a plan to make sure that locals make the Christmas market their first port of call for all their Christmas present needs.

But it's hard to concentrate when she keeps bumping into her ex, Steve - and especially when she realises that her feelings for him are still there.

I don't know about you but I love the sound of Heidi's third novel which is combining a few of my favourite things, Christmas, Mince Pies and Christmas Markets.  Roll on November as I cannot wait to curl up in front of a fire, with a mince pie of course, to read what sounds like a delicious Christmassy read. 

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your writing journey? 
Certainly. I write novels featuring feisty female characters and heroes with heart which are aimed at the commercial women's fiction market. A fellow author recently described by books as 'feel-good fiction', a badge which I am more than proud to wear!

My writing journey really began in earnest after The Cherry Tree Cafe was selected by Books and The City, (Simon and Schuster), following their #OneDay open submission day a couple of years ago. It was published in e-book format last July and in June this year Summer at Skylark Farm was published, also as an e-book. 

Two further books (both e-book and paperback) are on the horizon. Mince Pies and Mistletoe at the Christmas Market will be published in October and as you can imagine I am very excited to get my hands on a copy of the paperback!

Where did the inspiration for The Cherry Tree Cafe and Summer at Skylark Farm come from?
I had a rural upbringing and my hometown was a small market town packed full of independent traders. Cakes and crafts, both of which I enjoy baking and making, are the driving force at The Cherry Tree Cafe while orchards and livestock, which I grew up loving, are paramount at Skylark Farm. 

I think it is safe to say that my early experiences have provided much of the inspiration behind all of my novels and I feel blessed to have the opportunity to share my passions with so many lovely readers.

If you had to describe your books in one sentence, what would it be?
Feel-good fiction with heart which combines rural living, cosy settings and happy endings.

Describe your cooking style, follow recipes religiously or wing it and see how it turns out? 
A bit of both really, depending on the mood I’m in and the amount of time I have available.  

I enjoy cooking dishes that you would expect to find served up at Skylark Farm – fragrant stews, casseroles, thick soup –lots of those are ‘one-offs’ according to what I have in the fridge and stock cupboard. 

If I’m baking however I’ll follow a recipe – with varying degrees of success!

If you were going to apply to be a contestant on a cooking show, would it be Masterchef or Great British Bake Off? 
The Great British Bake Off would be my choice. 

You're planning a dinner party, which 5 people (dead or alive) would you invite?  
Freddie Mercury
Alan Rickman
Milly Johnson (or Dame Milly as she is known in our house)
J K Rowling

It's your last day on earth, what 3 course meal would you choose?
Leek soup – made by my step mum (no substitutions allowed)
Moussaka – made by husband (again, no substitutions thanks)
Christmas pudding and cream

What's your favourite dish to cook?  
This is a tough one. 

I make a mean red wine steak pie, cooking the filling all day in the slow cooker and then putting it together late in the day for a sumptuous supper, but I think my top dish to cook would be chicken risotto. Sumptuous and rich and always made with homemade stock. It's lazy cooking with maximum impact and I love it! Stirring in that parmesan at the end and spooning it into bowls to serve with crusty bread… yum…

And now a few quickfire questions to finish ;-)

Gordon Ramsay or Marco Pierre White? Gordon for sure. I love his fiery temperament and his passion.
Paul Hollywood or Mary Berry? Mary Berry. She's such a class act, a real lady.
Sweet or Savoury? I know you all think I scoff Galaxy bars all day but actually I'd go for savoury over sweet!
Steak or Lobster? Lobster
Profiteroles or Crumble? Tangy fruit crumble to cut through the sweetness of the crumble. With cream. Of course.
Smoothie or Prosecco? Prosecco with a few raspberries in. For health reasons obviously.

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