I live on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, Australia, with my husband, four-year-old son and a small farm of animals. I'm very lucky to have the best job in the world. The Beekeeper's Secret is my third foodie fiction novel (novels with food themes) and I'm working on my fourth now.
My pathway to publication was long and windy but can be summarised as: twelve years, ten manuscripts, countless rejections, a lot of tears, some good friends, many workshops and courses, some notable shortlistings and competition wins, and adventures into self-publishing. Then, a very lucky break—Monica McInerney passed my manuscript for the The Tea Chest to her agent, Fiona Inglis of Curtis Brown Australia, who then became my agent and it was a pretty swift move to a contract from there.
Where did the inspiration for The Beekeeper's Secret come from?
I was trying to write a family saga set on a coffee farm, that’s where it started. I did lots of research about coffee, really intellectually interested, but I had no passion for it. So I had to ask myself, what was I passionate about? And the answer was bees!
So I did research on bees and was really getting into that. I’d abandoned my family saga and was now trying to write a book about beekeeping and corporate sabotage, but there were these nuns in the background who were very strong and very insistent. I kept writing this book on corporate sabotage and I kept trying to write the nuns into the story until it became clear that they didn’t belong there at all.
So I had to ask them, what do you want?
And they wanted a whole book. Specifically, Maria, one of our main characters, wanted a whole book. And when something turns up that strongly and persistently, as a writer, I believe it’s my duty to write it down.
How much research did you need to do about bee keeping and making honey to enable you to write this story?
I read books and websites and watched YouTube clips of beekeeping, then I found a local beekeeper who let me go out and visit her bees. That was really special. For me, research is the key to finding my stories, so I do a lot in the beginning and keep going as I write.
All three of your novels so far have featured food or drink in some format or other, what is it about this niche market that attracts you to write stories featuring food or drink?
I love writing about food because everyone is connected by food. And food has a long chain of people involved from the time it's grown to the time we buy it or eat it, so there are a lot of characters involved and a lot of entry points to find a story.
Describe your cooking style, follow recipes religiously or wing it and see how it turns out?
Both! I'm very relaxed about making mistakes and always keen to experiment. I experimented with a lot of herbs and flowers from my garden to make tea blends in my kitchen while writing The Tea Chest.
If you were going to apply to be a contestant on a cooking show, would it be Masterchef or Great British Bake Off?
I think it would be the GBBO because Masterchef involves too much meat and too much carving up of meat and too much seafood. If I was a chef I'd be a pastry chef only.
You're planning a dinner party, which 5 people (dead or alive) would you invite?
My Nan, Oprah, Elizabeth Gilbert, Julia Cameron, Princess Kate
It's your last day on earth, what 3 course meal would you choose?
Scallops with herbs, garlic and butter sauce
Roast lamb with roast veg and steamed greens
Apple crumble with cream
What's your favourite dish to cook?
I'd have to say apple crumble but that's probably because I enjoy the end result (the eating!) so much.
And now a few quickfire questions to finish ;-)
Gordon Ramsay or Marco Pierre White? Marco
Paul Hollywood or Mary Berry? So sorry... but I've no idea who they are! (I'm always behind the times...)
Sweet or Savoury? Savoury
Steak or Lobster? Steak
Profiteroles or Crumble? Apple crumble all the way!
Connect with Josephine via her website https://josephinemoon.com, Twitter josephine_moon or Facebook @JosephineMoonAuthor