The Life and Dreams of Pimientos de Padron is my second novel is very different to the first. It’s a fictional story which questions the reader on their dreams and aspirations. The story is told through the eyes of six peppers and their travel from seeds to table. It is a soul’s journey. Hopefully the book will act as a subtle prompt to readers, inviting them to think about their dreams and hopes and how they’ll achieve them.
Writers say that the second novel is always the hardest, so how did you find the process?
The baseline story of The Life and Dreams of Pimientos de Padron had been playing in my mind for quite some time. So, I just started writing and let the story develop and take its own turns. Knowing the goal of the story and taking such an approach took the pressure from me. It didn’t feel hard and it was an exciting journey to find out what the six peppers got up to. The hardest part for me is being patient during the publication process and waiting for the book to be in my hands. I am always really excited to see how the reader likes the story and can’t wait to get the book out there.
Please tell us how a tapas lunch evolved into this story.â¨
My husband, Andreas, and I were travelling around Spain and the Spanish islands when I became addicted to Pimientos de Padrón. I even caught myself looking for restaurants with them on the menu. When we got home, I discovered our local deli sold the peppers and I taught myself to cook them. One night, Andreas commented that if I ate any more I’d turn into a Pimientos de Padrón. That got me thinking and writing. I have to admit my husband and a few close friends thought I was mad when I told them the topic of the new book, especially as the last one was based on a true story. Once they read it, they loved it though.
How much were you itching to write this novel on holiday?
Oh, very much. I love the writing process. It is fantastic to just dive in to your dream world and let go. Time and places seem to dissolve around me and I can see the story play in front of my eyes. It’s only about finding the right words to capture what I see, feel, taste, smell, hear and sense.
Why did you want to write something more light-hearted with this second novel?
My first book “From Dust to Dust and a Lifetime in Between” can be quite an emotional journey for some readers. Many of the covered topics like cancer, the loss of loved-ones and dementia are relevant for many people. My readers tell me that they enjoyed my first book very much, but they sometimes had to put it down to get some fresh air and digest the emotions they were going through. This is part of what I wanted to achieve with the story, I wanted my readers to truly feel.
With my second book I wanted to do something else. I wanted to write something more lighthearted that whisks the reader away into a fantasy world. Hopefully it sparks some thoughts about hopes and dreams too.
Why did family and friends think you were mad when you pitched the idea?
Well, I guess writing about Pimientos de Padron is not an everyday thing. A lot of people have never heard of the peppers so I often started by explaining what they were and cooking them for people.
Once people understand the stories thread, they see is as the fun, light-hearted story it is.
Why do you want readers to question their dreams and aspirations with this book?
We all are so wound up and busy in our everyday life. Before we know what’s happened another birthday comes around and our children are flying the nest and heading off to university. We’re often left wondering where the time has gone.
This got me thinking about what I am doing and if I am really living in the now and doing what I dreamt of. A friend told me about a coaching assessment he did. One of the tasks he got was to write his own funeral speech. Sounds a little grim, but the task is a good one. It really makes you think about what you want to achieve in life and what you want to be known for. If, for example, a career woman wants to be remembered as a great friend, then she has to take the time to be with those close to her and support them through the difficult times in their life.
What is next for you?
Currently the book is being translated for the German/Swiss/Austrian market. This is very exciting for me as I live in Switzerland. Having just completed this novel, I am looking forward to spending the winter season in my favourite mountain café and settling down to start on book three.