Rosemary Whittaker is a British-born author. Since leaving university, she has lived in the United States, New Zealand, Australia and Denmark. Her experiences in these countries are reflected in her recent novels.
An actual interview I recently gave here in Denmark
Books & Company - International Book Cafe 17 March Book of the Week (in this case an interview by Lara Miller/
The Cinnamon Snail by Rosemary Whittaker
Without giving too much away, what is The Cinnamon Snail about?
The Cinnamon Snail is one of a set of four books with an expat theme. I took the concept in each case of a young British woman who is forced to leave the UK, for one of the four countries in which I have lived, for extended periods of time. They all leave for different reasons and their moves all have very different outcomes. The four expat books are light women’s fiction. A beach read.
What inspired you to write The Cinnamon Snail?
Initially because new writers are always told to ‘write what you know.’ And the thing I know very well is moving a family around the world very frequently and at little or no notice.
Is The Cinnamon Snail based on your life or someone you know?
Absolutely not. I was speaking at another book club last year and one reader was not quite able to believe the sort of impulsive behaviour that would send a young woman hurtling off abroad in search of another life. Three others all said sheepishly they had done exactly that at the same age. Clearly it isn’t that uncommon at twenty-five.
How did you come up with the title?
The Cinnamon Snail is the name of the cafe where the main character finds a job. That cafe is actually the wonderful Jorden Rundt by Charlottenlund fort. The cafe is round and fat and very hyggeligt (cosy). Not unlike a cinnamon snail pastry.
Did you learn anything from writing The Cinnamon Snail?
That sometimes speed beats over-thinking things. You can always go back and rewrite but don’t spend seven hours on an elaborate piece of prose that you think is wonderful. It almost never is.
What do you enjoy most about writing? What are the challenges?
I love it when you get into ‘The Zone’ and wake up three hours later to find you have two new chapters, no dinner in the oven and children waiting patiently for you at school.
Do you ever experience writer’s block?
Right before anything I ever write.
Do you write an outline before each book you write?
Never. I genuinely have no idea how my books will end until close to the finish.
Who is your favourite author?
I can never choose just one. I am a great John le Carre fan. I love Monica Dickens, Anthony Trollope, Iris Murdoch, Dorothy L Sayers, Ray Bradbury, Jane Austen, The Brontes, Dickens, Henry James, and Laurie R King. Anyone and everyone really.
What is your favourite book?
I don’t know how to answer ‘favourite’ as it might change next week or according to my current situation. However, Iris Murdoch’s The Bell is a book I read constantly. I keep applying it to different situations I find myself in and that has to be the mark of a great book.
Are you currently writing another book?
Yes. It’s still women’s fiction but a bit more intricate and aims to look at people’s psychology a little more than the first four lighter books. It is the story of a woman in her thirties whose grandmother dies, but not before sending her a gift. The woman has no idea who gave it to her grandmother or where. After some research, she sets off through Europe to find out why her grandmother took that same journey fifty plus years ago and who originally gave her the gift and why.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
I like the quote from the film ‘Wonder Boys.’ Michael Douglas plays a Professor teaching a creative writing course.
“Nobody teaches a writer anything. You tell them what you know. You tell them to find their voice and stay with it. You tell the ones that have it to keep at it. You tell the ones that don't have it to keep at it too... because that's the only way they're gonna get to where they're going.“
Rosalie is very excited when Jasmine moves in next door. She will finally have someone of her own age in the street. Jasmine is popular and sporty and all the teachers and parents love her. So when Rosalie finds that Jasmine isn't all that she seems, no one will listen. Only Rosalie and her best friend Beth know the truth. But is anyone ever going to believe them?
All Hannah's dreams have come true. She has landed the lead part in her school play. She works hard and is set to become a star. But strange things start to happen and Hannah wonders if her understudy is all she seems. Will she make it through to the performance in one piece? And even if she does, has she paid too high a price in losing her most important friendship?
Anna Richardson has her future set out. She has a good job, lives close to her bereaved mother and her boyfriend Matt is right for her. So what should she do when the school suspends her? Maybe it is time to move away with Matt. But is that really what she wants? When an unexpected trip to New Zealand is offered, she starts to wonder what exactly is stopping her from starting a new life.
Samantha Forrest is finishing an internship, when she meets Josh Fielding. They are soon engaged and planning a future together. But Josh is Australian and his business is over there. Is Samantha prepared to follow him across the world and make a new life for herself in Sydney? And how will she cope with her fiancé's hostile sister and ever-present ex-girlfriend?
Emily Martin has spent the past six months putting her life back together after her bitter divorce from Jack. When she is offered the opportunity to work in Florida for a year, she sees it as her much-needed chance to escape. A year away ought to be enough time to find someone who is different from him in every way. Then he will see that she is the one who has moved on. Nothing could be easier ...
Everything has fallen into place for Kate Merrit. She is dating the most handsome and charismatic man she has ever met. Her future plans are uncertain, but they most definitely include Christian. He has to return home to Copenhagen. Kate knows there are new challenges and experiences ahead. But she has no way of knowing just how much this move will turn her world upside-down.