Welcome to an Interview with : Olga Nunez Miret
Author of. I Love Your Cupcakes
A brief synopsis.
Dulce, Adelfa and Storm, the protagonists of I Love Your Cupcakes are business partners, friends and share some “interesting” family connections. All the men Dulce meets only ever talk about her cakes and she’s tired of it. Her friend Adelfa, although she’s a Chemistry Professor, can’t manage to find the recipe for the perfect relationship. And Storm, the third of the partners of their bakery/coffee shop/bookshop/art gallery and ex-fire station, is an artist who is not a master in the art of love. How could they imagine that at the studio of the contest “Do You Have What it Takes to Be the Next Baking Star?” they’d find sexual harassment, cheats, fights and also love?
With dogs, fire trucks, London double-decker buses, school buses, artists, chemists, engineers, architects, intrigue, scandals, bigamy, and lots and lots of desserts… I Love Your Cupcakes is a romantic comedy with a sweet heart. You will find baddies, crooks, goodies, odd balls and flawed but endearing characters. More than anything I can promise you good humor, friendship, smiles, sense of community, heart and plenty of cakes. Try it! I’m sure you won’t be able to stop once you give it a bite!
Let’s surprise the readers by telling them about you. You are trained amongst other things as a forensic psychiatrist. What did that job entail?
I was working in a small NHS (public sector) hospital, a low-secure unit. (A low secure unit had a fence around it, a locked door and some security measures inside but at least ours wasn’t very high tech and nothing compared to a prison. High Secure hospitals, on the other hand are stricter with their security measures than some of the prisons I’ve visited. And yes, so far they’ve allowed me to leave again.) We looked after patients suffering from mental illnesses (mostly psychosis) who had a history of committing crimes (and were supposed to potentially pose a risk to the general public) or although with no criminal history, they were found to be too risky for standard mental health services. We had to assess patients in other units, in prisons, had to liaise with probation services and provided advice with regards to managing patients with violent or other risky behaviours. We had to provide diagnosis, medication, and also other therapies (we had psychologists and occupational therapists working there). In most cases as our patients’ mental state improved the level of risk they supposed for others would also be minimised. By the way, I must clarify that most people suffering from mental illnesses do not suppose a risk to others, and indeed many people who are not ill are much more dangerous.
Would you like to share your other Academic Qualifications?
I can never get enough of books, David! Apart from Medicine and Psychiatry, I decided to study American Literature and have a BA and PhD in American Literature. And more recently I completed a Masters in Criminology and Criminal Justice. I’m not planning on studying any major careers any time soon, but…you never know!
What made you decide to write this book?
Due to family illness and other circumstances life had been quite stressful and I fancied writing something that would make me (and hopefully the readers too) smile. I had become fascinated by some of the TV baking and cookery programmes (things like ‘Cupcake Wars’, ‘Ace of Cakes’ or the ‘The Big British Bake Off’) and had the kernel of an idea for a book. Then I kept thinking about it, asked people, started collecting cupcake images in Pinterest…and decided to see what came out of it. It was fun!
I’d also just come out from publishing a couple of psychological thrillers and felt my writing brain needed a break. Something sweet for a change, rather than bitter.
Have you written it in both Spanish and English?
Yes. I’ve left the same title in Spanish although with the subtitle ‘Me encantan tus cupcakes’. I’ve always (so far) published my books in English and Spanish.
How do you find writing in English and then translating from the English idiom into Spanish? Does it in fact translate?
Not always that well. When you play with words, sometimes the expressions won’t work in another language. Some situations might involve more rewriting than straight translating and that’s one of the reasons why I prefer to do my own translations myself. As I’m living most of the time in the UK I’m more up-to-date with everyday expressions and references in English although thankfully social networking and media facilitates matters and I’m trying to catch up.
One of the advantages I find is that although I will have corrected and edited the English version before I translate it to Spanish, as I spend a fair amount of time reading and going through the original, I always find typos and mistakes I didn’t spot the first time around. And sometimes new things will occur to me, or a better way of saying something, and I’ll take the chance to make changes as I go along.
I started translating other authors’ books a few months back and it is fascinating although challenging in its own right. You’re never done learning!
Where did you find the characters?
I always thought there would be two main characters and at first I thought about mother and daughter, as I wanted a team to take part in a TV cookery game show, but decided on two friends. Then I thought about a man too to even things up and came up with an interesting connection between him and the girls. I posted in my blog asking for ideas for names of characters and teams, and that worked out quite well. Some of the other characters seemed to grow out of the story.
Is your personality a character in the book? If so, which one?
I know the received knowledge is that there’s always a bit of us in all of our characters. If anything I’d quite like to be like Adelfa, as she’s very witty and determined. And she can come up with some great retorts! But in contrast to what happens with some of my other books, where there are characters quite difficult to like, I’m quite fond of all of them…apart from one. And I’m saying no more.
This book is a major change of genre for you. Will there be more like this?
I wrote a romantic novel called ‘Click Me Happy!’ that has three endings (an unhappy, a neutral and a happy one) last year that was my first attempt at a romance (apart from some short stories) and people seemed to enjoy it and it was fun to write. I had a very good time with ‘I Love Your Cupcakes’ and I’ve left the ending (yes, I’m not saying any more here either) fairly open to more books, but haven’t decided. I’d love to meet the characters again and see what they do, but it depends on what the readers think.
Are you writing at the moment? If so, can you share anything yet?
I’ve been working on a Young Adult/New Adult trilogy for a while now. I wrote the first book in the series ‘Angelic Business’ called ‘Pink Matters’ a while back but then I decided to publish some of the other books I had written before instead. And then I decided it would be better to finish writing the first series and then I plan to publish the books pretty quickly one after the other, as I know people get impatient with series (and knowing me I’d be likely to start writing something else in the middle). At the moment I’ve written he first two books and I’ve joined NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) and I’m planning on trying to write the draft of the third novel in November and then…correct, revise, translate…).
I have done a post about it in my blog recently where I also share the link to the draft of the first novel that I’ve published in Wattpad (and I will delete before the publication of the definitive version).
Here is the link to that post:
Share with the readers one little known fact about yourself.
I did a course in parachuting and I’ve jumped out of a parachute (static line, but not on a tandem, by myself) a couple of times. I didn’t find it scary and would have liked to do it more often, but it was quite far away from where I lived and the UK weather wasn’t very helpful either. Jumping was quite exciting but what I really liked was the sensation of floating down and being high up…Very peaceful…
Are you traditionally published or an Indie author?
Indie. I’d love to have somebody do the things I’m not good at for me, but like in many other things in life, everything comes at a price. Life is too short and having a choice (within your means) is good.
Who were your favourite Authors as you were growing up?
I’ve adored books from a very young age, and I wanted to read things even before I knew how to. The written word has always fascinated me. I loved fairy tales as a child (I still do. ‘Beauty and the Beast’ is still one of my favourites. Jean Cocteau’s film version is a masterpiece). I did like Enid Blyton (the Adventures series more than the others) and Louise May Alcott’s Little Women (I wanted to be Jo) and An Old Fashioned Girl. I also loved Prince Valiant, although I’m not usually a bit reader of comics but that’s a true classic.
There’s a job going as World Dictator, will you apply, why?
No. Although like most people, at times I want to go and tell a few of the people in government (all governments it seems) what they’re doing wrong, dictatorships don’t appeal to me. I don’t have the required moustache and don’t like cigars either. Also, most of them tend to end up quite badly for the dictator (although yes, the one we had in Spain died of old age). On the other hand having my own island and being the queen of my own kingdom… Consider me your first subject Your Majesty.
Please share your other books with us.
My first book is a family saga with Magic Realism touches: The Man Who Never Was. It has a very ugly man at the centre of the story and an extraordinary family. Fun and quirky.
I published a YA novella called Twin Evils? about a pair of twins who don’t get on very well, tragedy strikes and there’s a touch of the paranormal. Some readers have suggested they’d like a sequel, but I haven’t decided on it.
Click Me Happy! the romance I mentioned above, where a librarian gets dragged into the world of social networking, meets a guy (a writer, no less David!) who seems to be fantastic, and the readers can decide if things end up happy ever after, or not quite.
Escaping Psychiatry is a collection of three novellas that all have as main character a psychiatrist and writer, Mary, who has to help in a number of cases and she learns a fair bit about herself and others in the process. Although the stories are fairly different, some more noir than others, all would fit into the category of psychological thrillers.
Family. Lust and Cameras another psychological thriller about obsessions, voyeurism and bizarre family relationships. This one is a novella.
Do you have a website to share?
I keep my website up-to-date (as much as I remember) with links to books, news, posts, and ways to contact me.
Here is my blog where I share news about my writing, things in general, and on Fridays I regularly feature guest writers and new books. I’m always happy to have new guests, so writers, let me know!
Any Link to the Book (s)?
I Love Your Cupcakes
I’m hoping it will be available in paper (through Create Space) very soon too, but I always post updates and new links in my blog, where there is also more information about my other books.
This is my Amazon page:
Please feel free to share an excerpt.
Dulce and her friend Adelfa are taking part in a TV baking game show and there are some technical problems with the lights. Everybody goes for breakfast but Dulce fancies a bit of time by herself and stays at the studio getting things ready. Here is the excerpt:
She was interrupted in her train of thought by a man who dropped something next to her. She jumped at the sudden bang.
“Sorry. I didn’t mean to make so much noise. My brother Lance always says I would make a terrible spy or detective. I always announce my presence loudly.”
“It’s OK. Are you Rock? We were told you’d be bringing some lights.”
“Yes. I’m Rock. And you’re Dulce. I saw you on the TV yesterday. Your friend and you seem to have the most amazing shop. An old fire-station! Fabulous! I wouldn’t mind visiting!”
“Any time. Do you work here full time?”
He shook his head in denial.
“Not really. My brother is also a producer. At the moment he’s producing children’s programs. I’m sure he’d be fantastic producing this one. He’s great in live situations. He has a very quick mind. On the other hand I…”
“What’s the problem?”
“Well, I’ve tried many things but nothing seems to jell. You know there are people who aren’t good at anything?” Dulce had to nod. She was one of them. Other than baking… “Well, with me it’s the other way round. I seem to be able to do many things to a certain standard. I can carve wood, I can do a bit of plumbing, I’m not bad with engines, I’ve tried my hand at electrics, I can draw and design a little bit…When my brother came to work here they always needed people to help with this handyman and maintenance kind of jobs, and he thought of me straight away. My brother”
“Lance…” Dulce offered. She quite liked this guy. It reminded her of herself. He wasn’t red-haired though, brown/hazelnut color hair, strong shoulders, narrow hips, wide brow, straight nose, tiny dimple on his chin and gray/brown eyes. Nice looking but not one of those guys everybody would envy a girl for.
“Yes, Lance, tells me I’m like a butterfly. Going from flower to flower and never settling anywhere. I don’t seem to have a special skill or talent. I can do quite a few things reasonably, but I’m not a genius at any of them. I’ve had some ideas for businesses but I don’t feel very confident and Sophie…”
“Sophie, my girlfriend, thinks it’s a bad idea. She’d like me to get onto the corporate ladder, go climbing places and get to the top. I don’t think it’s me, and I very much expect that one of these days she’ll give me an ultimatum.” He seemed wistful for a while and then looked at her intently: “I love your eyes” he declared, out of the blue.
Dulce was used to men telling her “I love”… “your cakes” or “your cupcakes, or even like Harry, “your name”. But this was new. She didn’t know what to say.
“I thought they looked good on the TV yesterday but they didn’t show any close-ups and couldn’t see them well. The cameras seemed quite distracted by…the two women in the funny outfits?”
“The ‘Let Them Eat Cupcakes’ Team?”
“Yes, and the two blonde girls.”
How peculiar! He only seemed to remember her name and not that of any of the other contestants.
“I really love your eyes.” He repeated.
Now she had to reply something. And of course, she said:
“You must say that to all the women you meet.”
“No. Only to those who have nice eyes. And you smell great too. Like…cinnamon and chocolate and coconut.”
“It must be the baking.” No, definitely Dulce wasn’t made for flirting. She’d have to try and remember some movie or novel to sound convincing when talking to Harry. Left to her own devices he’d smell a rat.
Rock opened his mouth to reply but just then:
“Rock! Leave the conversation for later! We need to get the cooking going! Did you bring the lights?” Dannie asked from the door.
“Sure! I’ll get on with it. Nice meeting you, Dulce! I’m sure we’ll see each other again!”
Maybe, but he had a girlfriend, and Dulce had plenty of other things to think about at that particular moment.
Thanks so much David for this opportunity to visit your blog that I love so much and I hope your readers will not get indigestion! And I look forward to seeing you back there with new books soon!
It’s been wonderful having you Olga. I’m sorry I didn’t offer you tea but I don’t get to sit with a pretty lady very often and I wasn’t wasting a moment. My bad. You’ve been fantastic with your answers about the book.. I assume my cheque is in the post? Xxx Massive Hugs xxx