What is the secret to good writing? Cookies. Simple as.


My grandmother’s recipe; proper American cookies from the American side of my family. Just over six months since she passed, aged 96; she didn’t get to see me publish a book (and yeah I did leave it a little late) but I’m cooking her recipe as if to make up for it. Food is indeed a way of creating deep personal connections, and this is important in writing.

And then there’s the pan of vegetarian curry that’s on the stove as well. Realised as I was cooking it that there are actually no animal products in it at all, so a vegan could eat it too…cauliflower, lentils, coconut milk, madras paste (and plenty of it), various ground spices, onions, garlic, olive oil. Yes I do eat meat, but tonight I’m looking after my health. Apart from all the butter in those cookies. So sue me.

So what’s in Shadow’s kitchen? If I do say so myself, I like the line about how a slightly stale bacon sandwich might as well be fillet steak when my protagonist awakes in hospital and thinks mostly of how his stomach is growling at him. Food drives us all, including people who aren’t real. If you’ve already read the book, or are planning to, look out for the sheer amount of food guzzled by a variety of different characters, from basic rustic farmhouse nosh to fine space age dining in Light Racer and the Night’s Dawn Hotel. My kitchen is always alive with fresh cooking (if you’ll forgive the occasional oven pizza) and so are the kitchens in my books. Anyone ever noticed how many scenes take place in kitchens even when no-one’s cooking?

On a different note, thanks to Neill Adams for helping me out with modifying this site again. If you suck with computers, get a web developer as one of your best friends! Remember when I made the same curry I’ve just been talking about and OD’d on the madras paste to such an extent that it took us the entire booze supply in that East Slope kitchen to chase it? I’ve still got the touch…