Sarah Ann Hall

Reporting on writing in progress or, more probably, not; practising flash fiction.

Two for Tuesday #8 – Author Interview

with 5 comments

This week’s Andy Black’s Two for Tuesday Challenge was a lot of fun.

The prompts:

Standard prompt:
eat away

You have lots of creative leeway. The limit is 200 words. The words can be used:

  • simply as a point of inspiration and do not have to be used directly
  • they can be included exactly as provided
  • or each word can be used independently of each other (for example if Death Row was the prompt instead of crafting a story about an inmate on the way to the gallows, you might write something like: Despite feeling like death from an excess of cheap vodka consumed the night before, Evelyn moved on to planting her next row of spinach).


Non-Standard Prompt:
I’m a foodie. I love to cook and eat and read about food and write about food. This week for the alternative prompt, write a story that centers around food. Food should be the main character. I’m not looking for a recipe. I want to taste and smell what’s on the plate. I want to see the shimmer of sauces. I want you to make my stomach growl. As per usual with the Non-standard prompt there is no word limit but there is a minimum of 200 words.



Author Interview (364 words)

Tonight on the show we have Veronica Dexter, author of Hideous Hades. Veronica, why is it you include so much detail about food in your stories? Taking Hideous Hades as an example, your main character, Brutus, and guests eat away for almost the whole of chapter 3. The banquet takes up three-quarters of the chapter with the rest describing their slurping, chewing and digestive processes.

Well –

You describe the brick-like ochre of the fennel and chickpea dip, its consistency like the mud roads rained on after a summer of drought. Flatbreads are laid out like the tiles on a Roman villa. The empire purple of wine-roasted beets competes with the sunshine of honey-glazed turnips on one central plate. Blood oozes and flows from a haunch of venison. All this shows us Brutus’s wealth, but what do we learn about the characters?

The choices made by the guests indicate –

Acorn squashes stuffed with pork and sultanas cluster on the laden table. Caramelised onion spaghetti falls from serving dishes and loops itself around the tongues and fingers of the guests. The sweet and sour aroma of leeks roasted with apples assails Brutus’s nostrils. The tang of the cumin infused red-snapper wafts over the table, its scales sparkling in sharp contrast to the black olive pebbles sprinkled around its fins. This is all very vivid, but what does it add to the story?

I think –

By the end of the chapter, and the banquet, Brutus is sighing with pleasure at the contrast between the crunch and smoothness of a walnut crème caramel. Peaches blanched in spice wine drip their juices across his expanding stomach. Plump figs and luxurious dates are plucked from the table and fed to neighbouring guests. Pomegranate seeds and grapes are scattered across the whole board and glisten like tears. And by the end of it all the reader is raiding the fridge. What did you hope to convey with the chapter?

I must say I think you’ve missed the point. I was –

Unfortunately, the powers than be in my ear tell me we have run out of time. Thank you Veronica Dexter for being our guest on Let’s Talk About Books this evening.




With thanks to Francine Segan’s The Philosopher’s Kitchen for some of the food ideas above.


Written by Sarah Ann

May 20, 2013 at 4:50 pm

5 Responses

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  1. “the rest describing their slurping, chewing and digestive processes” – That sounds like a wonderful chapter! I really loved how the interviewer just sort of runs roughshod over the author, too. Good stuff!


    May 20, 2013 at 7:01 pm

    • I’m quite happy I didn’t have to describe the slurping and burping. Glad you like the self-centred interviewer. He’s not a character I’d like to meet but he was fun to write.

      Sarah Ann

      May 21, 2013 at 1:47 pm

      • I have enjoyed writing many characters who I would never want to meet in person. Some of them might feed me to their ancient gods, for example. 😉


        May 21, 2013 at 1:50 pm

  2. Deliciously clever. A great use of the prompt and you got my tummy rumbling. And the interview—sorry monologue— was great. A good interviewer is good at listening. This one was good at listening to herself! funny stuff. I thoroughly enjoyed it…


    May 20, 2013 at 9:13 pm

    • Very happy you enjoyed it. Why do you think the interviewer’s a woman? I wrote him as male. I suppose with a monologue it’s not easy, but I thought loving the sound of his own voice as he does might have been a tell. Will have to tag him next time.

      Sarah Ann

      May 21, 2013 at 1:52 pm

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