Author of Truth Games and recently published Love Revenge & Buttered Scones, Bobbie Darbyshire talks to ReaderIReadIt about her books, writing and a few of her own personal favourite reads.
…about your bookWhat was your first flash of inspiration for this novel?
I was in a writing workshop at the Cheltenham Literary Festival. In three hours we would plan a novel using a pack of cards, a kitchen timer and a piece of string. Thirty of us had turned up to brainstorm. Cards from the pack suggested characters and motives, the timer pinged for us to report back our ideas, and the string showed the shape of the narrative. We imagined characters – Henry, Peter and Elena – and how they would collide in the Inverness public library, but we had wildly different ideas and angles on how the story would go. My flash of inspiration came at the very end of the three hours. I thought: wow, my narrator will be the romantic novelist who is running a workshop in the library, who is helping them to invent a novel using a pack of cards, a piece of string…
Love and revenge are two major themes in the story. So how did ‘buttered scones’ get added to the title?
The title was the hardest five words to write! My publisher and I spent three weeks sifting through dozens of ideas: Nobody’s Perfect, Stranger than Fiction, The Real McCoy, A Tight Circle of Chairs, Fools Outing, A Rusty Tin of Stale Biscuits… nothing clicked. We kept circling around Love, Revenge & … Henry is motivated by love, Elena by revenge, but what could possibly encapsulate Peter? My publisher pressed for Chocolate Biscuits. Peter is angry, and what he finds neutralises his anger (I mustn’t give too much away!). Chocolate biscuits, said my publisher, would suggest this. I resisted, and we debated by telephone. ‘There’s only one chocolate biscuit in the book,’ I objected. ‘It’s stale, and Peter isn’t even there when it’s eaten. If we’re after something edible, we’d be better off with buttered scones!’ Short pause for breath. ‘I think you just solved it,’ said my publisher, and I thought for a moment and saw he was right. The most dramatic revelations take place in a back parlour with a log fire, and all the characters are eating Buttered Scones.
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