There’s something very special about a book that creates both an emotional and physical response in a reader, so it’s no surprise that Beyond Fear became Australia’s highest selling debut crime novel in 2011. I’d like to say I played a little part in that success because I raved about that book to everyone I knew. The last novel to make me that heart-thumpingly anxious for its characters was Mo Hayder’s The Treatment, but Beyond Fear even out-thrilled that excellent book (and that’s saying something because I’m a huge Mo Hayder fan). As for its page-turner qualities, don’t get me started. I was in awe!
The wonderful news is that Jaye’s second book recently released and it’s amassing fantastic reviews. Check it out.
When Livia Prescott fights off a terrifying assault in a deserted car park, the media hail her bravery. And after a difficult year – watching her father fade away, her business struggle and her marriage fall apart – it feels good to strike back for once.
But as the police widen their search for her attacker, menacing notes start arriving. And brave is not what she feels any longer …
Someone has decided to rip her life apart, then kick her when she’s down. But is it a stranger or someone much closer to home? In fact, is there anyone she can now trust?
When her family and friends are drawn into the stalker’s focus – with horrifying consequences – the choice becomes simple. Fight back, or lose the people she loves the most …
Scared Yet? can be purchased right now at your local bookstore, ordered online (eg Booktopia), or as an ebook from your preferred retailer (eg Amazon, Kobo, Borders). So if you like writing that takes you into a character’s world and races you along with them with heart-whumping intensity, then try Jaye’s books. I swear you’ll be in for a hell of a ride.
And now here’s Jaye!
My Winter Obsession
Cathryn asked me to write for Food Feast back in April and apologised she couldn’t fit me in until July. I cheered, knowing July was perfect timing for a rave about my cold weather obsession: Soup.
I love it. Eating it, cooking it, preparing it, reading about it. I’ve got cookbooks dedicated to it and purpose-bought crockery. My kids give me soup-related gifts. My husband occasionally asks if we can have something solid for dinner.
I trace it back to the veggie soup my mum used to make when we were kids. She’d put a huge pot on the stove, add lamb shanks and veggies, beans and barley and for days produce fabulously hearty meals for everyone who came through the door. On one occasion, with a tribe of visiting teenagers slurping around the table, someone asked, ‘Which is the barley?’ My sister answered, ‘They’re the bits that look like little bums.’ She was right, they do.
I made soup from scratch for the first time when I was at college in freezing Bathurst. It didn’t look exactly like Mum’s but it was delicious and warming and gobbled up by everyone in the share house – and it felt like home.
These days my annual craving starts like a switch being flipped sometime around the end of autumn. One day I’m eating a sandwich for lunch, the next I’m fixated on soup: chunky meat and beans; smooth, creamy vegetable; hot, spicy Asian flavours; salty broth with luscious noodles. My office has something to do with it. It’s under our house, half set into the side of a hill and man, it gets cold down there. Nothing better than taking a break, wrapping chilled fingers around a hot mug and being warmed inside and out.
When I’m not writing, I love piling up the kitchen bench with fresh veggies and working my way through them with a peeler and sharp knife. It’s one of those mindless, manual jobs that are so useful to the writing process. I have two approaches. One is to use it as a yogic exercise to still and rest my brain while my hands are busy. The other is to let my mind wander about while I’m focused on the chopping. I find a big, fat pumpkin works wonders on a plot hole – and it makes great soup, too (Thai; roasted; with bacon; topped with shaved Parmesan).
At times, I make huge batches and freeze them for later: family-sized containers for when I’m busy or away, single serves for my lunches. My mum has been unwell this year and when she hasn’t been able to face food, she’s managed to get by on my pumpkin soup and chicken and vegetable broth.
I’d like to take a moment here to declare I’m not a ‘soupist’ – I can make great soup but it doesn’t stop me opening a can or ordering a take-away. I love good old Big Red tomato – comfort food like my mum used to ‘make’. This winter, I’ve had a thing for Campbells Chicken and Corn. Last week, I had a spin out in the supermarket when I discovered there was a two-for-one sale on C & C and there were none left! Our local noodle place also does a delicious veggie and wonton broth that I get a hankering for on cold Friday nights when I can’t be bothered turning the stove on.
I don’t have a favourite, I like variety too much for that, but I’m going to finish my rave with one of my best recipes. This soup is rich in flavour and wonderfully thick and hearty. It also cooks in under half an hour and can be made from the contents of my pantry and freezer – features that are also useful to the writing process!
Bacon, Bean and Noodle Soup
1 tbls olive oil
250g bacon, chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 x 400g can chopped tomatoes
1 x 400g can borlotti beans
1 litre chicken stock
¼ cup tomato paste
2 zucchini, diced
100g spaghetti, broken into 3cm pieces (flat rice noodles, for gluten intolerant)
4 basil leaves, roughly torn.
Heat oil in a large saucepan on medium, add bacon, onion and garlic and cook for 3 mins. Add tomatoes, cook for 2 mins. Add beans, stock, tomato paste and zucchini and bring to boil. Reduce heat to low then add spaghetti and cook for 10 mins. Remove from heat and add basil and season to taste.
If it’s not all gone in the first sitting, it makes great leftovers. The pasta absorbs the liquid and thickens enough to eat off toast – if you can get to it before the kids.
Ahh, soup, it’s a winter favourite for me too. There’s something so very homely and comforting about a big bowl of steamy soup when the wind’s howling outside.
So what’s soup gives you a thrill? I’m a big fan of mouth-numbingly hot and spicy Asian soups, especially in the summer for some reason. I guess because they make me sweat.
Fire away, Feasters. Jaye and I would love to hear your soupy thoughts!