I’m renowned as a book nerd by those that know me best. I Read A Lot is a semi-regular feature on the blog in which I share with you what I currently have my nose buried in.
It’s no secret that I love to write, so it’s no surprise that two of my friends are accomplished authors! I really couldn’t be prouder of the continued success that both of them are enjoying and they inspire me to reach greater heights in my own writing!
Originally meeting through our blogs when I was completing my teaching degree and she was completing her Masters in Creative Writing, Andrea of A Cat of Impossible Colour is simply the sweetest woman you’d ever meet. From her perfect ex-pat BBC accent (typical of those emigrating to New Zealand from Zimbabwe) to her beautiful vintage styling and the fact that she’s more than willing to join a girl in having a cocktail (that night at South of the Border feels SO long ago), she is truly a delight to hang out with. I’m a little bit devastated that she won’t be there when I head down to Christchurch next month – she’s flown the coop with her husband to Texas and the city won’t be quite the same without her.
Andrea is the author of two books so far, The Cry of the Go-Away Bird & The White Shadow, both great books that have young protagonists but appeal to a far broader age range. Both set in Rhodesia (Zimbabwe), The Cry of the Go-Away Bird is a semi-autobiographical coming-of-age novel that examines what it feels like to be rejected by a culture that you had assumed as your own. The White Shadow follows a different tangent, exploring the cultural traditions of the native people of Zimbabwe and creates a juxtaposition of traditional mythology with modern conflict. Both are absolutely fascinating and incredibly hard to put down once you start reading.
I’m so pleased that Andrea’s hard work has been recognised by a Dylan Thomas award nomination and shortlist. I’ve got fingers, toes and eyeballs crossed for her that she will win. Her dedication to the beauty of her books and her honesty through her blog makes it clear to aspiring young authors exactly just how much work is involved in perfecting their craft. I won’t deny it makes taking on my own fictional writing efforts a little more intimidating – but I’ll get there someday!
I don’t actually remember how I first found out about Missy, but I’ve been following her journey since she was a home business, selling her delicious wares via her website. At one point she put a call out for her cupcake cuties – retro-styled models representing flavours of her cupcakes; I replied saying that it sounded cool but I wasn’t model-shaped. Turns out I was just the shape she was looking for and I ended up meeting her in person at a photo shoot. We hit it off and ever since then my life has been just that little bit sweeter – Missy not only made my fabulous cake for my wedding but also did my hair, and it was great chilling with her on the morning of my big day.
She’s an inspiring woman and she’s really gone from strength to strength, opening her own shop front and then releasing a cookbook with some of her delicious recipes. Who wouldn’t want to try feijoa, creme brulee or Bailey’s liqueur infused cupcakes? You can find a whole bunch more flavours (plus some cookie and whoopie pie recipes) in the self-titled Miss Melicious Cupcakes book. What I like about the recipes, as a relatively beginner baker, is the simplicity of the recipe. They actually feel like something I could make!
I was invited to the book launch and had to miss it due to a family emergency – let me tell you, sitting in a hospital emergency room is not fun at the best of times but I was even more devastated once I saw the delicious food, body-paint, drag queens and general retro riot that was the party Missy organized! Still, we’re lucky that we can get that in just teeny doses at her cupcakery in Te Atatu Peninsula. Her ability to juggle all the balls she has in the air while being a good mum is commendable, the speed of her business development is just gasp-worthy and through it all, she still manages to keep a smile on her face. I’m glad she’s my friend.
Three great books, two lovely ladies – why don’t you check them out? The books, not the ladies. Pretty sure the husbands wouldn’t be too rapt about that 🙂