The second Throckton novel, working title ‘Breaking Bread’, is underway. Underway to the tune of about 7,000 words.
I’m not sure it’s going to be called ‘Breaking Bread’, in the end. I really like it, as a title, but I think it only properly works if the characters in it spend a lot of time having meals together. And at the moment, they are refusing to do that. They seem to like croissants, and coffee, and coffee cake, and wine, but that’s it. They keep going off to have meals when I’m not looking. So…. we’ll see.
But the reason for the working title is that the main character has a baker’s shop, in the small town of Throckton, where she is trying to keep her head down and get on with her life, although life won’t let her.
And one of the things that writing ‘Surrounded By Water’ (my first Throckton novel, out in 2014) taught me is that I don’t know anything like as much as I think I know about things. So, when I realised Bettina is a baker, I went to talk to a baker. (Andrew, from Bread and Roses, who is what I think could safely be called An Authority on artisan bread, and was very generous with his time and advice.) And what I realised from talking to Andrew was that I had to understand more about baking bread.
I’d made bread before, in a flour + yeast + water + Kitchenaid sort of a way, but what I understood from Andrew is that making bread is something more than that, both practically and emotionally.
So I bought some books that Andrew recommended, and I read, and I made my own leaven (yeast), and over the last couple of weeks I’ve had some disasters but I’m starting to see some successes. More importantly, I’m starting to learn what’s required to bake bread – and what the baking of bread gives to the baker. So this learning is shaping the story in more ways than one.
The bakery in the novel is called ‘Adventures In Bread’, and one of the things that Bettina (the baker) does is invite suggestions for flavours of bread from her customers. So I’d love you to tell me: what’s the best bread you’ve eaten? Where? Why? What made it good? If you have a recipe for a bread that you love, you could let me know about that too, if you wanted to. (Just email me.)
And – what bread do you think would work well?
I’ve invented (well, I probably haven’t, I’m sure someone somewhere has already thought of it) Scarborough Fair Bread. No prizes for guessing the four herbs it contains.
In the meantime, my adventures in bread continue. I’ll keep you posted.