Writer’s Digest – April 14, 2021


My editor’s notes for the second Queenstown book – which, incidentally, has a title now, The Café On Beach Road – came back just before Easter. We got together (virtually speaking) last week to talk them through, and I have a really clear vision of where I’m going with this story.

Beach Road (as I refer to it) is sort of a sequel to Wish You Were Here and is also a sort of sequel to Happy Ever After (although I have further plans in store for Kate and Tom). It’s really lovely to be catching up with Max and Richie, Jess and Nathan, Milly and Fletch, and Kate and Tom – as well as the crew from Beach Road Café. It’s also been fabulous to travel back to Queenstown – even if it is just in my mind (at the moment anyway!).

To be honest, it’s one of my primary motivations in writing – I get to explore something than my own reality through my characters. It’s an opportunity to live in different countries (or cities, in the case of Melbourne); try out new occupations; run businesses and take risks that I certainly wouldn’t do in my normal life. Just as I read to escape, I write for the same reason – to take my imagination out for a spin.

Beach Road, the café, doesn’t exist in real life. In fact, there is no Beach Road in Queenstown – although there is a Beach Street that runs straight up the middle of Queenstown CBD. The café, though, is modelled on a real-life one – Vudu, in Rees Street, down on the lakefront. Beach Road Café is located here too – with an entrance on Rees Street and tables on the lakefront. 

Inside Vudu Cafe, Queenstown

While I’ve changed the décor, I’ve kept the mezzanine kitchen and the long communal table. I’ve added plenty of greenery, and an all-day breakfast menu comprised of fabulous breakfast dishes I’ve had from all sorts of places. There are pea (and courgette) fritters, the eggs bennie is served on crunchy hash browns, the avo smash comes with a side of fried eggplant, there are homemade crumpets with ricotta and honey, and broad bean smash makes an appearance too.

The counter is full of Kiwi-classic slices, cakes and scones, and massive glass jars are filled with cookies – one day it will be choc chip, another day will be jam drops or shortbread. The kitchen turns out a range of premade wraps and rolls with the sorts of fillings you wouldn’t normally see in a premade sandwich, and during the winter there’s always a big boiler of soup on the go. 

It’s the café of my dreams – and I’ve already begun posting recipes to BKD (or tagging previously posted recipes). There will be, of course, more to come. As they do, you’ll find them here.

Anyways, I’ve already booked in for copy editing for The Café On Beach Road, so have a tight timeframe to get this redraft done for structural editing. I do, however, really enjoy this rewrite and the next – the one coming out of the structural edit. It’s where the story and the characters really take shape. Scenes are cut (sometimes painfully), personalities and plotlines are fleshed out and texture is added. 

The best analogy for the process would be to say the first draft is a sketch; on the rewrite I get out my colouring pencils and do some colouring in; and following the structural edit, some shading is added.

I’m aiming for an October release so had better get my skates on.

Until next week…

Jo x