I'm thrilled to introduce Susanne Winnacker, author of the YA thriller The Other Life (Usborne) which has already debuted in the UK this month, but will be coming to North America in May.Susanne studied law before she became a full-time writer. She lives with her husband, a dog and four bunnies in the Ruhrgebiet, Germany. She loves coffee (in every shape and form), traveling and animals. She also blogs for The League of Extraordinary Writers.
What's your typical day of eating look like and how does it fit into your writing? Do you cook much, and if so, what sort of foods do you like to prepare?
After I return from my morning walk with my dog, I drink a cup of coffee with milk (I used to add a teaspoon of sugar but I stopped a while ago because I realized I don’t really need it) and then I eat curd or yogurt with oranges and granola. I often check my emails and Twitter/Facebook while I have breakfast. For lunch I mostly eat a slice of bread with some cheese. That’s practical because I don’t have to stop editing or writing to eat a sandwich. I drink another cup of coffee in the afternoon and eat a banana or clementines. And in the evening I cook dinner for my husband and me. I always cook. I hate convenience food. I really love to cook pasta with homemade sauces (tomato-basil or bolognaise or mushroom or gorgonzola), oriental meals with couscous, hummus and falafel, roulades, Indian or Thai dishes and many other things. I love to try new things.
The Other Life is about characters who are foraging for food after an apocalypse. How did you tap into their experience?
I love to eat, so the thought of having to live without all the dishes and food I love was scary. For me, food is such an important part of life that it seems almost impossible to eat only canned corned beef or soup for years.
Now that The Other Life is out, do you have much time to eat? Have you had any amazing celebratory meals? Your tea party launch looked lovely—can you tell us a little bit about that?
Since I’m a full-time writer, I can still make enough time for cooking and eating – which is really fortunate. Of course, I sometimes forget to eat or drink when I’m in writing mode but that doesn’t happen very often. I didn’t really have a celebratory meal but I’ve had a few great meals since my book came out in the UK. My tea party was very British since it took place in London. My UK publisher organized it for me and we had wonderful food. There were scones with clotted cream and strawberry jam, all kinds of sandwiches, apple pie, trifle, chocolate cake and, of course, tea!
What kinds of meals or flavors inspire you most?
I have many cookbooks and I love browsing through them for inspiration. I really love the Asian kitchen but recently I’ve been very inspired by Oriental spices and have been trying to prepare dinners with them.
You're a world traveler, it sounds like. What are some of your favorite restaurants around the world? How about locally where you live?
Yes, my husband and I travel a lot and, because we both love good food, we always try to eat at fine dining restaurants at our destination. My favorite restaurants are Jean Georges in New York (USA), Spiced Pear in Newport (USA), Ignite in the Dove Mountain Resort near Tucson (USA), La Rive in Amsterdam (Netherlands), Joel Robuchon in London (England), Carpe Diem in Salzburg (Austria), Rickshaw Restaurant in Budapest (Hungary), L’Ortolan in Gozo (Malta), Brook in Hamburg (Germany)… Locally we love to eat at the SaRangBang, a fabulous Korean restaurant, the Gallo, an innovative Italian restaurant, and the Side, a Turkish restaurant.
A friend is down in the dumps about a rejection from an editor—what dish would you give them to cheer them up?
Either a delicious chocolate mousse or a chocolate soufflé. I think chocolate always helps!
Now for the signature Pots and Pens question: If you had to choose a single book and a single food item, desert island style, what would you pick?
That’s so difficult! I guess I’d choose chocolate because it provides lots of calories and is delicious (and maybe I can find healthy fruits on the island!). The book would be Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire!
What recipe are you going to share with us? Tell us a little bit about it!
I’m going to share a White Chocolate Mousse with you because it’s easy to make and because it’s delicious. You’ll need 400g ( 15 ounces) good white chocolate, 400 ml (2 cups) whipping cream, 400g sour cream (1 ¾ cups), 1 vanilla bean.
You’ll have to melt the chocolate slowly over a water bath. Make sure that the chocolate doesn’t get too hot! Once it’s melted and not too warm, you can add the sour cream and the scraped seeds of the vanilla bean. Fold in whipped cream. Enjoy! It serves 4, maybe even 6.