I’m thrilled to have Virginia Franken with me on Seeing the Lighter Side today to answer a few of my burning questions about her hilarious debut novel, Life After Coffee.
Life After Coffee follows the parenting fails of Amy O’Hara who has been thrown in the deep end of parenting after she loses her high-powered coffee-buying job.
When Amy’s husband (until now a SAHD) steps up to try and fill the family income void, Amy is left to try and figure out how to parent her 3-year-old daughter and 5-year-old son. She quickly discovers that navigating dense jungles and third-world politics is easier than navigating preschooler meltdowns and the mummy wars.
Fun fact: It turns out Virginia Franken had never even drunk coffee before she started writing the book! You’ll be please to know she’s now as hooked as the rest of us.
Q: Why did you decide on ‘coffee buyer’ for Amy’s career? And how did you get all the rich, detailed information about the coffee industry? (I learned so much!)
Virginia: The reason I chose coffee was that I was looking to dramatize the conflict of a mum with extreme work/life balance issues, and I thought of a friend of mine who traveled the world setting up coffee franchises for a major chain. She loved the job and was the family breadwinner, but the incessant globetrotting meant she was missing her kid’s childhood. So she quit.
Initially I kind of ran away and hid from the idea as I knew nothing about coffee at all, and it seemed like such a vast subject. But I did find it interesting and then as I started the research, I quickly became infatuated with the stuff.
The first time I drunk a proper cup I literally heard angels singing and had this insane moment of euphoria – baristas call it the “Godshot moment.”
I was like: So this is what all the fuss is about. And now I’m hooked just like everyone else. The weird thing is that before I wrote the novel I didn’t even drink coffee!
So I basically read a bunch of books and watched a lot of YouTube videos, but probably the most helpful research was just going to fancy coffee stores and hanging out there, creepily watching the baristas while they worked.
I also bought a bunch of coffee equipment in the quest to make the perfect cup of coffee at home. I’m still working on it but I can make a pretty mean brew at this point!
Q: Reading your book feels like having coffee with a friend and listening to them tell you great stories. I notice you also blog – which came first: blogging or fiction writing?
Virginia: Good question, but a surprisingly hard one to answer! Technically the blogging came first, though I very first started writing on a different blog from my current tumblr – www.virginiafranken.com. The old blog has since been abandoned!
I kind of trailed off with blogging for a couple of years and then when I returned to writing, it was to Life After Coffee. And then after I wrote my novel, I decided I’d start blogging again, so I guess I’m all over the shop!
Q: You’ve said ‘If enough people buy a copy, there’s a good chance [I]’ll write another…’ Have you sold enough copies to start writing another book? (Please say yes!)
Virginia: Ha! I’m actually too chicken to look at the sales figures and have no idea how many copies have sold. I saw that I’m in and out of the top ten for Humor on Kindle downloads so I’m taking that as a good sign for now!
But rest assured, even if it’s only my mother and her best friend who buy the novel, I am busy working on the next one!
Virginia Franken’s hilarious debut novel, Life After Coffee, was released by Lake Union Publishing in September 2016. It’s since made the best seller list for Humour, and with good reason. Read my review here.
Buy your copy of Life After Coffee:
- Life After Coffee – Paperback (Booktopia)
- Life After Coffee – ebook (Kindle)
- Life After Coffee – audiobook (Audible)
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