Spring Author Series: Nicky Wells

Why my heroine is a seafood addict!

“And I will have the salmon capers and the scallop and lobster ravioli,”  Sophie announces gleefully when we meet her in one of the first chapters of my rock star romance, Sophie’s Turn.  Sophie consumes quite a lot of lobster in the course of the novel, alongside prawns and other assorted crustaceans.  A couple of reviewers commented that Sophie’s choices made them positively salivating at the thought of all that lovely food.

And there’s a reason for that.  I love seafood, in particular shellfish.  Always have done.  I don’t often get to indulge, so when I started researching locations for Sophie’s Turn, I discovered that I could live vicariously—through Sophie.  What I couldn’t afford on a day-to-day basis, she could consume whenever she wanted, as long as she was with Dan.  If that’s not a reason to keep their romance going, what is?

It all started with prawns.  When I grew up, prawns were an unknown ingredient in my Mum’s cooking, and as a child I believed that prawns were only something you could get in restaurants.  I remember an unforgettable occasion when my then boyfriend’s family took us all out for a fancy meal in an Italian restaurant, and I had a prawn cocktail for starters.  The restaurant served this dish in an enormous glass overflowing with fat juicy prawns.  Apparently, I was so transported by culinary delight that the host encouraged me to have another one, just to witness my ongoing joy and excitement (needless to say, I didn’t turn it down!).

Prawns remained a luxury item in my life until I started working in London.  Young, professional, single, with a flat of her own and a supermarket with a fresh fish counter nearby, I suddenly discovered out of the blue that you can just buy prawns, just like that, whenever they take your fancy.  That summer, I had a dish involving prawns four nights every week.  Talk about making up for lost time!

Shortly after that, I got more adventurous and ventured into mussels.  Most people in my family have had adverse reactions to mussels and I had been advised, in no uncertain terms, that mussels are almost certainly poisonous, possibly deadly, and quite reasonably the food of the devil.  Oh no, not so, not for me!  I took the plunge, and I love them.  Give me a big pot of moules marinière any day, preferably with a nice crisp white wine on the side.

Next to enter my repertoire was the lobster, and I have my now husband to thank for that.  The first meal he ever prepared for me involved a starter of lobster, cooked by him in the kitchen of his shared flat.  We were only just dating at that time, and he had gone all out on providing a fancy dinner.  The lobster was the starter!  Blushingly, and just a smidgen embarrassed, I admitted to never having had lobster before.  Needless to say, that only heightened his glee at cooking a fancy meal for me.  Until the moment arrived when he had to take the lobster out of its shell.  Ambitious in taste, sophistication and culinary achievement, my lovely husband had neglected to avail himself of the necessary tools.  In the end, a hammer, a chisel and a skewer featured prominently in the undressing of the poor lobster.  We’ve had many a lobster since, but we still don’t own the requisite tools (although we have moved on from the hammer-and-chisel solution).

An episode of Masterchef introduced me to scallops.  I was intrigued by the recipe of pan-fried scallops on crisped pancetta with wild rocket, promptly tried it at home, and began a love affair that has lasted ever since.

Last but not least, I also discovered crabs.  They’re probably my least favourite seafood (apart from squid, which is the one thing I cannot stand!), being somewhat dry and stringy.  Yes, I know, I’m a philistine!  But I’ve come to the conclusion that you’re either a lobster girl or a crab girl, and I’m definitely a lobster girl.  That said, I’m quite partial to a nicely dressed fresh-crab sandwich (on white, if you please) with a crisp salad and a nice cold glass of wine.

Believe it or not, there is an occasion where I managed to consume all of the above (and more) in one single meal.  My husband and I spent a week in Brittany and we had been recommended this local restaurant that apparently did a nice line in fish.  Of course we were off in a flash to go explore.  We found the L’Auberge but would never have ventured inside, had we not been assured it was a bona fide restaurant, not a roadside truck driver’s hangout.  Inside, it was all starched white linen cloths and silver service.  With us being on a sort of belated honeymoon and this being the highlight meal of the trip, we treated ourselves to the five-course meal à la carte.  I had curried scallops for starters (the best I ever had, ever!), followed by langoustines, followed by a fish whose name I can’t recall (it having been in French), followed by another fish ditto, followed by lobster.  The staff were scandalised at this excessively fishy order—one was supposed to have some sort of meat course, as well, but we didn’t care.  Of course what we didn’t know was that there would be an amuse-bouche between every course:  tiny dishes of fishy delicacies.

You reckon I was fished out?  You reckon it was too much?  Oh no, you couldn’t be more wrong.  Never mind the locals’ reactions, this dinner ranks hands down as one of the most amazing meals I ever had in my entire life.  I just hope that when we get to go back sometime in the dim and distant future the restaurant will still be there.

And now you know why Sophie eats so much seafood!

About Nicky Wells:  Romance that Rocks Your World!

Nicky Wells writes fun and glamorous contemporary romance featuring a rock star and the girl next door.  Nicky loves rock music, dancing, and eating lobsters (told ya!).  When she’s not writing, Nicky is a wife, mother, and teaching assistant.  Nicky is also a featured author and editor with the innovative reader/author project, loveahappyending.com.

Originally born in Germany, Nicky moved to the United Kingdom in 1993, and currently lives in Bristol with her husband and their two boys.  In a previous professional life, Nicky worked as a researcher and project manager for an international Human Resources research firm based in London and Washington, D.C.

Visit Nicky on her blog where you can find articles, interviews, radio interviews and, of course, an ongoing update on her work in progress, the second and third parts of the Rock Star Romance Trilogy.  You can also follow Nicky on Twitter and find her on Facebook.


About Sophie’s Turn—Coming from Sapphire Star Publishing on 6 September 2012!

One fine day in Paris, Sophie Penhalligan suddenly finds herself engaged to her teenage crush and love-of-her-life-from-a-distance, rock singer and star extraordinaire Dan Hunter.  But there is the small matter of her very recent, but very prior, engagement to Tim.  Reliable, honest, trusting Tim, her boyfriend of two years stashed away safely in his mews house in South Kensington while Sophie is drinking rather too much champagne with Dan in Paris.  This contemporary romantic fairy tale describes how Sophie gets into her impossible situation and how she turns it around.



17 thoughts on “Spring Author Series: Nicky Wells

  1. Why am I not surprised that you scandalised the staff at that restaurant? Doesn’t sound fishy at all … ha! ha! Can’t wait to see the newly polished Sophie on 6 September 2012! Congrats.

    1. Hi Linn! This is when I confess to more fishy transgressions! Not too recently, I decided to have the most fantastic prawn starter for starters… and then again for pudding, in my favourite Mexican restaurant. The staff thought it was hilarious, but I was in heaven. Thanks for stopping by and saying hi!

  2. Wow… my mouth is watering… and you look so well on it! Sophie’s Turn sounds like it is going to be a gourmet’s treat. Good luck with the launch in September. x

    1. Hi Harriet, what’s that they say about fish being good for you? Think of all that Omega 3 (do prawns contain that stuff?)–no miracle I’m a bright spark! **just kidding** thanks for stopping by! 🙂

  3. Funny how little bits of ourselves sneak into our books, maybe without realising until afterwards.

    Always fun to read Nicky’s posts. Thank you both.

    Sue x

    1. awww Thanks Sue, glad you enjoyed the post! Can’t say now, honestly, whether all that seafood in Sophie’s Turn snuck in without me noticing… or was quite deliberate? All I know is, I had the best time writing it and we had a lot of prawns then. Yes, despite my pregnancy! (Don’t tell any medical people or I’ll get my wrists slapped….)

  4. Squid… Ugh! And octopus – even worse! Chew, chew. The rest, you have me drooling, Nicky. Fancying crab on white for lunch. Love it! 🙂 x

    1. Sheryl, we’re obviously two of a kind! Hope you enjoyed your lunch. Can just see you catching your own seafood treats sitting on your fab narrowboat in the future… quite the life! X

  5. Had me positively drooling reading this. Reminded me as a child coming home from dancing class and buying a pint of prawns (yes, they were sold in pints then) to peel and eat on the way home. I’ve never had lobster though. Am looking forward to reading Sophie’s Turn when it re-emerges from it’s current shell. Great post!

    1. A pint of prawns? My idea of heaven! You **have** to remedy the lobster deficiency, there’s nothing quite like it. Take thee to the seaside and buy them fresh off the boat (cooked, obviously) for a tenner. Heaven! Love the pun… XX Thanks for stopping by!

  6. What a sea odyssey! Made me laugh out loud – but also get very envious, as, unfortunately, since I developed a shellfish allergy a few years ago, I can no longer enjoy all of these things that used to make me so happy. I’ll just have to live out these dream menus through Sophie (and Nicky).

    1. Of course, I remember that allergy developing! So sorry to ramble on about all these tempting treats. Mind you, I thought I’d had it too when I came out in a big massive rash of hives after eating prawns when I was first pregnant, but greed won over and I defied the allergy. (I was probably just lucky) (dumb lucky, even). Thanks for stopping by, Marina, it’s always so lovely to see you! XX

  7. Nicky, you are so much fun to read. I hate (with a capital H) any kind of seafood, yet I loved this post. I love hearing the little insights about why characters are a certain way. Thanks so much for sharing!

    1. Hi Dana, it’s lovely to see you here, thanks for stopping by! So sorry to hear you **H**ate seafood, gulp! Please wear your indulgent hat when you read Sophie’s Turn… and I’ll try and introduce more meat courses for Sophie and Dan in future books!! 🙂 xx

  8. Hi Stephanie, thanks so much for hosting me as a Spring Author today. I had the best time visiting with you and guess what… am celebrating with a big helping of prawns (even if it’s not quite a pint) and a nice glass of white. Cheers! Love your blog and hope to visit again in the future. Take care now! X 🙂

    1. Thanks Nicky! I am so glad you could visit! You are welcome anytime! I’ve gotten out the white too, although I’ll pass on the prawns. 🙂

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