Nicole Meier is the author of the new novel The Second Chance Supper Club. She also has written The Girl Made of Clay and The House of Bradbury, and her work has appeared in a variety of publications, including The Oregonian and Cascade Journal. She lives in the Pacific Northwest.
Q: How did you come up with the idea for The Second Chance Supper Club, and for your characters Julia and Ginny?
A: Two years ago, I walked out of an indie film festival and had one clear thought; I was going to write a story inspired by what I’d just seen. I was so taken by one film that I frantically exited the theater that afternoon to type what would soon become the rough synopsis of my novel.
The concept of the movie, underground dining, was a new one to me – clandestine gatherings of foodies filling quiet little speakeasies around the country, where chefs ignited their passion for cooking in non-traditional spaces.
The film was a raw look at the life of a determined chef and the high-pressure environment this scenario created. Through the story, I was introduced to a new subculture of food enthusiasts and their community.
I began conceiving a narrative of a passionate female chef forced to sacrifice many things, one of which being her personal relationships. And, because I adore writing women’s fiction, I envisioned a culinary-themed drama with a family of strong women at the center.
Born from these threads of inspiration came The Second Chance Supper Club. In it, two estranged sisters reunite in an emotional novel of family, forgiveness, lost hope, and new beginnings.
Q: As you mentioned, the novel focuses on the relationship between sisters. Why did you choose to explore that dynamic, and how would you describe the relationship between your two characters?
A: I love a good sisters story. Being one of four siblings myself, I can really understand the complex dynamics of family. Sometimes we don't always agree with the decision-making process of a loved one, but we want to support them despite this.
I brought this concept into Julia and Ginny's story. The women have been estranged, but they need one another. The book explores what forgiveness and second chances look like in such a scenario.
Q: Did you need to do any research on restaurants and supper clubs to write the novel?
A: Yes! I did lots of research online. Culinary videos are the best. I was entranced with all of the amazing recipes.
Q: What do you hope readers take away from the book?
A: I hope my readers are both entertained and touched. This book is ultimately about the bonds of family and what it means to forgive and reconnect.
Q: What are you working on now?
A: A writer is always writing. My next project will still be about relationships, but this time it focuses on deep friendships. That's all I can say for now.
Q: Anything else we should know?
A: I love hearing from readers! Whether it be in the form of a book review or just reaching out on social media. You can usually find me on Twitter and Instagram.
--Interview with Deborah Kalb