Guest Post: Belinda Missen Talks About Her Hometown, Inverleigh

Hey Everyone!

I'm super excited to have Belinda Missen, Author of A Recipe for Disaster, as a guest today! 

She's going to tell us a lot about her hometown, Inverleigh, which also acts as a backdrop for her book! 

But before that, introductions!

Belinda Missen is an award-winning and best-selling author, screenwriter, and freelance writer from Geelong, Australia.

A reader from an early age, Belinda began writing her own stories shortly after her love affair with Steven Spielberg’s film Jurassic Park began. What began as fan-fiction soon took deeper root, and she was scribbling out strange little stories in empty notebooks she found laying around the house.

With qualifications in transport and office administration, and a combined career of fifteen years in these industries, Belinda decided to uproot everything in 2013 and return to her first love of writing. She now writes full-time, between cups of coffee, binge watching television, and feeding her cats and husband.

In April 2016, she was awarded the JOLT Courthouse Youth Arts Award in the Inspire 26+ Category for her piece Obsession.

In February 2017, her book Love And Other Midnight Theories clawed its way to the top of the Amazon charts in its category of Performing Arts, beating JK Rowling’s Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. True story – she has the screenshots to prove it.

When not dabbling in the written word, Belinda can be found mentoring other writers, beta-reading, reviewing, helping others to ready books for publication, and sleeping. In the digital world, she can be found online at Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.

Inverleigh – The recipe for a novel
Belinda Missen

Located ninety minutes south-west of Melbourne, Inverleigh is the setting for A Recipe for Disaster. When it became clear to me that I was going to write a book set in my home town, I began wandering around, searching for locations, ideas, and inspiration. What was my story going to look like? Where were Lucy and Oliver going to live? And just what were they planning on doing with their lives?
Inverleigh Hotel – just one of our local bluestone buildings. (Image: Visit Victoria)

While town history is a little sketchy, Inverleigh has been inhabited in one form or another by western settlers since the early 1800s. We’re a town of bluestone buildings and miner’s cottages, reclaimed bakeries, and a disused train station, though this avid train traveller would love to see trains stopping here again.
There’s a certain romance to miner’s cottages. They’re small and cosy, and would be the perfect, affordable way for a young couple beginning their married life together. It made sense that Lucy would still live there. Our local primary school provided the perfect job for her, for a short time anyway.
Another layer to life in Inverleigh is our love of food and wine. Inverleigh finds itself tucked inside the Golden Plains Shire, surrounded by farm land and vineyards ripe for the plucking. While it wasn’t one of the things that drew me to the area ten years ago, it’s certainly one of the things that keeps me here now. Our new-found food and wine culture was one of the huge inspirations for A Recipe for Disaster.
What was once Red Door Café is now Sonny, and you’re lucky if you can find a table there on the weekend. Full of fresh local produce, you want to try the eggs on sourdough toast with smashed avocado and Meredith goat’s cheese. Meredith is another small rural town approximately twenty minutes from Inverleigh, still part of the Golden Plains Shire, and still producing some amazing cheese and wines.

Inverleigh Bakehouse (Image: Visit Victoria)

Inverleigh Bakehouse offers a more casual affair, serving up pies, pasties, and an ever-changing range of slices, cakes, breads, and local produce. While this wasn’t a direct inspiration for A Recipe for Disaster, it certainly helped to have something like this on my doorstep when pondering just what kind of cooking trouble Lucy and Oliver might get themselves into.
Our local pub was closed for several years while it underwent an extensive renovation. Now that it’s open again, and a thriving hub of activity, I pictured it as somewhere Oliver would go on a Friday night, only to be swamped like the local celebrity that he is, before walking home or past Lucy’s place.
That ability to walk to and from locations was a huge draw to me, and one of the things I love about being here. It can be a quick phone call in the morning and within minutes, I’m walking up the street to visit someone for a coffee, to fix a website, or to have a cheeky pint at the pub for lunch. And, as you walk through our streets, you can see that there is still a lot of older architecture, which helps lend Inverleigh to that small-town romance vibe.
The suspension bridge that Lucy complains about is a bridge that I walk over almost daily. It crosses the Leigh River and leads to the new estate on the hill, where houses are more likely to be of a more sprawling, magazine-style layout. Still, everything is within easy walking distance – perfect for late-night rendezvous and quick catch ups.

More than anything, I hope that I’ve done a good enough job of describing what is a beautifully quiet town. There aren’t a lot of us living here, and I sometimes wonder if we’re a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it type of town. But, if you ever find yourself in this part of Victoria, stop at the pub, the bakery, or the General Store. Better yet, see if you can work out who I am. I’ll make you a cuppa and a slice of cake.

Genre: Contemporary Romance. 

Meet Lucy, master wedding cake baker, idealistic school canteen crusader, and someone whose broken heart just won’t seem to mend…
Lucy is quietly confident that she has made the right choices in life. Surrounded by friends and family in a small country town, Lucy can easily suppress the feeling that something is missing from her life.
But when a blast from the past arrives in the form of her estranged husband, international celebrity chef Oliver Murray, Lucy’s carefully constructed life begins to crumble beneath her like overbaked meringue.
Is Oliver’s return all business or is it motivated by something more?
A Recipe for Disaster starts long after most love stories would have ended, proving it is never too late to offer someone a second slice of cake or a second chance.
Perfect for fans of Carole Mathews, Mhairi McFarlane and Carrie Hope Fletcher.

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