Fiona McIntosh: I didn’t want to have an affair, climb a mountain, jump off a cliff… so I switched careers.

by |October 19, 2016


Fiona McIntosh, author of The Chocolate Tin answers the Booktopia Book Gurus Five Facetious Questions:

1. Every writer spends at least one afternoon going from bookshop to bookshop making sure his or her latest book is facing out and neatly arranged. How far have you gone to draw attention to your own books in a shop?

I have offered my services at Christmas time, free of charge, to a bookselling chain.  Two major outlets took up my offer and so I was sort of a ‘celebrity’ sales assistant. The funny thing is my cunning plan failed because I was too embarrassed to even once mention my own books, but I had a brilliant couple of weeks hand selling all my competitors in the fantasy genre. I loved selling the books and beating budget daily but gosh, my feet ached at the end of the day!

2. So you’re a published author, almost a minor celebrity and for some reason you’ve been let into a party full of ‘A-listers’ – what do you do?

Without even a hint of shame I’d sleuth out the A-lister in the mood to turn movie producer!

3. Some write because they feel compelled to, some are Artists and do it for the Muse, some do it for the cash (one buck twenty a book) and some do it because they think it makes them more attractive to the opposite sex – why do you do write? (NB: don’t say -‘cause I can’t sing, tap or paint!)

Mid life crisis; didn’t want to have an affair, climb a mountain, jump off a cliff, buy a fast car, have a facelift… so I switched careers from full-on corporate to working quietly in our garden shed with my imagination for company. I realised I not only loved life, but I could make a go of this storytelling lark!


Fiona McIntosh with the chocolate tin that inspired the book.

4. Have you ever come to the end of writing a particularly fine paragraph, paused momentarily, chuffed with your own genius, only to find you’ve been sitting at the computer nude or with your dress half-way over your head or shaving cream on your face or toilet paper sticking out the back of your undies or paused to find that you’re singing We are the Champions at the top of your voice, having exchanged the words ‘we are’ for ‘I am’ and dropping an ‘s’? No? Well, what’s your most embarrassing writing moment?

Playing in a large overseas department store – in the computer section – and I wrote an opening line I knew I’d forget. Opening lines are so important! I ended up taking a photo of the screen and felt hugely self-conscious as staff were watching; I’m sure they were thinking I was committing some sort of IT theft. They hurried me on.

5. Rodin placed his thinker on the loo. Where and/or when do you seem to get your best ideas?

When I’m baking. Back of brain takes over and without fail story problems are solved, and sparkly new ideas emerge alongside the cake or pie, tart or muffins.

Thank you for playing, Fiona!


To celebrate Booktoberfest at Booktopia, order The Chocolate Tin by October 31st and you’ll go into the draw to win a fiction prize pack worth $1000! And if you order any book from the Booktoberfest showcase, you’ll go into the draw to win a year’s supply of books. That’s a $50 gift voucher every week – for an entire year!

The Chocolate Tin by Fiona McIntosh

The Chocolate Tin

by Fiona McIntosh

Alexandra Frobisher is a modern-thinking woman with hopes of a career in England's famous chocolate-making town of York. She has received several proposals of marriage, although none of them promises that elusive extra – love.

Matthew Britten-Jones is a man of charm and strong social standing. He impresses Alex and her parents with his wit and intelligence, but would an amicable union be enough for a fulfilling life together?

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About the Contributor

Anastasia Hadjidemetri is the former editor of The Booktopian and star of Booktopia's weekly YouTube show, Booked with Anastasia. A big reader and lover of books, Anastasia relishes the opportunity to bring you all the latest news from the world of books.


  • Priscilla Gormley

    October 24, 2016 at 11:22 pm

    At last! Someone asked interesting questions! None of the Where were you born…Schooled? etc.
    I have ordered The Chocolate Tin and look forward to it with enthusiasm. Fiona McIntosh is not only a brilliant author, she bakes the most heavenly-looking cakes I’ve ever seen. Thank you for an enjoyable interchange with her.

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