IT is not surprising that the titles of 13 of the food-themed chapters of Sheila Kiely’s debut novel Good Enough feature an accompanying recipe.
Sheila, businesswoman, food blogger, wife and mother to six children (including two sets of twins), has previously brought out two cook books, Gimme The Recipe and Enjoy!
“You can scroll down through the chapter names in Good Enough and find a recipe you may want to try out,” says Sheila, from Ballincollig, speaking about her new publication.
What is surprising is that this romance novel has an accompanying Spotify play-list, blog posts and Instagram reels so that the reader can enjoy a feast for the senses as they interactively engage with this story written for the modern world and become immersed in the main character, Eva’s, story.
“This novel has a multi-dimensional existence that the reader can experience and interact within the virtual world via a variety of social media platforms,” says Sheila, who helps run a food-safety consultancy business with her husband Denis.
The social media platforms are an added option for the reader to immerse themselves in the novel, the places it goes to, and the food element is an added bonus that creates a variety of scenes in the story.
BRINGING IT TO BOOK
How does Sheila view her debut novel that was under wraps for 18 years?
“Good Enough is a heart- warming romance for cosy nights in. It is a book written to ignite the romance in you,” says Sheila.
“The novel is perfect for holiday reading on cosy night in.”
When did Sheila write and invent such a unique project?
“I wrote a version of Good Enough 18 years ago when the kids were small at weekends and when we were on holidays. I have a degree in English and Geography and I worked in computer training and then took redundancy from that as there was a lot of travel involved. I began doing the administration for Denis’ business and that became my 9 to 5 job.”
Where was the book?
“It was sulking in a drawer!” says Sheila, laughing.
“I had submitted it to a publisher and got no reply. When I rang them up they said sorry, no, we haven’t looked at it.
“I wrote when Denis took the kids to his parents and did six hours work on Saturdays and Sundays. I enjoyed how the book evolved.”
SOMEONE WE CAN IDENTIFY WITH
Now Good Enough has enjoyed a second-coming to the book industry, with unique added elements to lure the reader.
What is it about?
“We are all striving and we struggle at times,” says Sheila. “We ask ourselves, are we good enough with what we’re doing? A lot can happen in a short space of time and for Eva the next 12 months changes everything. It’s been 12 years since she put her career on hold for her family and now she dreams of reclaiming a corner of the world for herself,” says Sheila.
“As events unfold that threaten her plans, will she be strong enough to persevere? The book is a little bit of unbelievable fiction that has a happy ending.”
The plot thickens.
“Eva has ambitious plans to return to work but when fate conspires to jeopardise her future, she has to dig deep to cope with current turmoil. Struggling to find resilience and strength to persevere, Eve turns to her friends for support.”
“On a quest to source unusual and beautiful objects for her start-up business, Eva risks it all as she sets off to Paris, the south of France and Massachusetts. Will she follow through and follow her heart?”
The reader can get a feel for the themes and the vibes of each chapter by enjoying specially curated Instagram reels, Spotify playlist and the Blog posts that accompany them.
How does that work?
“Each of the 20 chapters in the book has an accompanying blog-post and because our heroine Eva likes food, and she occasionally cooks, 13 of the themed chapters feature a recipe.
“The elements of food, music, fashion and home are all brought to life on accompanying social media platforms for a tactile reading experience like you’ve never had before,” says Sheila.
All the reader’s senses come into play while reading Good Enough.
“Enjoy a feast for the senses as you interactively engage with this romantic story,” says Sheila.
“There are 21 reels on Instagram, (bonus reel for chapter 20), and likewise 21 tracks on the Spotify playlist.”
How did Sheila’s cook-books come about?
“I used to run two or three mornings with a pal,” says Sheila.
“She asked me for recipes. We decided we needed a recipe book for people like us who were juggling various things and who needed real recipes for feeding the family.
“I did a food writing course as a hobby and Mercier Press brought out Gimme The Recipe in 2012 and Enjoy! in 2016. The social media side of things came from those books; Blog posts and Instagram.
“In Good Enough, there is a blog post for each chapter with links to gimmetherecipe in all 20 chapters, including one recipe for mulled wine. I had the idea to give another life to the book, another existence.
“For instance, you can look up Spotify on your phone and listen to the sound-track for a particular chapter.
“There are some beautiful songs in there, Like Tracey Chapman’s The Promise from the film The Notebook and then there are romantic ballads on the playlist. You can have the background music on while reading. Similarly, you can play the little clips or reels and see where Eva goes, to Paris or Boston where she finds an interior store. The reader can use the imagination while reading, looking at the reels and at the clothes and food. I think it is a unique new concept.”
Sheila’s sister Aileen thought Good Enough was a unique experience.
“She was blown away,” says Sheila.
“She listened to the sound tracks while she was reading the book on the tablet - it’s like a virtual world beyond the pages. The reader is very involved and I am getting nice feedback,” says Sheila.
She is delighted with her finished product that has so many dimensions to it.
“I did a lot of drafts, I won’t write another word until Easter. I’ll do normal things like clean my house!
“But I’m thrilled with Good Enough, and the fact that this time around the book is self-published. It’s really exciting.”
Good Enough is in Dubray Books, Patrick Street, online at Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Distributed by IngramSpark book-stores.
You will find the links to the books at:
20 Blog posts on gimmetherecipe - gimmetherecipe
21 songs on the Spotify playlist under Good Enough Novel
21 reels on Instagram (Chapter 20 gets a bonus song and reel) @ good_enough_novel