Jun 16, 2015

Australia Week: An Interview With Josephine Moon

1) Could you tell a bit about yourself? 

Josephine Moon is the internationally bestselling author of The Tea Chest, which was shortlisted for the Matt Richell Award for New Writer at the 2015 Australian Book Industry Awards. The Chocolate Apothecary is her second novel.

She was born in Brisbane, Australia, but has recently achieved her lifelong dream of moving to acreage on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, where she is a short drive to the beach, and lives with her husband and young son, seven horses, two goats, two dogs and three cats. She is resisting the urge to have chickens but knows it is only a matter of time before she caves in.

To connect with Josephine and find out more about her writing and forthcoming novels, visit her at:

2) You write about delicious food, what makes the combination food and fiction such a great one?

I love writing about food because I am passionate about it myself and really interested in the nurturing aspects of food, of the ethical nature of food production, of the beauty of food and the artistic expressions it enables. Everyone has to eat, and everyone has strong memories (either good or bad) attached to food. It is a universal theme and so much emotion is attached to food. And each piece of food has so many entry points to a story and character, from the person who grows it, right down the chain to the when we eat it and enjoy it. So from that perspective, it provides a rich web of entry to find a story.

3) Christmas is good at making chocolate and she knows everything about it, did you have to do much research and how did you get the idea to give her this profession?

Being creative with food, and combining food and healing, are two big passions of mine, so it's a natural place for me to start with a character. My first book, The Tea Chest, had a woman who was a tea designer at the heart of the story. I drew on a lot of my knowledge and study of aromatherapy and herbs to help her make her brews and did that once again for The Chocolate Apothecary. I did heaps of research on chocolate itself (and ate a lot in the process!), I did a chocolate making workshop to learn how to temper chocolate and work with it as an artisan, and I travelled to the north of Australia to visit a cacao farm and see the trees and the pods and taste the flesh and beans inside. I really wanted to know where chocolate came from, starting with the trees and ending with gorgeous handmade delicacies.

4) The Chocolate Apothecary is part set in France, part in Tasmania, do you have a connection to both places?

I fell in love with Tasmania on my first visit there and declared I would set a novel there one day. Soon after, my dad and stepmother bought a cottage not far from Evandale (the town in which the book is mostly set), so I had a lot of time to hang around and absorb life there. It's a special place for me. I've been to Paris, only for a few days, but absolutely LOVED it so much. And I think you can really feel that love for Paris when you read those particular scenes in the book.

5) One of the lessons being taught in this book is how to use all of your senses, it's such an important lesson to learn. How/where did you learn it?

A wise friend educated me on that one; it helped me through a difficult time and it's something I try to remember whenever life gets a bit tricky.

6) What's your favourite kind of chocolate?

I'm not really a fan of flavoured chocolate as such so, generally speaking, I like my chocolate straight up, dark, 70% minimum cacao. I do really enjoy roasted almonds in it, and I love anything to do with roses so naturally do love rose milk chocolate for a special treat. But having eaten so much chocolate as research for the book, my palette has truly changed. These days, I simply can't eat most of what you find in a supermarket, unless it's up on the top shelf! :)

7) Christmas is afraid to get hurt and she does everything she can to make other people happy which makes her the perfect romantic heroine and chocolate shop owner. What do you like most about her? 

I just love her, really. All of her. I'd like her as my friend :) I love how creative she is and how she's willing to look beyond what a situation is and look towards what it could be, even it means going well beyond her comfort zone. I love how connected she is to her family despite all the awkwardness. And I love that she has real vision for her own life and the world.

8) What are your favourite Australian books?

So many! But here's a few:

The Husband's Secret (Liane Moriarty)
At Home with the Templetons (Monica McInerney)
Evergreen Falls (Kimberley Freeman)

9) What's your favourite place in Australia?

Noosa! And I am very blessed to have fulfilled my lifelong dream of living on the Sunshine Coast, just twenty minutes away from Noosa (world-class beaches, national park, amazing food, sunshine and warm for three-quarters of the year, outdoor lifestyle, arts festivals... everything I love!).

10) Where do you find inspiration?

I follow my passion and curiosity and do lots of research (books, photos, Instagram, internet, location visits, talk to people) and wait to see which characters turn up an where I'm being drawn to go. I very much start with a vague idea about what I think I'll be writing and then my characters always take it in surprising directions.

Thank you so much for inviting me to be part of your Australia Week. It's a pleasure to be here :)

1 comment:

  1. Hi Josephine,

    Lovely to read about your latest book. I really enjoyed your debut novel so can't wait to read this :-)

    Hope all is well over there in Australia.
    Helen J Rolfe.


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