I am a sucker for going out to eat. I love to do it, try new restaurants and revisit favorites. Since I am on Weight Watchers, I am more concious of where I go and what I eat...but when I write about my characters they always eat. And sometimes, it's not the healthy meal they should be eating.
(I am writing this blog as I eat an apple and some almonds for my breakfast!)
Years ago, when "Twilight" and "Breaking Dawn" were huge I remember reading an interview with Stephenie Meyer. She said that Bella was like a daughter to her (and was the name she would have given one of her children if she had a girl) so she needed to make sure Bella ate. When I reread the series, I noticed she had indeed fed Bella! That stuck in my head and with my own writing, I make sure my characters eat. Since I like to write YA/New Adult--and at least one character is in high school--there are the typical cafeteria scenes. I have them snack at home, eat a dinner or pop in a frozen pizza. When they go out to dinner with friends, I always have a specific restaurant in my head (even though I don't mention it by name in the story) and the characters order my favorite dishes from there.
Great conversations, personal stories, secrets and revelations happen when friends get together to eat and I find it's a great way for a long conversation to happen in a book. There aren't a lot of distractions, they are focused on each other and there is minimal movement to describe. It's also an easy way to talk about the time of day or mark the passage of a specific span of time.
When "Lane Changes" is finally published (no date yet) you'll see the typical cafeteria scene, friends ordering pizza, best friends eating pasta, snacking on bowls of grapes and having a soda. Americans love their food and so do my characters!