🍴Good morning, Francesca. What favourite food are you bringing to Sunday brunch?
I've brought poached eggs on toast, with some slices of avocado. I absolutely adore eggs.
🍴Would you like a pot of English breakfast tea, a strong Americano, or a glass of Bucks Fizz?
A nice warming cup of English breakfast would be very welcome, thank you.
🍴Where shall we eat brunch – around the kitchen table, in the formal dining room, or outside on the patio?
If the weather were better, I'd love to sit outside on the patio, but given how grim it is out there, sitting around the kitchen table would be far cosier.
🍴Shall we have music playing in the background? And if so will you share with us a favourite song or piece of music that makes you happy?
Music would be good. One of my favourite songs has always been the beautiful Gershwin number, Summertime, from Porgy and Bess. It has to have the full orchestral background. The Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong version is a good one. Even in the midst of winter, it makes me think of walking on a beach on a balmy summer day.
🍴Which of your literary heroes (dead or alive) are joining us for Sunday Brunch today?
I've brought along Frodo Baggins, from The Lord of the Rings. As much as I enjoyed Peter Jackson's films, I think he made Frodo a little wimpish and missed the opportunity to show his real heroism and the sacrifices he made. He showed how the smallest and seemingly least important of people can make a real difference.
🍴Which favourite book will you bring to Sunday Brunch?
It would have to be The Herb of Grace by Elizabeth Goudge. It's the middle book of the Elliots of Damerosehay series, and the one I read first, before I realised there were two others. It's always remained my favourite. It's so beautifully written and transports me back to the time (the late 40s) and place of the wonderful mediaeval inn featured, which, when seen through the eyes of the children, is particularly magical. The characterisation is wonderful.
🍴When you are writing do you still find time to read for pleasure? And is there a book you would like to read but haven’t had time for …yet!
I don't get to read fiction as much as I'd like when I'm writing, as I tend to read a lot of research books. Having said that, I enjoy reading most of them, so I suppose you could say I'm still reading for pleasure! On my shelves I have a number of books I've still to read, in particular a few by Santa Montefiore.
🍴What’s the oldest book on your book shelf?
It's The Windsor Magazine, Volume XX, June to November 1904, which is a compilation of the Windsor Magazines. It belonged to my parents, who picked it up at a jumble sale back in the 1960s. It's full of short stories and articles of the time and a real dip into the past.
🍴Where do you find the inspiration for your novels?
All sorts of places. My very first (unpublished) novel, a YA set in a café, was inspired by my own childhood and teens in my father's café, as was one of my unpublished contemporaries and a series I had published in The People's Friend, Happy Days at the Criterion. The Valleys series was inspired by my great grandfather Hugh Morgan's World War 1 record, which popped up one day on Ancestry as a 'Hint'.
🍴Have you a favourite place to settle down to write and do you find it easier to write in winter or summer?
Recently I've taken to writing in the dining room, as I have a view of the garden from there and the table is bigger than my desk in the study. In the summer I like to sit in the garden. I much prefer writing in the summer than the winter. It's because of the longer, lighter days. And it's warmer!
🍴When writing to a deadline are you easily distracted and if so how do you bring back focus on your writing?
Deadlines tend to make me more focussed, so I find it easier to complete my writing tasks when I have one.
🍴Give us four essential items that a writer absolutely needs?
Patience, realism, tenacity and flexibility. Writing a book or short story a publisher wants can take a long time, often years. You need to have the ability to soldier on, be realistic as to how good your writing really is, not take offence at critiquing and suggestions and be willing to edit what you've written to make it publishable.
🍴What can you tell us about your latest novel or your current work in progress?
My latest novel is War in the Valleys, the second of the Valleys series, focussing on Violet's story, and takes place between July 1916 and August 1917. Violet, with two small children and little money coming in, takes in a relative to help ends meet, but it turns out to be a really bad idea…
🍴More about Francesca 🍴
Several years ago, Francesca Capaldi pursued a childhood dream and joined a creative writing class. Lots of published short stories and four pocket novels later, she’s now explored her mother’s ancestral history for a series of novels set in a Welsh colliery village. A history graduate and former teacher, she hails from the Sussex coast but now lives in Kent with her family and a cat called Lando Calrissian.
🍴Francesca, where can we follow you on social media?🍴