On this quiet Sunday morning why don't you put the kettle on, make your favourite breakfast, and settle down for Sunday Brunch with Jaffareadstoo
Thank you so much, Jo, for inviting me to Sunday brunch. My tum is rumbling as I write.
What favourite food are you bringing to Sunday brunch?
I’m rather partial to scrambled eggs but I’m not sure how they would travel so I’ll bring warm, fresh croissants.
Would you like a pot of English Breakfast tea, a strong Americano, or a glass of Bucks Fizz?
Please can I have a black Americano but not too strong.
Which of your literary heroes are joining us today?
I’d love to sit next to Agatha Christie’s Captain Hastings. I’m sure he’d be a charming fellow with stories to tell, but also a gentleman who would include me in the conversation.
What’s the title of the book nearest to you?
To answer this, I’ve glanced at the bookcase at my right shoulder and the first book I’ve spotted is Roget’s II: The New Thesaurus. I make heavy use of the thesaurus on my laptop, but occasionally I need Roget to help me out with the perfect word.
What’s the oldest book on your book shelf?
The oldest book on the same bookcase is a Chamber’s English Dictionary that was published in 1914. It belonged to my husband’s grandparents and proved invaluable when I was writing my novel, Gallipoli: Year of Love and Duty, based on his grandmother’s experiences as a nurse during the First World War. To create an authentic narrative, I only used vocabulary and expressions that appeared in the dictionary.
Which book do you really want to read but haven’t had time for …yet!
Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys. It’s set in New Orleans in 1950 and has been on my To Read list for a long time. I loved the author’s Young Adult novels Between Shades of Gray (about Stalinist brutality against Lithuanians) and Salt to the Sea (about the sinking of the Wilhelm Gustloff). She is brilliant at evoking emotion, atmosphere and setting so I want to read Out of the Easy when I have a block of time and can really savour it.
Do you have a guilty reading pleasure, and if so will you tell us about it?
Reading is entirely guilt-free for me. I like what I like. Some of my favourite books are by Isabel Allende, Maeve Binchy, Agatha Christie, Friedrich Dürrenmatt, Mark Haysom, Khaled Hosseini, Rachel Joyce, Jojo Moyes, Barbara, Pym Louis Sachar, Anita Shreve, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn and Mary Webb.
When I was a school librarian, I encouraged children to read whatever they enjoyed and spent many hours explaining this to teachers and parents who wanted me to recommend something more “challenging”. The quickest way to turn a child off reading is to dictate what book they can and can’t read in their spare time.
If the house was on fire which book would you rescue?
Probably the 1914 Chamber’s English Dictionary I’ve already mentioned. If not, then my Collins German Dictionary. I bought it with the book voucher I got for winning the German prize at my sixth form. It saw me through many a translation task at university. It’s woefully out of date now as it pre-dates all our everyday technological devices and vocabulary associated with surfing the internet, but it has sentimental value.
Do you have a reading/writing playlist on Spotify, or a favourite CD to listen to when reading/writing? And if so will you share with us a favourite song or piece of music that makes you feel happy?
I mostly listen to radio programmes, either live or on iPlayer. Given the vintage of my German dictionary, it will be no surprise that my favourites are the Ken Bruce Show, Pick of the Pops, Sounds of the Eighties. I have also put together a little playlist that I listen to now and again. The most upbeat tune is probably Darts’ version of Come Back My Love, a big hit when I was a child.
Do you have a favourite place to settle down to read/write?
We have turned a spare bedroom into my study where I happily sit with the sun streaming in all day. On warm days I love to write longhand in the garden or take a book to the local open-air pool.
Give us four essential items that a writer absolutely needs?
Pen. Paper. Perseverance. Publicity.
What can you tell us about your latest novel, or your current work in progress?
My most recent title is The Roommates, a psychological thriller set in a fictional university during freshers’ week.
FOUR STUDENTS. FOUR SECRETS. ONE DEVASTATING CRIME.
University is supposed to be the best time of your life. But Imogen’s first week is quickly going from bad to worse. A stalker is watching her flat, following her every move, and she suspects that her new roommates are hiding dark secrets… When one of them suddenly disappears, the trauma of Imogen’s recent past comes hurtling back to haunt her. And she begins to realise just how little she knows about the people she lives with…
The paperback is available from Asda, Sainsbury’s, Amazon and other outlets.
Rachel Sargeant grew up in Lincolnshire and is the author of psychological thrillers, including the Kindle Top Ten bestseller The Perfect Neighbours, set in Germany. She has a degree in German and Librarianship and a Creative Writing MA. She spent several years living in Germany where she taught English and she now lives in Gloucestershire with her husband and children. Her hobbies are swimming, visiting country houses and coffee shops, and going to the theatre to watch quality amateur productions.