Sunday 12 April 2020

Sunday Brunch with Jaffareadstoo ~ Gina Kirkham

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

I'd delighted to welcome writer,  Gina Kirkham

☼Good Morning, Gina. Happy Sunday !

What favourite food are you bringing to Sunday brunch? 

Oooh, I love cheese on toast with a dash of Worcestershire Sauce thrown on top whilst it’s grilling, or Tuna Mayonnaise butties in the summer. I can always jazz them both up with a flourish of lettuce and a wedge of tomato to make them look a bit posher for a Sunday Brunch. 

Would you like a pot of English Breakfast tea, a strong Americano, or a glass of Bucks Fizz? 

Definitely a pot of English Breakfast tea, but if you have any Yorkshire Tea on the go, that would be
grand too. 

Which of your literary heroes are joining us today?

J K Rowling would be my ideal Brunch companion. I so admire her for her tenacity under such hardship when she first started writing. She never gave up and did eventually realise her dream,which is a great lesson for anyone in life. I’m a huge Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts fan too. My poor hubby knows virtually the whole script for each HP movie as I’ve watched them that many times. I’ve been to the Studio tour four times and Harry Potter in Disney Florida with my grandchildren three years ago, so we just might chat a little about that too. 

What’s the title of the book nearest to you? 

A Force to be Reckoned With (History of the Women’s Institute) by Jane Robinson. I’m using it for research for my latest work in progress, Murders at the Winterbottom W.I. Although I write fiction, I do like to try and be as close to reality on procedure as I can, so books and Google are my best friends. I’m very lucky to be on the books of the Women’s Institute as a Speaker, I’ve had so much  fun meeting the ladies from various groups around the country, so this WIP is my tribute to them, a sort of nod to their kindness, fun and good humour.

What’s the oldest book on your book shelf? 

The Children’s Wonder Book (Edited by John Crossland & J. M Parrish) 1933, it contains the most stunning colour plates to go with the stories. I did have an original which belonged to my Dad, but sadly we had a house fire in the early 1980’s and it was destroyed. It broke my heart as it was inscribed inside from my Grandfather to his son on his birth. My Dad was born in 1933. Each year my brother and I try very hard to get each other meaningful presents at Christmas. A few years ago he managed to obtain another original copy, which is the one I have now, although this one is inscribed inside to a Clive Ling. I’d love to know if Clive is still around.

Which book do you really want to read but haven’t had time for …yet! 

The Hobbit by Tolkien. My husband has read all of Tolkien’s works and keeps saying ‘You’ll love this!’ but I just don’t seem to get the time. It is a book that needs time, your attention and imagination, it’s not one to be rushed or squeezed in amongst everything else. I have promised myself to read it on holiday when there are no interruptions.

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Do you have a guilty reading pleasure, and if so will you tell us about it? 

I’m almost 62 and I love reading Enid Blyton’s books. It’s pure escapism for me and takes me back to my own childhood. I’m currently thoroughly enjoying the TV adaptation of Malory Towers on BBCiPlayer whilst pretending I’m only watching it because of my granddaughters! 

If the house was on fire which book would you rescue? 

My copy of The Children’s Wonder Book, I’d hate to lose it for a second time. 

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? 

Gosh, I’m a bit of a strange one when it comes to this. I can’t read or do my writing with anything in the background (apart from bird song!) I have to be in complete silence. I think it’s a throwback to my policing days where you relied so strongly on your senses. My ears pick up without me realising 
and then my brain will try and locate, identify and store, which distracts me terribly. 

My favourite piece of happy music is from a ballet called La Fille Mal Gardee, the Clog Dance from 
Act 1. I love it, jaunty, funny and just fills my heart and makes me want to clog dance around my kitchen.

Do you have a favourite place to settle down to read/write? 

I did have a little writing area set up in the Conservatory with fabulous views of the garden but it was 
so cold in the winter and blistering hot in the summer. Unfortunately, since my spinal operation I
found I couldn’t sit at the desk for long periods, so now I write sitting on the sofa, plumped up cushions for support and my lap top. I rarely read in bed as after six words I usually fall asleep, I’ve 
made books last almost 12 months because of my inability to stay awake to finish them. My favourite summer reading spot is in the garden, far corner under the tree, book in one hand, large Gin in the other.

Give us four essential items that a writer absolutely needs? 

Author Angst & Imposter Syndrome (you weep and wail and become more creative in the process
Sticky notes

What can you tell us about your latest novel, or your current work in progress? 

My latest book is Blues, Twos and Baby Shoes the third in the Constable Mavis Upton series. I loved 
writing this one as I had more artistic license to introduce new characters, like Cora May Spunge and 
Agatha Hortensia Winterbourne. I had such fun with them. It was released late October 2019 and follows on from the first two books, Handcuffs, Truncheon and a Polyester Thong and Whiskey, Tango, Foxtrot. 

I’ve now given Mavis a little holiday to try something new. Murders at the Winterbottom W.I my current work in progress, has been inspired by the lovely ladies of the various Women’s Institutes around the UK. It’s still humour, but with several murders taking place and the introduction of a new protagonist, Prunella Pearce. She is a survivor, sassy, funny, a little bit mischievous and a librarian with a deep love of books and a penchant for solving crime.

Gina, where can we follow you on social media? 

Twitter @GinaGeeJay 
Facebook page: MAVIS UPTON 
Instagram  Gina Kirkham (@ginakirkham) 

Thank you so much for inviting me to brunch, Jo!

Gina Kirkham began her career in front-line policing as a single parent in her early thirties. During her time with Merseyside Police she received several commendations and in 2000 she was awarded Police Officer of the Year. 

Her debut novel, the humorous HANDCUFFS, TRUNCHEON AND A POLYESTER THONG, was published in May 2017 by Urbane Publications. July 2018 saw the launch of the second book in the series, WHISKEY, TANGO, FOXTROT, and the third, BLUES, TWOS and BABY SHOES was published in October 2019. The series tells the story of single mum Mavis Upton, as she tackles everything life can throw at her in the funny but poignant account of an everyday woman who one day followed a dream to become a later-life police officer and provide for her child. 

Gina is now retired from Policing and lives on the Wirral with her long suffering husband, two wayward, unruly dogs and the welcome distraction of three wonderful grandchildren and a weekly bottle of gin. 

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Urbane Publications

BLUES, TWOS AND BABY SHOES (Constable Mavis Upton Book 3) Constable Mavis Upton is back, and this time she's taking no prisoners - which is never good for a police officer. 

Mavis is pregnant, as is her daughter Ella. Facing the prospect of motherhood and being a grandmother simultaneously the last thing Mavis needs is problems at work. But a new sexist dinosaur of a Sergeant is more bully than mentor, and a mysterious case involving a blackmailer sending poison pen letters is baffling the police and tearing apart the local community. 

Can Mavis juggle impending motherhood and her career, maintain a loving relationship with her other half Joe and deal with being a grandmother, all whilst solving the case? Well, this is Constable Mavis Upton...literally anything is possible 

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