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
☼Good Morning, Paula. Happy Sunday !
What favourite food are you bringing to Sunday brunch?
I’m bringing piping hot flatbreads - some topped with spicy lamb, tomatoes, feta and pomegranate seeds and some topped with spicy onions, peppers, tomatoes and chickpeas.
Would you like a pot of English Breakfast tea, a strong Americano, or a glass of Bucks Fizz?
A pot of tea please but if there’s any freshly squeezed orange juice that would be nice and if the sun gets past the yardarm, I dare say I could manage a Bucks Fizz.
Which of your literary heroes are joining us today?
Terry Pratchett, Agatha Christie, Ben Aaronvitch, Ann Granger, Louis de Bernieres - hopefully everyone would find someone to feel comfortable with and the conversation ought to be either slightly bonkers or really interesting or both.
What’s the title of the book nearest to you?
The Adventures of Tom Bombadil by JRR Tolkein. My dad, who was a real poetry lover, bought it when I was about seven and when he wasn’t reading it, I was and somehow sneaked it away with me when I left home.
What’s the oldest book on your book shelf?
It’s hard to be sure as I inherited a lot of old books from my dad, but while looking I also found ‘“The Queen” Newspaper Book of Travel - A guide to Home and Foreign Resorts 1912’ which I didn’t realise I had and which will be really useful for research and is genuinely fascinating. I’ve just spent five happy minutes getting side-tracked with it.
Which book do you really want to read but haven’t had time for …yet!
‘Wolf Hall’ by Hilary Mantel. I love history, I’ve read a lot about the period and I know the writing will be good. I just haven’t got round to reading it.
Do you have a guilty reading pleasure, and if so will you tell us about it?
I’m not sure if it’s a guilty pleasure but I do love reading books for children. I find them relaxing and often very gripping - after all, a children’s writer can’t rely on violence or sex to fill gaps in plot or action and has to keep a child’s attention. They’re often very imaginative as not quite so bothered about feasibility.
If the house was on fire which book would you rescue?
I’d be really hard pressed to choose! But I might pick my old copy of ‘Comet in Moominland’ because when I first read it I found it so exciting and satisfyingly strange and fundamentally still do.
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 prefer natural sounds when either reading or writing. If the actual natural sounds include noisy family members, I tend to log on to mynoise.net and listen to ‘rain on a tent’. No idea why it helps but it really does and usually after a while, I forget I’m listening to a recording and look up to see if it looks as if the rain will stop anytime soon.
Do you have a favourite place to settle down to read/write?
I’ll curl up anywhere to read as long as it’s not invaded by the children playing video games. I’ve learnt to be able to write anywhere too but I do have a place set aside in the spare room, where I can concentrate with some sort of peace and quiet. It has a Moomin calendar which cheers me up and a knitted squirrel companion, made and given to me by Liz Hedgecock who also co-authored some of my books.
Give us four essential items that a writer absolutely needs?
2. Something to write on/with!
3. Ability to tell self to keep going and write something every day even if it’s one sentence and/or nonsense just to keep the writing muscles exercised.
4. Honest, trustworthy friends who can give constructive feedback.
What can you tell us about your latest novel, or your current work in progress?
I’m doing the final edits of my own (before it goes to my editor) on a new book - 'The Wrong Type to Die'
Fighting her corner in a man’s world, Dr Margaret Demeray works as a pathologist in a London hospital for the poor. Suppressing her worry that she’s breaching confidentiality, Margaret decides to give a stranger called Fox a little information about a dead down-and-out in the hope he’ll use it to help raise awareness of bad working conditions.
But when a second man appears to die the same way, Margaret starts to wonder why the enigmatic Fox keeps turning up to ask ever more complex questions.
As memories she’d prefer buried seem to be linked to the deaths, Margaret decides to work out the connections alone, uncertain of Fox’s motives and wary of her attraction to him.
Then her home is burgled, she’s attacked in broad daylight and a former colleague goes missing shortly after telling her he’s worried for her safety.
Fox offers the chance to forge an alliance, saying he knows why the men have died but needs her to find out how. But how come the closer she gets to him the more danger she faces?
Margaret must discover the truth before someone - known or unknown - silences her for good.
Once I’ve got that off to the editor, I shall be getting on with the third book in the Murder Britannica series.
More about Paula
Paula Harmon was born in North London to parents of English, Scottish and Irish descent. Perhaps feeling the need to add a Welsh connection, her father relocated the family every two years from country town to country town moving slowly westwards until they settled in South Wales when Paula was eight. She later graduated from Chichester University before making her home in Gloucestershire and then Dorset where she has lived since 2005.
She is a civil servant, married with two children at university. Paula has several writing projects underway and wonders where the housework fairies are, because the house is a mess and she can’t think why.
Her work includes:
It’s AD 190 in Southern Britain. Lucretia won’t let her get-rich-quick scheme be undermined by minor things like her husband’s death. But a gruesome discovery leads wise-woman Tryssa to start asking awkward questions.
It’s AD 191. Lucretia last saw Durnovaria as a teenager. Now she’s back to claim an inheritance. Who could imagine an old ring bought in the forum could bring lead to Tryssa having to help local magistrate Amicus discover who would rather kill than reveal long-buried truths.
The Cluttering Discombobulator
Can everything be fixed with duct tape? Dad thinks so. The story of one man’s battle against common sense and the family caught up in the chaos around him.
Secrets and mysteries, strangers and friends. Stories as varied and changing as British skies.
The Advent Calendar
Christmas without the hype says it is - stories for midwinter.
The Seaside Dragon
For 7-11 year olds. When Laura and Jane go on holiday to a remote cottage, the worst they expect is no wifi. The last thing they expect is to be battling strange creatures with an ancient grudge.
The Case of the Black Tulips and The Case of the Runaway Client (with Liz Hedgecock)
When Katherine Demeray opens a letter addressed to her missing father, little does she imagine that she will find herself in partnership with socialite Connie Swift, racing against time to solve mysteries and right wrongs.