Sunday 23 August 2020

Summer Picnic with Jaffareadstoo ~ Margaret Rooke ☼

☼ Jaffareadstoo is delighted to welcome you all to our Summer Picnic ☼ 

Pull up a deck chair, tie knots in your hanky and roll up your trouser legs!

☼ Summer time is here ☼ 

☼ I'm delighted to welcome author, Margaret Rooke to our picnic ☼

Photo credit:Alex Lister

What favourite foods are you bringing to our summer picnic?

We went on a great family picnic when they began to lift the lockdown and the standout dishes were my daughter’s prawn and sweetcorn fritters and my son’s Eton mess. So I’ll commission them and keep my fingers crossed that they’ll deliver.

Would you like chilled white wine, a flute of Prosecco, a tumbler of Pimms, or a tall glass of sparkling elderflower cordial?

Anyone who knows me knows that what I’d really want is a cup of tea. If it has to be a cold drink the Pimms does sound delicious.

Where shall we sit, by the pool, in the garden, in the countryside, at the seaside? 

If it’s hot and we can go for a swim afterwards it would be great to go to the pool or the seaside.

Do we have a wicker hamper, tablecloth and cutlery, or is everything in a supermarket carrier bag?

Well it would have been a supermarket carrier bag without question, except that my friend Jo gave me a wicker picnic hamper as a present years ago so I would give that an outing.

Do you have favourite place to have a summer picnic?

For me it’s all about the company really. I love to get lost in a conversation.

Which of your literary heroes are joining us on the picnic today?

Maybe Kate Atkinson’s Jackson Brodie. I think he needs a good listening ear.

Which summer read are you bringing with you today?

I’ve just bought Maggie O’Farrell’s ‘Hamnet’ so I’ll bring that. Can’t wait to start. I’m answering these questions in early summer and one of my last reads was the book of the moment ‘Normal People’. I found the book and the TV series compelling.

What is your earliest summer memory?

I remember getting burnt to a crisp on holiday with my parents and brother on a campsite on the south of France. We had never been anywhere so hot and had sun cream for the first time, but it was so expensive we were only allowed a squirt the size of a penny. 

Do you have a summer music playlist for reading / writing? And if so will you share with us a favourite song or piece of music that makes you feel summery?

The songs that make me feel summery… In the Summertime by Mungo Jerry. Brilliant. That was on the juke box during the summer I was so sunburnt in France. Another is the old Coke ad that started ‘Ice Cold Coke at the back of my throat, fishes on the line…’

Do you find that your reading tastes differ between winter and summer?

 When I’m on holiday I love books that I can get lost in: whodunnits and psychological dramas. In the winter I’m happy to read biographies and more serious stuff.

Do you find it easier to write in the summer months or during the winter? 

Both the same

Would you like to tell us a little about your latest novel, or your current work in progress?

My latest book ‘You can Change the World. Everyday Teen Heroes Making a Difference Everywhere’ (Jessica Kingsley Publishers) contains interviews with more than 50 inspiring teenagers from many different countries who have changed their own lives and the world around them in different ways. They’ve helped the homeless, found ways to beat online bullying, worked for environmental change, fought against period poverty, and transformed other difficult situations.

So much is written about the problems young people face with their mental health. I wanted to present some positive role models from within their own ranks. The idea behind the book is that if teenagers face a fork in their own path and they’re not sure which direction to take, there are some mentors here to draw inspiration from. We all know that the people teenagers listen to most are other teens and that can be a good thing if those they are listening to are making great decisions for themselves and the world around them. 

Recently I’ve started going into schools to help children and teens to believe they can make changes to their own lives and communities, using the examples and some of the strategies used by those in the book. It’s powerful stuff.

Margaret, where can we follow you on social media?

Twitter @margsrooke

More about Margaret

Over the past five years, Margaret has written three non-fiction books. The first two were about dyslexia, to help encourage her daughter and others like her to achieve whatever they wanted in life, no matter what label they were given. ‘Creative, Successful, Dyslexic’ includes interviews with Dame Darcey Bussell, David Bailey, Marcus Brigstocke, Lynda La Plante, Benjamin Zephaniah and many more, with a foreword by Mollie King. The second ‘Dyslexia is my Superpower (Most of the Time) is the only book written in the words of children and teens about living with dyslexia. Her latest book is ‘You can Change the World. Everyday Heroes Making a Difference Everywhere,’ written to inspire teenagers to make the changes they want to see in their own lives and communities. This won a gold award for multicultural nonfiction in the Moonbeam children’s book awards in the USA.

Margaret worked as a journalist for 20 years, for a lot of that time working on national magazines and newspaper colour supplements. She then worked for Fairtrade and children’s charities before returning to writing. 

☼ Thank you for coming to our picnic ☼ 

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