Sunday 25 October 2020

🍴 Sunday Brunch with Jaffareadstoo ~ Liz Harris

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'm delighted to welcome, author, Liz Harris to our Sunday Brunch today🍴

🍴?Good morning, Liz. What favourite food are you bringing to Sunday brunch? 

Eggs Benedict on a genuine English muffin. Going out for brunch was very big in Los Angeles when I lived there, and this was my favourite dish. Just writing ‘Eggs Benedict’ brings back happy memories. 

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

A glass of Bucks Fizz, but hold the orange juice, please! 

🍴Where shall we eat brunch – around the kitchen table, in the formal dining room, or outside on the patio? 

On the patio would be my preference. But as we’re in England, if there’s a cloud in sight, which could put my hollandaise sauce at risk of being diluted, it might be wiser to sit around the kitchen table. 

🍴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? 

🍴I love classical music, and also opera. A favourite piece of music is the Intermezzo from Cavalleria Rusticana, by Mascagni. It’s so emotionally stirring. My table companions are going to have to be very special or I’ll lose myself in the music and forget all about them. 

🍴Which of your literary heroes (dead or alive) are joining us for Sunday Brunch today? 

Not Mr Darcy as much as I adore him on paper, I think he’d be a bore to be stuck with at brunch, or at any other meal. I doubt that even my version of Bucks Fizz would help! I’d rather you invited rugged Australian soldier Joe Harman, from ‘A Town Like Alice’, by Nevil Shute, one of my all-time favourite books. I’d like you to invite also my character, Thomas Linford, who appears in both ‘The Dark Horizon’ and ‘The Flame Within’. I love his bluntness, and his dry sense of humour, which I think is really sexy. Bot Joe and Thomas would be entertaining company. 

🍴Which favourite book will you bring to Sunday Brunch? 

‘The Glass Palace’, by Amitav Ghosh. It’s a fabulous novel that’s all about love, war and family. It spreads across several continents – Burma, Malaya and India - and spans three generations. I couldn’t put it down. 

Random House 

🍴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 won’t let myself read in the daytime, which I could easily do when I’m loving a novel. I read every night for pleasure, though, but not until I’m in bed. ‘The Goldfinch’, by Donna Tartt, is in hardback on my shelf. Every time I look at it, I think how thick it is, and how heavy it would be to hold, but one of these days … 

🍴What’s the oldest book on your book shelf? 

Can I cheat and say the complete works of Shakespeare in miniature? My late actress mother was given this set, and passed it on to me. The books – each a miniature of a single Shakespeare play - are housed a small wooden bookcase. Sadly, ‘Pericles’ was lost in my move from Cheshire back to Oxfordshire, but all of the other plays are there. 

Complete mini Shakespeare collection

Mini Julius Caesar

🍴Where do you find the inspiration for your novels? 

I tend to start with the setting. I love to travel so I enjoy writing books set in different parts of the world. I choose places where the location, history, and customs offer the potential for a gripping story. Once I have the setting, I research the history, and the book grows out of what I find. I believe that if you’re writing an historical novel, the history should lie at its heart – it should be more than a backcloth for a story that could have happened anywhere, at any time. 

🍴Have you a favourite place to settle down to write and do you find it easier to write in winter or summer? 

It’s easier to write in winter as there’s no temptation for someone like me, who loves the sun, to sprawl on a sun lounger in the garden like a beached whale. However, I do manage to write in the summer, too - I get up early to do so. Once I’m writing the novel, I’m always longing to be in my fictional world, and not even the sun can stop me. In winter, I can stay in bed a little longer. I usually write in my study, and choose to do so in complete silence. Music is too distracting as it’s so emotional. At the same time, I can write very happily in a café – from the moment I hit the laptop key, I block out the surrounding noise. 

🍴When writing to a deadline are you easily distracted and if so how do you bring back focus on your writing? 

I’m interrupted, rather than distracted, by incoming emails and mentions on twitter or Facebook. I always go back to the writing, though, when I’ve dealt with them. As I get close to the end of the work in progress, I can feel my characters’ impatience to be given their resolution, and who am I, or any emails or tweets, to stand in the way of that? 

🍴Give us four essential items that a writer absolutely needs? 

A dictionary – I use Chambers. 

Roget’s Thesaurus – a must for all writers who want to avoid the arch enemy of Repetition. 

If you’re writing historical novels, a dictionary of slang in order to check the origin of words & phrases to ensure that your characters don’t utter anachronisms, and that you don’t narrate in anachronistic language. 

A pad with pen attached. No, that’s one item only! You need to be able to jot down thoughts at any time in any place, things that have struck you, interesting words you might overhear and so on. 

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

‘The Flame Within’, Book 2 of The Linford Series, a saga set between the wars, was published this October. Book 1, ‘The Dark Horizon’, was published earlier this year. Each novel is a stand-alone and can be read on its own, as each focuses on a different member of the Linford family. I’m now working on ‘The Lengthening Shadow’, which will be Book 3 of the series. 

Thank you very much for inviting me to be your guest today, Jo and Jaffa. I’ve really enjoyed my brunch! 

🍴Liz, Where can we follow you on social media?🍴 

Twitter @lizharrisauthor 

More about Liz

Born in London, Liz Harris graduated from university with a Law degree, and then moved to California, where she led a varied life, from waitressing on Sunset Strip to working as secretary to the CEO of a large Japanese trading company. 

A few years later, she returned to London and completed a degree in English, after which she taught secondary school pupils, first in Berkshire, and then in Cheshire. 

In addition to the novels she’s had published, she’s had several short stories in anthologies and magazines. Her latest novel, The Flame Within, is the second in The Linford Series, a sweeping saga set between the wars. Each of the novels in the series is also a standalone. 

Liz now lives in Oxfordshire. An active member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and the Historical Novel Society, her interests are travel, the theatre, reading and cryptic crosswords. 


  1. Thank you so much for inviting me to be your guest, Jaffa and Timmy. Timmy was particularly charming, rising from the seat he'd warmed in order to let me sit there. I very much enjoyed my brunch with you, and our lively conversation, and I appreciate the effort you made in securing for me a genuine muffin, not a crumpet or hamburger bun. Thank you, both of you. xx

    1. It's been such a pleasure, Liz to have you visit for Sunday Brunch. The kitties and I have enjoyed your company :)


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