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, Nicola Pryce to our Sunday Brunch today🍴
🍴 Good morning, Nicola, What favourite food are you bringing to Sunday brunch?
Jo, I’m not bringing you any food, I’m taking you out. You’ll need your walking boots on and bring a stick as we’ll be setting off early on my favourite walk along the coast path from Fowey to Polkerris. It’s 4.8 miles. When we arrive, you can choose whatever you like but I think I may go for the homemade soup and a gluten free roll. I better warn you though – it’s a very steep climb after our brunch and another five miles back, so best not to have anything too heavy.
🍴 Would you like a pot of English breakfast tea, a strong Americano, or a glass of Bucks Fizz?
I think I’ll order some tea but let’s be honest, it’s smuggling country and they do a wonderful hot rum toddy!
🍴Where shall we eat brunch – around the kitchen table, in the formal dining room, or outside on the patio?
If the weather is fine, we’ll be on the terrace of the Rashleigh Inn, and if it’s wet we’ll be sitting by the window looking out over the sandy beach of Polkerris.
🍴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?
No music. If we’re outside we’ll be listening to the waves and cries of the seagulls and if we’re inside, we’ll be listening to the crackling of the fire.
🍴Which of your literary heroes (dead or alive) are joining us for Sunday Brunch today?
I’ve invited Jane Slade to join us. She lived in Polruan (which is just across the river from Fowey) and was the inspiration behind Daphne Du Maurier’s first book The Loving Spirit. In the late 1800’s her husband was a boat builder and named a fruit schooner after her. Daphne de Maurier came across the old boat and was drawn to the ship’s figure head which now rests outide Ferryside where she wrote the book. After her husband died, Jane Slade took over the running of the shipyard and proved to be a very sucessful business woman. I can’t wait to talk to her about the shipyard and what Polruan and Fowey were like in the second half of the 1800’s. The Loving Spirit is not one of my favourite of Daphne Du Maurier’s novels but it did inspre me to make my own character, Rose Pengelly, a ship builder’s daughter. Back in 1793 it was unheard of for a woman to run a shipyard and I believe Jane Slade was the first. It will also be very interesting to hear what Jane has to say about how she is depicted in The Loving Spirit.
🍴Which favourite book will you bring to Sunday Brunch?
As we walk along the coastal path we’ll stop for a while in Polridmouth Cove which is the inspiration behind my favourite book Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier. We can read the description of the cove and the dramatic goings on in the boathouse as we sit on the beach. I love the book and I love Polridmouth Cove so we’re in for a treat.
🍴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!
When I’m writing I find it hard to have another strong voice in my head but over the years it has got easier and I read a lot for pleasure. I read most nights before I go to sleep but I prefer reading during the holidays when I can happily read all day. I prefer historical fiction and detective novels and I never read books set at the same time and place as my own books. If I’m honest, my reading of books has changed since I’ve been writing; I look at the structure more now and character development. The book I would like to read has been sitting on my shelf for several years now – The House on The Strand by Daphne du Maurier needs careful reading and I haven’t had time to commit to it yet.
🍴What’s the oldest book on your book shelf?
My godfather sent me a beautiful edition of Evelina by Fanny Burney in 1970. It is illustrated by Hugh Thompson and was printed in 1903. I absolutely adored it as a teenager and it remains one of my most precious possessions. It must have influenced me over the years. I love the book and often re-read it, though I have a modern copy to prevent this one from getting damaged. Evelina was first published in 1778 and is a cracking read. Jane Austen is said to have been influenced by Fanny Burney.
🍴Where do you find the inspiration for your novels?
Where we’ve been walking – along the south coast of Cornwall. My husband and I have been sailing into Fowey and Polruan for twenty-five years and the walk we have just done is the path my heroine takes in The Cornish Dressmaker. I base all my stories on real places, and I search through the archives in the Records Office (now based in Kresen Kernow in Redruth) for the facts behind my inspiration. They say you don’t have to write about where you know, but I really couldn’t write my stories without following in my characters’ footsteps. I’ve been to every inn I mention, every cove they find themselves in, every house they live in, and every path they walk along.
🍴Have you a favourite place to settle down to write and do you find it easier to write in winter or summer?
Definitely winter! But the strangest thing is, I can’t settle to write a new book in the same place as I’ve written another. I have to write it in a different place, be it kitchen, dining room or bedrooms! I have an office now and I’ve had to change the position of my desk to write my present novel.
🍴When writing to a deadline are you easily distracted and if so how do you bring back focus on your writing?
If I’m writing to a deadline I’m very focussed. I prefer to finish well before the deadline though as I need time to revisit the book after a long enough break. It’s a double-edged sword – if you have a deadline you have the pressure of meeting it, but if you don’t have a deadline, you have the pressure of not knowing if the book is going to be accepted. Deadlines certainly focus the mind.
🍴Give us four essential items that a writer absolutely needs?
In my case it’s having copies of my other books to hand, an absolute belief in the story I’m writing, enough quality time to write, and the ability to ignore everything else that needs to be done!
🍴What can you tell us about your latest novel or your current work in progress?
My latest novel is the fifth in my series. It takes place in 1798 and follows my heroine, Amelia Carew, as she struggles between her new found love for a young physician, Luke Bohenna, and her old love for her fiancé, Midshipman Edmund Melville, who has returned to England having been declared dead. It is available from November.
5 November 2020
Eighteen months have passed since Midshipman Edmund Melville was declared missing, presumed dead, and Amelia Carew has mended her heart and fallen in love with a young physician, Luke Bohenna. But, on her twenty-fifth birthday, Amelia suddenly receives a letter from Edmund announcing his imminent return. In a state of shock, devastated that she now loves Luke so passionately, she is torn between the two.
When Edmund returns, it is clear that his time away has changed him - he wears scars both mental and physical. Amelia, however, is determined to nurse him back to health and honour his heroic actions in the Navy by renouncing Luke.
But soon, Amelia begins to question what really happened to Edmund while he was missing. As the threads of truth slip through her fingers, she doesn't know who to turn to: Edmund, or Luke?
More about Nicola
Nicola Pryce trained as a nurse at St Bartholomew's Hospital in London. She loves literature and history and has an Open University degree in Humanities. She's a qualified adult literacy support volunteer and lives with her husband in the Blackdown Hills in Somerset. She and her husband love sailing and together they sail the south coast of Cornwall in search of adventure. If she's not writing or gardening, you'll find her scrubbing decks.
Pengelly's Daughter is her first novel, then The Captain's Girl, The Cornish Dressmaker, and The Cornish Lady. A Cornish Betrothal will be published in November.
Nicola is a member of the Romantic Novelists' Association and The Historical Writers' Association
🍴Nicola, where can we follow you on social media? 🍴
Thank you so much for inviting me to join you, Jo. I’ve really enjoyed our brunch together. If you like, we can walk to Polperro next time and stop off in the smuggling cove, Lansallos Bay, where Celia lands after Captain Arnaud Lefèvre drops her off in The Captain’s Girl.