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, Hana Cole to our Sunday Brunch today🍴
🍴Good morning Hana. What favourite food are you bringing to Sunday brunch?
Hmmm…something tapas or antipasti-like. Roasted peppers and olives maybe with proper pizza slices? Alternatively something hearty like shakshuka? I can never decide what to eat. I’m the one in the restaurant who always wants what other people have ordered.
🍴Would you like a pot of English breakfast tea, a strong Americano, or a glass of Bucks Fizz?
I think I’ll start with a strong Americano and then move on to the Bucks Fizz if I may.
🍴Where shall we eat brunch – around the kitchen table, in the formal dining room, or outside on the patio?
Seeing as it’s January I think the kitchen table, if it were summer I’d say the patio.
🍴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’d rather leave the background music if you don’t mind. I find it hard to concentrate with music playing. Even as a teenager I never understood how my friends could do homework with the radio on. If it’s restaurant music that you can zone out then I don’t see the point of it. If I’m in the car or cleaning then I’ll go for a bit of classical – I do love a requiem – or some heavy metal. Even in my music I like a nice narrative thread.
🍴Which of your literary heroes (dead or alive) are joining us for Sunday Brunch today?
So many to choose from. But really, being a Medievalist, it would have to be someone from that period who would also be good fun. Chaucer, I think – a couple of Bucks Fizz in him and I’m sure he’d be on a role!
🍴Which favourite book will you bring to Sunday Brunch?
Ooh. That’s almost too hard to answer. Most of my favourite books are a bit depressing or dark. Not really brunch material. I might go with The Name of the Rose though. It was a ground breaker for historical crime, plus it is set in one of my favourite time periods and I lived in Northern Italy where the book is set, so plenty of conversation there.
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!
Well, reading both non fiction history books and historical fiction is a pleasure, so I don’t really consider it work - although it’s rare I’d pick up a book that isn’t related to something I am working on. I am always finding books and thinking “Ooh I must read that”, I couldn’t pick just one.
🍴What’s the oldest book on your book shelf?
The earliest written book I have is probably Boethius’ Consolation of Philosophy, which he wrote in 524, but the physically oldest book I own is an 1880 edition of, The Life and Complete Works of Shakespeare with a biography by William Michael Rossetti. It has some fascinating book ads in the back, like “How to dress well on a shilling a day.”
🍴Where do you find the inspiration for your novels?
Past lives and events. I suppose I subconsciously choose historical events that resonate with issues of interest to me in the modern day – such as child trafficking and radicalisation that I dealt with in my debut novel, The Devil’s Crossing.
🍴Have you a favourite place to settle down to write and do you find it easier to write in winter or summer?
I’m not sure seasons make a difference although I hate to be cold. I tend to move around the house. Sometimes I write on the sofa or in bed, sometimes at the kitchen table and sometimes I even use my study 😊
🍴When writing to a deadline are you easily distracted and if so how do you bring back focus on your writing?
No, if I have an external deadline I am super disciplined. If it’s a self imposed deadline then, erm, not so much!
🍴Give us four essential items that a writer absolutely needs?
Notebook, pencil, library card(s), fingerless gloves.
🍴What can you tell us about your latest novel or your current work in progress?
My debut novel was set at the time of the Children’s Crusade. It tells the story of Gui, a troubled priest, his true love Agnes, a falsely-accused heretic, and their son Etienne. After years spent shielding his family, Gui is forced to abandon his compromises and fight for those he loves when Etienne joins the Children’s Crusade and is sold into slavery. My current WIP is set in Ravenna and Venice and begins with the death of Dante. It’s set against the background of the rise of the merchant banks, and it’s a romantic thriller that revolves around the imagined life of the Alighieri family.
Hana, where can we follow you on social media?
Facebook page: hana cole
Bio: Hana Cole is a novelist and historian. Born in Essex to an Anglo-Italian family, she studied economics at the London School of Economics and history at Oxford where she gained her Masters. After living in Italy for several years, she travelled widely in the Middle East and India before returning to the UK. She has worked as a film subtitle translator, financial analyst and a yoga teacher. She now lives in Manningtree, Essex in the UK with her husband, daughter and two cats.
Thank you for taking part in Sunday Brunch with Jaffareadstoo.
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