Sunday 28 February 2021

🍴 Sunday Brunch with Jaffareadstoo ~ Martine Bailey


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 Martine Bailey to our Sunday Brunch today🍴

Martine and a Taffety Cake

🍴Welcome, Martine, what favourite food are you bringing to Sunday brunch?

I always think it’s good to bring some home baking. So I’m bringing one of my Taffety cakes which includes apples, quince and spices based on a recipe in my first novel, An Appetite for Violets. It also features in a lovely recipe book, A Year of Cake by Lynn Hill.

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

Ooh, I think I’ll celebrate a trip into the open air with a glass of Bucks Fizz, thank you very much!

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

Let’s imagine it’s a gorgeous summer day and sit outside on the patio.

🍴Which favourite book will you bring to Sunday Brunch?

I am a huge fan of Ruth Rendell who also wrote as Barbara VineA Fatal Inversion is set in the idyllic hot summer of 1976, around a group of young people who experiment with moral boundaries in a manor house deep in the English countryside. Rendell’s plotting is masterly, and the twists are utterly surprising to the very last page.

🍴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 do read constantly, for research and pleasure. Or I should say, I partly listen as I’m addicted to audio books. I can then move around while I listen, usually cooking or some sort of exercise.

There are a few of Thomas Hardy’s, Trollope’s and Eliot’s novels I’ve not read but I think the big gap is not having read Mansfield Park. I studied Jane Austen at O and A-level so it’s taken me a few years to appreciate her again. I’m sure I have a treat in store.

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

It’s an almanack which has become the basis of my most recent novels. Almanacks were calendars, diaries and astrological charts and partly due to their yearly prophecies, were once bestsellers. It’s dated 1778 and was given to me by my very good friend, the writer Alison Layland.

🍴Where do you find the inspiration for your novels?

In old books, initially books of recipes. I first got the idea for An Appetite for Violets at the National Trust’s Erddig Hall when I imagined a young cook taking her book of recipes away on a sinister journey to Europe. The Penny Heart is darker, written when I lived in New Zealand, and is about a more shadowy recipe book drawn together by a revengeful criminal.

The idea of sleeping prophets who foretold the future while seeming to be fast asleep really captured my imagination and inspired The Prophet. I also loved looking into superstitions around childbirth, women’s lives and the old seasonal year.

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

I have trained myself to go to my little upstairs office every morning. It’s a box room with a desk, computer, books and files. I feel privileged that I have a window with a view of wild birds, sheep and the Welsh Hills. I do prefer writing in the winter because a weird sense of guilt overcomes me when I see the sun shining outside but know I have to stay inside to write.

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

Persistence is important for a would-be writer. It took me a long time to get my first novel published even though I’d written non-fiction before. I had to be patient and chip away at every small success.

Mental space to write is a real challenge for many of us. To make steady progress you need to learn to say no to time-wasting and put your work first.

Notebooks – I use numbered notebooks to randomly sketch out ideas, bits of dialogue, mind maps of scenes, plot ideas, and even rough sketches of rooms or houses. Then I use coloured post-its to follow the thread of the story in my notebooks. It’s all very complicated!

Trusted helpers are priceless. For years I looked around for other writers to help me learn and give feedback. I now have two much appreciated writer friends to swap work with and meet for lunch and mutual support.

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

The Prophet is a standalone novel but also picks up from events at the end of The Almanack. Here’s what is says on the cover:

Canongate Books

26 February in the UK
4 May in the US

Destiny, prophecy and murder weave an intricate web in this beguiling historical mystery. Could a dark prophecy spell danger for Tabitha De Vallory and her unborn child?

Cheshire. May Day, 1753. Tabitha De Vallory's perfect life is shaken when a girl is slaughtered beneath the Mondrem Oak on her family's forest estate. Nearby, enigmatic Baptist Gunn is convinced that a second messiah will be born, amid blood and strife, close to the oak on Midsummer's Day. Could the murder be linked to Gunn's cryptic prophecy?

Beautifully crafted and alluring, full of dark deception, intrigue and terrifying foreboding, THE PROPHET is perfect for fans of THE MINIATURIST by JESSIE BURTON and SARAH DUNANT.

Martine,where can we follow you on social media?

Twitter: @MartineBailey

(The latter features a weekly riddle each #FolkloreThursday)

More about Martine

Martine Bailey is the author of four historical crime mysteries. She studied cookery with TV food historian Ivan Day and was a former UK Dessert Champion cooking at Le Meurice in Paris. This year she was longlisted for the Mogford Prize for Food and Drink Writing. She lives in a small village in Cheshire and is married with one son.

Thank you for this lovely opportunity, Jo. It’s been a real pleasure.

Martine, thank you for taking part in Sunday Brunch

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