Sunday 11 July 2021

☼ Summer Picnic with Jaffareadstoo ~ Anne Goodwin

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

 Summertime is here 

☼ I'm delighted to welcome author Anne Goodwin to our Summer picnic ☼

☼Welcome, Anne. What favourite foods are you bringing to our summer picnic?

I’d like dainty canapés and fresh fruit salad. However, as I’ve got a fridge full of gloopy porridge, soggy pasta and burnt cake – delicacies I needed for my new novel –– I might need to bring that instead. I hate wasting food.

☼What would you like to drink? We have white wine spritzers, locally brewed beer, traditional Pimms, sparkling elderflower cordial, or a thermos of tea or coffee?

Elderflower cordial, thanks. Anything to take away the taste of strong tea with milk and sugar already added, as the patients were served in my fictional asylum.

☼Where shall we sit, by the pool, in the garden, in the countryside or somewhere hot?

Definitely countryside, whatever the weather.

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

I’d love the wicker hamper but, having arrived on foot, I’ve carried everything in my rucksack.

☼Do you have favourite place to have a summer picnic?

We’re in Derbyshire, having walked through a wood and uphill from Hathersage village. It’s actually the setting that inspired Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre.

☼Which of your literary heroes (alive or dead) are joining us on the picnic today?

It has to be Charlotte so we can argue about the relative qualities of the moorland here in the Peak District versus in her Yorkshire stomping ground. (Did you notice we’re already on first-name terms?) I’d also gently reprimand her for her madwoman-in-the-attic stereotype and discuss the various representations of mental illness in novels, including mine. (Maybe I could persuade her to read it and write a blurb for the back of the book? Might shift a few copies.)

☼Which summer read are you bringing with you today?

Jane Eyre. It’s wonderful to read it in the setting that inspired it. Right now, we’re sitting on the grass by the archway that’s all that remains of the church where she almost married Edward Rochester. (See image)

☼What is your earliest summer memory?

When I was three or four my dad bought our first family tent. Actually, the tent was too small for our family of seven, but he took three of us children to Scotland for the weekend. We didn’t have the luxuries campers take for granted these days but, as the youngest, I was allowed a sleeping mat. I don’t think my big sister has ever recovered from the injustice, but I’ve loved Scotland ever since.

☼Do you have a summer music playlist? And if so will you share with us a favourite song or piece of music that makes you feel happy?

I love choral singing, although I’m not very good at it. During the pandemic, with large gatherings cancelled, I’ve been singing online with the wonderful Self-Isolation Choir. Although we can’t hear each other during rehearsals, we record our voices and some clever sound technicians blend them into something beautiful. This haunting piece, Quanta Qualia, which we learnt last summer, has become our anthem and one of those voices is mine:

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

Not really, although I prefer the climate in the pages to match the weather outdoors.

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

Much easier in winter because the garden is so demanding in summer.

☼What can you tell us about your current book or WIP?

Matilda Windsor Is Coming Home, published in May by small independent press, Inspired Quill, is about a brother and sister separated for fifty years and the idealistic young social worker who tries to reunite them. It draws on my previous profession as a clinical psychologist in a long-stay psychiatric hospital. To quote some early readers, this is Zeitgeist literary fiction: the book raises profound questions about rights, attitudes to mental health and what it means to be 'home.' Although addressing a tough topic, it’s a character-driven page-turner, a poignant, compelling and brilliantly authentic portrayal of asylum life, with a plucky protagonist you won’t easily forget.

Matilda Windsor Is Coming Home by Anne Goodwin

In the dying days of the old asylums, three paths intersect.

Henry was only a boy when he waved goodbye to his glamorous grown-up sister; approaching sixty, his life is still on hold as he awaits her return.

As a high-society hostess renowned for her recitals, Matty’s burden weighs heavily upon her, but she bears it with fortitude and grace.

Janice, a young social worker, wants to set the world to rights, but she needs to tackle challenges closer to home.

A brother and sister separated by decades of deceit. Will truth prevail over bigotry, or will the buried secret keep family apart?

In this, her third novel, Anne Goodwin has drawn on the language and landscapes of her native Cumbria and on the culture of long-stay psychiatric hospitals where she began her clinical psychology career.

Anne, where can we follow you on social media?

Twitter @Annecdotist.

Thank you for sharing your summer picnic with us today.

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  1. Thanks for hosting me on a weekend when it's actually picnic weather!

    1. It's been great fun to share your picnic, Anne, and to have sunshine is always a bonus :)


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