☼ I'm delighted to welcome author, V E H Masters to our Summer picnic ☼
☼Welcome to Jaffareadstoo, Vicki. What favourite foods are you bringing to our summer picnic?
I’m hoping you’ll surprise me – but no meat or chocolate please
☼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?
Tea made from the freshly picked mint from your herb garden, but if you really insist I’ll have a Pimms chaser too… maybe we’d better just use the mint for that.
☼Where shall we sit, by the pool, in the garden, in the countryside or somewhere hot?
In a garden which has been loving cared for.
☼Do we have a wicker hamper, tablecloth and cutlery, or is everything in a supermarket carrier bag?
It’s all carefully packed in the cool box and we have a tartan rug to sit upon.
☼Do you have favourite place to have a summer picnic?
A golden beach in Scotland, preferably the West Sands at St Andrews or the secret Tantallon. And no matter the weather or season, we’ll have a swim before we leave.
☼Which of your literary heroes (alive or dead) are joining us on the picnic today?
I think it must be Sir Walter Scott whose 250th anniversary it is this year. Although I have the complete set of Scott’s novels which once belonged to my great grandfather I have to admit to only having finished one of his books, nevertheless he has been much in my mind in his anniversary year. That one book has influenced my writing and he wrote about our country with love and care…and in Edinburgh of 1840, the second largest monument to writer in the world was erected in his memory.
☼Which summer read are you bringing with you today?
I am being utterly indulgent and reading The Blue Castle by LM Montgomery
☼What is your earliest summer memory?
My dad on the combine harvester all night covered in stoor (it even coated his eyelashes) because there was no fancy cab to sit in in those days, and the urgent need to get the barley in before it rained.
☼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 think auditory is my least used sense. I struggle to sing in tune, only listen to music in the car – and mostly I’d rather listen to a book.
☼Do you find that your reading tastes differ between winter and summer?
These days my reading is dictated by what I’m researching for my next book. I do allow myself the occasional indulgence of Maurice Walsh or mostly recently The Seeker by SG MacLean – a fabulous read.
☼Do you find it easier to write in the summer months or during the winter?
Oh dear, I feel a bit pathetic but whatever the season, I never find it easy to write and have to be dogged and disciplined to get things finished.
☼What can you tell us about your current book or WIP?
The Conversos is due out on St Andrews Day, the 30th November this year. Set in 1547-9 it picks up, almost to the hour, where The Castilians left off. Will is imprisoned as a galley slave, and his sister Bethia has fled Scotland because of her brother’s transgressions – to an equally perilous life, and marriage, in Antwerp.
1546 and Scotland is under attack from Henry VIII, determined to marry his son to the infant Mary, Queen of Scots. A few among the Scottish nobles, for both political and religious reasons, are eager for this alliance too. They kill Cardinal Beaton, who is Mary’s great protector, and take St Andrews Castle, expecting rescue any day from England.
Local lad Will is among them, fighting for the Protestant cause. His treasonous activities place his family in grave danger, forcing his sister Bethia into an unwelcome alliance. As the long siege unravels, Bethia and Will struggle over where their loyalties lie and the choices they each must make — whether to save their family, or stay true to their beliefs and follow their hearts
This debut novel closely follows the historical events of the siege of St Andrews Castle, and its dramatic re-taking.
‘A clever blend of fact and fiction…gripping action, drama galore, and a dash of romance.' Margaret Skea
Finalist, Wishing Shelf Book Awards
Runner-up, SAW Barbara Hammond Trophy
Vicki, where can we follow you on social media?
Thank you for sharing your summer picnic with us today.
Thanks for inviting me – it was a perfect picnic