Sunday 17 October 2021

🍴Sunday Brunch with Jaffareadstoo ~ Angela Jackson

 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 Angela Jackson to our Sunday Brunch today

Welcome, Angela. What favourite food are you bringing to Sunday brunch?

I’m bringing boiled eggs and toast from Merci, an incredible book-lined cafe in Paris. They manage to get their yolks golden and runny, yet the white is lovely and firm, and the toast is cut into gorgeous delicate fingers. And, most importantly, they don’t stint on the butter and salt.

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

Oh, tea, please! I love anyone who makes me a cup of tea.

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

Around the kitchen table, laden as it is with all the other stuff I brought with me: sourdough bread, a rack of more toast, salted butter, apricot jam, honey, mini pastries, stoned cherries, ripe peaches, and endless tea. We’re in for the day! It’s Sunday! Let’s push the boat out!

Shall we have music playing in the background, and if so do you have a favourite piece of music?

The back door and the windows are open, so we’d have birdsong, but let’s have a bit of Miles Davis on, too, shall we? Kind of Blue.

Which of your literary heroes (dead or alive) are joining us for Sunday Brunch today?

Right, I have to say that I’m not good at gatherings. (Dinner parties are my absolute worst nightmare.) But if Nora Ephron, Dorothy Whipple and Alan Bennett could come over separately, each for an hour or so, that’d be great. Could I request that Nora brings her signature key lime pie?

Which favourite book will you bring to Sunday Brunch?

The Most of Nora Ephron. It’s huge and we could dip in and out of it all day, reading passages aloud. Then, when Nora comes over (Nora is still very much alive in this scenario) we can get her to give us the inside track on some of the stories.

When you are writing do you still find time to read for pleasure?

I suppose I’m always writing, in that my brain’s on permanent alert for new ideas. But I do try to make time to read for pleasure, even if it’s an audio book as I’m doing the dishes. I just finished Small Pleasures by Clare Chambers and kept carving out pockets of ten minutes or so to get back to it; I love to be able to dip into a sharply drawn fictional world. I’m a creative writing tutor, and I’m always harping onto my students about the importance of reading.

And is there a book you would like to read but haven’t had time for …yet!

I would love to spend a whole day in Persephone Books, reading one fabulous silver tome after another.

Where do you find the inspiration for your novels?

It’s been a really weird summer where I live (Edinburgh) because I usually spend it at various festival events, but Covid restrictions have meant it’s not been possible, and I’ve really felt the lack. However, anything can trigger inspiration. My first novel, The Emergence of Judy Taylor, was inspired by my experience of going for tests after finding a lump in my breast. I was teaching psychology at that point in my life, and it made me think of what Freud said: that we only fully appreciate life once we’ve brushed up against our own mortality. I started writing fiction that day. My current novel, The Darlings, was inspired by Carl Rogers’ theory that, in order to thrive, we need to feel loved unconditionally for who we are.

Other writers can be such inspirational catalysts. I’m lucky that a chat with Melissa Bank, who is an amazingly deft and clever writer, and a great ally, can send me off into full-on creative and productive mode.

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

I have to be on my own. I have no idea how people write in cafes — I’d be far too distracted! And a desk feels too formal. I’ll sit at the kitchen table if I’m planning to write for a while. Otherwise, I’m balancing my MacBook on my lap on the sofa. Terrible, terrible posture. A writer friend recently had a serious chat with me about the damage I’m doing to my back, so I’m thinking about making a change.

When writing to a deadline are you easily distracted and if so how do you bring back focus on your writing?

I am very easily distracted, but a deadline does have the power to focus me. I used to work for a local newspaper so I don’t miss deadlines.

Give us four essential items that a writer needs?

We’re all different, but for me it’s an endless supply of tea, my MacBook, a stack of books (fiction and non-fiction), and pen-and-paper (those hyphens are there to make the pen and paper count as one item).

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

I have a couple of ideas bouncing around for my next novel, but when I discussed them with Melissa Bank she threw me a curveball by encouraging me to develop some autobiographical sketches I did a year ago. I think they’ll end up as the basis of my next one-woman show (I did my first at the Fringe in 2017).

Lightening Books

When Mark Darling is 15 years old, he is the golden boy, captain of the school soccer team, admired by all who know him. Until he kills his best friend in a freak accident. He spends the next decade drifting between the therapy couch and dead-end pursuits. Then along comes Sadie. A mender by nature, she tries her best to fix him and has enough energy to carry them both through the next few years. One evening, Mark bumps into an old schoolfriend, Ruby. She saw the accident first hand. He is pulled towards her by a force stronger than logic: the universal need to reconcile one’s childhood wounds. This is his chance to, once again, feel the enveloping warmth of unconditional love. But can he leave behind the woman who rescued him from the pit of despair, the wife he loves? His unborn child? This is a story about how childhood experiences can profoundly impact how we behave as adults. It’s a story about betrayal, infidelity, and how we often blinker ourselves to see a version of the truth that is more palatable to us

Angela,where can we follow you on social media?

It’s mainly blurry close-ups of our cats, food and flowers and fuzzy long shots of the beach, so if you’re up for that, I’m here…

Twitter: @angelaj

Instagram: @angelaedinburgh

More about Angela

Angela Jackson is a writer, a tutor in Creative Writing for Open College of the Arts, and a former psychology lecturer. Her first novel, The Emergence of Judy Taylor, won Edinburgh International Book Festival’s esteemed First Book Award, was Waterstones Scottish Book of the Year, and the novel reached number 2 on Amazon Kindle charts (number 1 in Comic Fiction). Her second book, The Darlings, was published worldwide by Lightning Books on 21st June 2021. Originally from the north of England, Angela now lives with her family in Edinburgh.

Thank you, Angela for taking part in Sunday Brunch with Jaffareadstoo.

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