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 Terri Nixon to Sunday Brunch
🍴Welcome, Terri. What favourite food are you bringing to Sunday brunch?
Oh, toast! ALWAYS toast! Usually with Marmite, but perhaps today’s more of a honey kind of vibe, since it’s a rainy January day.
Would you like a pot of English breakfast tea, a strong Americano, or a glass of Bucks Fizz?
I’m a bit of a coward when it comes to coffee; I’m a Gold Blend instant type of person, but I do enjoy a cup of tea now and again, so English breakfast would be ideal, thank you!
Where shall we eat brunch – around the kitchen table, in the formal dining room, or outside on the patio?
Anything formal sends me running for the hills! I think sitting at the kitchen table with tea and toast sounds just about perfect.
Shall we have music playing in the background, and if so do you have a favourite piece of music?
I’m a bit of an old rocker at heart; years in a motorcycle club have left their mark – but I think, as accompaniment to a nice chat, I’d be very happy with some Moody Blues going on in the background, and my favourite of their tracks is Legend of a Mind. It’s about 8 minutes long, so that should do it!
Which of your literary heroes (dead or alive) are joining us for Sunday Brunch today?
On my right we have Stephen King, don’t mind him scribbling; he never seems to stop these days, which is GREAT! On my left, Walter Scott is enjoying a much-earned rest after writing some stonking romantic adventures. Diana Gabaldon sends her apologies; she’s in close conference with Sam Heughan over his portrayal of Jamie Fraser in Outlander. Lucky Diana!
Which favourite book will you bring to Sunday Brunch?
Stephen King’s The Stand – a huge and complex story, with a traditional, though apocalyptic, good Vs evil premise. Wonderful characters I enjoy meeting time and time again. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve returned to this book.
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 get far too little time to read; a few minutes at bedtime before my eyes get too tired, though on days when I’m at my day job I do get lunchtimes as well. And there are so many books on my TBR, I can’t even begin to list them! I got two books for Christmas which I hope to get to very soon though: Billy Summers by Stephen King, and Go Tell the Bees That I Am Gone, by Diana Gabaldon.
Where do you find the inspiration for your novels?
Weirdly, mostly from each other. The initial inspiration for my first novel came from the stories my grandmother used to tell us about her time in service, but since then it’s been the paths the characters have chosen that have led me to explore them further. A good example of this is how a secondary character in my debut novel was getting in the way a bit, so I sent her off to become an ambulance driver when the war began. The next two books followed her, and became very heavily war-based, and in the end all three books grew from each other.
Another factor is places I’ve been to and lived in. I was born in Devon, and grew up on the edge of Bodmin Moor, so most of my sagas are set in and around Devon and Cornwall. A never-ending source of inspiration, from both moorland and coast. I also spent a lot of time with family in Scotland, and I now write crime novels set in that particular area of the Highlands.
Have you a favourite place to settle down to write and do you find it easier to write in winter or summer?
When my youngest son moved out, I took over his bedroom and converted it into an office, so I’m enormously lucky to now have a dedicated space, with a desk and room for all my research books. Before then I had to move my sitting room furniture around each time I wanted to settle down to more than an hour’s writing, and clear it all away again afterwards. So I really appreciate this space I have now! And I’m definitely a winter person; I love hearing the rain hitting the window while I write. It helps too, because I’m so often writing about “vile” (or should I say, “challenging”?) weather in my books.
When writing to a deadline are you easily distracted and if so how do you bring back focus on your writing?
I’m nearly always on some kind of deadline, and I’m SO easily distracted it’s not even funny! The slightest thing, and I’m away. I’m not even sure how I bring the focus back really. I just know that, somehow, I get my manuscripts delivered on time – often early – and they’re pretty clean, too. I have to put my trust in whatever guiding spirit is pushing me to complete my projects, because it/they are doing a bang-up job so far!
Give us four essential items that a writer needs?
I know some people like music, but I personally need: silence, a good chair, a reliable laptop, and confidence in my project.
What can you tell us about your latest novel or your current work in progress?
My most recent publication is A Cornish Homecoming, which is the final book in my Fox Bay series. The saga follows the fortunes of a family who, for various reasons, are forced to give up their lavish lifestyle and move to a family-run hotel in Cornwall. The original story follows matriarch Helen, as she brings up her 3 children and struggles to turn the fortunes of the hotel around; the following 2 books focus on different characters; the final one being Leah Marshall, a former con-artist and close family friend, who is searching for the excitement she’d left behind… and finds a bit too much of it!
1930, Liverpool. Reformed con-artist Leah Marshall has long yearned for the thrills of her former life. Now she has the chance to relive it all as an exciting new 'game' beckons, but she soon discovers the rules have changed. One slip-up and she could lose everything . . . including her life.
Back home in Cornwall, the Foxes are making their own difficult decisions. An old agreement has turned sour, putting the hotel at risk once more, and the children have grown and are embarking on their own, sometimes perilous, paths. Matriarch Helen Fox knows she must take charge of her own future now, or be left alone while her family and home splinter around her. Should she hold on a little longer, or let go and move on?
But when a new and deadly danger steps through the revolving doors of Fox Bay Hotel, Helen finds it might not be her choice to make after all.
Terri, where can we follow you on social media?
Terri was born in Plymouth in 1965. At the age of 9 she moved with her family to North Hill, Cornwall, a small village on the edge of Bodmin Moor where she discovered a love of writing that has stayed with her ever since. Terri is the author of the Oaklands Manor Trilogy, the Lynher Mill Chronicles, the Penhaligon Saga, and the Fox Bay Saga. She is currently working on a brand new series, the first of which, Tyndall’s Folly, will be released in December 2022.
She has co-written, as half of Clarke Nixon, 2 books in the Children of Sinai series, with Shelley Clarke. She also writes crime as R.D. Nixon, and is the author of Crossfire, the first book in the Clifford-Mackenzie Crime series, set in a small community in the Scottish Highlands. Book 2, Fair Game, is out on 8 March 2022.
Terri now lives in Plymouth again, and works in the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Business at Plymouth University.
Thank you for taking part in Sunday Brunch with Jaffareadstoo.
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