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 Nicola Rossi to Sunday Brunch
Welcome to Jaffreadstoo, Nicola. What favourite food are you bringing to Sunday brunch?
It has to be Eggs Benedict. They are my absolute favourite brunch food. In normal circumstances they wouldn’t travel too well, but in a fictional world anything is possible.
Would you like a pot of English breakfast tea, a strong Americano, or a glass of Bucks Fizz?
A pot of tea would be perfect, thank you, with extra hot water to top it up.
Where shall we eat brunch – around the kitchen table, in the formal dining room, or outside on the patio?
The kitchen table. It’s the heart of the home.
Shall we have music playing in the background, and if so do you have a favourite piece of music?
Perhaps we could put on the playlist from one of my Rockstar Ending novels? They are all on Spotify. David Bowie’s ‘Golden Years’ is the closing track to Rockaway, the most recent book, but there’s something for everyone. Probably best to skip Slayer ‘Angel of Death’, though. It would not be appropriate for a relaxed brunch.
Which of your literary heroes (dead or alive) are joining us for Sunday Brunch today?
I’d like to invite Mary Shelley, William Gibson, Margaret Atwood, George Orwell and Emily St John Mandel. Could we also sneak in David Bowie?
Which favourite book will you bring to Sunday Brunch?
Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. It would give us much to talk about. She pulls off the incredible feat of making you feel sorry for a murderous monster, while deftly weaving in timeless themes around technology, humanity, self-determination and the responsibility of the creator. It’s the ultimate tale of unintended consequences.
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 always have a book on the go, although I don’t always get through them very quickly. At the moment I’m reading Ursula K. Le Guin’s ‘The Left Hand of Darkness’. The ideas around gender in the book are interesting, but it’s far less emotionally engaging than the Earthsea novels which I recently re-read, and enjoyed as much as when I was a teenager.
A three volume set of Alan Moore’s Jerusalem has been lurking on my bookshelf for a while. I’m gearing up for it. The print is tiny and I’ve heard it’s a challenging read. On the more accessible front, I picked up George Orwell’s Animal Farm second hand last weekend – the only one of his books I haven’t got round to yet.
Where do you find the inspiration for your novels?
My ideas come from observing real life situations and thinking ‘what if…?’ I’ve worked for large global companies, have raised a family, carried out postgraduate research on big tech, and have a good memory for people’s stories. It all plays in.
Have you a favourite place to settle down to write and do you find it easier to write in winter or summer?
I like to write in my kitchen. It’s light and I can do a bit of cooking if I need a break. When the weather is sweltering, I don’t find it easy to concentrate and would rather be doing something else.
When writing to a deadline are you easily distracted and if so how do you bring back focus on your writing?
Once I decide to do something, I am laser focused. I don’t think I have ever missed a deadline. Social media is a formidable distraction, so you need to be disciplined about how much time you spend on there. I tend to write in bursts and give myself a weekly word count target to keep me motivated. It’s also important to take lots of breaks. Some of my best ideas surface when I am at the gym or walking round the park.
Give us four essential items that a writer needs?
1. Computer with back-up capability. Don’t get caught out!
2. Thesaurus. No, it’s not cheating.
3. A strong support network of friends, family, editors and writers. Other authors have been overwhelmingly generous to me with both practical advice and emotional support.
4. A comfortable workstation at the right height to guard against the health problems that can result from bad posture.
What can you tell us about your latest novel or your current work in progress?
My latest novel, Rockaway, which was published on 8 January 2022, is the third book in my dystopian Rockstar Ending series.
Freedom fighter Lexi is traumatized by the horrors she has experienced at the hands of the sinister Corporation. Yet she remains hell-bent on halting the Endings, an insidious, AI-powered killing spree aimed at the over-70s.
With troubled youth and people with disabilities next in line for extinction, Lexi and her activist friends turn up the heat. But the powerful have too much to lose. When the resistance unleashes daring new tactics to derail the genocide, they find themselves in greater danger than they ever thought possible.
The chillingly plausible Rockstar Ending series is steeped in the social and political dilemmas that dominate the 2020s. The novels blend glimmers of dark humor with acutely observed cultural references and include a playlist of the songs that run through the story.
If you enjoy dystopian fiction such as Black Mirror, The Handmaid’s Tale, or Nineteen Eighty-Four the Rockstar Ending series is for you.
Nicola where can we follow you on social media?
More about Nicola
N. A. (Nicola) Rossi has lived in London most of her life, moving there from the seaside town of Southport in the early ‘80s. After university she flirted briefly with journalism, and then began a 30-year career in communications management, eventually running international teams for big technology companies.
In 2017 she was awarded an MA in Digital Media from Goldsmiths University. That was when the trouble began. She started to write about surveillance, data ownership, consent and the potential for people to be manipulated without their knowledge.
Her debut novel, Rockstar Ending, started life as a short story, ‘One Last Gift’, which won a dystopian fiction award from the Orwell Society. The judges described it as ‘highly original, macabre and very funny’. It was published in the Journal of Orwell Studies.
Nicola has now published another two full length books in the Rockstar Ending series, Rock On and Rockaway, in addition to the prequel novella, For Those About to Rock.
In September 2021 Free@Last TV announced that they had acquired the rights to the Rockstar Ending books for a repeatable TV series which is now in development.
Nicola is a regular blogger on technology, society and the arts. She has lectured in universities on leadership, PR, ethics and corporate social responsibility and consults on communications management. She has appeared on BBC Radio 4 Today, BBC local radio, and written for a wide range of media outlets including The Independent, Time Out, Louder Than War and Influence.
She lives in south east London with her husband and two adult children.
Nicola thank you for sharing your Sunday Brunch with Jaffareadstoo
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