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 Brad Borkan to Sunday Brunch
Welcome to Jaffareadstoo, Brad. What favourite food are you bringing to Sunday brunch?
As an American living in London, I miss US-style pancakes for breakfast, so I’d happily bring along the ingredients to make those, along with jars of Canadian maple syrup and homemade blueberry syrup, created using a recipe handed down for generations… at least that’s what it said on the blueberry syrup recipe I found on the internet.
Would you like a pot of English breakfast tea, a strong Americano, or a glass of Bucks Fizz?
A few glasses of Bucks Fizz at brunch and I’d be happy, but useless for the rest of the day. From the list, a better choice would be English breakfast tea, though I’m partial to Irish breakfast tea. Btw, I might be the only American you’ll ever meet who has never had a cup of coffee.
Where shall we eat brunch – around the kitchen table, in the formal dining room, or outside on the patio?
In nice weather, the patio. Otherwise, the kitchen table which is far more relaxed and conducive to chatting about life, books, decision making, relationships, writing and a whole host of other topics.
Shall we have music playing in the background, and if so do you have a favourite piece of music?
Light jazz, though having recently watched the Beatles documentary, I’m enjoying listening to songs from their early albums.
Which of your literary heroes (dead or alive) are joining us for Sunday Brunch today?
I am enthralled by the writing of Larry Collins and Dominique Lapierre. They co-wrote the unforgettable non-fiction books: “Is Paris Burning?”, “O’ Jerusalem”, and “Freedom at Midnight”. Their books, which document important moments in history, inspired me to become an author, and to write in partnership with someone else. I’d also invite the author Bill Bryson who is also an American living in the UK. I’ve read most of his books.
Which favourite book will you bring to Sunday Brunch?
Bill Bryson’s “One Summer: America 1927”. It’s about the summer of 1927, which Bill says is the most eventful single season in the entire history of the United States. It is a remarkable book about an extraordinary period. By coincidence, my father was born during in the summer of 1927.
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 read a lot for pleasure. I also love audiobooks. For relaxation, I listen to rom-coms. Otherwise, I focus on action bestsellers, non-fiction books about creative people like Leonardo da Vinci, and books by mountaineers and adventurers. I also love reading manuscripts provided by friends who are authors in any genre. I am currently reading Nicola Rossi’s Rockstar Ending, a fascinating dystopian novel, and the new Shackleton biography by Ranulph Fiennes, and wish I had more time to devote to finishing both books.
Where do you find the inspiration for your books?
I am inspired by great historical people and events, like the early Antarctic explorers’ quest for the South Pole and Theodore Roosevelt’s desire to build the Panama Canal. My desire is to help modern people improve their own decision making by showing how mighty endeavours were accomplished. The people involved were not perfect, and readers may not realise how often they faced set-backs and obstacles in their pursuit of success.
Have you a favourite place to settle down to write and do you find it easier to write in winter or summer?
I prefer the solitude of my office. While there are chapters in each of my books that are set in Antarctica, I prefer writing in the summer, since believe it or not, I hate being cold.
When writing to a deadline are you easily distracted and if so how do you bring back focus on your writing?
With everything going on the world, focus is definitely challenging. If you discover the magic formula for staying focused, please let me know. The deadline is not the driver for my writing. For my co-author and I, our driver is simply: can we achieve the quality needed to bring the stories in our books to life for our readers?
Give us four essential items that a writer needs?
Firstly, you need a story so compelling and that you believe in so completely, that you are literally bursting to tell it. Writers also need a sense of optimism, a truly magnificent editor (thankfully my co-author and I have found several), and an intense desire to create something of high quality.
What can you tell us about your latest book or your current work in progress?
My latest book is “Audacious Goals, Remarkable Results: How an Explorer, an Engineer and a Statesman Shaped our Modern World.” It is non-fiction, and co-written with David Hirzel, a California-based historian.
The book tells the story of three unstoppable people, and their six extraordinary achievements.
Roald Amundsen — the Norwegian explorer
Isambard Kingdom Brunel — the greatest engineer the world has ever seen
Theodore Roosevelt — the cowboy turned statesman
Amundsen was the first through the Northwest Passage and the first to the South Pole. Brunel built magnificent tunnels, bridges, railways and ships, and Roosevelt was instrumental in the US National Parks and the Panama Canal.
The book reveals the outsized risks and setbacks each faced in their epic quest to change our world.
This past month we were thrilled to find out that it is a finalist in the Wishing Shelf Book Awards for non-fiction and has been shortlisted in the Chanticleer International Book Awards for insightful non-fiction.
More about Brad
Brad Borkan is the co-author of two books, “When Your Life Depends on It: Extreme decision making lessons from the Antarctic”, and “Audacious Goals, Remarkable Results: How an explorer, an engineer and a statesman shaped our modern world.” A former senior director at leading high tech companies, he is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, Vice Chair of the Friends of the Scott Polar Research Institute, and a member of the Society of Authors.
|Brad with Antarctic Flag|
Brad has traveled to all 7 continents. He has presented at business and Antarctic conferences, appeared on US-based cable TV, and on numerous historical and business-focused podcasts. Brad’s expertise is in the themes of leadership, teamwork, and the modern lessons we can learn from people who dared greatly and succeeded against all odds.
Thank you, Brad for taking part in Sunday Brunch with Jaffareadstoo.
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