Sunday 19 June 2022

☀ Summer Picnic with Jaffareadstoo ~ Barbara Scott Emmett

Jaffareadstoo is delighted to welcome you all to our Summer Picnic

Summertime is here

☼ I'm delighted to welcome Barbara Scott Emmett to our Summer Picnic 

Welcome back to Jaffareadstoo, Barbara. Which favourite foods are you bringing to our summer picnic?

I love hummus with crudites – raw carrot sticks, celery, spring onions – oh who am I kidding? – throw in a pork pie and a bag of crisps and I’ll be happy.

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?

The elderflower cordial sounds wonderful but if I’m not driving, I may well have a white wine spritzer – possibly without the spritz.

Where shall we sit, by the pool, on a beach, in the garden or in the countryside?

The beach is my absolute favourite place but if we don’t want sand in the sandwiches we could opt for the back garden.

Do we have a wicker hamper, tablecloth and cutlery, or is everything in a supermarket carrier bag?

In my dreams I’d go for the wicker hamper with all the trimmings and I’d be wearing an elegant pastel-coloured linen outfit. In reality it will no doubt be an Aldi bag and I’ll be in jeans.

Which of your literary heroes (alive or dead) are joining us on the picnic today?

My literary heroes are James Joyce and Arthur Rimbaud. Jimmy Joyce might just about behave himself but Rimbaud has been known to do unmentionable things to the milk. Maybe I’ll ask Hilary Mantel instead.

Do you have favourite place to have a summer picnic?

My back garden! Then, if it rains, as it often does, we can all take our wine inside until the sun comes out again.

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?

While I love listening to Bob Dylan and Van Morrison, for a truly upbeat toe-tapping song you can’t beat Paolo Nutini’s 10/10 from the album Sunnyside Up.

Which summer read are you bringing with you today?

I’ll probably bring The Girl in the Paperweight by Karen MacLeod. It’s the second book in the Ardtullan Hotel Series – thoughtful novels set around hotels, with romantic/relationship aspects to them.

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 do read for pleasure even when I am writing – it’s my little treat at the end of the day. When I first started writing I couldn’t do this because I would find myself influenced by whoever I was reading. Fortunately, I have now found my voice so I don’t have to worry about that any more.

Where do you find the inspiration for your novels?

I wish I knew. It would be great to be able to tap into that source whenever I wanted to. I’m often inspired by a place I’ve visited – all my books are set in particular locations and the environment is very much a part of the story.

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

My current favourite writing place, winter or summer, is in my spare room. It’s south facing so it gets plenty of light. At the beginning of the covid lockdown in 2020, I redecorated using triangular off-cuts of wallpaper – mostly pinks and yellows – so it’s very cheerful, if a little gaudy! I wrote Dog Leap Stairs in there lying on the pink patchwork coverlet.

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

I rarely have deadlines but when I do, I can usually concentrate until I get at least most of it done. I do tend to leave a few last-minute things to be tidied up though, and have to threaten myself with dire consequences if I don’t get on with it.

Give us four essential items that a writer needs?

A pen, paper and the time and space to write are the only real essentials, but a laptop and a good helping of inspiration won’t go amiss. Throw in a cup of tea and a fruit scone and nothing else is needed in my view.

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

Pink Lane (working title) is a follow up to Dog Leap Stairs and is also set in Newcastle. Some of the same characters feature in this crime novel, though it is perhaps not quite so dark as DLS. It’s been slow-going lately so I intend to take July off (editing and proofreading etc) to lie on my pink coverlet and concentrate on writing.


Newcastle 1955

Monica haunts the quayside picking up men of a certain age.

Then one of them is found dead.

Since nobody knows what she does at night, she can't be in the frame for the murder.

Can she?

At her lowest point, she meets Bobby Wilson, an ordinary lad, handsome in his way.

But is this the right time to fall in love?

As the oily Tyne flows past the wharfs and under the iconic bridge, middle-aged men are being targeted by a vicious killer. Monica Brown, damaged, abused, just happens to be in the area - just happens to be excited by the murders.

Dog Leap Stairs is a blend of psychological realism and crime; dark, claustrophobic and atmospheric, it is both a portrait of Tyneside in the 1950s and an account of one woman's struggle against her true nature.

Pick up your copy :

Books2Read Dog Leap Stairs Apple, Kobo, B&N etc

Amazon Paperback £7.99 /$9.99 and eBook reduced to 99p/99c (until Tuesday 21st June)

More about Barbara

Barbara Scott Emmett has lived in London, Edinburgh, Musselburgh and many towns and
settlements in Australia, where her novel The Land Beyond Goodbye is set. Some years ago, she spent time writing in chalets, tents and caravans in France and Germany. Her novels Delirium: The Rimbaud Delusion and Don’t Look Down are set in France and Germany respectively. After many years away, she has now returned to her hometown of Newcastle upon Tyne, where her latest crime novel, Dog Leap Stairs is set.

Barbara, where can we follow you on social media?

Twitter @BSE_Writer

Thank you for sharing your Summer Picnic with us today

Thank you so much for having me.

Follow on Twitter #SummerPicnicwithJaffareadstoo

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