Sunday 21 August 2022

☀ Summer Picnic with Jaffareadstoo ~ Val Portelli

 Jaffareadstoo is delighted to welcome you all to our Summer Picnic 

Summertime is here

I'm delighted to welcome Val Portelli to our Summer Picnic 

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

I like nibbles and anything with cheese so I brought along some tapas style, and some strawberries for afters.

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?

A dry white wine spritzer, please and then some coffee later.

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

By the pool next to my private beach. If we get too hot, we can move into the shade under the trees in the garden behind it.

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

We don’t need a tablecloth, but the hamper has cutlery, plates and napkins. The staff will bring the food down to us so we can enjoy a bit of luxury.

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

I don’t think I have any particular literary heroes in the traditional sense as I enjoy books in most genres. Perhaps we could invite some Indie authors who manage to write and publish a book whilst running a home, working full time, raising their family, looking after elderly relatives etc. Their commitment makes them literary heroes in my eyes.

Do you have favourite place to have a summer picnic?

Anywhere it’s not raining.

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?

My musical tastes tend to be rather old fashioned. I love Rock and Roll, 60s and 70s music and ‘pop.’ Happy by Pharrell Williams always makes me smile.

Which summer read are you bringing with you today?

I might bring my own book, ‘Summer Changes’ to remind me of the story before I start work on the sequel, or I might just choose a light, easy to read romance so I can relax.

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 never have as much time to read as I would like, but I try to fit in half an hour most nights before I sleep. There are usually two or three paperbacks plus several on my Kindle waiting their turn, so it’s a constantly changing scenario.

Where do you find the inspiration for your novels?

Everywhere. ‘Summer Changes’ was based on personal experiences when I first visited Malta, ‘Country Boy’ was an amalgamation of several real-life people, ‘ABC Destiny’ was from the alphabet, and ‘Spirit of Technology’ from when my computer was playing up. Some of my other books are short stories, and I have around a hundred mini files with perhaps a title and an idea waiting to be written.

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

I usually write in my office, which is where I have my desk, laptop and books set up. It looks out through the conservatory to the garden so the best of both worlds. It’s probably slightly easier to write in winter when it’s dark out and there are less distractions, otherwise I get involved watching the birds, foxes and other wildlife.

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

To a certain extent I set my own deadlines so I can be flexible. I keep an online diary which covers everything from writing, a reminder of a programme to watch or even an event in a friend’s life. When I’ve seen the same note too many times, or used cut and paste to carry it forward too often, it forces me get it done so I can look at something new.

Give us four essential items that a writer needs?

Hope, patience, supportive friends and a stubborn streak; by that I mean the determination to never give up. I was going to say strong liquor but that would be five.

That spritzer was rather nice. Would it be greedy to ask for another one?

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

I started writing ‘Alderslay’ many years ago, had it edited, wrote other books in between, revised it, changed it, gave it a new title and finally had it published. It was originally inspired by a report in a local newspaper item about transport links, and somehow turned into a mystery/horror involving a house in need of renovation.

My work in progress was intended as a follow-up to ‘Story of a Country Boy’ from a different generation’s outlook. It was supposed to have been finished by the beginning of the year but hopefully will be nearly completed by the time we have our picnic.

More About Val

Val became an author around the age of nine when she received her first rejection letter from a well-known women’s magazine. Undeterred, she carried on writing for friends and family until a freak accident left her house-bound and going stir-crazy.

To save her sanity she put fingers to laptop resulting in her first novel being traditionally published in 2013. A second book through different publishers increased her knowledge of how things work and she turned Indie, migrating from her original pen name of ‘Voinks’ along the way.

She writes in various genres, although the weekly short stories published on her Facebook author page often include her trademark twist of ‘Quirky.’

Reviews for her books are always appreciated, as they help buy food for the Unicorns she breeds in her spare time.


Val, where can we find you on Social media?

Facebook page





Val, thank you for sharing your summer picnic with us today.

Thanks for your company, the food, the drink and the chance to chat. I think I’ve caught a tan while we’ve been enjoying our picnic in the sunshine.

Follow us on Twitter @jaffareadstoo #SummerPicnicwithJaffareadstoo


  1. Thanks so much for the picnic, Jo and Jaffa. I really enjoyed it, and it made a welcome break. Sorry if I scoffed all the strawberries. :D


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