I would bring a Victoria Sponge Cake. Whipped cream and jam are sandwiched between the layers. I would use plum jam made from the plums off our tree. This cake is presented to one of my characters in my historical fiction novel series, “Intrepid Journey”, Book 6. Queen Victoria loved a slice of cake with her afternoon tea, thus becoming her namesake. My character adores Queen Victoria. It’s 1864, and baking powder had recently been invented which was used in the sponge cake. The cake was described as two sponge cakes filled with cream or buttercream, then dusted with sugar on top. It was also referred to as a Victoria Sandwich Cake. It’s absolutely delicious. I have posted the recipe on my website.
Would you like a pot of English breakfast tea, a strong Americano, or a glass of Bucks Fizz?
A must–English Breakfast tea served in a pretty teapot, and I would enjoy drinking my tea from a delicate teacup with saucer.
Where shall we eat brunch – around the kitchen table, in the formal dining room, or outside on the patio?
Since there are still sunny days here in October, we should sit outside on the patio. From this vantage point we will look upon the trees, now cloaked in colourful foliage.
Shall we have music playing in the background, and if so do you have a favourite piece of music?
Yes, let’s relax with some smooth jazz piano music.
Which of your literary heroes (dead or alive) are joining us for Sunday Brunch today?
“Gone With The Wind” is one of my all-time favorite historical romance books, so I would invite Scarlett O’Hara. I love her strength and willful personality. She has been the inspiration for my character, Samantha, a Southern Belle during the Civil War, in my novel series.
Which favourite book will you bring to Sunday Brunch?
I would like to bring my 1979 time-worn paperback book “A Woman of Substance” by Barbara Taylor Bradford. This was Bradford’s debut novel in 1979 with more than 30 million copies sold. The author tells the story of her character, Emma Harte, who rises from servant girl to becoming an international power and one of the richest women in the world. I have to say this book was a major inspiration for me when I created my own business in 1980 from which after 38 successful years, I have retired. While I loved my business immensely, I’m thrilled to be pursuing my long-awaited moment in time to write stories.
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!
After reading and devouring the World War II novel “Nightingale” by Kristen Hannah, I plan to read her book “Four Winds”, which is set around the Great Depression shortly after the Great War. The author happens to come from my neck of the woods, the Pacific Northwest.
Where do you find the inspiration for your novels?
I have always been passionate about storytelling and impressed by the influence it has on people and the decisions they make in life. I love engaging with the projects I work on, diving headfirst into the research, investigation, and production of stories I feel are worth writing about. I would call myself a curious and proactive author, always interested in preserving history.
Have you a favourite place to settle down to write and do you find it easier to write in winter or summer?
I have two special places which offer me quietude and serenity as well as a beautiful view of the mighty Columbia River and snow-capped Mt. St. Helen’s. In the wintertime, my laptop and I settle in the cosy nook by the fireside, and in the summertime, I love to write on our sun porch while basking in the morning sun.
When writing to a deadline are you easily distracted and if so how do you bring back focus on your writing?
Since I am very goal-oriented, staying focused isn’t a problem. I always establish a daily word count goal. This works extremely well for me. It’s rewarding to meet the goal or go beyond. If my word count does exceed my goal, I look at it as a credit toward a day that I might miss the goal. Life happens! Right? Even if I’m not physically writing, my mind continues to work on the storyline. I’m afraid I become quite obsessive with my characters and storyline. My books and I are as one, lol.
Give us four essential items that a writer needs?
A quiet, serene space, a comfortable chair for writing, Scrivener on my laptop, and a Thesaurus.
What can you tell us about your latest novel or your current work in progress?
Last month, I published Book 6 of my historical fiction novel series, “Intrepid Journey: Crosswinds”. This is the continuing saga of my fictional Bennett family. The storyline begins in 1835 in Book 1 when the three Bennett brothers migrate to America from England. They begin their life in New York City. They marry and the Bennett family is born. Time passes and it’s 1855 when they learn about the offer of free land in the Pacific Northwest. The family decides to take a chance and embark on a voyage from New York City to the untamed Washington Territory via the little known water route on a side wheeler paddle steamship. They endure many hardships along the way. The series follows the family as it grows. The characters come to life as we not only watch them overcome the many challenges and hardships of that time with courage, fortitude, and loyalty, but also their moments of laughter, sadness, and romance. Historical events are woven into the storyline. In Book 6, the Civil War finally ends in 1865, but not without touching the family.
A perilous escape. An uncertain outcome. A test of courage.
A French warship attacks the Mexico city, Mazatlán, and holds it hostage, thwarting Alberto De Leon’s plans to return to his family in California. No one can get in or out. Trapped, he’ll stop at nothing to win his freedom. But when he attempts a daring escape, it goes terribly wrong. He’s now a man on the run with a bounty on his head.
Jane Bennett’s nephews–Union officers–are captured and endure deplorable conditions in a Confederate prison camp. Finally, the Civil War ends and all prisoners of war are released. When the two brothers and hundreds of other soldiers board a ship to go home, they have no idea what fate has in store for them. Many will never see home again.
Dark clouds and uncertainty descend upon the Bennett clan as the chaos of two wars threatens the lives of those they hold dear. Will the family be strong enough to face what lies ahead?
Crosswinds is the sixth book of the sweeping Intrepid Journey historical fiction series. If you enjoy seeing the past come alive, compelling characters, and a dash of romance, then you’ll love Lilly Robbins Brock’s engaging tale.
More about Lilly
Lilly Robbins Brock was born in Olympia, Washington where her pioneer family homesteaded in the late 1800s. She loves history and one of her passions has been researching her family tree. Learning about the past lives of her hometown inspired Lilly to write her historical fiction novel series, Intrepid Journey, Book One: An Untamed Frontier, Intrepid Journey, Book Two: Perils in Paradise., Intrepid Journey, Book 3: A New Dawn, Intrepid Journey, Book 4: Twists of Fate, Intrepid Journey, Book 5: Changing Tides, and now Intrepid Journey, Book 6: Crosswinds. She is presently working on Book Seven to continue the story of the Bennett family saga. Lilly has also written three nonfiction memoir/biographies to honor three members of the Greatest Generation who served our country during World War II. The first book, Wooden Boats & Iron Men, is about a PT sailor and his love of PT boats. The second book, Ever A Soldier, tells the story of a soldier who saw action on the European front. The third book, Victory On The Home Front, is the story of a Rosie the Riveter and her husband who was a fighting Seabee. Lilly and her husband are now retired. They live in a quiet country setting on the shores of the Columbia River in Cathlamet, Washington, which has become the perfect place to pursue her lifelong desire to write stories, and where she wrote her first book, Food Gift Recipes From Nature’s Bounty.