#WeekendCoffeeShare: If We Were Having Coffee… On August 14

Hello my lovely booklovers,

how are you? Welcome to the Weekend Coffee Share, a blog hop by the lovely Diana over at Part Time Monster. Every weekend we get together for virtual coffees and a little casual chat. How has this past week been for you?

If we were having coffee today, I’d invite you out onto the patio for our drinks. After weeks of miserable weather, drizzling rain, and temperatures dropping to 5°C during the night (it’s meant to be the middle of summer here!!!), it’s gotten warm and sunny again all of a sudden. So suddenly, in fact, that I was down and out yesterday with headaches and circulatory problems (rapid changes in temperature and air pressure have a tendency to mess with me). But I’m fine now.

If we were having coffee, I’d ask you whether you work with books in any capacity. No matter whether you’re a bookseller, bibliotherapist, librarian, literary agent or anything else to do with books. If you are I’d love to interview you about your job for a series of interviews I’m planning, to show what sort of jobs a love for books & literature can lead to. There will be an official call for interviewees soon, but if this applies to you or one of your friends please get in touch with me!

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that I am still busy with my M.A. thesis. And though I love my topic, my concentration is waning… I guess I just want to get it down, and I’m at a point where distractions come easily and I jump at them to get away from the computer for a while.

Speaking of computer: my laptop is fixed for now! I was really worried I’d caught a virus, but the professionals had a look, and it seems like all the problems were caused by the touchpad going the way of the dodo. I can’t fully explain it, but from what I’ve gathered, the hardware stopped working, but the driver was still there, and commands still went through. As it’s a laptop that gets moved about a fair bit, some of those movements must have sent signals which were received, and so whatever it was doing got zoomed in or moved about, depending on what I’d last tried to do or how I touched my touchpad. It’s now been completely disabled and the driver uninstalled, so I’m now stuck with an external mouse (not ideal when literally working on your laptop in your lap and you’re used to dealing with everything through your fingertips) but at least my laptop is back to working order! Yay! I’ll still have to look for a new one eventually, though.

If we were having coffee today, I’d tell you that I’ve missed getting really lost in a good story. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve read a lot of good books this year so far (more than 60 books total and only the odd one out got less than 3 stars in my opinion). But I like it when you’re so taken by a story that everything else around you becomes unimportant. Food, sleep, assignments, it didn’t matter. So imagine my surprise when I found such a story not in a printed book, but rather in fanfiction! I won’t tell you which fandom I was reading up on, but I found a 5-story arc that gave such a realistic background to one of my favourite characters from that particular fandom, that I just had to know how it ended. At first, it wasn’t too bad length-wise. It progressed easily, with the first 4 stories only having between 8.000 and 32.000 words each. By the time I realised the final story had 258.000 words I was too hooked to abandon it halfway through. So, basically, I read around 328.000 words total in one go, or by my estimate, the equivalent of a ≈ 940-page novel in a day! On my phone. Despite needing several recharges. It was worth it, though. A lot of it matched my own headcanon regarding that character, and it’s given me story ideas aplenty.

If we were having coffee today, I’d tell you that I was in Düsseldorf on Thursday night, to see the National Theatre Encore screening of Hangmen. I loved it! I hadn’t been to a theatre screening since Shakespeare Day because this year the performances on offer near me are several months apart, rather than monthly as they had been before. But Hangmen, starring David Morrissey, was one I didn’t want to miss. It’s all set in the north of England, and it was refreshing to hear proper Lancashire, Yorkshire, and Greater Manchester accents again. If you didn’t know already, I spent 6 years living and working in the North West of England; 3 years in Carlisle, Cumbria, and 3 years living in Southport, Merseyside but working in Liverpool, Merseyside and Preston, Lancashire, so I consider myself a Northerner and my accent tends to get more Lanky the more comfortable I become talking to people. In fact, my old house in Southport was about half a mile from the county border of West Lancashire on the main route into Preston. The people sitting next to me at the movies had a hard time following the dialogue at times, which made me giggle. To me, the actors sounded just like the motley crew of regulars down at my local.

Last week, I mentioned that I wanted to get back into journaling, and I’ve made a start. Writing on the first blank page is always the hardest bit, but I’ve started with a “This Is Me” post. It won’t be a diary as such. My days these days consist mainly of work and study with very little else until the thesis is handed in. But I’ve got lists and experiences I want to write about. I’m fully counting on the therapeutic value of such an exercise. I’ve been printing out pictures and patterns to use as backgrounds to add a splash of colour to the journal, as I am hopeless when it comes to illustrations. Let’s just say, even stick people are a challenge….

©Literati Girl

©Literati Girl

Anyway, if we were having coffee today, that would be it from me for now. Tell me about your week. What have you been up to? And I’m sure the other Weekend Coffee Sharers would love to see you too!

Thank you for having coffee with me. Same time, next week?

Menschen mit Meer – Interview with author Alex Hofmann #tbt

Throwback Thursday to a December 2014 interview with my good friend and former colleague Alex Hofmann.

A German version of this interview was published on December 18, 2014 on my other blog Study.Read.Write.

It’s nearly 9pm when my door bell rings and Alex Hofmann stands grinning in my hallway. The author of Menschen mit Meer (lit.: People with Sea), a book about people with autism that was published by Kleine Wege in 2013, gives me a hug, gets comfy on the couch – and pulls a thermos out of her handbag.

“I totally forgot I’d made tea and I didn’t want to let it go to waste,” she explains while I go and get mugs and she pulls something else out of her bag.

“There are a few homemade Christmas cookies in this box. Help yourself!”

We talk about this and that; about space and psychology, autism and Menschen mit Meer, and our interview is almost an afterthought.

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#WeekendCoffeeShare: If We Were Having Coffee… On July 10

Hello my lovely booklovers,

how are you? Welcome to the Weekend Coffee Share, a blog hop by the lovely Diana over at Part Time Monster. Every weekend we get together for virtual coffees and a little casual chat. How has this past week been for you?

If we were having coffee today, I’d tell you that I have done a lot of reading for university this past week. I’m slowly but surely making my way through all my text books, which is limiting the time I have to read fiction and write reviews. But with a new month comes a new resolution, and I will aim to write at least 3 reviews per week to catch up on my massive pile of read books.

If we were having coffee today I’d apologise for not having coffee with you last week. I’ve been crazy busy, and my laptop is on its way out, it’s been playing up like crazy.

If we were having coffee today, it’d be quite hectic here and I’d ask you to help me in the kitchen. I’m busy making Raffaello cream and an Earl Grey Panna Cotta Tart for my birthday tomorrow. I really hope these recipes work… the Panna Cotta especially, as I had to improvise the crust and I just hope the panna cotta will set overnight in the fridge. Fingers crossed!

If we were having coffee today I’d tell you that I have been drinking much more tea lately. I mean I’ve always had a cuppa or two, but I’m making an effort to drink more. So if you’d like Twinnings Afternoon, Yorkshire Tea or Earl Grey instead of the coffee, let me know and I’ll happily make you one.

Patrick Jane

And this is unrelated to the tea-drinking, but did I mention that I do have a thing for Aussie surfers-turned-actors who look dashing in a three-piece suit? I didn’t? Well, now you know 😉

I will be reaching out to two Australian authors next week – Tim Winton and Jackie French – for interviews regarding my M.A. thesis. As I am writing about authors’ cultural backgrounds, it would help to ask them directly. And sort of tying in with the thesis, but as a side-project, I am also reaching out to interview Simon Baker (see above). Yes, he is an actor, but he just directed his first movie and wrote his first screenplay based on Tim Winton’s Breath, and I’m really interested in finding out what attracted him to the story. I do think it’s telling that an Australian living in the US would still choose an Australian novel to adapt as his first film. Keep your fingers crossed for me?

Anyway, if we were having coffee today, I’d tell you that my computer is playing up too much to continue posting. It’s closed this site twice, keeps zooming in and my touchpad stopped working. I think that’s a sign to sit back, grab another cuppa of Earl Grey and watch some The Mentalist until I turn another year older. You’re welcome to stay, but I’m sure the other Weekend Coffee Sharers would love to see you too.

Thank you for having coffee with me!

Same time, next week?




Ein ganz verschmitzter Kerl – Interview mit Ralf Schmitz #tbt

It’s another Throwback Thursday, and this time I am offering up my first ever big interview!

Ralf Schmitz is a German comedian and author of the books Schmitz’ Katze, Schmitz’ Mama and Schmitz’ Häuschen. Back in 2008, I was fortunate enough to interview Ralf about the release of his first book Schmitz’ Katze, his tour and his childhood cat.

Here’s the interview as it appeared (in German) on Karl., the youth page of the local daily Solinger Tageblatt I was freelancing for back then.

Interview with Ralf Schmitz by Cornelia Kaufmann, as it was published in the Solinger Tageblatt on September 23, 2008.

Interview with Ralf Schmitz by Cornelia Kaufmann, as it was published in the Solinger Tageblatt on September 23, 2008.

A new Bluebird comes to the Lakes – Interview with author Vesna Maric #tbt

Another Throwback Thursday, and another interview I did while studying Travel Journalism at the University of Cumbria.

I spoke to Bosnian author Vesna Maric about her memoir Bluebird for Words by the Water in 2009.

This interview was first published in Write On! magazine, the official Words by the Water 2009 festival magazine created by the journalism students at the University of Cumbria.

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Where the Streets have no Name – Interview with author Kapka Kassabova #tbt

It’s Throwback Thursday, and I thought I’d share this article with you.

It’s an interview I did with Bulgarian writer Kapka Kassabova for the Words by the Water festival in Keswick, Cumbria 2009.

First published in Write On! magazine which was created by my journalism course at the University of Cumbria as the official Words by the Water magazine for 2009.

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