Posted in Uncategorized, Writing

Tea and Talk at Sally Lunn’s with Serena Fairfax

Sally Lunns Tea Houseserena_fairfaxWelcome Serena to Tea and Talk at Sally Lunns, it’s lovely to see you here in Bath today.

This is a treat in more ways than one. A scrumptious tea in Georgian Bath, following where Jane Austen did not fear to tread.  The last time I visited this architectural gem was ages ago when I came with a boyfriend who had a job interview scheduled. I wandered around sight seeing whilst he underwent a gruelling afternoon being asked a lot of trick questions. He didn’t get the job – the feedback being unsuitable as lacking in entrepreneurial ambition although he eventually ended up employing himself with outstanding success!160bulbul

Now that we are settled and waiting for our food to arrive could tell me a little about yourself? 

I spent my childhood in India. My father was an international businessman (I kind of persuaded myself that was his cover story and that he was really a secret agent!)  so wherever he was posted –  we followed. Then I was sent to boarding school in England – a really fun place with inspiring staff- midnight feasts in the dorm etc – and thence to University where I read law. Joined a large London firm and am still in the day job!  wilful_fate_160

When did you start writing and what was it that made you decide to be an author?

There were the usual juvenile compositions  but I started writing category romances in the early 1990s when I heard Mills & Boon were looking for new authors ( I’ve not been able to crack that nut!) Robert Hale published my first two and they went into large print. Then nothing for ages, as I was busy earning a living. When I’d laboured sufficiently in the vineyard, I became eligible for a Sabbatical so grabbed it and not being someone who does things by halves, traded bricks and mortar for a houseboat, dusted off a mothballed typescript from the bottom drawer that eventually morphed into WHERE THE BULBUL SINGS which I self-published as an e-book and hard copy.

in_the_pink_160 (1)And what was your route to publishing?

Well, like true love it didn’t run smooth! More downs than ups but always exciting and challenging. Being an indie – author is like setting off on a journey without a compass or road map. There are unknown perils and pitfalls but ultimately there’s the real pleasure of unchartered waters and a safe haven.

You have written five books, all different.  Was that a conscious choice or did the inspiration for each just strike and make you think ‘yes, this is what I’ll write next?’

Six at the last count. Four – STRANGE INHERITANCE; PAINT ME A DREAM; GOLDEN GROVE and WILFUL FATE are unashamedly 50,000 word romances. WHERE THE BULBUL SINGS is a sprawling saga of 150,000 words that cried out to be told and IN THE PINK   (40,000 words ) is  an experiment and quite different from the others.  I can’t say it was a conscious choice  as it depends on what mood I’m  in when type that first sentence. It’s capable of luring one down an entirely different path.golden_grove_160

What is your advice for would-be writers?

I wouldn’t presume to give advice, as I’m not a household name.  All I can say is enjoy what you’re doing, keep b—-g on and drink lots of red wine.

If you could change one thing in your life, what would that be?

I’d like to experience a process that would render me invisible. That would be amazing because you’d be able to everything people normally only say about you behind your back and don’t dare to say to your face! Also I could happily gatecrash  celeb dos  and no one would be the wiser.

paint_me_a_dream_160And lastly, who would you most like to meet and why?

That’s a difficult one. If I’m allowed to time travel I’d choose William Harvey (he of the circulation of the blood) a brilliant, short, rather irascible man whose innovative theory was truly revolutionary and impacted hugely on modern biology and anatomy. He became known as the person who arrived to a great proficiency in Cat and Dog cutting.

Many thanks Serena for coming along today and giving such a great interview, it was lovely to meet you.


You can learn more about Serena and her novels by clicking on the social network links below.


Posted in Writing

Tea and Talk at Sally Lunn’s

Welcome to this, my very first writers blog interview.   I decided, well, you’ve probably heard enough about me, so it was about time I started to shine the spotlight on some of my writing colleagues.  And what better place to chat than Sally Lunn’s, one of the oldest houses in Bath and a favourite place of mine for tea and cake or maybe even one of their famous Bath buns. To launch this new feature I’d like to welcome fellow author Lynda Renham.

JL: Lovely to meet you  Lynda and now we’re settled with our tea and a delicious selection of cakes, tell me a bit about yourself.

LR: I was born and bred in Essex. So I’m an Essex girl and proud of it although everyone I know tells me I don’t sound in the least like one. My days of living in Oxford and being married to a Surrey chap have knocked it out of me I think. I was previously a teacher.

JL: When did you first start writing?

LR: I have been writing since the age of 13 so I’ve been knocking out stories for many years. I gave up for about fifteen years during the time my first marriage broke down. After re-marrying I found my second husband to be very supportive of my writing and I continued
again. I’ve written several serious novels not yet published bar one titled ‘The Diary of Rector Byrnes’ which is available on Amazon.

JL: How did the idea for your first book come about?

LR: The idea for my first comedy novel ‘Wedding Cake to Turin’ actually came from a visit to Turin that my husband and I made. We also went there for a wedding and my
mother-in-law did escort a wedding cake. The whole novel came out of that. I decided I wanted to write humour as I’ve always lived my life using humour to get me through everything.

JL: Your publishing process, how did you make the decision on which route to take?

LR: I’m a strong advocate of self-publishing although I am now published by a small independent publisher ‘Raucous publishing’ I however, did self-publish ‘Wedding Cake to Turin’ I also learnt a lot from doing that and made many mistakes. I think self-publishing is great but it is hard to get noticed even then but it certainly helps. You also need to be very critical of your own work, more so than normal. It’s nice to have a publisher who does all the work for you. It’s nice to know the books are now available from Waterstones and WH Smith. But I would recommend self-publishing as a way forward. Many authors are looking at that as an alternative.

JS: So what kept the ball rolling and made you want to continue writing?

LR: I think I continue writing because I can’t not write. Ideas are always rushing through my head. It isn’t hard to keep the ball rolling in that respect.

jl: Did you find it easy to get that second book underway?

LR: Yes the second book ‘Croissants and Jam’ was very easy to get underway. I think it is my most popular too. Although I am hoping the new one will be better. It is similar to ‘Croissants and Jam’ and currently has a working title of ‘Pink Wellies and Flat Caps’ but that could, of course, change.

JS:What about new projects?  Are there any in the pipeline?

LR: Currently though I am having an extension on my home which is almost half a house. It also means the other half is an absolute mess. I am very much struggling with all this. We are practically living in our summer house at the bottom of the garden. I am working there also so things are awkward. I have become very stressed. My next project is the new book ‘Pink Wellies and Flat Caps’ I am pleased to say that I have so far written 58,000 words so I am doing it.

JL: I know you love photography.  Do you see writing and photography as creative kindred spirits?

LR: Photography is my second love and yes I do see it as a form of expression. In fact for me it is a more personal form of expression than writing. I try to express a lot of emotion in many of my photographs. I love capturing the moment. The moment is something special.

JL: What do you love doing when you aren’t writing?

LR When I’m not writing I spend a lot of time on the internet. I have a passion for Cambodia and sponsor a child there. I visit the country whenever possible and also the Orphanage where my little girl is. I have friends there and contacts. It is my second favourite place in the world. When not writing I also like to watch DVDs. I don’t own a TV so DVDs are my entertainment. I am also an avid reader. I love everything. I’m currently reading PG Wodehouse coupled with Salman Rushdie’s book ‘Joseph Anton’

JL:Thank you so much Lynda for coming along today, it was great to meet you.  To learn more about  Lynda, her books and her photography contact:

Web page link:


If you would like to join me for Tea and Talk at Sally Lunns just drop me an e-mail at

Joining me for Tea and Talk  next time will be a Canadian writer with Scottish roots – Melanie Robertson King, who has just released her debut novel A Shadow in the Past

And if you are interested in reading more about Sally Lunn’s historic eating house and museum check out