Saturday, September 7, 2013

Interview with Pauline Wiles

Saving Saffron Sweeting was full of interesting tidbits about English country life, but I still had more questions for Author Pauline Wiles.

I love how you describe the life in a small town. Have you ever lived in a small town in the country?
The smallest place I've ever lived was a Scottish village near Aberdeen. The community was tight-knit and everyone knew each other's name - and business. And now, my parents live in a village just outside Cambridge, although it's larger than Saffron Sweeting and its shops are thriving. I didn't (deliberately) lift material from real life but I do think small communities provide some fun quirks and characters.

~~ Ellie side note: this beautiful pic came from Pauline's Pinterest, it's Woodbridge, Suffolk, England

Dandelion juice. Do you have a recipe for it? What does it taste like? Would it taste better with tequila or vodka in it?
Dandelion and burdock is best known as an acquired taste and I admit it's not one of my favorites. 'Medicinal' comes to mind, although other people mention root beer and even cherry cough syrup. A fairly straightforward recipe is here:
...although to be honest, if you are keen to try it, it might be simpler to just buy some on Amazon. Vodka might be a big improvement, yes!

~~Ellie side note: I did check online to see where they sold it and found this link:

You made a brief mention about warm beer, and I've always had that doubt. Is it really warm, or is it room temperature but since its always cold over there it evens out?
I think 'warm beer' is mostly an affectionate (?) term for beer that hasn't been chilled. So, yes, typically it would be room temperature. Personally, I really dislike beer, whether hot, warm or icy!

In the book, the villagers had to change their ways in order to accommodate the American way of living and thinking. Do you find that happening in small places?
I do feel small communities are changing to survive, not from the influence of any given nationality, but because our lifestyles and habits are evolving. Rather than resisting change on all levels, to me, it makes more sense for communities to find new ways to succeed together. For example, I can think of a couple of small food businesses close to Cambridge which are thriving because they're providing great quality, convenient food to a niche market.

The book was beautifully written, do you have people (editors, beta readers, writers group, therapists, etc) who helped you in your path and who you would like to mention?
Thanks for that kind comment. I feel lucky that the book got off to a great start, thanks to author Kristin Harmel and my fellow students in Media Bistro's Chick Lit class. ( Several of my beta readers came from that group and they were diligent in their critique! I also self-edited obsessively, literally hunting through the book for words which novice writers tend to over-use.
But I'm certainly still developing my writing skills and style; I'm constantly on the lookout for tips and articles on technique. There were some wonderful sessions at the San Francisco Writers Conference (, which I attended shortly before the book was published.

Make sure to visit Pauline's website, it has links to her Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter and other social media accounts. Plus more British expressions and a handy Book Club Guide. Thank You Pauline!


  1. Thanks for the fun (and highly original!) questions. That's a lovely photo of Woodbridge, which doesn't feature on the typical tourist itinerary but is fairly typical of older towns in that part of England.
    If you ever experience Dandelion & Burdock for yourself, do let me know what you think.

    1. I'm pretty adventurous when it comes to food...even like black pudding!...but I'm gonna have to think about Dandelion & Burdock