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Interview with Jacqueline Gillam-Fairchild

As owner-operator of an English tea room, Jacqueline Gillam-Fairchild's life is full of all the details needed for baking, serving, and socializing, but somehow she manages to perform in a mystery troupe, as well as write scripts and contemporary fiction.

Jacqueline, when did you have time to write Estate of Mind with so many activities in your day?
I write a little bit every morning and a little more later each day. And when I am here at my tea room, I type into my computer and semi-edit as I go. I find by writing every day my characters stay real, brought to life again after each quiet night. Busy people or not so busy people always have time for things they love. And I love to write.

Which dream came first, owning a tea room or writing a book?
My husband and I have owned our tea room, Her Majesty's, for 15 years. I have written seriously for the past 7 or so. When we relocated to the country, we simply followed a dream and added the restaurant to our British shoppe. My store and restaurant came first, but I had so many stories just waiting to be written down that I found it is a wonderfully restful thing to do between all else. I have many manuscripts, but this is the first one my agent, Jim Hart, has sold.

Your bio states you studied both pastry and interior design. Were both part of your overall plan to excel in the service industry?
I was an interior designer as a younger girl and loved it. But life took us to a smaller city and my husband and I both wanted to leave the corporate rat race and be on our own. So we followed our hearts and opened our own business. Pastry and baking have always been a huge part of my life and that of my Scottish husband. It was natural to take our shoppe up a notch and add a Brit tea room.

Do you have a dream of turning a derelict mansion into a bed and breakfast like the one that is the focus of Estate of Mind?
Ha, ha. I have had several friends with bed and breakfasts. Of course, the restoration is exciting, as is the interior design work. So is the cooking for other people, but when all is said and done, we like to go home to our quiet cottage with Lucy, our Pekinese, and not wake up in the morning to strangers. We have lived the bed and breakfast experience through our friends.

How did you come up with Estate of Mind as the title for the bed and breakfast?
Well, it was just that--in her mind all along. Dreams can become reality with a little push and a lot of hard work.

How do you portray faith in Estate of Mind?
Faith is believing and not giving up. Acting on that belief. What you want is waiting for you if you meet it through hard work and determination. Seeing it in your mind and then working toward it. Yet sometimes there are surprises that you never knew were out there for you.

Can you explain the sub-genre, cozy fiction?

Cozy fiction is a lot like cozy mystery. There is romance, but subtle. There is nothing harsh. Life is harsh enough. There is hope, there is a process. And of course, there is a happy ending. My agent Jim Hart refers to my writing as Hallmark meets Disney.

What genres do you like reading?
I read an awful lot. Tender things, sweet things, cozy mysteries, and biographies. And of course cookery books. Because there is always a pastry recipe waiting for me to tweak or a cookie waiting for me to decorate…

What are you working on now?
I have just finished editing a delightful story called Krumbee's, about a diner. I have also put the final touches on Mum Clash--a Brit architect who only builds children's playhouses, and a washed-up rock and roll singer who is forced to come home to raise her 7-year-old preppy daughter. This story will make you cry, and is loaded with great music, and of course the British countryside.

I am almost finished with a story about a dachshund and a little girl, titled Dash. And I am outlining a new one, Three Grandmas' Bakery, about three granddaughters who open a bakery…I think you will love it. So I like to work on several things at a time. I am also working on a cookery book. I am an Aga English Cooker dealer and feel Americans love these iconic ovens, but need to translate them to American baking and cooking.

Don't forget, it is never too late to follow your heart! Or make a change. Or just try something new. The rewards cannot be measured.

Thanks for sharing with us, Jacqueline!


Anita Mae Draper is retired from the Canadian Armed Forces and lives on the prairie of southeast Saskatchewan, Canada with her hubby of 30 plus years and their youngest of 4 kids. She writes historical romance set in Canada and the United States.

Romantic Refinements, Novella 2 in the Austen in Austin Volume 1 collection by WhiteFire Publishing released in January 2016. This 4-novella collection of stories set in historic Austin, Texas is based on the novels of Jane Austen.

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