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Guest blogger: Megan Mayfair

19 July 2020

Comfort reads and hot coffee

CS Lewis once said, ‘You can never get a cup of tea big enough or a book long enough to suit me.’

I don’t think there is a better way to sum up reading in winter than this quote. There is such an intrinsic link between curling up with a good book and a warm drink. It’s a small act that brings huge comfort.

After all, hot drinks are things of comfort. A soothing honey-and-lemon drink when a sore throat or cold hits and the doona beckons. A cheeky mid-morning espresso to pick up drooping energy levels and keep me moving through my to-do list. A warm pot of earl grey served with fluffy scones and sticky raspberry jam. A hot chocolate with marshmallows slowly expanding at the top of the mug.

And of course, my West Country ancestry means that on a deep, spiritual level I instinctively understand that many a problem can, in fact, be solved with a good, hot, strong cup of tea.

Reading also brings great comfort. The warmth of falling in love, the feel-good factor associated with the reading of a happy ending, and being transported to a new setting—be it a quaint seaside inn, a European gothic castle, a tropical beach at sunset, a yacht in the glistening blue waters—all from the comfort of a favourite reading spot. No passport, no luggage and no COVID-19 restrictions.

One aspect of comfort I find in reading is catching up with the same characters again and again in different stories. There is something beautiful about seeing what happened to characters you read about in one book, pop up in another. Some of my favourite authors plant ‘easter eggs’, where a character who played the leading role in one book, turns up—even for a brief scene—in another, and there’s something so incredibly satisfying about running into a character whose journey I followed.

When I first wrote The Things We Leave Unsaid, which was published in 2018, it was a standalone story. However, over time, I decided that I would slowly add to the universe and create The Café Chronicles series. I felt that the story of friendship between Tessa and Clare, and their individual storylines of love, loss, heartbreak and uncovering the secrets of their past, had been resolved. Yet, there were plenty more characters to draw on while still enabling the reader to see what the original characters were now up to.

For The Things We Never Knew, I returned to the chaotic Fitzgerald Family (for whom the kettle in the family kitchen has always ‘just boiled’, naturally) to focus on Michelle Fitzgerald. Her story of finding her way in life intertwines with the globe-trotting Bebe Baranov as they meet in Espresso Walk Café and become firm friends. But will a secret tear them apart?

I try to write my books like a barista making a cappuccino—instead of coffee and milk, my ingredients are romance, friendship and family. There should be plenty of warmth in relationships, some frothy humour, a little bitterness in a touch of heartache and finally a delicious sprinkling of chocolate on top in some romance. I hope it’s a recipe that in a somewhat chaotic world, brings a little comfort for my readers.

What’s your go-to comfort read and comfort drink? What do you drink while reading?

You can find Megan here: Website | Facebook | Twitter

The Things We Never Knew

What if the things we never knew could tear our lives apart?

Michelle Fitzgerald isn’t having a good year. A disastrous student exchange opportunity in Canada has seen her thrown out of university and nursing a broken heart. She focuses on work and planning her next adventure, yet finds herself at a crossroads when a chance meeting with a handsome locksmith, Leon causes her to rethink her wanderlust.

Meanwhile, fashion designer Bebe Baranov has lived a nomadic, creative existence travelling the world since she was a child. Awaiting the commencement of a prestigious masterclass in New York, Bebe spends time with her mother in her hometown of Melbourne and enjoys a whirlwind romance with café manager, Harry. Yet, while in town, she finds herself compelled to find out more about her father, a man she never knew.

As Bebe’s quest for the truth about her past leads her to Michelle, a secret threatens to not only destroy their newfound friendship but cause ripples through Michelle’s entire life. Are the answers worth the pain they might cause, or are some things best left unknown?

The Things We Never Knew is the second novel in the Café Chronicles series by award-winning author, Megan Mayfair.

  1. esthercampionhotmailcom permalink
    20 July 2020 10:27 am

    Loved your post!

    • 23 July 2020 9:10 pm

      Thanks so much! I always love having a chat with ARRA members, and generally talking about coffee, too.

  2. 20 July 2020 7:08 am

    Great post Megan.I love the analogy of being a barista!

    • 23 July 2020 9:12 pm

      Thanks, Sandy! I think it’s a fun reminder for myself to think about all the different elements when I write.

  3. Malvina Y permalink
    19 July 2020 12:30 pm

    Love this post, thanks. Have to say you lost me at Earl Grey tea. I find it like drinking perfumed hot water. But hey, pass the scones and jam please. I love drinking a nice coffee while I’m reading, or hot chocolate. Tea is my last choice, but at the moment I’m not supposed to have milk between meals, which means – gasp! – herbal teas! And I’ve found a few that are surprisingly bearable. As for comfort reading, I always circle back to romance. I will read a classic or a literary book or new release, but always a romance before and after – sometimes even during… Cannot be without my romance. Having said that, just downloaded the first of your Cafe Chronicles. Looking forward to a great romance!

    • 23 July 2020 9:14 pm

      Thanks Malvina! Earl Grey is very divisive, I agree! I’m very partial to an Irish breakfast or English breakfast with that stronger flavour too and yes, will eat scones with any type of tea. As for herbal tea, I really enjoy an apple and ginger if I can’t have milk. Enjoy the Café Chronicles!

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