n. the playful and friendly exchange of teasing remarks.  v. engage in banter.

DERIVATIVES  banterer n.  bantering adj.  banteringly adv.”

Oxford English Dictionary


‘BANTER‘ is one of our favourite words … so it goes without saying that we’re loving hosting our first ‘banter session’ with great authors, Kate Perry and Ava Miles.

International best-selling writers and self-confessed bantering buddies Kate and Ava shoot the breeze about all manner of things, aided by a never-ending supply of bubbly, of course. And some rather scrumptious truffle potato chips.


photo 2



What, you, too! I thought that no one but myself …’

Ava: When I first saw Kate, I thought she was the coolest gypsy ever. It was the like the first time Quasimodo saw Esmeralda (except I’m not a hunchback).

Kate: She’s really not.

Ava: I was sitting in a workshop at a writing conference and all the humdrum was getting to me, and here she walks in with a glass of champagne.

I’ve been to tons of seminars, and NO ONE has ever been that cool.

I mean I love champagne. I didn’t know who she was, but when she sat in front of me, I leaned forward and said, ‘Champagne at training? I totally want to be your friend.’

Kate: And I was like, ‘Okay!’

Ava: And that pretty much clenched it – even though I had to ask someone who she was.

Kate: Our friendship was meant to be, because earlier that day I’d seen Ava going up an escalator, stunning in a sunny yellow dress. She had such a bright shiny light, and her smile was inviting.

Ava: I must have really brushed my pearly whites that day. And I do love that dress…

Kate: So when she said she wanted to be my friend, I was all over it. When I found out she was coming to San Francisco in a few weeks to visit family, I told her I’d pick her up at the airport and we’d hang out.

Yes, there was champagne involved.



‘I can resist anything, but temptation…’

Ava: One thing Kate and I definitely have in common beyond our mutual love fest for champagne is food. She tortures me about snacking on these truffle potato chips you can only find in San Francisco, and sometimes I send her a picture of a dessert I’ve made, telling her I wish she could pop over.

c311f78f284dcf3ae8530480906ed223Kate: Ava has a cruel streak. But torturing me with dessert? I say, bring it.

Ava: Let’s chat about our most memorable meals to add to the food torture. Wait … I mean ‘banter’. Here’s mine.

It was a dark and stormy night…

Kate: *rolling her eyes*

Ava: Okay … it wasn’t stormy, but it could have been.

Kate: Uh-huh.

Ava: I was in Paris with one of my best friends. We were going to a place of legend for dinner – Brasserie Lipp – once frequented by the literary giants who’d made their home in Paris when flappers ran amuck and handle-crank cars roamed the winding streets.

Kate: Brasserie Lipp?? THIS is why we’re friends. But do go on.

Ava: I’d had a date with this place some four years back when I’d brought the manuscript of Nora Roberts Land with me for good luck. The restaurant keeps one table empty in the packed cafe, and when I asked if it was Hemingway’s (somehow I knew this), I received a surprised ‘yes’. The maitre d turned me down when I asked to sit there, after telling him I was a budding writer. He did agree to let me sit there when I had published my book.

Well, on this dark and not-so stormy night, I had my book in my fancy purse. I told him about our conversation, and he immediately seated us at the table. We ordered the finest champagne, toasted, and pretty much cried and laughed our way through our tantalizing meal of foie gras with airy baguette, crispy duck confit and a simple salad, and a lemon tart for dessert.

Few meals can rival this experience… Okay, that’s not true. There was the time I was served cat burgers in St Petersburg, Russia in the 1990s, but that is another story…

Okay, take it Kate (imagine my jazz hands).

Kate: FYI, Ava does great jazz hands…

I love, love, LOVE Paris, but one of my best meals was in Bangkok with my Magic Man, at this restaurant that only seats 10 people a night. It was 12 courses of heaven, starting with an onion gelato topped with parmesan sauce. I’m not wowed by molecular gastronomy or pretentious food, but this place did it right. The chefs were friendly, working in front of us. They served us the best ham and cheese sandwich I’ve ever had: buttered brioche with pulled pork and cheese imported from Spain. It was HEAVEN.

Ava: Hey, that’s the name of one of my books! COUNTRY HEAVEN. And it involves food and recipes. What a coincidence!

Kate: We need to stop talking about food…

Maybe we should talk about writing? It’s what we do, after all. I mean, in addition to eating. But let’s agree not to talk about where we get our ideas from, okay?

Ava: I don’t think anyone would believe where we got some of our ideas anyway.



Alone we do so little, together we do so much…

Kate: I have a question! Do you prefer to work independently, or would you ever collaborate with another writer?

IMG_0133Ava: As one of six children, I started learning the art of both at a young age. As time continues, I understand I am never working alone even when I am sitting in front of my computer writing. There are always powerful influences guiding me, and then there’s my beautiful editor who is my beautiful partner in making every novel its highest vision.

Collaboration for me is most happily undertaken with openhearted people who listen and give and receive. One of my favorite collaborations is when I tell a story to a little one in the family and she inserts a new plot idea or character as I’m going. We run with it, and it’s the purest form of creation there is. It dazzles me.

Kate: My editor sends me notes like ‘Hahahahahaa! Seriously? Hahahah… You don’t really think you’re leaving this in the book, do you?’

Ava: Thank God my editor doesn’t say anything like that to me. I might cry. ☺

Kate: But she gets me, and she helps me make my books the best they can be.



Not all those who wander are lost…’

Ava: Kate, what’s the most amazing, out-of-the-way place you’ve ever been to that stole your breath?

Kate: Paris! And Buenos Aires. And San Francisco and London. Florence and Bologna, definitely. Chang Mai, Delhi and Tehran… So, in short … everywhere!

Ava: Eye roll. Or should I say ‘drum roll‘…

Kate: There are amazing sights everywhere if you open your eyes and heart. I couldn’t pick one. I also tend to associate those breathless moments with people, and I’m lucky that I’ve met superb human beings all over the world.

And you, Ava?




Ava: One memorable night was sitting under the stars on the Nile River in Uganda when I was on safari. There was no electricity, making the firelight from the torches all that more dear, all that more bright. And the stars… they were laid out like a wedding train of diamonds. The night sounds of mysterious animals were all around me, but it was the fighting between the crocodiles and the hippos that made me a bit … tense. They battle like angry Alpha boxers in a cage fight.

I can imagine myself there now … I sip my wine and listen to the quiet. My companion has gone to bed, swathed in mosquito netting. Earlier that day, I had picnicked at the site where Ernest Hemingway crashed his plane and broke his leg. I am thousands of miles from home, except I feel at home.

In the silence, I am at peace.

Life’s magic fills me with awe…


The Literary Shed: That’s a lovely place to end.

Thank so much to our banteringly good buddies.

Gosh, all that talk of food, we’re absolutely starving now. Where are those truffle chips?

What! … You’ve eaten them all.


Many thanks to Kate and Ava for spending some time with us. Both of them extremely busy beavers  and prolific writers, as you can see.





The unabridged NEW AUDIO version of Ava Miles’ acclaimed Nora Roberts Land, read by Em Elbridge, is available from 21 April 2015. You can PRE-ORDER it from Amazon by clicking on the following links: in the UK and in the US. The new Dare Valley book, The Bridge to a Better Life, is published in May 2015.









Kate Perry’s lovely Give a Little (Summerhill #7; published March 2015) is available from iTunes and Amazon in the UK and US. Her new book, What a Girl Wants, the first in the ‘Fillmore & Greenwich’ series, is published in June 2015.





Images and text: Thanks to Kate and Ava for supplying the photographs of themselves (a normal evening out; and selfie), and their respective book/audio jackets. Quotes: ‘Friendship is born at the moment, when one man says to another “What! You, too! I thought that no one but myself”‘, the great CS Lewis; ‘I can resist everything, but temptation’, Oscar Wilde (image from Pinterest (; ‘Alone we do so little, together we do so much’, Helen Keller; ‘Not all those who wander are lost’, from JRR Tolkein’s The Fellowship of the Ring; Hemingway image and quote, Pinterest (Legacy of Africa Tourism and Heritage).


See also:Meet Kate Perry – Literary It Girl or ‘Demented Victorian‘ [interview]; ‘Some like it hot – the joy of Carole Mortimer, award-winning romance novelist

Reviews: ‘Kate Perry’s Give a Little – Beatrice in love’; ‘Believing Nora Roberts Land – take novelist Ava Miles’ advice’; ‘“Homeward bound” – Nora Roberts’ The Liar’

Social media:Pinterest – “inspiration snacking” or something more?


Notice: The above images and quotations are intended to be for promotional purposes only. In no way, have we have intentionally breached anyone’s copyright.

Copyright ©Kate Perry/Ava Miles/The Literary Shed, 2015. All opinions expressed are The Literary Shed and the authors’ own. We welcome your feedback and comments so please do contact us or fill in the form below. If you wish to reproduce this piece, please request permission. Thank you.