Sugar & Snails, on #LisaBurtonRadio

Lisa Burton

Don’t touch that dial! You’ve landed on Lisa Burton Radio. The only show that brings you interviews with the characters from the books you love.

I’m your host Lisa the robot girl, and my special guest today is a cat. A very special cat named Marmaduke. “What brings you to the show today, Marmaduke?”

“Diana, my human, has been acting strangely. We’ve rubbed along fine for years, just the two of us, she does her thing, I do mine. Different hours, different lifestyles, but checking in over a saucer of milk or coffee a couple of times a day. A pair of bachelorettes …”

“Oh! So you’re a girl cat.”

“I certainly was last time I looked. Is that relevant, do you suppose?”

“I just thought. You know, Marmaduke is typ—. Why would you be concerned about Diana?”

“I knew something was up when she went on a cleaning blitz at the weekend. Bought new crockery and sheets for the bed. Started studying recipe books. Let’s face it, she’s no cook. But last night she left three pans bubbling on the stove, dashed upstairs and came back down in a dress. And make-up. Then the doorbell goes and there’s a man standing on the doorstep. Turns out she’d invited him for dinner. Why?”

“Humans do things like that. Sometimes a girl has to cut loose.”

“Not Diana. She’s always been the quiet type. Stays at home most evenings. Sleeps alone. She’s forty-five, that’s seven and half in cat years. She’s set in her ways. Respectable. Staid. The riskiest thing she ever does must be getting on her bike to cycle to her Brainiac job at the university. But she’s losing it! Last night, when I walked in through the cat flap my food bowl was empty. I had to jump onto the counter and lick the leftovers from the dinner plates.”

“You poor baby! I don’t have any kibble, but I can open some tuna if you like.”

“It’s fine, thanks. I don’t mind making do now and then, even if it was vegetarian risotto. As long as she doesn’t make a habit of it. But when I went upstairs to remind her I have standards, she wasn’t there. Wasn’t anywhere in the house, even though it was far too early for her to leave for work. The bedding was crumpled as if she’d slept there or whatever she got up to with Simon, but her new sheets smelled sour. No wonder, Lisa, they were covered in blood.”

“Oh my God! Who is this guy?”

“Simon? He seemed harmless when I first met him a few months ago. I thought he was a gentleman – he’d given Diana and her bike a lift home from some party, but she didn’t invite him in. I think she liked him, though – her voice would go higher when they talked on the phone. But there was tension whenever Cairo cropped up in the conversation. He had to go there on business for a while – he was supposed to leave today. He wanted Diana to go with him, but she couldn’t even promise to go out for a visit.”

“Diana could be in danger, or worse.”

“Don’t worry, she’s safe in her room, fast asleep. Arrived home with the milk float at dawn. But she should be at work right now. It’s not right – she’s a woman of routine.”

“I hate to suggest this, but now it’s time to be concerned about Simon’s well-being.”

“Shouldn’t you be concerned about my well-being? Diana’s fine. She injured herself last night, but someone’s bandaged her up. A hospital, presumably – I hope they realized she’s going to need that arm to wield a tin opener. I do like my rabbit chunks.

“The odd thing is, I think she cut herself deliberately. Something or someone upset her last night, and it must be Simon, because it wouldn’t be me. I think it has something to do with this Cairo business. I reckon Simon’s pushed her over the edge.”

“That is mysterious. Some guy shows up out of the blue. Leaves just as fast, and she resorts to self-harming. That usually isn’t something a person her age suddenly starts doing.”

“She has done it before, I believe, although not in all the years she’s lived with me. Her forearm’s a patchwork of scars and I don’t think they’re scratches from another cat. Unless it was a tiger. I don’t like to bad-mouth my human, but that woman has issues going right back to the womb. Did I mention she went to Cairo, years ago, when she was a kid? Something momentous must’ve happened there but I haven’t a clue what is.”

“There are people who can help with problems like this. I really hope you can get her to see someone.”

“They stitched her up at the hospital, if that’s what you mean.”

“I’m talking about the issues on the inside. There are special doctors for that.”

“I’ll try and persuade her. It would certainly make my life easier if she gets herself fixed. Thanks for listening, Lisa. And thanks for having me on your show.”

“Will Diana get the helps she needs? Will she go to Cairo, and if she does who will take care of Marmaduke? What deep mysteries does Simon hold? To find out, you’ll have to read the book ‘Sugar and Snails’ by Anne Goodwin. I’ll include all the deets on the website after I log off.

“Make sure to use those sharing buttons today, too. I know Anne and Marmaduke would do it for you, when your character appears on the next Lisa Burton Radio.”



At fifteen, she made a life-changing decision. Thirty years on, it’s time to make another.

When Diana escaped her misfit childhood, she thought she’d chosen the easier path. But the past lingers on, etched beneath her skin, and life won’t be worth living if her secret gets out.

As an adult, she’s kept other people at a distance, until Simon melts her heart. But his work is taking him to Cairo, the city that transformed her life. She’ll lose him if she doesn’t go out for a visit. She’ll lose herself if she does.

Sugar and Snails describes Diana’s unusual journey, revealing the scars from her fight to be true to herself. A triumphant mid-life coming-of-age story about bridging the gap between who we are and who we feel we ought to be.

From reviews:

absorbing, clever and heartening  Alison Moore

truly impressive Fleur Smithwick

Anne Goodwin’s prose is at once sensitive, invigorating and inspired Rebecca Root

exudes authenticity The Psychologist

a pleasure to read from start to finish North East Lifestyle magazine

tantalisingly grips the reader  The Contemporary Small Press

a brave and complex story Literary Sofa

complex, fascinating and highly contemporary Shiny New Books

heart-rending Claire Thinking

absurdly brilliant Tales From A Bruce Eye View

Purchase links:

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Publisher website

Sugar and Snails



Anne Goodwin’s debut novel, Sugar and Snails, about a woman who has kept her past identity a secret for thirty years, was shortlisted for the 2016 Polari First Book Prize. Her second novel, Underneath, about a man who keeps a woman captive in his cellar, was published in May 2017. Her short story collection, Becoming Someone, on the theme of identity, was published in November 2018. A former clinical psychologist, Anne is also a book blogger with a special interest in fictional therapists.

Website: annethology

Blog: Annecdotal

Twitter @Annecdotist



YouTube: Anne Goodwin’s YouTube channel


Filed under Lisa Burton Radio

73 responses to “Sugar & Snails, on #LisaBurtonRadio

  1. Sounds like an intriguing story. And I love cats.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. Most people will identify with the theme of this story, either for themselves or someone they know.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Sounds like an interesting story and book. Best of luck, Anne. Reblogged on: … It’s all sugar and snails and intriguing tales over at Craig Boyack’s place today …

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Well, that was a surprise. I was thinking about the children’s rhyme, then I saw Lisa was interviewing a cat. I suspected a sweet kid’s book. Wrong! What a fascinating look at the story (which, by the way, sounds amazing). Best wishes to Anne.

    Thanks, Lisa and Craig.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Marmaduke sounds like a cool cat. The story is intriguing! I so love these interviews.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. This has me wondering what secret Diana has kept all these years. An intriguing interview and blurb. I loved Lisa interviewing a cat.

    Best wishes to Anne!

    Liked by 3 people

  7. A perceptive cat. I wonder if the name Marmaduke (which made me think of a boy) is meaningful. Diana’s secret intrigued me. Awakenings can be wondrous but frightening. Marmaduke painted a good picture of his mistress, doing her best to keep her inner self safe. I hope Diana and the author the best of luck.

    Liked by 3 people

  8. Sounds like a pretty good story! And that is a pretty amazing cat. I see why Lisa interviewed it.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. D.L. Finn, Author

    Great interview. I love seeing it through the cat’s perspective. Sounds like a facinating read

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Great intro to the story. Nice job.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. This is an intriguing interview. This feline certainly has her opinions, as most cats do. I’m glad to see Lisa back on the radio! This sounds like a great read!

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Boy, Lisa the Robot sure knows how to do a good interview, I find it so difficult to get a cat to talk. Anne’s book sounds wonderfully engaging, and I wish her luck and success on it. Really liked hearing from Marmaduke the cat and her concerns which are so cat-like, i.e. always central to every day. Great post, Craig, so very entertaining.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. A cat perspective is always fun! 😀 I enjoyed this interview and I’m intrigued by the book. All the best to Anne!

    Liked by 2 people

  14. Great interview, Lisa. The book sounds very interesting. Best of luck to Anne.

    Liked by 2 people

  15. What an intriguing interview about a book I am happy to recommend highly. Funny thing is though, I don’t remember Marmaduke at all. Guess I’m just not a cat person.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Nice to see Anne Goodwin over here with her book, Craig. It sounds like a good one.

    Liked by 1 person


    Liked by 1 person

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