…of that standard interview question: ‘Who are the writers that have influenced you the most…?
The simple answer is, I can’t name a particular writer, but can list a few books that have for some reason done the following: Influenced or touched me in some way, made me think (a lot) or simply had me laughing out loud – something that’s pretty hard for me to do (with books, not in general!)
My Favourite Books:
The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
What a book. I had this on my shelf for a good few years before finally deciding to read it, because I knew I had to be in a certain place mentally to really take it on. I’m so glad I waited. What a beautifully written, thought provoking and moving novel. Absolutely stunning. Even though there were a few harrowing scenes, I was reluctant for the book to end. I even found myself going over certain sentences again, just because of the sheer beauty of their construction. A particular scene involved the lead character coming face to face with an old family pet called Holiday who had long ago died – and still, I can’t get that mage out of my head.
Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden
From its wonderful descriptions of a geisha’s obi and kimono to how the book evoked a sense of place and time – everything was just right. Every page. I felt as if I was there too, living and breathing the life of a Japanese geisha and not in my South London flat eating a bag of cold chips. I saw the film version twice, which I really enjoyed. Nevertheless, nothing beats a good read whilst snuggled up warm in bed on a sunny morning. This beautiful book will stay in my mind forever.
Kaleidoscope by Danielle Steel
I read this many moons ago, perhaps as a teenager, but have never forgotten how it made me feel. The suffering of the main character and how her experience differed to that of her other sisters’ is brilliantly put forward. I rarely read books twice but I did with this one (albeit a few years later) because I wanted to experience the story as an adult and see if it still had the same effect. It did.
The Secret Dreamworld of a Shopoholic by Sophie Kinsella
I’m not going to admit to any similarities between myself and the main character. I will say this though; WHAT A FUNNY, FUNNY NOVEL! The scene when Becky pretends to be, I think Scandinavian, (this was a few years back now) made me laugh out loud so much I thought I’d burst. A brilliantly funny and fresh book. I have seen the movie and while it was nice, the book was GREAT!
Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare
The original story of star-crossed lovers. Being forced to read this at school allowed me to develop an instance dislike to it initially – what with the olde English language and unrecognisable words. But as a fully paid up member of the adult brigade, I’m now able to truly appreciate the beauty of this book and its simple message about love. Something that transcends time, race and language.
Scenes of a Sistah by Lolita Files
How much fun is this book? Very funny and very raw. Centre’s around the loves and lives of two best friend’s. The author’s lovely too and she said nice things about my first novel, By the Time You Read This…
Thirtynothing by Lisa Jewell
Even though the premise was very ‘boy meets girl’, the ride was hugely enjoyable. Snuggling up to read this book was like unwrapping a huge marshmallow under the duvet. A warm and fuzzy moment in time. Magic.
Lord of The Flies by William Golding
During the guffaws and yawns of my classmates, I was secretly fascinated by this story of a group of shipwrecked young children and their emergence into savagery. Big Brother before the TV series!
A Day Late, a Dollar Short by Terri McMillan
This book deals with the rawness of a modern and I suppose dysfunctional family. I love those families! What I mean is, I enjoy writing about such characters and you’ll rarely read about a ‘normal’ family in one of my books! It was especially good, reading from the perspective of so many people, which instead of confusing the life out of me, just allowed me to enjoy all their different views and how at times this led to conflict and misunderstanding. Some of the voices were so funny too, especially the lead Viola. Something (and I wont spoil the plot by saying, what) happens to Viola three quarters into the book which shocked me to the core, as it seemed Terri McMillan had totally shattered the ’secret writing rules’ I thought were set in stone. But it worked. One of my favorite Terri Macmillan books.
The Best a Man Can Get by John O’Farrell
Brilliantly funny – reading about the main character’s honest and brutal account of first time fatherhood. So many laugh to yourself (or be labelled a weirdo) moments – one involving a baby and a ceiling. Enough said.
Blessings by Sheneska Jackson
A few years ago, I remember this being a lovely addictive page turner. Set in an American hairdressing salon. I finished it wishing and hoping there was a sequel. Must try and read this again one day…
Oliver Twist By Charles Dickens
Another oldie but goodie. This novel dealt with street crime, child poverty and domestic violence, themes that unfortunately are still so relevant today.
One Day By David Nichols
Great book. So lovely and a complete page turner. A non traditional love story with characters who have flaws and fears- just like the rest of us really. After reading this, I contacted the author and congratulated him and said; ‘I wish I’d written this book!” I have yet to see the film and part of me feels it could not beat the book.