My favourite authors

ballet-shoes-2 Oh where to begin? I love reading. Love it. In fact, it came as a bit of a surprise to me to discover that I like writing just as much.

So, a brief history of my life through the books I loved. One of my earliest reading memories is deciding I had to read all the Famous Five books before my seventh birthday. I can’t remember if I succeeded! I loved Enid Blyton and read the Famous Five, Secret Seven, the Adventure novels and the Five Find-Outers and Dog stories. Then I moved on to Malory Towers and St Clares. Later, I loved the Narnia novels, all the Pullein-Thompson pony books, and my most favourite of all was Noel Streatfeild. I especially loved Ballet Shoes, but all her novels – including Saplings, a heartbreaking adult novel I discovered only recently – have a special place in my heart.

I hit my teenage years at the height of the bonkbuster. We’re talking Lace, Jackie Collins (I once had a Jackie Collins book confiscated at Guide camp. My love of Guides waned after that – my love of reading did not). And, my top favourite – then and now – Jilly Cooper.

riders_11As I got older and studied English Literature at university, I read all the classics but I still found time to catch up with Jilly. I especially loved the courses I took on 20th century women’s fiction, 1790s fiction (lots of Jane Austen), Victorian novels and Jacobean drama.

Now, I read anything and everything. I like Marian Keyes, Jenny Colgan, Jill Mansell, I enjoy thought-provoking stories by Jodi Piccoult and Diane Chamberlain.  I like Joanne Harris’s whimsical stories. I love crime fiction – James Lee Burke, Ian Rankin, Peter James, Peter May, Kathy Reichs, Karin Slaughter. I recently discovered Ann Cleeves and have been gobbling up her Shetland novels, which are wonderful. I like Harry Potter, I LOVE Stephen King. And there’s always Jilly. Last year I started with Riders and reread all her ‘big’ novels (I call them the Campbell-Black novels). My favourites were Riders, Rivals and Pandora. white-nights-w960

In the course of writing my own novel I’ve been lucky enough to find some new authors who have now become friends. Annie Lyons, Neal Doran and Aurelia B Rowl share my publisher, Carina. My very good friend Gerda Pearce is a wonderful writer whose novel Long Lies the Shadow stays with you long after you’ve finished reading. And my sounding board and unflagging supporter Aimee Horton has written a very funny novella Survival of the Ginnest and is currently working on a brilliant novel called Social Status – look out for it.

10583I could go on and on writing about writers. One thing I really love is finding new authors to read, so I’d love to hear about your favourites.