We catch up with au­thor Nikola Scott and find out which writ­ers have in­spired her won­der ful nov­els

My Weekly Special - - Fiction First Class Big Name Author -

Grow­ing up, few chil­dren I knew were read­ers and my ob­ses­sion with books was of­ten a mys­tery to those around me. To this day, one of the first things I will ask a new ac­quain­tance is what kind of books they like, and when I dis­cover they’re a reader – even bet­ter a reader with a shared taste! – I feel like I’ve just met a new friend.

As a child, my imag­i­na­tion ran wild and I loved sto­ries that took you on an epic jour­ney. One of my favourite early au­thors was Joan Aiken, whose hero­ine Dido Twite was ever ything I wanted to be: a gutsy, de­ter­mined, clever girl with the enor­mous luck to have ad­ven­tures fall into her lap at ever y turn.

Dido was the first of many hero­ines in my read­ing life. We had a small lo­cal li­brar y and once I’d read ever ything in the chil­dren’s sec­tion, I found my way to the grown-up book­shelves. It was there I met fab­u­lous and ad­ven­tur­ous women like Scar­lett O’Hara, Emma Wood­house and Claire Fraser from Diana Ga­bal­don’s Out­lander. I still love women’s fic­tion best of any genre. Most re­cently, Eleanor Oliphant from Gail Honey­man’s Eleanor Oliphant Is Com­pletely Fine, makes me laugh, cr y and root for her all at the same time.

I have a small fam­ily, so I’m end­lessly fas­ci­nated by what’s hap­pen­ing in other peo­ple’s fam­i­lies, their his­tory and dark se­crets. My mum is bril­liant at re­mem­ber­ing things from her past. I call her if I’m in need of in­spi­ra­tion. My shelves are full of fam­ily sagas, from Rosamunde Pilcher’s The Shell Seek­ers and Colleen McCullough’s The Thorn Birds to Lucinda Ri­ley’s won­der ful Seven Sis­ters se­ries.

Peo­ple read dif­fer­ently, but for me, it’s al­ways about char­ac­ters, to feel their emo­tional jour­ney as if it was my own and come out the other side changed.

I ad­mire Anne Tyler and Kate Atkin­son be­cause they treat their char­ac­ters with em­pa­thy and un­der­stand­ing and make me ques­tion things I took for granted. Amanda Prowse gets you in­side some­one’s head long af­ter the last page. I’m read­ing The Songs of Us by Emma Cooper, a won­der fully quirky and mov­ing stor y about a woman’s search for her miss­ing hus­band – who sud­denly resur­faces!

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