MY LIFE IN BOOKS
We catch up with author Nikola Scott and find out which writers have inspired her wonder ful novels
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!