My Weekly Special
MY LIFE IN BOOKS
Author Celia Anderson adores a good series…as well as a privileged preview of upcoming historical novels!
Can you imagine a life without books? It’s a horrible thought. I was a bookworm from a very early age and loved reading and re-reading C.S. Lewis’s Chronicles Of Narnia and the Children Of Green Knowe series by Lucy Boston, but the book that first inspired me to be a writer myself was probably Spider web For Two by an American children’s author called Elizabeth Enright. It’s a treasure hunt with rhyming clues, part of another series about the Melendy family, and it’s just per fect. Mysterious, intriguing and war m-hear ted.
Later, I read my way through my mum’s old copies of D. E. Stevenson and Elizabeth Goudge novels and it was really those that influenced my choice of genre when I began to write seriously. They have romance, family dramas, beautiful settings, mysteries, completely believable characters and are crafted so well that they stand being read over and over again. Comfor t reading on tap – each one is a true inspiration for a writer, but my most recent re-read during a long day in an A&E depar tment was the first one of Elizabeth Goudge’s Eliot family stories, The Bird In The Tree. It got me through a ver y tough time.
A book I desperately wish I had written is The Northern Lights by Philip Pullman, the first of the His Dark Materials trilogy. (Are you sensing a theme here? I do love a good series!) Now there’s even a prequel and two subsequent stories about Lyra – total bliss. I also love anything by Alexander McCall Smith, especially his gentle Edinburgh-based stories of Scotland
Street and Ber tie. Another one I’d love to have penned is Ruth Hogan’s The Keeper of Lost Things, a beautiful, evocative tale which inspired me to begin writing 59
Memor y Lane and led me to finding my wonder ful agent, Laura Macdougall.
One of the great things about getting more established as an author is that publishers love to send us proof copies of forthcoming books well before publication day. Because of this I have often stepped out of my comfor t zone and read stories I might not have picked other wise. I’ve discovered many gems in this way, especially historical novels, which are not my usual choice. My favourite of these in recent months was The Fair Botanists by Sara Sheridan. This is a stylish, fascinating stor y of intrigue and high jinks set in the Edinburgh of 1822.
It’s a triumph of descriptive passages and secrets never told.