Do you have a favourite genre? A favourite author? Or do you like to browse the bookshelves and try something different each time you buy a new book? Maybe go for the latest thing?
My first favourite genre was fantasy, although I don’t think it was called that then. I spent many pleasurable hours reading Enid Blyton’s tales of the Magic Faraway Tree and I think this evolved into an interest in all things English. I loved to read books about girls in boarding schools when I was a bit older and perhaps my love of historical fiction, which was usually based in the UK, had its origins there. It’s hard to remember all the writers whose works I loved although I do recall looking for more by Anya Seton and Victoria Holt. I always thought I would never want to write historical fiction because there’s too much research involved and that, I assumed, was work, while the writing was … something else?
When I went to university (as a mature age student) I found out that actually research was the best part! Getting my hands on the original records–reading letters written a hundred years ago–was fascinating! I’m still a fan of fiction rather than non-fiction but I do love history and I like to know what parts are true if I’m reading historical fiction. My own historical novel, ‘Her Flesh and Blood’, is a mix of fact and fiction, being inspired by a murder trial in Australia, in 1910. It’s free for two days this week, 17th and 18th March.
I still read historical fiction but I find it harder now to find something I really enjoy. I tend to get a stack of books from the library and a couple will be what I think are safe options, either favourite authors or some kind of historical fiction I’m pretty sure I’ll like. I also like to try new authors and different types of stories. This has led me to such gems as Chasm, by Stephen Laws, The Watchers by Charles Maclean and my latest find, Home Front, by Kristin Hannah. I’d not heard of Kristin before and clearly she’s sold a lot of books, so I probably should have, but I will be certainly looking for more.
My childhood love of fantasy evolved into a love of science fiction and I did read adult fantasy as well, although I haven’t for a while. I’m always looking for something different–something I can’t guess the ending to, which is why, as much as I loved Enid Blyton books about the Five Find-outers, I’ve never been a fan of adult detective stories. We know how it’s going to end, don’t we?
My writing has been as varied as my reading and the most fun I’ve had writing was my children’s fantasy, Beast of War, which is free at Amazon from the 16th to the 18th March. I grew to like the characters so much I was quite sad when it ended and I had to say goodbye to them!
I’m currently writing something that may be a novella or may be a longish short story. It’s about a séance and is set in a mythical town, but it’s very much the town I grew up in, in the era I grew up, so I’m using a lot of teenage memories of my own, which is fun. I’ve written about ghosts before, in my novel Inheritance, but this is a more contemporary ghost. Maybe. I’ll find out soon and also find out just how much damage she can do.