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Daily Record Book Club – Author Questions - Back to Journal home

What were your favourite books as a child and why?

I remember the Sue Barton, Student Nurse series with great fondness, partly because it drove my snobbish mother crazy when she saw me reading them! And I loved the Roger Lancelyn Green collections of myths and legends retold for children - Norse, Greek, Egyptian - and the Andrew Lang fairytale collections. They made me feel that anything was possible, and there were worlds upon worlds waiting to be explored.

Is there a particular book that inspired you to want to be an author?

The first book I tried to write, aged 14, was a historical romance based on Georgette Heyer's novels. She's still one of my favourite writers.

What one book do you think the world should read and why?

Oh Lord, maybe Ulysses, as it's so long and hard to read people would have much less time to start wars, train terrorists, generally fight each other etc etc as they doggedly ploughed through it instead…

Can you tell us the last three books you read and give one line on what you thought of each of them?

Chloe Hooper's "The Engagement", a fascinating, subtle, really original modern Gothic thriller.

Laura Lippman's "After I'm Gone" - she's a friend and I'm a huge fan of her wonderfully plotted, beautifully written, unputdownable crime novels.

I won't name the last one but it was a thriller from the library which turned out to have children in peril of all sorts of nastiness, plus historic child abuse and terrified mothers -almost pornographically gruesome violence. I hated it.

What books are next on the reading pile? And why did you choose them?

Anne Enright "The Gathering", not because it won the Booker but because I really liked her "Forgotten Waltz", about the Irish financial crash and an adulterous affair. The heroine narrator of that book is not a nice person, but very tough and acid and clever, and I really enjoyed her honesty and sly wit.

Katherine Kellow's "Call of the Blood" - she's better known as Jean Plaidy or Victoria Holt. I'm obsessed with her storytelling skills, and, together with an equally obsessive friend, we're reading through all of her books. There are hundreds.

Who are your top three writers?

Jean Plaidy, aka Victoria Holt, Philippa Carr etc

Anthony Trollope

Peter O'Donnell, author of the Modesty Blaise series

Is there a book that made you laugh out loud? Made you cry? Moved you more than any other? And why?

I sob my head off at Sebastian Japrisot's "A Very Long Engagement" and "One Deadly Summer". They're very intricately-plotted, deeply moving novels about love and loss and he writes women characters with huge understanding and compassion. They've both been filmed in versions that have really done them justice and I cry my head off at those too!

Can you sum up your last / next / favourite release (please choose one of these options) in a line or two?

BAD BRIDES is my latest bonkbuster - it's a sexy romp as an heiress engaged to an Earl and an ambitious actress engaged to a pop star battle to have the most glamorous wedding and snag the cover of a prestigious brides magazine. Lots of naughty antics, plus a gorgeous, tough-as-nails cougar in the mix as the wild card!

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