This week we’re talking about how the books we read as teenagers affected us and how they influence our writing now.

I can remember being bored witless as a teenager at school dredging through dry-as-dust Shakespeare for an English exam.  I must admit I’ve never found any of  Shakespeare’s plays at all interesting, and have always preferred to read autobiographies and biographies or modern-day faction (fiction based on fact).  Even at age of 11 when I was interviewed for a grammar school and was asked by the headmaster which book I was reading, I told him that I had just finished a book about  Judy Garland.  Whether I got into the school because he was a fan of Ms Garland will forever be a mystery, but for sure it wasn’t for my  non-existent skills at Maths and Physics!

I look at my bookshelves at home now, and I can see biography after biography, mostly of musicians and writers, as the lives of authors and members of rock bands are what I am interested in.  However, I do also enjoy classic fiction from authors such as D.H Lawrence, L.P Hartley, A.J Cronin and R.F Delderfield.  My favourite classic fiction book as a teenager was A.J Cronin’s ‘The Keys of the Kingdom’, which was made into a film starring Gregory Peck.  I still have the original battered copy of this book on my shelf that I had as a 14 year old.  It was written in another lifetime and to many would appear old-fashioned today, but every now and then I like to re-read it and live in the past.  Likewise L.P Hartley’s ‘The Go-Between’, written in the days before Ted Burgess and Marian Maudsley could send text messages to each other and therefore make the story unrealistic.  I think this one is my all-time favourite, and I wish I could have thought of ‘The past is a foreign country.  They do things differently there’.

I don’t think my teenage reading preferences have ever influenced my writing.  I like to write about realistic and modern family relationship scenarios, which I have learned about or experienced personally as I have travelled along life’s rocky road, and then chill out by reading about authors and musicians that I admire.

Over the past 3 years I have also been reading and reviewing books by Indie authors at their request if the genre appeals to me.  I must admit that by doing this I have come to enjoy mysteries, psychological thrillers, chick-lit, romances and suspenseful novels, so it’s all good!

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Just to say I am at the Isle of Wight music festival next week, and so will be back here in a fortnight. x

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