Saturday, May 25, 2013

Books to Capture the Imagination

Writing going well. A productive week.

I've been asked in different interviews and panels which books and authors have influenced me over the years, and so, thought I'd list a few. I've been a constant reader throughout my life with a wide-ranging habit, but will limit myself to the books that stayed with me over the long haul.

The Terrace Bay Public Library kept me going in grade school - they were well stocked with Enid Blyton books - The Famous Five, The Secret Seven - and fantasy books, the one I remember the most taking me up a tree to different lands on every branch. I loved these books.

In high school, I read and reread Harper Lee's To Kill A Mockingbird. Another book that had a huge impact was Truman Capote's In Cold Blood. Chilling, disturbing but so well written. Ground-breaking in the fictional crime genre.

I also liked reading gothic romance. I read and reread Bronte's Jane Eyre and Daphne Du Maurier's Rebecca and Frenchman's Creek - a pirate on the run and his secret affair with a married woman - does it get any better?

So if I had to pick three mysteries that had impact on my adult self, the first that comes to mind is by the Scottish author Val McDermid entitled.  The Wire in the Blood. A British tv series was based on this book, which features clinical psychologist Tony Hill, who works with detectives to track down killers by getting into their heads. Brilliant.

And jumping over to the States, I read every Elizabeth George Inspector Lynley novel, beginning with A Great Deliverance. Her books are a study in how to develop characters and relationships in a series while giving some terrific plots. Ted and I used to wait with anticipation for the release of each of her new books in the series.

I've read numerous Canadian mysteries, which are as varied as our geography. We have fabulous well known, established authors and emerging, exciting talent. It would be hard for me to list everyone because I'd be sure to miss some, but you can browse names and books through the Crime Writers of Canada site.  But if I had to pick one Canadian writer whose work has stayed with me, I would have to pick Giles Blunt's homicide detective John Cardinal books, A Delicate Storm and Blackfly Season.

So there you have it - a few of my favourites and fictional influences. There have been many, many more, of course. I enjoy discovering new authors and finding those books that I cannot put down. What better way to while away a rainy Saturday afternoon?

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