My Life In Books is an occasional feature on Random Things Through My Letterbox
I've invited authors to share with us a list of books that are special to them and have made a lasting impression on their life.
I'm really pleased to welcome C L Taylor to Random Things today. Cally is the author of three psychological thrillers, published by Avon HarperCollins; The Accident, The Lie and The Missing.
I've read and enjoyed all of her books, you can read my reviews by clicking on the title of the book; The Accident (April 2014), The Lie (May 2015) and The Missing (April 2016)
My Life In Books ~ C L Taylor
The Garden Gang by Jayne Fisher I loved this series of books and was hugely inspired by the fact that, at nine years old, Jayne Fisher was the youngest ever author to write for Ladybird books. Aged eight I sent Ladybird a book I had written. It was called "The Evil Weed" and it was about a group of flower friends and their nemesis 'Evil Weed'. I received my first rejection.
The Faraway Tree series by Enid Blyton I can't think about this series of books without feeling a bubble of excitement inside. They were so magical, so enchanting and if the children were ever in danger of being stuck in a world at the top of the tree my heart would beat faster and I'd feel genuine fear. I devoured everything I could by Enid Blyton. She was the reason I wanted to go to boarding school, and her books made me want to be an author too.
Are You There God, It's Me Margaret by Judy Bloom If Enid Blyton held my hand through childhood then Judy Bloom guided me through adolescence. She taught me that the changes my body was undergoing were normal, that it was OK to feel different and that friendships could be difficult. And then, when I got hold of 'Forever', I learned about 'Ralph'!
1984 by George Orwell Towards the end of my teens I became obsessed with dystopian science fiction and read everything and anything I could get my hands on. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley and Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury were other favourites. Looking back my interest in this genre coincides with a time in my life when I began clashing with the authority figures in my life - with my teachers, with my parents - and I felt an affinity with the characters whose lives were oppressed by powerful governments. When they fought back I was mentally right there with them.
Sophie's World by Jostein Gaarder If I spent my late teens wanting to fight against the world, I spent my twenties trying to understand it. I bought most of my books second hand and read a lot of literary fiction. I couldn't get enough of Milan Kundera, Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Herman Hesse. When I picked up Sophie's World by Jostein Gaarder I had no idea what to expect and I was blown away. I'd never studied philosophy and the concepts and ideas I was introduced to made my head spin. I was living in London at the time and had taken the book to a park to read. I can still remember how I felt, lying on the grass in the sunshine, feeling like I had just read something truly life changing.
Ralph's Party by Lisa Jewell This was the book that introduced me to the world of chick lit. I fell in love with Jewell's characters. They felt so familiar, so like me and my friends and, after a surfeit of heavy, literary novels it was like a breath of fresh air. In the back of the book Lisa wrote that she'd written the novel as a result of a bet with a friend on holiday. Lisa had been a PA in London before she wrote her first novel. I was an admin assistant. It was a revelation. You didn't have to know someone in publishing to become an author, normal people like me could do it!
After You'd Gone by Maggie O'Farrell I read this in my early thirties and it knocked me for six. I felt like I couldn't breathe when I finished it and I walked around in a daze for at least twenty four hours. I couldn't believe that a fictional story could pack such an emotional punch. It's a book I will never forget.
Before I Go To Sleep by SJ Watson I listened to the audio book of this novel in the weeks and months after my son was born. For the first time in my life I didn't have the energy of the concentration span to read but SJ Watson's creepy and compelling tale kept me company and kept me sane as I pushed my son's pram round and round the streets in a desperate attempt to get him to sleep. Six months earlier I'd begun a creepy tale of my own, and SJ Watson's smash hit novel inspired me to continue writing it. A year later, my first psychological thriller, The Accident, was published.
Fast forward four years. These days I read a mixture of proofs (mostly psychological thrillers and crime), picture books (to my son each night) and a variety of novels selected by my local book group. I still buy a lot of books. I just wish I had the time to read them all.
C L Taylor ~ April 2016
C L Taylor lives in Bristol with her partner and young son. Born in Worcester, she studied for a degree in Psychology at the University of Northumbria, Newcastle then moved to London to work in medical publishing as a sales administrator. After two years she moved to Brighton where she worked as a graphic designer, web developer and instructional designer over the course of 13 years. She now writes full time.
C L Taylor's first psychological thriller, The Accident was one of the top ten bestselling debut novels of 2014 according to The Bookseller. Her second novel, The Lie, charted at number five in the Sunday Times Bestsellers List. Combined sales of both novels have now exceeded half a million copies in the UK alone.
Her third psychological thriller, The Missing was published by Avon in April 2016.
To find out more about C L Taylor, and her writing, visit her website www.cltaylorauthor.com
Find her Author page on Facebook
Follow her on Twitter @callytaylor