Tuesday 9 February 2016

My Life In Books ~ talking to author Jill Mansell

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 the books that are special to them, and have made a lasting impression on their life.

Jill Mansell
I am delighted to welcome Jill Mansell as my third guest author in the My Life In Books feature.
Jill is the author of twenty-seven novels, her first Fast Friends was published in 1991, her latest, You & Me Always was published at the end of January this year.

These are Jill's My Life In Books choices:

Little House in the Big Woods, and the rest of the series by Laura Ingalls Wilder.  

As a child, I used to take these books out of the library on permanent rotation, I loved them so much. No one else was allowed to read them - they belonged to ME, ME, ME.

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott  was another one I adored at that age, although I still wish Jo and Laurie could have been a couple.

Professor Friedrich Bhaer always sounded so dull and serious and ancient.

K M Peyton's Flambards series was an absolute joy, and I ALWAYS preferred bad-boy Mark to boringly nice Will.

I wish they'd show it on TV again, but the books are excellent too. 

I stopped reading as a boy-crazy teenager, then started again aged 21 when a major operation confined me to bed for weeks and sheer boredom sent me back to books. (Sorry, but it's true. I was young and oh so foolish!).

I read Gone With The Wind by Margaret Mitchell, was completely enthralled by it, and my reading mojo came back with a vengeance. Hooray! 

OK, next came Jilly Cooper, my greatest love of all. As a teenager, my uncle used to visit infrequently and bring me the cut-out columns she wrote for the Sunday Times. I loved them, treasured them and kept them for years.

Then the books were published, the slender romances with comedy included. And finally came the fabulous fat blockbusters ... Riders, Rivals et al .... oh, what heaven! I can safely say I've read and reread every book Jilly has written and if it weren't for her I wouldn't be a writer today. 

(That was fiction, but can I also just say that if you haven't read it, do buy Jilly's The Common Years, about dog-walking in Putney. It's glorious and was my comfort read for years. I'd still love to know what happened to beautiful Rosie .... )

And now we come to my own writing years. Hands up who remembers Judith Krantz? Her fabulous books were so entertaining and my first publishers Transworld - who were her publishers too - called my writing style cosy-Krantz because my characters were a bit more down to earth and less glitzy than hers, but the 'feel' was similar.  

Of all her novels, I think Mistral's Daughter was my favourite. (But I could never have sex scenes in my books because my mum typed them up for me ....) 

I can't leave out David Niven, whose The Moon's A Balloon was so brilliantly entertaining.

OK, so he may have exaggerated some of the stories, but wasn't he amazing? Such a star. 

Another book that made a lasting impact was Helene Hanff's 84 Charing Cross Road, for the sheer joy of reading about someone who adored books, and who was a kind and generous person.

The film (starring Ann Bancroft and Anthony Hopkins) is fantastic, but the book is even better.  

Oh, and now we come to number ten, my final choice. This is haaaaard! There are so many incredible works to choose from, but I'm going to go for Wonder by RJ Palacio because it encapsulates everything I want from a book - it made me laugh and cry and realise that the world really can be a wonderful place.

If someone can read this and not completely love it .... well, I probably won't love them!  

Jill Mansell lives with her family in Bristol. She used to work in the field of Clinical Neurophysiology but now writes full time.
She watches far too much TV and would love to be one of those super-sporty types but basically can't be bothered.

Nor can she cook - having once attempted to bake a cake for the hospital's Christmas Fair, she was forced to watch while her co-workers played frisbee with it!

But, she's very good at Twitter!  Follow her @JillMansell
Visit her official Facebook page
Find out more about Jill and her books at her website www.jillmansell.co.uk


1 comment:

  1. I adored Riders when it came out! But, more than that, her early romances (Harriet, Prudence, etc). And I must have read The Common Years about five times - you've made me want to read it again. As for Mistral's Daughter... the relationship between Teddy and Mistral was one of the most powerful ones in popular fiction EVER! I loved those 80s blockbusters. Oh, and I remember Flambards, too... ;)