Monday 7 November 2016

My Life In Books ~ talking to author Daniel Pembrey @DPemb #MyLifeInBooks @noexitpress

My Life in Books is an occasional feature on Random Things Through My Letterbox
I've asked authors to share with us a list of the books that are important to them and have made a lasting impression on their life.

Please join me in welcoming crime author Daniel Pembrey to Random Things today. I read and reviewed Daniel's book The Harbour Master here on Random Things a few weeks ago.

Daniel says; the books below mark out not only the stages of my life but also the building blocks towards writing my own novel. The Harbour Master is now out with No Exit Press, available at a special introductory price on Kindle here, until Tuesday 8th November, and also in print edition from 10th November. The DailyMail has just reviewed it 

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My Life in Books ~ Daniel Pembrey

Sons and Lovers by D H Lawrence    I hail from a small village near Sherwood Forest. My school, Nottingham High School, was previously attended by D.H. Lawrence. I vividly recall Mr Matthews, my English teacher, reading D.H. Lawrence in the dialect of the mining country that Lawrence grew up in. Sons and Lovers (1913) is his first great novel – heavily auto-biographical – and for me his best.      

Black and Blue by Ian Rankin   Next I went to Edinburgh University, where I studied Social and Economic History, so I had an appreciation for Ian Rankin’s use of the Scottish capital early on. Black and Blue (1997) takes a more panoramic view of Scottish society. It won a CWA Gold Dagger, and its use of multiple narrative strands would become a key inspiration for the structure of my Harbour Master series.

Passage to Juneau: A Sea and Its Meanings by Jonathan Raban    I’ve always been a fan of travel writing and indeed, I’d consider my own work to be a blend of travel writing and crime fiction. Travel writing doesn’t come much better than Passage to Juneau: A Sea and Its Meanings (1999), which recounts a personal voyage by Jonathan Raban along the ‘inside passage’ from Seattle, where both he and I were living when this book was published. Passage to Juneau works on multiple levels – retracing Captain Vancouver’s historical voyage, and the author’s navigation of midlife challenges … He broke off the journey to visit his dying father in England (all described in the book), which had an added poignancy because I gave the book to my father when he visited me in Seattle. Dad enjoyed it enormously too.

The Lincoln Lawyer by Michael Connolly  does not feature Michael Connelly’s famous Harry Bosch detective character, however it does tell one of the most engaging stories I’ve read. In fact I was so wowed by the story telling that I spent two weeks writing a synopsis of it, trying to understand why it works so well. Like all true art, it defies rational anaylsis beyond a certain point. I had the good fortune to interview Michael Connelly recently in London

Double Barrel by Nicolas Freeling    And finally, when I began living in Amsterdam a few years ago, I looked for the kind of crime fiction that I love to read, set there – namely, the maverick, highly effective cop as exemplified by John Rebus or Harry Bosch, only operating in the Dutch capital. I didn’t find that, but I did find Nicolas Freeling’s Van der Valk, written in the ‘60s. Freeling had a major influence on me as a British author writing a Dutch character, and Double-Barrel (1964) is a masterly examination of small town Holland, packing an ending deserving of the title. For more about Freeling and Double-Barrel, please come along to a Dutch Detectives Book Club event at UCL (Central London) on 30th November:
It would be great to see you there!

Daniel Pembrey ~ November 2016



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