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 special to them and have made a lasting impact on their life.
Today I'm joined by Hull-based crime writer Nick Quantrill. I met Nick last year when he took part in an event organised by Louise Beech, held at Hull Library.
Nick is the author of the Joe Geraghty trilogy; Broken Dreams, The Late Greats and The Crooked Beat.
His latest novel, The Dead Can't Talk is published today (12 May 2016).
My Life In Books ~ Nick Quantrill
Childhood It's almost a cliche for crime writers to begin their journey in books with Enid Blyton's Famous Five, but it seems I'm no different. My earliest memory relating to books is demanding to be taken to the local library where I must have devoured every one of their adventures, enjoying the thrill of the chase and trying to solve the mystery before the gang did. I can't wait to pass my love of these books on to my daughter.
Teenage years My early teens saw me move on from Blyton to the works of Arthur Conan-Doyle, yet another cliche for crime writers. The thrill of the chase was still there, but I fell in love with the foggy atmosphere of Victorian London. I was also reading football fiction, thinly disguised Roy of the Rovers type stories, but like most teenage boys, forced GCSE reading as I hit my mid-teens turned me off reading for pleasure.
Adulthood I didn't really return to reading for pleasure until my early twenties when I discovered Nick Hornby's 'Fever Pitch'. Maybe it was the hype around the book as the way football was starting to change that resonated with me, but it was the key to me falling back in love with the written word. From there, it wasn't a huge leap to discover writers like Roddy Doyle, Irvine Welsh and Colin Bateman.
As a writer The decision to first try writing wasn't taken lightly, but looking back, it's the work of writers like John Steinbeck and Harper Lee that lad the groundwork. I was always going to write crime, but it was the heart and compassion, something all good crime novels should have, found in books like 'The Grapes of Wrath' and 'To Kill A Mockingbird', which had a big impact on me.
Crime novelist I read a lot of crime novels (but not as many as I'd like) and hope I continue to learn from other writers, but discovering the work of Ian Rankin on my dad's bookshelf made it clear just how high the bar was set. It's tempting to view Rankin's novels as a body of work, one that takes the microscope to present-day Scotland, but 'Black and Blue' was both his breakthrough and one fuelled by difficult circumstances in his own life. All that's good about crime fiction is distilled into this one novel.
Nick Quantrill ~ May 2016
Nick Quantrill was born and raised in Hull, an isolated industrial city in East Yorkshire. His latest crime novel, The Dead Can't Talk is published in May 2016 by Caffeine Nights. The Joe Geraghty trilogy, Broken Dreams (2010), The Late Greats (2012), and The Crooked Beat (2013) are also published by Caffeine Nights. His standalone novella, Bang Bang You're Dead (2012) is published by Byker Books.
A prolific short story writer, Nick's work has appeared in Volumes Eight, Nine and Ten of The Mammoth Book of Best British Crime alongside the genre's most respected names. In 2011, Nick became the first person to hold the role of Writer in Residence at Hull Kingston Rovers, contributing sports-based fiction to the match day programme and assisting with the club's literacy programme. His first story for children is included in the Toad Tales anthology published by Wrecking Ball.
When not writing fiction, Nick pens reviews and essays for a variety of football and music websites. He lives in Hull with his wife, daughter and the constant fear that Hull City will let him down.
Find out more about Nick and his work at www.nickquantrill.co.uk
Follow him on Twitter @NickQuantrill