Tuesday, 4 October 2016

My Life in Books ~ talking to author Hazel Gaynor @HazelGaynor

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 Hazel Gaynor to Random Things today. Hazel is the author of three novels: The Girl Who Came Home (April 2014); A Memory of Violets (February 2015) and The Girl From The Savoy which was published in September this year.
I read and reviewed The Girl From The Savoy here on Random Things as part of the Blog Tour, here's a little snippet from my review.

"The story flows so well and the characters are so interesting that the pages just fly by so quickly.

It's a detailed and very absorbing story, I enjoyed it very much."
Originally from Yorkshire, England, Hazel now lives in Ireland with her husband and two children.
To keep up-to-date with Hazel's latest news, visit her website www.hazelgaynor.com or her Facebook page athttps://www.facebook.com/hazelgaynorbooks
Follow her on Twitter @HazelGaynor

My Life In Books ~ Hazel Gaynor 

The House at Pooh Corner by A.A. Milne. I bought a box set of four Winnie the Pooh books on holiday in the Cotswolds when I was eight. I read them over and over and credit them with sparking a lifelong love of reading. I still have them and loved reading the stories to my children.
The Magic Faraway Tree by Enid Blyton. I was practically raised by Moon Face, Saucepan Man and Silky the fairy! I loved this series of books so much - another favourite I loved sharing with my children.

Flowers in the Attic by Virgina Andrews. This was the book that marked my transition from reading children’s books to adult. I remember the cover so clearly. I remember my teenage world opening up as I read it. I remember feeling that my mum wouldn’t approve!

I can never separate Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights having read them as a teenager and adored them both. I grew up in Yorkshire, and distinctly remember a family trip to Haworth Parsonage. I also remember my sister reading Dark Quartet. We were both fascinated by the Bronte sisters. I wrote my A’ Level extended essay on the contrasts and similarities between Charlotte and Emily and their heroines. I’d be fascinated to read it now to see what conclusions I reached as a seventeen-year-old!

Fingersmith, by Sarah Waters. I often talk about this book and its twist, which is still the best I’ve ever read and which totally caught me by surprise. I loved the characters and the writing and the world the author creates. I can still visualise some of the scenes in my head, and it must be over ten years since I last read it.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows. This beautiful little epistolary novel, set on the island of Guernsey in the aftermath of World War II, is full of wonderful characters, wit and emotion. It opened my eyes to how historical events can be written about in a way that feels far more immediate and personal than a straight historical account. It is a book I have re-read many times, and led to me wanting to understand more about the two world wars.

The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory. I studied History to A’ Level and thought I knew a lot about the Tudors, especially Henry VIII and his six wives, but this novel was so different in being written from the perspective of the women. I firmly believe this was the novel that led to me writing historical fiction. It showed me how to combine my fascination with history - especially women in history – with my desire to write fiction. I interviewed Philippa Gregory in 2012 and she gave me some wonderful writing advice. Her signed copy of The Other Boleyn Girl sits proudly on the shelf above my desk.

Wild byCheryl Strayed. I was sent this book to review and knew nothing about the author, but the premise of her trek along the Pacific Highway fascinated me and I couldn’t put it down. Wild was the first book I’d read that really expressed the emotions and anguish of losing a mother that I’d experienced in my early twenties. I interviewed Cheryl Strayed and we talked about that. She was incredibly honest and warm, and I was so delighted to see this amazing book go on to have such global success.

Hazel Gaynor - October 2016


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