June 16th, 2009

(no subject)

With "Slights" printed, packed and on the trucks (! Can you hear me shouting? MY BOOK IS ON THE TRUCKS! Or the lorries, as they say in the UK) and the release date just sixteen days away, I thought I'd do my version of a countdown.

In "Slights", Jessie is a librarian, my main character Steve's aunt, and a marginalist. She writes stories in the margins of the books she shelves and she writes cryptic notes and messages as well.

All of the books mentioned come from my own library, and are catalogued at the wonderful Library Thing. My user name is Kaaron, if you want to go have a look at what else I've got!

My countdown will be talking about the books I use in "Slights". Maybe mini-reviews, maybe where I got the books, whatever comes to mind. I'd love to hear responses to these books. Some no one will have heard of and others most will have read.

So here goes.

1. Rebecca, by Daphne du Maurier.

I've often spoken of this book as one of my favourites. it's certainly my most re-read. The first time was when I was in Year 6. Maybe 11 years old. I had my mum's good copy; one of those faux-leather bound ones, with gold leaf. I took it to school in a plastic bag to keep it clean and read it every opportunity I got.

The moments of revelation (particularly one in the boat house) still chill me and make me feel ill. I've also spoken before about the physical reaction I sometimes get to fiction which moves me. It's a sense of something lying in my stomach. Sometimes it's a specific food, sometimes it's just a feeling of heaviness.

The way the main character is never named is so clever and so right. She is so much a product of the people around her that she barely has a character of her own, and that one way the novel works so well. It's not a gimmick at all but a real part of the story telling process.

2. Kirkland Revels. Victoria Holt.

This is another one I read years ago. It's the only romance novel I've read and liked. I read a lot of Mills and Boons when I thought I might write one, but didn't like any of those. I wrote part of a novel but it was really hard! You have to drag the plot out and have all sorts of contrivances. Main problem was I don't love the genre, and you should love it to write it.

"Kirkland Revels" was kind of the "Twilight" of my Year 9 year. We all read it and read it again. We read everything else by Victoria Holt as well but this one sticks out.  It was scary, atmospheric and creepy. There's something about a character 'crossing the threshold of terror', to quote the back flap, I can't resist!

More tomorrow! If you want to read about my thoughts on writing the right reaction, I've posted that over at my Wordpress blog.