Rural England, 1793, two unaccounted-for corpses found in an old woman’s coffin. Island of Bones by Imogen Robertson. These are the types of stories that keep me up till 2am, scrunched in the little white corner chair squinting beside a lamp intended for a doll house. But not just historical mysteries either. I share equally this passion with regional mysteries – Gianrico Carofiglio, Arturo Perez-Reverte. Foreign landscapes and trips back in time light up the inside of my brain and have a way of inspiring the more mundane writing of my grown-up life.
While plotting the beginnings of a new thriller, I find myself once again reverting to the books I most loved when I was little. The Chronicles of Narnia, The Princess and the Goblin, The Velveteen Rabbit, so many.
Though not really thrillers, their imaginative details collectively began germinating the landscape of my imagination. A little girl in a lonely castle with a magic ring that leads to her invisible grandmother. To this day, John MacDonald’s The Princess and the Goblin is one of the most clever stories I ever read. So when I’m stuck in my writing, and either don’t know where to go next or just lose my steam, I keep copies of my childhood favs readily in my home office. What were your favorite childhood books? Download them and start reading them again the next time your well feels dry…and something magical might happen!