Influences of my Youth

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Of course I’m talking about authors, not groups such as ABBA and Queen – so that’s what happened to my dress sense in my youth, those that know me will say.

I lived in Buckinghamshire until the age of nine-years-old, then moved to Derbyshire. I would frequently visit Chatsworth House, with my family, and it was from there I fell in love with the Mitford sisters, well Nancy Mitford to be precise.

Deborah Mitford married Andrew Cavendish, the Duke of Devonshire, and they turned his ancestral home into Chatsworth House, one of Britain’s most successful stately homes. Deborah wrote twelve books, but I was enamoured by Nancy’s novels.

Nancy’s novels were witty, humorous, and ascorbic. Two of my favourite novels, ‘Love in a Cold Climate’, and ‘In the Pursuit of Love’, were verging on autobiographical, and appealed to my curiosity about love and how to be a young woman, living with an eccentric family.

I’ll briefly mention Unity Mitford, who many may know, was a friend and admirer of Adolf Hitler, and Diana Mitford, who also believed in the fascist movement, and married Oswald Mosely. They were not part of the Mitford sister’s history I admired, but I still found them fascinating to learn about.

I lived not far from a town called Buxton, which was where Vera Brittain lived. I read her memoir, ‘Testament of Youth’, which recounted her experiences during the First World War. I was fascinated by the history of the War, and the roles women played during those times. I loved visiting places Vera had actually been.

The last authors I enjoyed reading during my younger years were Sylvia Plath and Anita Brookner. ‘The Bell Jar’ by Plath remains my favourite book to this day, and I’ve re-read it numerous times. Anita Brookner has written a plethora of novels, and I always longed for her next novel, which seemed interminable as she only brought out one a year, at that time.

All these authors wrote character-central stories, which I believe has influenced my own writing. Whether I’m writing crime or contemporary fiction, my preference is to weave the story around characters, and delve into their complex inner world.

Happy Word Flow One & All

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