I’m extremely delighted to welcome author Terry Tyler to Bloomin’ Brilliant Books today to find out about her favourite books and authors in this weeks Author Influences … and it’s a brilliant one!
Which authors/books did you like to read as a child?
I’m pretty much the same as everyone else, I’m afraid—Enid Blyton (yes, yes, The Magic Faraway Tree, though I preferred Mallory Towers!), the Jill pony books by Ruby Ferguson, the Narnia series. I read a lot; my parents took us to the library every Saturday to change our books. Saturday afternoons were spent lying on my bed reading, with a quarter pound of pear drops, bought with my (seven old pennies) pocket money. Bliss. The simple pleasures of the 1960s childhood! I haven’t changed that much: all I need is a great book and a pile of pillows, and I’m happy. I do without the sweets these days, though. Mostly ;).
Were you good at English at school? Did you like it?
Very, I always got top marks. I loved it. Mind you, it was about the only thing I did love. School and me were not a great fit.
What genres do you like to read? Have they had an impact on the genre you write?
My favourite books to read are post apocalyptic and historical fiction, and I do love stories about long, treacherous journeys, with maybe the odd murder and psychopath. Stories set up mountains, in cold, barren wastelands, the remote places of America, Australia, the Arctic Circle, etc. Histfic wise, I prefer those with battles and struggle, conspiracies, and triumph over dangerous situations. My favourite eras are Plantagenet, Tudor and the Civil War/Restoration. I love zombie books, but they have to be really well written and not just blood and gore. I’ll read contemporary UK based dramas, if they’re edgy and psychologically realistic. Mark Barry, in particular. And I’ve recently read some great ‘lad lit’ by Andrew Webber. I’m a fan of a good travel memoir, too. Oh dear, you’ve made me want to list all my favourite books, now…!
As for the impact on what I write, I’ve read Susan Howatch’s historical sagas over and over, and they’ve influenced how I structure some of my books (mostly the family sagas). Her books made me understand that aspects of a character’s story can best be told from the point of view of another; sometimes, an astute third party observation can say so much more.
Reading post apocalyptic books (and watching TV series and films of this type) made me long to write in the genre myself, especially when combined with my interest in how the media influences the masses, sociological trends, and the way in which hard times can bring out the good and the evil within man. I hope that doesn’t sound too vague and disjointed! I’m writing a series, and it’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done.
If you were to write a different genre what would it be and why?
Historical fiction, because I love to immerse myself in the past (and have a great interest in the way that comparisons can be made with later eras) but the authors I admire are so fabulously good at what they do that I’m not sure I could write something of a high enough standard; getting the research absolutely right is pretty daunting, and the mark has been set very high by my favourites.
Did any author’s work encourage you to pick up your pen and write and if so who, what and why?
No, no one in particular. I think the creative urge was just there, from early on. I’ve been writing stuff for many years. I’m sure I wrote stories as a child; I remember doing so in my twenties. I wrote one for each sign of the zodiac. I bet they were awful; I’m glad I haven’t still got them!
Are there any authors who, as soon as they publish a new book, you have to get it?
Loads. Here’s a list:
Dylan Morgan (horror, scifi, post apocalyptic)
Deborah Swift (17th century history)
Gemma Lawrence (Tudor history)
Jon Krakauer (non-fiction; all sorts)
John Boyne (assorted history)
Carol Hedges (Victorian Murder)
William Savage (18th Century Murder)
John Privilege (post apocalyptic, if he’d write another)
Kate Mary (zombies)
Blake Crouch (horror/thriller)
Frank Tayell (zombies)
Ann Swinfen (if she will write some more 17th century history!)
Mark Barry (contemporary drama)
Bill Bryson (no description needed)
Jo Carroll (travel memoir)
Val Poore (travel memoir)
There are other writers such as Kate Atkinson, Douglas Kennedy, Deborah Moggach, Keith Blackmore and Emily Barr whose books I’ve read all or nearly all of, but I’ve discovered so many new writers in the last few years that it’s hard to keep up with all my favourites.
Which books have you read that have made you think ’Wow, I wish I had written that’ and what was it about the book?
Cashelmara by Susan Howatch. It’s a wonderful historical family saga, set in the early-mid 19th century, that takes the characters through privilege and wealth, to loss of status and disaster, from London society to the potato famine in Ireland, from loss and degradation to grand passion. I think if I’d written that book I’d just sit and look at it every day and think, “Yes, that’s me. I wrote that book. Wow!”
Other that that, I think I’d die happy if I’d written Call of the Wild by Jack London, Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, Something in Disguise by Elizabeth Jane Howard, and Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K Jerome. Simply because they’re perfect pieces of literature.
Have any of your plots/characters been influenced by real life events/people? (Be careful, I don’t want you getting sued!)
Not whole plots, but parts within them. I got the idea for Best Seller, my novella about three writers, because a former friend submitted something of which I’d written 80% to a literary agent, and pretended she was the sole author (I’d based it around some of her ideas and notes). It wouldn’t have come to light if the agent hadn’t been offering representation; my former friend then had to try to get me to write the rest of it without letting me speak to the agent, at which point I began to smell a rat! But it made me think about why someone would be so desperate to gain kudos as a writer that they’d pass off someone else’s work as their own. That’s seriously messed up, isn’t it?!
Aside from this, there are many situations in my novels that come directly from real life, often mine or my sister’s (she recognises them!), emotions taken from experiences of my own or those to whom I am close, though I tend not to base characters on people I know, so much. I just take some aspects of them, now and again. But not anyone who is likely to read anything I’ve written. At least, I hope not…!
A huge thank you Terry for taking part and for the brilliant answers, I really enjoyed reading this. I must bump Call of the Wild up my TBR pile, it has been waiting on my Kindle to be read for ages. Oh my God! I can’t believe your ‘friend’ did that!!!
Terry’s latest book The Devil You Know is out now and you can read my review HERE.
Every serial killer is someone’s friend, spouse, lover or child….
Young women are being murdered in the Lincolnshire town of Lyndford, where five people fear someone close to them might be the monster the police are searching for.
One of them is right.
Juliet sees an expert’s profile of the average serial killer and realises that her abusive husband, Paul, ticks all the boxes.
Maisie thinks her mum’s new boyfriend seems too good to be true. Is she the only person who can see through Gary’s friendly, sensitive façade?
Tamsin is besotted with her office crush, Jake. Then love turns to suspicion…
Steve is used to his childhood friend, Dan, being a loud mouthed Lothario with little respect for the truth. But is a new influence in his life leading him down a more sinister path?
Dorothy’s beloved son, Orlando, is keeping a secret from her—a chilling discovery forces her to confront her worst fears.
THE DEVIL YOU KNOW is a character-driven psychological drama that will keep you guessing until the very end.
About Terry Tyler
Terry Tyler’s first Amazon publication, ‘You Wish’, won Best Women’s Fiction in the eFestival of Words 2013, while short story collection ‘Nine Lives’, family dramas ‘Last Child’ and ‘The House of York’, and psychological drama/thriller ‘The Devil You Know’ have won other small online awards or been named on book bloggers’ ‘Best Books of the Year’ posts.
Her next book, Tipping Point, is expected to be published in August 2017. It’s the first part of a trilogy, about a how one family and group of friends survive a global pandemic. The second book, Lindisfarne, should be out in September.
Terry has a blog on which she writes around many topics (social networking, writing, TV, general comment). The link: http://www.terrytyler59.blogspot.co.uk/ . She also has a book review blog, on which you can find her own reading choices and those she reads as part of Rosie Amber’s Book Review Team. She loves Twitter (TerryTyler4) and can also be found on Goodreads and Facebook.
Terry lives in the north east of England with her husband.
Connect with Terry