This evening I welcome author and fellow Geordie Babs Morton to my weekly feature A Life in Books.
Can you tell me a bit about yourself?
Hi, I’m Babs Morton. I live in rural Northumberland with my hubby and my Border Terrier Jess. I’ve always been a bookworm, growing up in Newcastle opposite a library probably had something to do with that. I write crime fiction and historical fiction (BA Morton). My debut crime novel, Mrs Jones, set in New York took second place in The Yeovil Prize literary competition and went on to be an Amazon best seller. My latest works are North East based psychological crime thrillers, published by Caffeine Nights Publishing. I was thrilled to have a short story included in Bloodhound Book’s recent charity collection Dark Minds. I’m currently working on my seventh novel.
1. What was your favourite book from childhood?
Like most youngsters growing up in the 60s/70s, I was heavily influenced by Enid Blyton’s Famous Five, and any kind of stories that had children having extraordinary adventures. I enjoyed The Chalet School books (midnight feasts and high jinx galore) and I recall a book called The House at World’s End (great title) about abandoned kids, thwarting the system. I think my all time favourites were the Chronicles of Narnia, still enjoy them now.
2. What type of books did you read as a teenager?
I read a lot of science fiction/fantasy as a teenager, hand me downs from an older brother, Mervyn Peake, Isaac Asimov, and of course Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. I had pet guinea pigs called Titus, Fuschia and Gandalf. While my original copy of Lord of the Rings still claims a favoured place on my bookshelf I don’t read science fiction now.
3. When you were at school what was your favourite book you studied?
To be honest I can’t recall any books studied at school other than Of Mice and Men and Cider with Rosie. I can’t say that I enjoyed either. I was the one who hid my own choice of paperback inside the school book and read quietly to myself during lessons.
4. What is your favourite classic book?
I still have my orange Penguin copy of Jamaica Inn, Daphne Du Maurier, and read that at least once per year. Love it! Lent it to a friend once and it came back with a coffee stain on the front cover…arghhhhh!
5. What would you consider to be one of the best books you have had over the last 5 years?
That’s a difficult question. I’ve read some amazing books, mostly crime fiction and all the best leave you wrung out at the end, mainly because of the need to keep reading nonstop until they’re finished. John Connolly is my favourite crime writer, I like the supernatural twist, and the tortured main character Charlie Parker. All Connolly’s books are so beautifully written. I’m also hooked on Indie crime writer Claire Stibbe’s ‘Temeke’ series, dark psychological crime with almost poetic prose – fabulous.
6. What book do you think you should read but never get round to?
Too many. Since joining The Book Club on TBC I’ve been introduced to many new writers and new series and can’t keep up with them all.
7. What do you consider to be your favourite book ?
The Pillars of the Earth, Ken Follett – fabulous historical fiction. The book that encouraged my love of all things medieval and set me off writing my own medieval trilogy. It’s a sweeping story charting the lives of three families through turbulent times and the building of a cathedral. It was televised, (poorly in my opinion).
8. Is there a book that you have started but been unable to finish?
There have been a few. Usually I check on the ‘look inside’ feature on Amazon first to see if the writing grabs me, but occasionally I’ve bought a paperback solely on the back cover blurb and then been disappointed by the read. I recently started a book and just couldn’t get away with the main character and so gave up on it. Others probably love the books that I don’t, so I’d never name a book that I didn’t enjoy as it’s only my opinion.
9. If you were stranded on a desert Island which 2 books would you want to have with you
The White Road, John Connolly and Pillars of the Earth, Ken Follett.
10. Kindle or Book?
Both. Kindles take up less room and downloading is instant, no fifty mile round trip to the nearest bookstore, or waiting for the postie to deliver, though my preference will always be for paperbacks.
Babs Morton’s books are available to buy now.