This evening I welcome author Chloe Greene, who writes under the name Chloe Hammond, to A Life in Books.
Can you tell me a bit about yourself?
I am happily married, forty two, and live by the sea in South Wales with our two rescue dogs, and my fat and fluffy cat I am convinced is going senile. I was diagnosed with anxiety and depression about three years ago, and that crisis taught me to value myself and my creativity better. Now I write to soothe and reward myself, although my writing is often based on the nightmares my anxiety brings. My first novel, Darkly Dreaming, Book 1 of The Darkly Vampire Trilogy was first conceived from a collection of nightmares I had.
Visit my website- www.chloehammondauthor.com and you can read or listen to my journey, as I have an indepth radio interview I did that you can listen to. It also includes my blog and the link to sign up for my newsletter & access a free sample chapter. I’d love to hear any feedback you might have on things you’d like to see on my website, or things you’d like me to blog about.
1. What was your favourite book from childhood?
I can’t choose just one! I didn’t have a T.V growing up, so although I struggled with my reading and writing, and remain a slow reader, reading was, and still is, my greatest pleasure. I especially loved the Nancy Drew mysteries- I loved reading about an intelligent and independent girl who got to have all these amazing adventures, and was supported and respected by the adults in her life. My other big passion as a child was anything to do with horses, and the Silver River Brumbry series was one I especially loved, with the horses living wild and free.
2. What type of books did you read as a teenager?
By my teenage years I had moved onto horror and Dark Fantasy. I started on John Saul, and progressed to Stephen King. I related far too well to Carrie! I discovered Anne Rice and Terry Pratchett when I was at university, and my love of Pratchett has never faded.
3. When you were at school what was your favourite book you studied?
I loved ‘On The Black Hill’, by Barry Hines. I think my English teacher helped as she was such a good teacher, but Barry Hines is (was?) brilliant at descriptive writing, so although not a huge amount happens, I was absorbed by the descriptions of village life. However it is Shakespeare’s Anthony and Cleopatra that I quote from most often- ‘Those were my salad days, when I was green of judgment’ or ‘Not know me yet?’ And ‘Oh happy horse, to bear the weight of Anthony’ is one of the subtlest rude lines I’ve ever read.
4. What is your favourite classic book?
Black Beauty. That book made me sob my eyes out when I was ten. I still can’t think about Ginger too much now. I read a lot of the classics when I lived in France for six months, because English novels were terribly expensive, apart from a range of the classics I found for ten francs (£1). That was how I stumbled across John Cleland’s notorious Fanny Hill, and well- after that Fifty Shades really didn’t impress me. My favourite classic author however, is Zora Neale Hurston. Her novel, ‘Their Eyes Were Watching God’ is exquisitely written as well as being a fascinating slice of social history.
5. What would you consider to be one of the best books you have read over the last 5 years?
Again, just one? It would have to be ‘The Lacuna’ by Barbara Kingsolver. She is another author with an utter genius for turning social history into a fascinating story, and this book exposes some shocking slices of the U.S.A’s history that I had to google to confirm genuinely happened they are so unbelievable. Heartbreakingly, they did. If you haven’t read Barabara Kingsolver, grab them all quick- she is one of those authors who teaches you to think and question, while keeping you enthralled by the story.
6. What book to you think you should read but never get round to?
I read the existential therapist, Viktor Frankl’s ‘Man’s Search For Meaning’, and it was the most hope filled book I’ve ever read, despite the grim and horror filled circumstances he wrote in. Viktor was a prisoner in a Nazi camp when he realised that hope is what keeps people alive. I want to read his other books, but his writing is translated from German, and it’s quite chewy going, so I keep putting it off. I have a dream of rewriting his books into a more accessible format one day, so everyone can enjoy the uplifting message he offers.
7. What do you consider to be your favourite book?
You keep doing this. I really can’t choose between ‘The Book Thief’ is so delicate and loving, in such a clumsy and brutal way, I cried and cried; or Barbara Kingsolver’s ‘Poisonwood Bible’ which made a profound impact on me emotionally, by exploring the impact of the West’s greed on Africa, as well as the impact of emotional abuse on a family. Stunning.
8. Is there a book that you have started but been unable to finish?
Plenty. I’m a slow reader, and there are so many amazing books out there that I refuse to waste my time reading a book that doesn’t grab me within the first chapter. If it’s really badly written I rarely get past the first page.
9. If you were stranded on a desert Island which 2 books would you want to have with you?
I am not someone who rereads books, so I would need two really thick books I’ve never read before. Maybe something really heavy going like ‘War and Peace’ so they kept me going until I was saved, I go a bit bonkers without anything to read. When I was in France, before I found the shop selling the classics in English, I was reduced to reading the sports pages in a week old Guardian newspaper at one stage, and you don’t get more boring than that!
10. Kindle or Book?
Paperback every time. I can appreciate the benefits of so many books in such a small space, and portability etc, but I just don’t feel connected to the ebooks like I do to a paper book. I read some research the other day that people do read a digital page much slower than a paper page, so that probably impacts on my ability to enjoy ebooks. For me lending a beloved book is a big part of the pleasure, chatting about character and plot and language are the things I do with my very best friends.
Darkly Dreaming:Book 1 of the Darkly Vampire Trilogy is available to purchase Amazon now.