I have an extra A Life in Books this week with Rosanna Ley to celebrate the publication of The Little Theatre by the Sea in paperback on 1 June. If you missed my review of this charming novel I have included a link at the end of my interview with Rosanna, so lets get started!
Can you tell me a bit about yourself?
I’ve always loved reading and writing and also enjoy tutoring creative writing and life-writing for self-expression and therapy. Now that I am writing a book a year for Quercus and each book requires a lot of research and travelling, I’m spending more of my time doing that, but still love to work with new writers whenever possible.
I like to write about places I find interesting – they have to inspire me on some level, and must have something in their culture/ politics/ history which I can get my teeth into! I also enjoy writing about relationships – family, romantic, whatever – and try to get a bit of mystery into the books too.
For myself I mostly live and work in West Dorset which I love and I enjoy walking the cliffs and beaches near my home and relaxing with a good book!
What was your favourite childhood book?
I loved Enid Blyton’s ‘Secret Seven’ books and devoured them voraciously. I also really enjoyed AA Milne’s ‘When we Were Very Young’ and ‘Now we are Six’ and learnt some of the poems by heart. They must be in my long-term memory because I still know some of them…
What type of books did you read as a teenager?
As a teenager I got into historical fiction especially Jean Plaidy and other writers of that ilk. When I did ‘O’ levels I also discovered DH Lawrence and fell hopelessly in love with his books. That was about the time I got into classics too, like Jane Austen and Charles Dickens. I’m not a mad Dickens fan, but Austen, I still love. I also remember being much affected by Sylvia Plath’s ‘The Bell Jar’ and a few years later I discovered the ‘Liverpool Poets’ e.g. Adrian Henri.
When you were at school what was your favourite book you studied?
Definitely Sons and Lovers by DHL. I also got hooked into John Donne’s poetry.
What is your favourite classic book?
Probably ‘Pride and Prejudice’ by Jane Austen, though I also love ‘Emma’
What would you consider to be one of the best books you have had over the last 5 years?
One of the best books I’ve read? There have been so many. I was very impressed by ‘The Various Flavours of Coffee’ by Anthony Capella. So interesting. I love the way he writes.
What book to you think you should read but never get round to?
Anything by James Joyce. But life is probably too short. And actually I don’t think I ‘should’ read ‘Ulysses’ or anything else really. There’s a lot of literary snobbery around and the label ‘literary’ can sometimes be an excuse for self-indulgence! I think everyone should read what they want to and what they enjoy.
What do you consider to be your favourite book ?
Another impossible question! Women in Love by DH Lawrence.
Is there a book that you have started but been unable to finish?
Hundreds. If I get too irritated by bad writing or I’m not sufficiently interested in the story-line, I’ll stop. There’s always so many good books I want to read – who has time to read a bad one?
If you were stranded on a desert Island which 2 books would you want to have with you
Definitely a large collection of poetry as that would last me forever. The other book would be a large notebook so that I could write.
Kindle or Book?
I prefer actual books but do have a Kindle for when I am travelling and need to travel light.
Thank you so much, Juliet!
The Little Theatre by The Sea is available to buy now.