By Bookworm 1977

Books Reviews And More

By Bookworm 1977


2019 will see the site launching a new page 'Readers Interviews ' all the interviews will centred around you the reader and your favourite authors. We have had a great responds to the post we posted on Facebook and quite a few well know authors have all ready been mentioned.


This will be a great opportunity to discover new authors to read this year. As I have already discovered for myself which but sadly this is such a good idea for my poor old book cases which are under quite a strain .

My guest this evening is the lovely Bernard Boley

Joining me today is the author Bernard Boley who is going to tell us about two of his favourite authors

Thank you for joining me Berand always a pleasure to have you join us.

Would you like to begin by telling us abit your chosen authors.

I hesitated a lot between my two favorite authors, the well known Ernest Hemingway and Victor Hugo, probably the most admired French author. Two completely different personalities with different writing styles. I find myself quite comfortable between both having borrowed what I consider to be elements now part of my own style. Hemingway writes stories as he sees them and not if as he would have liked them to happen, something Hugo did. For Hemingway, emotions and symbols result from the use of words describing what is happening and not what the author feels or would like you to feel. Hugo, in my mind, is the Michelangelo of story telling. Even if his novels are frescos of the French universe, you feel compelled to examine each detail his words offer you making you bounce between them and the story. Each scene is magnificently sculpted, each part building up into a whole.

Can you tell what first drew your interest in Victor Hugo and Ernest Hemingway and their books?

It goes back quite a while ago and has to do with my learning of the French language. Let me explain. Although I was born in a French-Canadian family, the first language I actually spoke was English, my dad having moved down in the States to study surgery when I was very young and could only babble a few words in French. When we came back to Canada, I hated French. Many years later, one of my teachers noticing the problems I still had during the French equivalent of my junior high school years made me read books to acquire a better vocabulary. Not only for the stories, but mainly for the vocabulary and writing technique. One of the first ones was Victor Hugo's Les Miserables. Since then and even if I went through all the French classics, Hugo was 'the man' concerning French literature.

Hemingway came later after I saw the movie 'The old man and the sea' with Spencer Tracy. I bought the book and a second one less known, 'Ernest Hemingway, On writing'. I was amazed to hear him explain in a letter he wrote to Bernard Berenson in 1952 what he meant with symbols using 'The old man...' as an example. "There isn’t any symbolism. The sea is the sea: The old man is an old man. The boy is a boy and the fish is a fish. The shark are all sharks no better and no worse. All the symbolism that people say is shit. What goes beyond is what you see beyond when you know." That's when he hooked me for the rest of my life.

I decided to toss a dime to pick choose between the two for the remaining questions and it fell in favour of Hugo, the man who not only wrote novels, poetry, theatrical dramas and did some fine hand drawings but was also very much involved in politics which resulted in him being banished three times from France.

A hard question now, of the novels he wrote do you have a favourite?

Clearly his 'Travailleurs de la mer', (Toilers of the sea) which in many ways remembers me of Hemingway's 'Old man and the sea'. He wrote it while he was in Guernsey where he spent some fifteen years during one of his exiles. It's the story of a sailor who attempts to gain the heart of a young woman by searching for innovative mechanical parts of a sunken ship. Even if he succeeds, he becomes aware it might not bring her to him but has to do it because it defines who he is. It's probably the best anti-hero story ever told. The theme he worked on is quite the same Hemingway used in his 'Old man...' : the unfair and often cruel fatality of the righteous. This theme is also found in 'Les Misérables'.

Are there any books that you did not like or could not get into and why?

It never happened with anything Hugo or for that matter, anything Hemingway ever wrote. Whatever word Hugo wrote, it ways fell into either one of two categories, part of a fascinating story or part of a learning process about a writer's understanding of the world he lived in and how he translated it into his own words.

Do you own everyone of the author's books and if do what formats do you have them?

I used to have paperbacks of all Hugo's work as well as Hemingway's, but gave them away years ago, now living more like a nomad. However, I have the complete digital opus of both writers.

If there is somebody reading this interview who hasn't read any of his books, what book would you suggest they start with?

I would suggest 'Les Misérables' for some very good reasons. Firstly, because this epic novel is probably the most known Hugo title outside the French-speaking community. It took him five years over a period of almost twenty years in exile in Guernsey to write this novel. The main theme is will the right win over the wrong? The two main characters, Jean Valjean, the protagonist and police Inspector Javert, his antagonist struggle with the theme not only between themselves but also interiorly. The greater question is what translation should I read. Charles E. Wilbour's version is probably the one who is the closest to the feeling Hugo conveys while the Fahnestock & MacAfee version (available for free on is more accurate. Anyway, prepare yourself for a 1400 page amazing ride. The second reason is that many great screen adaptations of the story were made and among them, two recent ones, the 1998 version staring Liam Neeson, Geoffrey Rush and Uma Thurman, and the 2012 musical featuring Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe and Anne Hathaway.

Would you say his work influenced your own?

It surely did, but not necessarily the way you think it would. I didn't appropriate his style but tried to learn from it. Almost each one of Hugo's narratives are master-pieces by themselves, but rather long. They brought me into finding a way to convey emotions or time/space descriptions not through dissertations like he does, but with a precis choice of words resulting in many of my paragraphs requiring weeks of laborious work.

What is the one question you would you have liked to ask him?

I wouldn't annoy him with questions leaving him to believe I need his help. Victor Hugo once said 'God only created water, but man created wine'. So I would hence show him a Château Margaux and ask him, "Victor, my good friend, should we open another bottle of wine?" You already know what any French would say, so 'santé'.

And lastly if you could be a character from any one of the books, who would it be and why?

It would be Jean Valjean. From the moment I discovered him in Les Misérables, he became my rôle model. Quite a challenge, I must say, particularly when it comes to muscling up.

Thank you Bernard lovely talking to you.

A.J Griffiths-Jones Reader's Favourite interview

My thanks to A.J Griffiths-Jones 

My chosen author is the amazing Brazilian writer Paulo Coelho. I’ve been reading &re-reading his books for years as they always evoke deep feelings & prompt me to rethink life & priorities. Amazingly Coelho has sold over 85 million books & his work has been translated into 63 languages.

I read somewhere that Coelho had studied alchemy, the process of turning metals into gold. I wondered how on earth this was possible & on digging deeper I found that he was very emotionally connected to his work & the stories that he writes possess a mystical quality. Naturally I then read ‘The Alchemist’ and have been a huge fan ever since.

It’s hard to pick a favourite novel by this author but I do love ‘The Devil and Miss Prym’ - it’s set in a remote village where very little happens. A stranger arrives carrying eleven gold bars in his backpack, leading to events that show even the simplest of lives can be motivated by greed, they just have to choose between good & evil.

There haven’t been any Paulo Coelho books that I didn’t enjoy but ‘Manuscript Found in Accra’ is very unusual & I had to read it twice before I could absorb the wisdom found inside. It’s still a story, like the others but, due to the excerpts from the so-called manuscript, it’s philosophical & slightly religious, which is not really my chosen type of book. I’m glad I persevered with it though as there are lots of hidden gems in the prose.

I do indeed have all of the authors work & they’re in paperback on my ‘keep forever’ shelf. The books on there are special collections that I return to year after year. The covers are all so unique & beautiful too, they’re a pleasure to look at.

 I would always say start with ‘The Alchemist’ to get a real taste of Coelho’s work. It’s mystical and easy to read, almost like the tale of Ali Baba. If readers prefer something more modern, ‘The Witch of Portobello’ is a great book, combining modern day city life with hints to a Romanian past.

If I could ask the author any question, it would be ‘Is there a part of you in any of your characters/which of your characters has most of your personal traits?’

I would choose to be Valhalla from ‘The Valkyries’ - she belongs to a clan of strange warrior women who travel the Mojave desert by motorcycle. Hard on the outside but with a deeply inquisitive nature, Valhalla is empathetic to others without letting her outer facade slide, something I can relate to.

Today's guest is author Phil Price who will telling us about his favourite novelist Wilbur Smith

Today Phil Price will be taking about the novelist Wilbur Smith, who was born on the 9th of January 1933 in Broken Hill, Northern Rhodesia the area now known today as  Kabwe, Zambia. He is a Zambian novelist specialising in historical fiction about the international involvement in Southern Africa across four centuries, seen from the viewpoints of both black and white families.


Hi, Phil. Thank you for agreeing to talk to us.


Can you tell me what first drew your interest to Wibur Smith's books?


Hi Susie. I first became interested in Wilbur Smith a few years after coming back from my travels around east and southern Africa. A friend at work gave me a copy of When the Lion Feeds. I was hooked from the first few chapters. Most of his work is set around southern Africa, many of the stories from bygone eras, with pirates and family feuds. Really enthralling stuff


A hard question now, of all the novels he wrote do you have a favourite?


Monsoon. Hands down. Three feuding brothers, pirates, death, sex – all set on the high seas. It’s one of my favourites. Anyone who likes adventure, should check out his books, especially the Courtney series.


Where there any books that you did not like or could not get into and why?


A few of his newer ones I couldn’t get in to. He’s almost ninety, and uses a co-author, which detracts from his earlier work. As much as I love his books, it might be time to hang up the quill.


Do you own every one of the authors books and if do what formats do you have them?


Almost all of them. In paperback. They are currently in a box in the loft. My wife thinks they should go up the tip, as I now have a Kindle. Never. Books are for life, not just for Christmas. Or is that dogs?


If there is somebody reading this interview who hasn't read any of books what book would you suggest they start with?


Birds of Prey. It’s the first novel in the Courtney series. Set in South Africa in the 17th Century. Lot’s of fighting between the British and the Dutch, along with the local indigenous population being thrown into the mix. It’s a whopper too. Almost 800 pages.


What would be the one question you would have like / liked asked him?


I’ve read his biography, so I kinda know where he came from and the struggles he had to overcome to become a writer. I would however like him to tell me about his childhood holidays in northern Rhodesia and Zambia. I could listen to that kind of stuff for hours….


Why do you feel he has influenced your own work?


Well, for one, I put a distant relative of the Courtney’s in my first novel, Unknown. I just love how he describes the world in which his characters are living. He jumps from century to century, happy to write about Africa, or England in vivid detail. Hopefully, I have managed to capture this trait. I like his sense of adventure, almost having no limits. There is betrayal too, which I like to write about, along with love. After all, we all like a bit of love in our books. Right? 


Thank you Phil lovely to talk you again.

Today's guest is the author Matt Leyshon

Hi Matt thank you for agreeing to talk to us can you start by tell us about your chosen author please.


Always a pleasure Susie.


The author I wanted to discuss is Martin Cruz Smith. I have 6-8 favourite authors, all of which influence who I write, or my own tastes in books/stories go, but Martin Cruz Smith is the lone one that I would single out. :)


Can you tell what first drew your interested in to his books?


I studied/analyzed a portion of his first novel, Gorky Park, while in High School. I remember that it just didn’t read like any of the other books we were previewing. It had a Russian setting and characters, which interested me immediately. Within those few pages I felt there, and the reality in that brief moment was gruesome. I loved it and read the whole book shortly afterwards. The main character in the book, Arkady Renko, has featured in eight books over the last 4 decades. I love every single one. Cruz Smith and Renko are an unstoppable combination. They are my Rowling/Potter.


A hard question now, of all the novels he wrote do you have a favourite ?


Very tough. My all time favorite is probably Polar Star, the second book in the series. It has my favorite “first chapter” in any book and the story is beautifully told. Polar Star was set on a fishing trawler fleet, and even with such limited scope in location to work with the story is brilliant. It is also the one I’ve read the most. Gorky Park is a close second along with Wolves Eat Dogs. WED was set in the Red Zone (Chernobyl) which again was such a fascinating setting for a thriller. Havana Bay also has my favorite description (he is the best descriptor I have ever read) and my favorite paragraph of his which illustrates how he writes with such incredible perspective and philosophy.


Were there any books that you did not like or could not get into and why ? None of the Renkos, they are all supreme thrillers.


He has written other books, which I have bought, but never really read yet. That’s not reflective of the author’s ability to tell stories, I just never got to them personally. I love the Renkos.


Do you own every one of the authors books and if do what formats do you have them? I own them all, with some being in paperback and some in hard cover. No Kindle versions.


If there is somebody reading this interview who hasn't read any of books what book would you suggest they start with?


Probably Gorky Park. What I love about Cruz Smith is that when he writes Arkady Renko he is not a cookie cutout in each one. He ages, he evolves, he changes, along with an ever changing Russia around him. With that in mind I think it best to savor the earliest iteration of Renko and the earliest depiction of Russia, both culturally and politically.


What would be the one question you would have liked to have asked him?


He is still alive, so the chance may come about one day. I would ask about his research. The Russia he has seen, the people he has met. Some of his books were researched pre internet and he actually spent 9 months on a fishing trawler in order to research Polar Star. My one question however would be was Arkady written in the image of anybody in particular?


How do you feel he has influenced your own work?


In many ways. I have learned to appreciate the value in evolving your main character, over a series arc, rather than show little development. You’re not just telling a story a character is in, you’re telling their story as well. He is amazing at that and I am always conscious of trying to emulate that with my characters throughout my own series. Characters like Axford and Renko become a lot more accessible when they are humanized before you. I also have learned the currency that a good description carries. It makes such a difference. Readers like to imagine but in some scenarios they like to be put there themselves. I have always enjoyed the reality he writes with as well. I love characters, (not just main ones) that are flawed. They have vices, they curse, they drink, they cope. That has always been something that has impressed me. The most important lesson I believe is that if you’re going to tell a story, tell it well. Don’t just describe an action or a consequence, tell us why. Narrate it with a sense of eloquence/quality as well, without making it fluffy. He is a beautiful writer and while I would dare not say I am the same I would like to think I am conscious of bringing articulacy to a chapter or scene.


One final question if you could be any character from any of his books who would it be? 


My answer is "Renko of course": :)


Thank you Matt

My guest today is the author Amanda Harvey Purse who is my second guest to talk about the author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.



Hello Amanda thank once again for joining me , can you start my telling us about your chosen author please.


Hi all, I have chosen Sir Arthur Conan Doyle as the author I would like to talk about today. In truth it is hard for me to chose a favourite author but because of the importance of this year to Sir Arthur, himself, which I will discuss, it seemed apt for me to chose him for this interview. Arthur Ignatius Conan Doyle was born to Charles Altamont Doyle and Mary Doyle née Foley on the 22nd May 1859 at Number 11 Picardy Place, Edinburgh. This makes the 22nd May 2019, Sir Arthur’s 160th birthday. I have been luckily enough to have been asked to advertise/celebrate this birthday by visiting places of importance to this man over this year and this interview is a wonderful start to this mission, so I thank you very much for asking me to explain what this man and indeed his mind means to me. Arthur’s parents had met because Mary was Charles’s landlady’s daughter and they had married on 31st July 1855. They would go on to have seven children in total that survived childhood, with two or possibly three children, sadly not surviving. However, less than ten years after their marriage, the Doyle family would suffer a major hardship. Charles Doyle, Arthur’s father, was not a well man at this point. Charles had a modest life so far, coming from a family of artists, he, himself was an illustrator and watercolourist, as well as being a civil servant, working for the Scottish Office of Works as a surveyor. His artworks could been seen in the 1861 edition of Robinson Crusoe, the 1860’s edition of Beauty and the Beast and the 1877 edition of Our Trip to Blunderland by Lewis Carroll, to name but a few. However, by 1864, Charles fell into depression and turned to alcohol, this affected the family greatly. The children were spilt up and placed around Edinburgh, but eventually they were back together again by 1867, however Charles’s problems were to continue and by 1885, he was a patient at Sunnyside, Montose Royal Lunatic Asylum. This was something that Arthur felt hard to deal with and the fact that he allowed his father to draw the illustrations for the 1888 edition of A Study in Scarlet, Sherlock Holmes’s first full novel, shows the closeness that father and son still had. In fact in later years, Sir Arthur was to write about his father, saying ‘He had his weaknesses, as all of us have ours, but he had also some very remarkable and outstanding virtues’. This meant that for many years, Arthur would have to have thanked his uncles for giving him a decent education, first at the Jesuit Preparatory School in Lancashire and then at Stonyhurst College, where it was said the Arthur did not enjoy his time. This is interesting to note as, it is hinted at and then developed more in books and films about Sherlock Holmes, that were not written by Sir Arthur, that Sherlock Holmes also did not enjoy his time at school. Arthur was also able to study in Austria in a school called Stella Matutina, which might explain the connections Sherlock Holmes has to this area of the world in later books. From the late 1870’s until 1881, Arthur had chosen his line of profession and studied medicine at the University of Edinburgh Medical School and this was where he first caught the bug of writing, as he wrote a few short stories, such as The Haunted Grange of Goresthorpe and The Mystery of Sasassa, as well as writing in the British Medical Journal, a study called ‘Gelsemium as a Poison’. A study, that gained him high praise and deemed useful for a murder investigation. While qualifying, Arthur became a doctor on ships called Hope and the SS Mayumba where he travelled to far off places such as, the West African coast, which may have been his inspiration behind his later books that were not Sherlock based. In 1882, Arthur was back on dry land and had joined his former classmate, George Budd, at his medical practice in Plymouth, however this did not last very long and with only a few thousand pounds to his name, he set up his own business at Number 1 Bush Villas in Elm Grove, Southsea. This practise was not the success, patients were just not visiting him, so Arthur returned to his writing and within a few years, we readers had, Mr. Sherlock Holmes to read and enjoy.


What first drew my interest to that character that Sir Arthur had imagined in his books, I first thought was the Granada television series where Mr. Jeremy Brett plays Sherlock Holmes, in the most  thought-provoking and remarkable way. However, I have recently found a well read copy of The Hound of the Baskervilles that my grandparents had brought me for my 5th birthday, plus I was and if I am honest, still am, a fan of the Walt Disney’s Basil the Great Mouse Detective. So I think Sherlock Holmes, as a character within a book, was always there, with me, before I even recognise that he was.  


Answering what is my favourite book of Sir Arthur’s is a hard question indeed as I have two, one that is not really because of the story itself but because of personal reason I connect to it and the other is The Blue Carbuncle. It’s a Christmas Victorian story, you have got to love that surely!


As much as I am a fan of most of Sir Arthur’s work, for example I quite like his ghost stories too, I did find The Lost World hard to get into, it just didn’t seem to click with me, I don’t understand why, a part from knowing we don’t all like every book there is out there, do we?


I don’t own every novel that Sir Arthur has written, there is a personal reason for me to not have read a certain Sherlock Holmes novel because there is a certain time and probably a certain place, when I will read it and it’s not the time yet, but by doing this I know I always have something to look forward too. However, when I do read it, it will be in book form like all the others, you can’t replace the smell of a good book, can you?


Which story would I suggest anyone that had not read a Sherlock Holmes story before, to read first, is actually a hard question because one of the many qualities of this character is that you may have found him for whatever reason you chose to. So, you may find him because you love murder mysteries, or you love the Victorian era of London, or you love the people of the past, or maybe even you are a person that feels you are different to the world you are in, you feel lost and that people couldn’t possibly understand you, all the while, not noticing how very special you actually are. What story is best for you is something I believe you must find out for yourself, as there is a story for everyone.


Perhaps surprising, there is no question I would like to ask Sir Arthur. This is because for me, I don’t need to know personal events within his life, his life was his life. However, I would thank him for giving me a character that has always been with me. A character that takes away all the pains that modern life can bring people and a character that will never die (for more than two years anyway!). Sherlock Holmes is eternal.


Has Sir Arthur’s character, Sherlock Holmes, influenced my own work? Yes, of course he has in so many ways. The biggest possibly being that he is one of my main characters in my book, The Strange of Caroline Maxwell! The inspiration of Sir Arthur always feels close by, when I write.


If I could be any character from the Sherlock stories I would like to be either Kitty Winter or Violet Smith. I think those characters need more exploring and I feel we have only just glimpsed at what  interesting and exciting characters they could be. Plus, the name of Kitty Winter, seems to suit this animal loving author, some say, crazy cat lady, quite well, don’t you think ?     



Thank Amanda it's been a pleasure having you take part .

Joining us today is the author Brian L Porter

This will be the first of two interviews about Sir Arthur Conan Doyle giving us two unique views on the author.


Hi Brian thank you for agreeing to talk with us today, can you start by telling little bit about your favourite author Sir Arthur Conan.


Most people are aware, of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle as the creator of Sherlock Holmes, perhaps the world's most famous fictional detective. The author of the almost 200 novels, short stories, poems, and pamphlets, Doyle was a prodigious writer, but most people are perhaps unaware, that he only write four full-length novels featuring Holmes, and his sidekick Dr. John Watson. The rest of the Holmes stories were told in short stories that were eventually incuded in various collections, eg The Casebook of Sherlock Holmes, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes etc. He was also the author of the famous 'The Lost World'. His short stories encompassed much more than the Holmes stories, and are plentiful enough to keep readers entertained through many a long winter's night. He even wrote books on the occult and Spiritualism, a little-known fact to non-Doyle fans. He trained as a doctor, at Edinburgh University and at one time was a surgeon on a whaling boat and served as ship's surgeon on the SS Mayumba on a voyage to West Africa. At one time, he actually killed Holmes, off but was forced to resurrect him as a result of a public clamour. I doubt there has ever been such a popular writer of crime fiction in the history of the genre.


I was first drawn to his work when I was about 17 years old and serving as a Royal Air Force Apprentice. I found his four novels in the camp library one day and was hooked from that day! I couldn't put them down and spent every spare minute devouring those novels. Having completed them it was logical for me to move on to his short stories, and I soon became a Holmes junkie!


Do I have a favourite book ?


Yes, I love the famous, Hound of the Baskervilles. The setting, on the cold, fog-shrouded moors, the evil smelling Grimpen Mire, and the wonderful historical back story of the phantom hound can still send a chill down my spine. So many film and TV versions of the story have been made over the years, and I never get bored of watching each and every one of them.


Where there any books that you did not like or could not get into and why 


I have never failed to be entertained by any of Conan Doyle's works. I'm sure that speaks volumes for the quality of the writing and the brilliant imagination of the author.


I own every Holmes story, all in hardback anthologies. I also have a big thick hardback collection of his non - Holmes short stories. So I probably possess every fictional work written by Conan Doyle.


To anyone wanting to read Conan Doyle for the first time, I would suggest beginning with the various Holmes short stories, perhaps starting with The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. If that doesn't hook you, nothing will.


I would have loved to have had the opportunity to ask him what first gave him the idea for the character of Sherlock Holmes and how he went about the creation of the world's greatest fictional detective. I often wonder, if, back in 1887, he ever dared to dream that Holmes would be so popular over a century after he first created him.


How has he influenced my work?


Well, perhaps his greatest influence is in many ways invisible. As I embark on each of my own mysteries, I know that at the back of my mind, the thought is always there, as to how Conan Doyle would have constructed the background of the story, and just how Holmes himself would have set about seeking the solution to the Mystery. Between them, I'd like to think that D. I. Andy Ross and his team, between them, embody most of the best traits of Holmes and Watson. Without one, there could surely not be the other, so the influence of Conan Doyle, Holmes, and Watson will continue to be an integral part of each of my books.


Thank you Brian

Today's guest reader is the author Mari Collier

Today's guest is the author Mari Collier who will telling us about one of her favourite authors James Clavrell.


For these like myself who are not familiar with the work of James Clavell he was an Australian-born British novelist, screenwriter and director , born on October 10, 1921, in Sydney, New South Wales. After World War two Charles took up writing and wrote a series of Asian Saga novels, included King Rat, Tai-Pan and Shogun which was adapted for television.


Hello Mari thank you for joining me and as always a pleasure to have you as a guest.


Frist question can you tell us what first drew you're interest to the James Claverll

books ?


The miniseries on television: Shogun


A hard question now, of all the novels he wrote do you have a favourite ?


Definitely difficult. I’ll pick Tai-Pan.


Where there any books that you did not like or could not get into and why ?


His children’s stories. Although, I do have one that is a first edition and signed by the author.


Do you own everyone of the authors books and if do what formats do you have them ?


No, I do not have all of his novels. The ones I have are in hard cover and in paperback. I lent out the Whirlwind and never received it back. I liked the story as it was a type of ending to the many generations.


If there is somebody reading this interview who like myself hasn't read any of his books what book would you suggest they start with?


Believe it or not, another hard question. I had read his King Rat years before I read Shogun, and had seen either a television program or a movie based on it. I just didn’t realize that he had so many other novels out there. I suggest, however, that they read Shogun first. It introduces you the English families, the Chinese family, and, yes, the Portuguese.


What is the one question you would have liked asked him?


Did he plot out the stories or did the characters dictate it to him?


Last question do you feel he has infuenced your own work ?


If you haven't guessed my novels cover several families for several generations.


Have a wonderful 2019!


Thank you Mari

Today's guest on Readers Favourite is the author Isobel Blackthorn

Hi Isobel thank you for agreeing to talk to me can you start by tell us about your chosen author please.


Iain Banks (1954-2013) was a Scottish author who wrote twenty-three novels, half of them under the name Iain M. Banks, when he was penning his science fiction works based in the Culture universe. He was experimental, wrote across genres, and always with sharp wit and an awareness of the zeitgeist of the times. He enjoyed exploring controversies and conjuring whacky and disturbed characters. His writing has a punchy, urban feel. He wrote with economy, deployed the jump cut method and often wrote from multiple viewpoints. I have learned more from studying his style and techniques than I have from any other author.


Can you tell what first drew your interest to his books?


I was drawn to Iain Banks in the 1980s when I read his debut novel, The Wasp Factory. I was living Bohemian-style in a London squat at the time, and Banks provided something fresh that went with everything else around me – the music and alternative culture I was a part of. Above all, it was obvious right then that Banks was not playing to the mainstream. His early writing appealed to certain sub-cultures on the 1980s and to the radical fringes. He was fearless and prepared to shock. The Wasp Factory will shock and is also highly relevant in today’s cultural climate too, for reasons I won’t go into.


A hard question now, of all the novels he has wrote do you have a favourite ?


A very, very hard question! My favourite is Walking on Glass. This is a novel written from three perspectives. Three protagonists tell three distinct stories and the reader has no idea how these three paths will intersect, but they will. I have to say this is my favourite because I have read it three times.


Where there any books that you did not like or could not get into and why ?


No, none. Even his most obscure writing, such as Excession, had me gripped. I read Excession, like all the Banks’ books I have read, before I became an author. Now I can see the artistry and literary skill in Bank’s writing, coupled with an imagination second to none.


Do you own every one of the authors books and if do what formats do you have them?


No, sadly, I do not. I have owned all of Iain Banks’ non-science fiction novels over the years, but I lend them to people and don’t get them back and end up having to buy another copy. So there is always a shortfall of Banks’ books on my bookshelf. I have introduced many of my friends to Iain Banks over the years and will continue to do so.


If there is somebody reading this interview who hasn't read any of Iain Bank's books

what book would you suggest they start with?


For science fiction, I think a good place to start is with Against a Dark Background. Otherwise, The Wasp Factory. That way, you can see what the author is about. Yet each of his books is distinct and tackles a different theme or issue.


What would be the one question you would have like/ liked to ask him?


I would have enjoyed chatting to him about conspiracy theories. If you could be a character from any one of the books, who would it be and why?


None of them!  And for very good reason! Read Iain Banks and then you will know why I say that.


Thank you Isobel always a pleasure to talk to you.

Readers Favourite Interview Number Two

My guest today is Geoff Gorton from Australia who is going to tell us about his favourite author Dame Agatha Christie


For these of you not familiar with the work Dame Agatha Christie, she was born on the 15th September 1890, in Torquay England. In 1920 her first novel was published entitled 'The Mysterious Affair at Styles' this would set on the path to become one of the most famous writers in history, with unforgettable characters such as Poirot and Marple. But we must also remember she also wrote books on other great characters such as Tuppence and Tommy Beresford, Colonel Race, Parker Pyne and Ariadne Oliver. Agatha Christie later moved to Oxfordshire where she died on January 12, 1976 and is buried alongside her husband.


Now without futher a do I give you Geoff Gorton


Hi Geoff great to have you take part.


Can you us tell what first drew you're interest to Agatha Christie and her books ?


I guess that my mum read them so they were around the house, I enjoyed the first few I read so kept going.


A hard question now, of all the novels she wrote do you have a favourite ?


That is hard, probably Curtain, Poirot’s Last Case. While there were things that just didn’t fit, as she wrote it fairly early but it wasn’t released till after her death and after many other books, the plot twist was intriguing.


Where there any books that you did not like or could not get into and why ?




Do you own eveyone of the authors books and if do what formats do you have them ?


Yes. Paperback. (Also The David Suchet DVDs and Miss Marple DVD series, plus I think all the Muder on the Orient Express versions)


If there is somebody reading this interview who hasn't read any of Agatha Christie's books what book would you suggest they start with?


The first one , 'The Mysterious Affair at Styles'.


What is the one question you would have liked have asked her ?


How did she keep churning out ideas.


If you could be a character from any one of the books, who would it be and why?


I’m not sure I’d want to one, but if so maybe Ariadne Oliver, in man form of course.I’d least want to be poor Old Hastings, always being proven wrong.


Thank you Geoff great to have take part.

My first guest to talk about there favourite author is Peter Coombes


Hi Peter thank you for agreeing to talk to me can you start by tell us us about about your chosen author please


Sir Terry Pratchett the author of the global bestselling Discworld series plus so many other wonderful books that where not in the discworld series. Including Truckers , Diggers and Wings three books which where more aimed at children but I love them they are so funny and well worth reading and then there was the long earth series and Johnny Maxwell Trilogy.


There are so many more books to be discovered by Sir Terry Pratchett and you won't be disappointed trying to collect them.


Also the discworld books have been made into TV series and plays what can you say he was one of the best authors of all time there will never be another Terry Pratchett he is very sadly missed.


Can you tell me what first drew your interest in to his books ?


Well it was my brother around 1990 he told me he just read this book Guards! Guards! By Terry Pratchett Discworld novel 8 and it was so funny I should give it a go so I went and got a copy and it was.He was right I thought it was just so funny and the characters where brilliant so then after that I was hooked on Terry Pratchett books


 A hard question now, of all the novels he wrote do you have a favourite ?


There are just too many to say but if I have to say one its got to be guards guards because if had not told me to give it a go and I had not read that one I would not have discovered Sir Terry Pratchett and that would have been a big lose to me for missing out as I would lost on some of the best books I have ever read


Where there any books that you did not like or could not get into and why ?


As a big fan I feel ashamed to say this but there was just one book I had trouble with and that was small God’s. Sorry Sir Terry I just don’t know why but I just had trouble trying to get into this one I feel bad now for saying that and now I will sit in the corner and say sorry to the great Sir Terry Pratchett and ask for his forgiveness .


Do you own everyone of the authors books and if do what formats do you have them ?


Well I have all the books but not in all formats so Iam working on getting everyone in each format so there will be paperbacks, hard back, audio and leather bound version which I do have twelve in leather and I also all have them all on kindle.


And I have three signed copy’s of Terry Pratchett books these along with my leather ones are my favourite ones.


If there is somebody reading this interview who hasn't read any of his books what book would you suggest they start with?


This is very difficult to answer but I have to say Guards Guards ,but that is a discworld book and Sir Terry Pratchett has so many great books out there.


One I would say buy is Dodger he lives in Dickensian London so there’s a lot of people might like this he ,my mum being of these who loved it and of course so do I.


What would be the one question you would have liked asked him?


I would have loved to have meet him and I did have the chance once a long time ago but my depression and social anxiety stoped me I will always regret that forever but if I could have I would have asked where does he come up with all the fantastic characters I know this is a sort of question every one ask but I just would have loved to ask him.


What character would you like to spend a day as from his books ?


Death in the book Mort he has a white horse called Blinky now I don’t think it’s related to Amanda Harvey Purse`s cat Blinky but then you never know maybe Terry Pratchett was a fan and called deaths house after her cat ha ha.


Thank you Peter , it's been great to have you take part .