This week the lovely Henriette Gyland shares her Inheritance Books. I met Henri at the RNA conference earlier this year. She was the only other person in the room who knew what a merkin was. Although none of us were sure why anyone would need one.
Hi Henriette, welcome to Inheritance Books, tell me a bit about yourself.
I grew up in Northern Denmark but moved to England in the early 1990s, and now live in a lively suburb of London. For as long as I can remember I’ve been making up stories – this wasn’t always easy for my parents when they were trying to get the truth out of me. Sometimes even I didn’t know what the truth was! After winning the Festival of Romance New Talent Award last year, I signed a book deal with the independent publisher Choc Lit, and my first novel Up Close is out in December. When I’m not writing, I work as a translator, which for me is not a completely unrelated area.
Which book have you inherited from the generation above you?
When I was 13, my father offered to read The Hobbit aloud to me and my younger sister. I was in the beginnings of my “hero phase”, and at first I thought, how can a hole-dweller with hairy feet possibly be a proper hero? But Bilbo Baggins turned out to be totally unforgettable, as were all the other characters in that book. When we moved on to the Lord of the Rings trilogy, I was well and truly hooked and would beg my father to continue reading, until the poor man turned hoarse! Today, I will re-read both The Hobbit and the LOTR trilogy on a regular basis. Not only are they superb adventures, they also made it legitimate for me to believe in fairy tales, in dragons and magic, in good versus evil. I didn’t care that my friends thought I was weird – as far as I was concerned, they were the ones missing out.
Gosh, where do I start? There are so many goods books out there which will stay with you long after you’ve finished reading them, but it’ll have to be one by my all-time favourite author, the American sci-fi writer Connie Willis. I literally devour her books when they come out, but have chosen the one entitled Passage. It’s a book about love, friendship, politics, and manipulation. About a sprawling never-quite completed urban hospital as an analogy for the human brain. It’s about the Titanic, and yet… it’s not. Actually, it’s about death. Why have I chosen this one, you might ask? Because we all encounter death at some point in our lives, either through bereavement or from the inescapable fact that one day we’ll have to face our own. Connie Willis has managed to create a work on the subject which is funny, tragic, poignant, and also uplifting. I read it when it was first published in 2001, read it again when a friend of mine died, aged 39, and felt… well, reassured. It’s quite simply a stunning book.
I think The Hobbit is a lot more fun than LOTR. I was so intrigued by your description that I bought myself a copy of Passage. I’m about half was through it now and really enjoying it so far.
Herniette’s debut novel Up Close is published by Choc Lit and out on the 7th December 2012.