This week, Evelyn Orange shares her Inheritance Books. Evelyn is a fellow northerner and a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association.
Hi Evelyn, welcome to Inheritance Books. Tell us a bit about yourself.
Thanks, Rhoda, for asking me to take part in your fascinating series. I grew up in north east England, after my parents moved there from Scotland for my father’s job. My mother was a great reader, and introduced me to the library at an early age. There I plundered the delights of fairy tale books, the Green Knowe books of Lucy M. Boston, and Enid Blyton’s adventure stories. I went on to study Music and English literature at Sheffield University, as I knew that I wanted to write books as well as teach and play music. I realised my musical ambitions (with a detour working as a music librarian in London for several years), but the quest to become an author has been a much longer journey. After I returned to the north east, somehow I ended up qualifying as a nutritional therapist as well!
My music hall novel, Melody for Lizzie, was published several years ago, and recently I have reissued it as an ebook. It was inspired by my love of music and theatre. Since Melody for Lizzie I have written two romantic suspense novels, but now have settled into writing twentieth century sagas about families with secrets. I am currently working on my third novel in this genre. I am looking for a new publisher, but expect to publish at least one new novel in the near future as an ebook. My books are based in the places that I have lived, with episodes in Scotland, and sometimes a Scottish hero (I am married to my own Scottish hero).
Growing up I was one of those little girls who was mad about ballet (and the theatre). On my bookshelf I still have an ancient copy of Ballet Shoes by Noel Streatfield, about the three Fossil sisters and their talents on the stage. I don’t know if it was my mother’s, or whether she bought it for me when I was small. Ballet Shoes fed my dreams and fantasies, taking me into a magical world where little girls really did perform on the stage. I went on to read the same author’s other novels, White Boots (about ice skating) and the Gemma books (about a child actress). I grew out of the wish to perform on the stage a long time ago, but I have stage performers in some of my books. We can fulfil our dreams by living other lives in books, both as readers and writers.
Which book would you leave to generations below? Why?
I would like to have left the Mary Stewart books for future generations, as she became my favourite author during my teen years and I am aware that she has influenced almost every novel I have written. But as another writer in your series has recently chosen her books, I shall opt instead for the exquisite Girl With a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier. I find it totally enthralling. This novel is crafted with such perfection that the reader is transported completely into the life and emotions of a young girl in seventeenth century Holland. Little was known of Vermeer and his painting, but Tracy Chevalier is totally convincing in her portrayal of the artist and his creative process through the eyes of her innocent heroine.
Great choice! I’ve read the Mary Stewart books now and I’m a fan. Thank you for sharing your Inheritance Books, Evelyn.