Happy New Year all!
I’m delighted to host fellow RNA NWS graduate, Karen Aldous, as my first guest on Inheritance Books this year. Hi Karen, welcome to Inheritance Books. Have a chocolate. No really, please do. I’ll end up eating them myself otherwise.
Please tell us a bit about yourself.
Thank you for inviting me Rhoda. I think Inherited Books is such a lovely original concept for a blog because they are very personal to each of us. For a bit about me, well after enjoying bringing up my children in Kent, I’m now following the career path I’ve dreamed of; writing novels. I first realised I wanted to write when I was in my late teens so I took a degree course whilst raising my three children and, still a time before creative writing degrees were accessible, and obtained a BSc (Hons) in Psychology and Literature. However, an alarm bell sounded during my mother’s cancer treatment in 2011 when I realised, you never know what’s around the corner. My mother told me she wasn’t afraid of death, she’d raised a lovely big family and fulfilled her passion for dancing, so I made a determined effort to chase my dream. In 2012 I was fortunate to get on to the Romantic Novelists Association New Writers Scheme as well as joining a fabulous novel writing class local to me, called The Write Place and in November 2013 graduated the RNA NWS by receiving my first publishing contract with CarinaUK (Harlequin/HarperCollins). That was just over a year ago. My first novel The Vineyard was published in May 2014 and my second, The Chateau has just been released.
Which book have you inherited from the generation above? Why is it special?
The books I treasure were given to me by my mum in the years before she died. She died in July 2013. We often sat and discussed books and authors she loved and the fact that she took to reading later in life due to her intermittent schooling during the war and her evacuation. The main one I’ve chosen is a Harry Bowling. Pedlars Row. Mum was from the East End of London and her father (my grandfather) was a costermonger. She told me he would tackle up his horse and cart and go off to markets locally and through Rotherhithe tunnel and into Bermondsey. The sad part was, when he suffered with dementia in old age, he was found a few times wandering alone by foot though the tunnel. This was in the early 1980’s and he was 87 when he died. These books, along with Lena Kennedy and Claire Rayner gave her a feeling of comfort. These were family, neighbours and friends who she so obviously missed when evacuated to Yorkshire and Surrey. It was a tough time and these stories portrayed characters who lived in dire circumstances but created the hope and determination to improve their lives. Although Mum was brought up a Catholic, her empathy for others around her was evident. A further favourite was Claire Rayner’s Running Years, a finely woven saga of Jewish families from the East End. Another book of hers I cherish is non-fiction Old Time Dancing by Cecil Ruault. As a teenager, working as a seamstress, she took dance lessons whilst still in the East End so this book is special. It’s full of steps for her greatest passion, sequence dancing. It was a huge part of her life and, it gave her so much back when dad died; she had such a lovely group of supportive friends.
Which book would you like to leave to future generations? Why?
I am torn, only because there are so many great books! However, I’m going to select The Island by Victoria Hislop. I also loved The Thread. The reason is because in recent years, it fired my imagination as to the sort of writer I wanted to be. I was totally captivated by it and that makes it completely relevant to my children and grandchildren. It has a great sense of place and time, wonderful warm family characters and it’s written from the heart. It would be a reminder to them of my idyll!
Thank you for sharing your Inheritance Books with us Karen. All the best with The Chateau (I LOVE the cover by the way!).
Karen is running an amazing giveaway competition to win a luxury make-over and make up lesson. Click on the big friendly button below to enter.