This week’s guest on Inheritance Books is Catherine Ryan Howard – who was primarily known for her non fiction (and her fabulously useful Catherine Caffeinated blog). Her latest book Distress Signals is a thriller set on a cruise ship. Hi Catherine, have a biscuit. Why don’t you start off by telling us a bit about yourself?
I live in Dublin, Ireland, but I’m from Cork. I’m currently studying for a BA in English Lit as a mature student in Trinity College Dublin and trying to finish my second thriller before the excitement of the first one, Distress Signals, coming out gets too much for me! I’ve self-published a number of non-fiction titles about some of my travel adventures, and then the obligatory ‘how to’ self-publishing guide. I’ve been blogging since early 2010 and love Twitter. It’s caffeine that flows through my veins and I still want to be a NASA astronaut when I grow up.
Which book have you inherited from a generation above? Why is it special?
I didn’t inherit any physical books, but a book my mother bought for me helped change the course of my life and get me where I am today. Now, don’t laugh, but it’s Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton.
The movie came out in the summer of 1993, when I was just eleven, and I convinced her to buy the movie tie-in paperback of it for me. I can still remember that her, my brother and sister and I were en route to the caravan we kept by the seaside in East Cork, and she stopped at a shopping centre so I could run in and pick it up so I’d have it to read while we were down there. I just loved, loved, LOVED that book. The mixture of fact and fiction, the imagination needed to create that park and bring it to life… It was fantastic. It made me want to create something like that. I re-read it every year and still have that 23 year-old paperback, which is only held together now by tape and love.
I’m not laughing. I was totally blown away by Jurassic Park when it came out. So much so that I did my A-level English lit dissertation on it (comparing it to The Lost World by Arthur Conan Doyle).
Which book would you like to leave to future generations? Why?
I think Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro. It’s one of my favourite novels. So simple in terms of the language he uses, but so utterly devastating in its impact. I don’t want to spoil the ending for anyone, but it also gives you a stark reminder of how short our time here is, and why you should make the most of this great adventure of life while you can. Because of its setting, it also has a kind of timeless quality, so I think future generations will find it as relevant as we do now.
Excellent choices. Thank you for sharing your Inheritance Books with us. All the best with Distress Signals. It sounds great.
Catherine’s new book Distress Signals is available now! You can read the first three chapters on her website. You can find out more about Catherine in her website, Twitter (@cathryanhoward), Facebook or Instagram.
PS: If you’re a huge fan of Jurassic Park, you might be interested in Chip Kidd’s TEDtalk about how he designed the iconic cover.