Children Reading by Valerie Everett

Inheritance Books: Ellie Gray

This week on the Inheritance Books sofa, we have romance novelist and fellow East Riding lass, Ellie Gray. I have cake. I’ll go put the kettle on and locate the cake. While I’m doing that, why don’t you tell us a bit about yourself, Ellie.

Ellie Gray Profile PicI live in a small village just outside the beautiful market town of Beverley in the East Riding of Yorkshire. It’s only about ten miles away from where I grew up, living in a little cottage on the edge of woods where my father was the woodman and my mum a nurse. My two brothers and I spent a halcyon childhood exploring those woods, building dens and having adventures. Come to think of it, perhaps that’s why I loved Enid Blyton books so much – maybe I felt we were somehow living one of those adventure novels in some small way.

I’ve always loved reading and, to some extent, I’ve always written stories – I kept them in my head when I was younger but, oh they were so very detailed. It was only later, in my teenage years, that it occurred to me to write them down. My first full novel (if it can be called that, as it is unlikely to ever see the light of day) was written when I was about 18 years old. Since then I’ve written quite a few (again, maybe best kept hidden in that drawer) but my first ever published novel, Beauty and the Recluse, was released earlier this year, swiftly followed by my second, Love on the Nile.

I work full-time for the local authority and, having just completed a Masters Degree, am now concentrating hard on producing my third novel. The ultimate aim, of course, is to one day be able to write full time.

Ha! I know exactly what you mean about first books. Mine will never see the light of day either.


Which book have you inherited from a generation above? Why is it special? 

IMG_1668Sax Rohmer’s Tales of Secret Egypt. This book wasn’t passed down to me as such but my dad found it during one of his many forays into old, hidden second hand bookshops and bought it for me, knowing how fascinated I was by anything to do with Ancient Egypt. I inherited my father’s love of both books and history and, since he passed away, I often think back to my childhood, where Dad and I would spend hours wandering around castles and museums, my mum and my brothers waiting impatiently for us in the carpark or café! This book reminds me of my dad and our shared love of reading.


Which book would you leave to future generations? Why?

IMG_1669My daughter has not inherited my love of books or of reading, although she has inherited my creative side but expresses hers through art. My son, however, has inherited my passion for books and is an avid reader. JRR Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings Trilogy is the one I would like them to inherit. It might seem like an obvious or over-used choice, but the reason I would like them to inherit is more to do with the ethos of the book and the story, of good triumphing over evil, of the message that ‘even the smallest person can change the  course of the future’. It’s a message I feel very strongly about.

Brilliant choices! Thank you for sharing your favourite books with us, Ellie. Best of luck with your new book. 

LoveOnTheNilebyEllieGray-500You can buy Ellie’s book Love On The Nile from all good ebook retailers. You can find out more about Ellie on her website, Facebook or Pinterest. Or you could chat to her on Twitter (@elliegray58)






Would you like to share your Inheritance Books with us? If so, please drop me a line – either in the comments or by email.

Inheritance Books: Bethan Darwin

Today’s Inheritance Books come from Superwoman Bethan Darwin. Hi Bethan, welcome to Inheritance Books. Take a seat on the sofa. Would you like a slice of cake? Why don’t you start by telling us a bit about yourself.

BethanDarwinphotoMay 2014I’m a lawyer based in Cardiff, specialising in employment and corporate law, a proud Mum of two and a happy wife which is just as well as my husband is also a lawyer and we work together.  I run a women’s networking group called Superwoman which also raises money for charities at its events, I write a bi-weekly column on law for Wales’ national newspaper The Western Mail and regularly review the papers for a variety of BBC Radio Wales programmes.  

I was born in Toronto but from the age of 5 I grew up in Clydach Vale in the Rhondda Valleys where my mother also grew up.   My parents didn’t speak Welsh themselves (my Dad is a proud Lancastrian) but they sent me and my three siblings to Welsh medium schools and I am fiercely proud of being a fluent Welsh speaker.  My children also attend Welsh medium schools.

I wrote my first novel, Back Home, mostly when on maternity leave with my daughter Megan who is 11 now.  It was published by Honno in 2009 and my second, Two Times Twenty, was published in 2010.  It has taken a while for me to write a third – Thicker than Water – and it features the Rhondda, lawyers and Toronto.    There are always lawyers somewhere in my books!

My favourite way to relax is for the four of us to walk our two dogs on the beach at Barry Island.  I am a better version of myself when I am by the sea.  


Which book have you inherited from the generation above? Why is it special?

My mother had the Enid Blyton “Adventure” series as a child and they were on a bookshelf in my grandmother’s house when I was growing up.    They had hardback brown covers and had a particular special smell.  My grandmother liked them to stay at her house so I wasn’t allowed to take them home with me and I read the entire series during visits to my grandmother, lying on the landing upstairs next to the bookshelf.  I don’t know what happened to the books in the end but they sparked a love of reading that has continued throughout my life.    13882505_1631432853852169_8864405124452179880_n


Which book would you like to leave to future generations? Why? 

East of Eden by John Steinbeck.  I read it first at school and loved it and have read it every five years or so since.   It’s a long story of family and love and landscape. My 17yo son is named Caleb so he’s already inherited something from the book.  He read it last year.

I had a similar relationship with Enid Blyton, starting with The Famous Five. Thank you for sharing your favourite books with us. All the best with your latest book!


Bethan’s book Thicker Than Water is available to buy now. You can catch up with Bethan on Twitter (@bethandarwin).

Inheritance Books: Kate Frost

This week’s guest on Inheritance Books is Kate Frost. Welcome to the sofa, Kate. I’m sorry, we haven’t had a guest in a while. Let me dust it down for you. There you go. I’ll go put the kettle on, why don’t you tell us a bit about yourself.

KateFrostHeadShotI live in Bristol, a city I was born in and have always lived in, apart from three fabulous years spent at university in Aberystwyth. I grew up in the 1980s in a Victorian terraced house with a park at the end of the road. I have fond memories of my childhood with Sunday afternoon tea in front of the telly watching nature programmes; camping holidays with my Mum, Dad and younger brother getting bitten by mosquitos, discovering beautiful places and having barbeques in the rain; and Christmas spent with my Grandparents on their farm in Norfolk. I also have vivid memories of being in hospital when I was seven and undergoing open heart surgery to fix a hole in my heart. I was at that blissful age where it was an adventure rather than a traumatic experience. It also put me on the path to becoming a writer, as I had an amazing home tutor during the months following the operation, who taught me all about dinosaurs and how to write stories.

I studied drama while at Aberystwyth, but after graduating got disillusioned with the whole audition process of having to look a certain way or know the right person to get a role. I started writing again and over the next few years had articles and short stories published in magazines such as New Welsh Review and The London Magazine. I had various jobs along the way including being a bookseller at Waterstones, a Virgin Vie consultant hosting make-up parties, and putting my drama background to good use working as a Supporting Artist appearing in the films Vanity Fair, King Arthur and The Duchess. I did a MA in Creative Writing at Bath Spa University in 2004-05 and then wound up working out of hours for NHS Direct for a few years while I finished writing my debut novel, The Butterfly Storm and built up my freelance writing business writing blogs and features for easyJet.  

The past few years have been busy. I got married in 2008, and later that year we bought a house in need of complete renovation so spent the next couple of years doing it up. We then got our dog, Frodo, a gorgeous Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, struggled through four rounds of fertility treatment, during which I published The Butterfly Storm, finished writing my first children’s book and was made redundant from NHS Direct. In February 2014 our miracle son was born and now my life is happy and hectic and revolves around a very energetic toddler while trying to write novels.


Which book have you inherited from the generation above? Why is it special?

Narnia seriesThe Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe – well in fact C.S. Lewis’ whole series of Narnia books. They weren’t passed on to me but bought for me by my parents. Despite my mum being a prolific reader now, she was never interested in reading when she was a child, as she was too busy playing outside (she lived on a farm near the north Norfolk coast) to be interested in books. As an adult she realised what she’d been missing out on all that time and encouraged me to read. I remember being about eight or nine years old and getting swept up in Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy’s adventures and devouring the whole series of seven books. I also remember being bitterly disappointed when the back of my wardrobe didn’t lead into a snowy Narnia. But my love for books was cemented and I quickly realised the power of imagination, and so started writing my own stories.

Yay! An excellent choice!


Which book would you like to leave to future generations? Why? 

Year of WondersI’m fascinated by the Restoration period with the plague and the Great Fire of London and so I loved Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks, a novel about the plague set in 1665-66. I first read it when I was in my mid-twenties, just as I was really focused on writing for a living and not long before I did my Creative Writing MA, and so it was a book that influenced me greatly. It’s also one of a handful of books that I wish I’d written.

Apart from being based on a true story, which in itself is fascinating, it’s beautifully written, descriptive, emotional and poignant. It’s one of those novels that stays with you long after you’ve read the last line and I’d encourage anyone to read it.

I’ve not read that. It sounds really interesting. Thank you for sharing your favourite books with us Kate. Good luck with the book.



Kate’s latest book Beneath the Apple Blossom is out now. You can find out more about Kate on her website, Facebook or Twitter (@kactus77)


Inheritance Books: Patricia Marie Budd

Today’s guest on Inheritance Books is Patricia Marie Budd. Hi Patricia. Have a seat on the sofa. Would you like a biscuit? Tea? Coffee?  While I’m doing that, please tell us a bit about yourself. 

unnamedI am a high school English teacher by trade. How I wound up teaching is quite funny. Back in my early twenties when I was living in Toronto studying mime I loaned a friend $100.00. Sadly she was never able to pay me back. Her partner at the time was an astrologer so in lieu of the money I was offered a class in astrology and a chart reading. I knew I’d never see the money so I took the class and chart reading. According to my chart I was destined to be both a writer and a teacher. The writer part made sense as I had already written my first play and had it produced in the Rhubarb Festival in Toronto but the teacher part seemed a bit weird. Still, I figured, why not, I’m not making any money as a mime so I applied for Education at the University of Regina.

When the English department learned of my having produced a play they convinced me to study to become an English teacher. Feeling cocky from my recent (albeit brief) success in theatre I agreed. And then I took an English class. Why hadn’t I remembered having had to drop out of English 200 because I was failing miserably? My counselor warned me that if I didn’t improve my spelling and grammar ‘yesterday’ they were pulling me from the Program. That is when I learned the real meaning of hard work. I am pleased to say I succeed and have been teaching high school English since the fall of 1991.

I never did have any real success in theatre, just marginal recognition. My third play received honorable mention in the 2001 Alberta Playwriting Network’s competition but it never saw the light of stage. It was shortly thereafter that writing novels became my passion. My first novel, A New Dawn Rising came out in 2006, Hell Hounds of High School came out in 2011. Hadrian’s Lover was released in 2013 and Hadrian’s Rage will be out May 3 of this year.


 That is quite a weird way into the teaching profession, but what a great story!

Which book have you inherited from a generation above? Why is it special?

unnamed (1)When I was a little girl I used to read a book belonging to my mother titled Amy Vanderbilt’s Complete Book of Etiquette: A Guide to Gracious Living. I know my mother read it and had incorporated some of its advice into her life, especially the sections on “Dress and Manners” and “Home Entertaining”. My mother was an extremely beautiful woman and when she dressed for a social night out she was absolutely stunning. I remember she had this beautiful green dress she kept in her closet. She had worn it in her youth and I secretly told myself my mother had been wearing that dress when my father had fallen in love with her. She also threw the most amazing parties. She dressed my siblings and I in our Sunday best to serve her guests. I loved serving dainties to her guests; it always made me feel so grown up. Though it has been decades since I’ve opened this book it sits on my bookshelf and I always think fondly of my mother when I see it.


Which book would you like to leave to future generations? Why?

unnamed (2)I wouldn’t leave just one book. I would leave the entire series. The first book I recall sparking my love of literature was Laura Ingalls-Wilder’s Little House in the Big Woods. I could smell Pa’s pipe and feel his rough beard against my cheek. One time when my uncle tickled me with his beard I pretended I was little Laura Ingalls. I read the entire series from beginning to end and then I read it again. I even picked it up later in life when I found the set at a used bookstore. Even in my forties I loved the story of this little girl and her life in the woods, on the banks of Plum Creek, on the prairie, in the town, during the harsh winter, being a young teacher, falling in love and becoming the mother of her own children. I most especially loved her telling her fiancé that she would not say the word ‘obey’ in their wedding vows. I smiled and was proud of Laura Ingalls. This series turned me into an avid reader.

I haven’t read any of the books, but I used to watch the TV series as a child (and loved it)! You’ve prompted me to go look for the books now. Thank you for sharing your favourite books with us, Patricia. All the best with your own books.

Cover - Patricia M Budd 2015 v2Patricia’s book, Hadrian’s Rage, is available to buy now. You can find out more about her on her website.

Children Reading by Valerie Everett

Inheritance Books: Marie Laval

Today’s guest on Inheritance Books is fellow RNA member and all round lovely person, Marie Laval. Hi Marie, take a seat. Why don’t you introduce yourself. 

MarieLaval (2)I am French and have been living in Lancashire for quite a long time, almost long enough to have got used to the rain! I grew up in a small village near Lyon.  I studied law and history at university there and for many years my ambition was to be a journalist. I was always very attracted to England and to anything English – I blame great authors like Daphné du Maurier, Jane Austen and Wilkie Collins – so I came to live in England shortly after graduating. Unfortunately, I did not become a journalist, but held a variety of jobs, mostly in admin at the University of Manchester. I retrained as a teacher a few years ago and now work in a large secondary school. When I’m not busy looking after my family and planning lessons, I dream up romantic stories! I started writing short stories and now write full-length contemporary and historical romance. My novels are published by Accent Press.


Which book have you inherited from the generation above? Why is it special?

DSCF1718It was so difficult to pick just one book, Rhoda! I inherited a lot of books from my parents, mainly novels, which are at present sitting in cardboard boxes because I am supposed to be moving house in the next few weeks.

One of the books that means a lot to me is a collection of humorous texts by the talented French comedian and writer Raymond Devos. The man was so much more than a comedian. He was a genius with words, and I remember how proud and grown-up I felt when as a teenager I was able to finally understand some of his jokes and puns! ‘Histoire d’en Rire’ was the last ever book my sisters, mother and I bought for my father for his birthday, and I will always cherish it.

Most comedy writers have some genius with words. (Terry Pratchett, PG Wodehouse…)


 Which book would you like to leave to future generations? Why?

Once again, a very difficult choice. I hesitated between two but in the end chose ‘Le Lion’ DSCF1722by Joseph Kessel (apologies because it’s in French!). ‘Le Lion’ is a novel I treasured since I first read it aged twelve or thirteen. I brought it to England with me when I moved here, and as you can see the cover is rather battered. The story is set in Africa, in the land of the Massai people, and is the tale of an incredible friendship between a little girl and a …lion, of course! After many adventures and plot twists, the story doesn’t end well for the lion. Joseph Kessel was a great writer, a journalist and adventurer, and a pioneer of aviation in the 1920s. I read most of his novels, which gave me a yearning for literature and faraway lands. Many of his stories were made into films, starring great French actresses such as Catherine Deneuve and Romy Schneider.

I do hope my children grow up to be as fond of ‘Le Lion’ as I was.

Merci beaucoup!

You’re welcome! Thank you for sharing your favourite books with us, Marie. All the best with the new book!

BLUEBONNETSBlue Bonnets, the second in the Dancing For The Devil Trilogy are now out and are available from Accent Press and Amazon 

 You can find out more about Marie at her website, or on Facebook.  


Inheritance Books: Catherine Ryan Howard

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?

Catherine Ryan Howard by City Headshots Dublin

Catherine Ryan Howard by City Headshots Dublin

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.


Inheritance Books: Rachel Dove

Rachel new 2Today’s guest on the Inheritance Books sofa is Rachel Dove. Hi Rachel, welcome. While I go put the kettle on, why don’t you tell us a bit about yourself.

I am 34, a wife and mother living in Yorkshire (Yay!). I used to work in law, then in the area of early years and special educational needs, and I eventually qualified to teach adults these subjects. I always wanted to be an author and a teacher, it just took me a while to get there! I have written horror shorts in the past, but romantic fiction is my real love. I write full time now, but between writing, reading, raising my children and running errands, I don’t know how I ever had time to work!

 Which book have you inherited from the generation above? Why is it special?
When I worked in law, I used to commute on four train journeys a day. I read on every journey, and I remember dragging a huge library book about, totally enthralled. It was Margaret Mitchell’s Gone With the Wind, and I still remember the feelings it roused in me when reading. Every generation should be fed books like this, they are timeless classics, more poignant with each passing generation.

Which book would you like to leave to future generations? Why?
I always come back to this book, but I would pick Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. I reread this book all the time, I think that as well as a love story, it is a powerful book with a message about society, power, sacrifice and the importance of being a strong female. I have many others that sprang to mind, but this one is always the clincher for me. Bella from Twilight is all well and good, but young guys need to think more Katniss Everdeen than Kim Kardashian these days, and reading could be the key in a lot of cases. I remember reading about strong females since I was old enough to hold a book, and I think it has a lot to answer for – with the opinionated, independent woman I am today!
index2My great aunt went into a retirement home a couple of years ago (she is still doing fine) and when we were clearing her house, I found some old books, one of which being Virginia Woolf. I treasure them, and I found out that she was a writer too, and even had a poem published in a book. I still have the book at home. It’s nice to think I am following her lead in the family by chasing my own dreams. I have files of rejection letters she received, so I think I have some strong females in my family generations too.

Those are excellent choices. I would definitely recommend Katniss over Bella any day! 

Thank you for sharing your favourite books with us, Rachel. All the best for The Chic Boutique!


chic boutique  Rachel’s new book The Chic Boutique on Baker Street is published by Mills and Boon and is available to by now. You can find out more about Rachel on her website, Facebook and Twitter (@writerdove).

Inheritance Books: Mark Anderson

It’s world Intellectual Property (IP) day! As you may have guessed from reading Girl On The Run, IP plays a large part in my day job, so I thought we’d have a special Inheritance Books guest post from Mark Anderson from the fabulous IPdraughts blog – which discusses the nitty gritty of IP licensing in an accessible (often whimsical) way.

Welcome to Inheritance Books, Mark.While I get the tea and biscuits, why don’t you tell us a bit about yourself.

I grew up in Scotland to English parents. My sister has a Scottish accent, but mine is English. According to family legend, this is because Susan was a conformist, while I imitated my father.

ANDsept-71 (2)When I was 11, my parents moved from a terraced house in a Scottish New Town – East Kilbride – to an oversized Victorian mansion in the Scottish countryside. It was so large that no-one else wanted to buy it. A Glasgow solicitor built the house in 1855, at a time when the local railway station was still open, and a train could take you into the city in half an hour. In the 1980s, my parents sold the house to a Mr Singh, an interesting character who registered the first Sikh tartan with the Scottish authorities. Mr Singh kindly let me visit the house a few years ago, and I discovered that my bedroom, which had not been changed since I chose the decoration in the early 1970s, was now his prayer room. What this says about me, or him, I am not sure.

I was the first person in my family to go to university, to Durham where I studied law. Then I moved South again to London, to qualify as a barrister and later as a solicitor. Now I run a firm of solicitors, Anderson Law LLP, which I started over 21 years ago. Originally it was just me in my front room in Richmond, Surrey. Now we are based in Oxfordshire and employ 12 lawyers. We specialise in intellectual property transactions, and advise mostly universities and high-tech companies.

As well as providing legal services to clients, I have written half a dozen legal textbooks, most of which are now in their third editions, and run training courses for practitioners. I designed and lead a 5-day course on IP transactions, held annually at University College London. This course has won two awards: a Law Society Excellence Award (Highly Commended) and a UCL Provost’s Teaching Award.


Which book have you inherited from a generation above? Why is it special?

My father was born in Stockwell, London, and left school at the age of 15. In 1944, he was apprenticed to a firm of theatrical set designers in South London, in which his father had been a partner. Unfortunately the firm closed a couple of years later; there was no longer a demand for the type of lavish West End shows that had been popular in the 1930s.

My father was a great fan of the novels of Graham Greene.  In the 1970s it was easy to find him a Christmas present, as Graham Greene was then writing a novel each year. I think what appealed to my father was their discussion of big themes like conscience and loyalty, and their dissection of character, all expressed in simple, direct language.

I have inherited his collection of Greene novels. From the books in the collection, I have chosen The Human Factor. It was published in 1978, so it could well have been one that the family bought him for Christmas. The novel was adapted to become a film in 1979, with a screenplay by Tom Stoppard. Like much of Greene’s work, it reminds me a little of John le Carre. But only a little. Each is good in their way, but Greene has more to say about the human condition than le Carre. Le Carre’s simpler style is easier to adapt into great films and TV series.

The attached photo show my collection of Greene novels, most of which I

Which book would you like to leave to future generations? Why? 

With your permission, I would like to leave a set of books –Patrick O’Brien’s series of 20 novels set during the Napoleonic wars. I have read them in sequence, as though they were a single novel, several times. If forced to choose one of them, I would choose HMS Surprise. It is like the other novels, but supercharged with incident and emotion.

The novels tell a great story, as well as exploring a relationship between two men who are presented as very different: the bluff sea-captain, Captain Jack Aubrey of the Royal Navy, and the cerebral Stephen Maturin, physician and spy. In fact, they share many characteristics, though these are disguised by the obvious differences in their temperaments and vocations: they are both slightly apart from the establishment, but comfortable in it; they are both highly intelligent and compassionate; their resilience and determination brings them both, eventually, to the top of their respective professions.

In my view, these novels have far more to engage the reader than other books in the genre, such as CS Forester’s Hornblower series. Yet, as with the Greene/le Carre comparison, Forester’s simpler style makes for better adaptations into films. The film of O’Brian’s novel, Master and Commander, failed, in my view, to capture the heart of the novel.

Thanks for sharing your favourite books with us, Mark. Hope you have a really fun IP day. Another biscuit?

You can follow Mark’s posts on IP licensing on the IPdraughts blog and trade IP related puns with him on Twitter (@IPdraughts).

Previous IP day Inheritance books posts include those from patent attorney cum novelists Ivan Cotter and Kalyan Kankanala. There are a number of novels featuring patent attorneys – click here to see a list.

Inheritance Books: Jeannie Von Rompaey

Today on Inheritance Books, we’ve got Jeannie Von Rompaey. Hi Jeannie, welcome to Inheritance Books. Please, make yourself comfy on the sofa. I’ll put the kettle on. While I’m doing that, why don’t you tell us a bit about yourself?

Cheers! JeannieI’m passionate about reading, writing, art and the theatre. I was born in London, brought up in a village in Northamptonshire and now live on the subtropical island of Gran Canaria with my husband, TJ, a historian. I love living in a warm climate with blue skies above and a light breeze; but enjoy visits to London and other cities to see my daughter, go to the theatre and visit art exhibitions.

I have an MA in Modern Literature from The University of Leicester and have had a varied career as lecturer, theatre director and actor. As Jeannie Russell I’m a member of the Guild of Drama Adjudicators and adjudicate at drama festivals in Britain and Europe. Next year I’m off to Frankfurt to adjudicate there.

I write novels, short stories, poems and plays on subjects I feel strongly about, including: the complexity of human nature and the future of our planet.


Which book have you inherited from a generation above? Why is it special? 

image1Indian Myth and Legend by Donald A Mackenzie was given to me by a friend of my mother’s who had travelled in India. I was fascinated by his stories about a continent I knew little about.

From the first I loved the cover of the book, its intricate patterned design that promised entrance to a different world. I also loved the gold leaf that edged the pages, now unfortunately faded.

The inside did not disappoint either with its tales of Indian traditions and myths. The black and white photographs of Indian temples, sculptures and ceremonies are combined with coloured prints from paintings of deities and nymphs. I’ve found the names of the divinities and the myths surrounding them useful when inventing names and characters for my dystopian novels in the Oasis series. For example the wives of Shiva: Durga, the Destroyer and war goddess; Kali, the black earth-mother with her built in serpents; Jagadgauri, the yellow harvest bride and Sati, the ideal of a true and virtuous woman. The latter is satirised in my novel, as she is promiscuous. A touch of irony, that I love.


Which book would you like to leave to future generations? Why?

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. It’s dystopian fiction, set in a terrifying but fascinating future. Reading this book marks the beginning of my interest in this genre.

image2I love the cover of this paperback because of its vibrant primary colours. Every woman in Gilead is defined by the way she is dressed and colour-coded. The women on the cover are handmaids because they dressed in red, the colour of blood. Their only function is to breed. The Marthas, who cook and do household chores, are in dull green robes with bib aprons over them. The gowns of both handmaids and Marthas are long and concealing. These examples of the dress code give an insight into how detailed and cleverly constructed this novel is. I admire the way Atwood has created such a complete, imaginary world. The men of Gilead imagined they were creating a utopia, but even they become disillusioned and victims of the rigid system. Reading this book made me realize that utopias are impossible to create. Human beings are flawed and so when trying to form a perfect society are bound to fail.

I’d like to leave this book to my daughter because it not only acts as a warning to future generations but also celebrates the resilience of women in a male orientated world.


Fabulous choices. Thank you for letting us peek into your bookcase. Your novel sounds like fun (I’m a sucker for folklore absorbed into modern fiction). I hope it does really well.

Oasis Ascension Front FinalYou can find out more about Jeannie by visiting her website or her Amazon page. Her new book Accession is available to buy now.

Inheritance Books: Manning Wolfe

Hello Manning Wolfe, welcome to the Inheritance Books sofa. While I go get us some tea and chocolate biscuits, why don’t you tell us a bit about yourself.

Manning Wolfe Headshot 2I am an author and attorney living in Austin, Texas with my mate Bill.  My grown son, Aaron, lives nearby. I love the South. There is a feel for this part of the world that is unique and fosters stories that could not happen anywhere else.


Which book have you inherited from the generation above? Why is it special?

I think any legal thriller writer has to to give some credit to Scott Turow for Presumed Innocent. It was the first of its kind. I also go back to Harper Lee. To Kill a Mockingbird, although literary, is a courtroom drama. Some of John Grisham’s early works such as The Broker and The Summons are particular favs because of the strategy involved. Turrow, Grisham, and Michael Connelly have a way of making legal issues, which are complex and potentially confusing, understandable and relatable for the lay person.



Which book would you like to leave to future generations? Why?

I could not choose one book. (It is rather the point of Inheritance Books posts – choosing one book…but carry on. *grin*)

The whole point of reading is for each person to enjoy a book through their personal history. Life experience of the reader is as important as the book itself. It’s magical in a way that one book is like snowflakes – different for each person and even each time it’s read by the same person.

That said, I will tell you a story about a book and a librarian. When I was in junior high I had read all of the books in our small town library. A wonderful librarian introduced me to Thomas Hardy. Tess of the D’Urbervilles is still one of my favourite books and I re-read it every other year or so. It’s a gripping story of a young woman who finds herself in the worst situation for her time. She is such a real and timeless character. I also read Hemingway and Fitzgerald about that same time.

Another story: I had a client about five years into my legal career. He was struggling to pay his legal bill and was a big reader. He had an autographed copy of In Cold Blood that he gave to me, knowing it’s one of my favorites. I protect it, but I still allow myself to read it every year or two. I love holding it. He also gave me an early battered and dog-eared Zane Grey that I cherish.

An autographed copy of In Cold Blood is a very cool thing to own!

Thank you for sharing your favourite books with us, Manning. Good luck with your latest book. I love the title Dollar Signs!

DOLLAR SIGNS Final Ebook Cover 04-2

Manning’s latest book, Dollar Signs is available to buy now. You can find out more about Manning on her website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Goodreads .  

You can WIN a copy of Dollar Signs as part of this tour: