Inheritance Books: Carrie Parker

This week’s Inheritance Books come from Carrie Parker. Welcome to the Inheritance Books sofa, Carrie. Why don’t you tell us a bit about yourself?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMy name is Carrie Parker and I live on the beach near Rye in East Sussex, England.  At least, Carrie Parker is my pen name.  My day job as a horticultural consultant involves writing factual, accurate reports for my clients and I don’t want them getting confused with my novels of pure fiction!  

I chose my pen name in honour of my grandmothers:  Carrie was my paternal grandmother’s name and Parker was my maternal grandmother’s name.  Both of them were extraordinary women, in completely different ways, and both were strong influences in my life.  As a young child, we lived in my grandmother Parker’s small terraced house in Yorkshire.  One of my earliest memories is of being left outside the local lending library in my large, old-fashioned pram, my older sister on guard, whilst my mother performed the weekly ritual of changing Gran’s library books.  When we got home, Gran would seize the books and start reading immediately, late into the night, by gaslight.  I can remember wondering what it was that was so interesting about reading books – it wasn’t long before I found out and it has stayed with me all my life.

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

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Black Beauty

When I was six, I won a prize at school for “Superior Answering”.  The prize was a book and my mother was asked to select one for me.  She chose a favourite of hers:  “Black Beauty” by Anna Sewell.  My sister and I would sit on the sofa with my mother, in front of the fire, as she read a chapter of the story to us every night before bed.  We both liked animals but an “animal autobiography” was new to us.  As a young child, in some ways it was a difficult book to cope with, but its powerful anti-cruelty message has stayed with me.  Published in 1877, Anna Sewell didn’t write it as a children’s book but to draw attention to animal cruelty.  Its message is clear and not out-dated – alongside the obvious concerns for the treatment of animals runs the theme of how we should all respect and show kindness to others.  Which is what my mother always did.

Which book would you leave to later generations? Why?

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A Suitable Boy

The book I would like to leave for future generations is “A Suitable Boy” by Vikram Seth.  This is a wonderful book of epic proportions – certainly physically, at almost 1,500 pages.  It will be a bit of a challenge, as we are told the attention span of the younger generations is already diminished by our current technologies, but it is a brilliant example of the sustained pleasure to be had from immersing oneself in a really enthralling book.  The book is set in the newly-independent India of the 1950s and centres around four families and, in particular, one mother’s efforts to arrange a marriage for her daughter to “a suitable boy”.  Beautifully written, without pretension, the book gives a real insight into the political and societal changes happening in India at that time.  How the characters deal with the emotions of heartache and disappointment that accompany the pursuit of happiness and the quest for love in a complex and changing world has universal resonance.  

I was drawn to this book after working in India for several years and seeing first-hand the trials and tribulations facing young Indians seeking happy relationships amidst the religious, caste, sex and political complexities still prevalent in India in the 1990s.  Although times and attitudes continue to change, essentially this is a book about family and I think it will speak to many generations to come.

Thank you so much for sharing your Inheritance Books with us, Carrie. Best of luck with your latest book.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERACarrie’s book A Chateau For Sale is available to buy now. You can find out more about Carrie on her Facebook page.

You can win a copy of A Chateau For Sale by entering the competition below:

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Inheritance Books: Zara Stoneley

This week I’m delighted to welcome Zana Stoneley to Inheritance Books.  Hi Zara, welcome to Inheritance Books.

Hi Rhoda, and thank you for the invite, it’s lovely to be here.

ZaraStoneley_authorpicIt’s lovely to have you here! So, tell us a bit about yourself.

So, a bit about me… I spend most of the year in Cheshire surrounded by horses, dogs, cats and amazing countryside which has a massive influence on my writing. When I’m not scribbling away I can often be found in the local wine bars, artisan markets or admiring the scenery (all very inspirational and great for people watching!).

Every other weekend I normally head for our Barcelona apartment and enjoy some sunshine, long walks on the beach and afternoons sampling the tapas and cava! These days I seem to do an awful lot of my writing on planes, in airports or by the sea.

I write hot romance, fun-filled chicklit and bonkbusters. My most recent release, ‘Stable Mates’, is a fun romp through the Cheshire countryside and combines some of my greatest loves – horses, dogs, hot men and strong women (and not forgetting champagne and fast cars). I’m currently working on a follow up which has the same sexy men but even more scandal!

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

Rhoda Baxter -  booksMy parents weren’t particularly avid readers, but I always had my nose stuck in a book! In my early years the books had a common theme – animals. Ranging from ‘Black Beauty’ (horses were a favourite) to ‘My Family and Other Animals’ and a wonderful book called ‘Tschiffely’s Ride’. Then ‘The Hobbit’ and LOTR took over, followed by thrillers (James Bond and Dick Francis books topped the list). But one book that stayed with me, probably because it marked a stage in the progression from child to adult was my mother’s (now slightly battered) copy of Shirley Conran’s ‘Lace’, after that it was Jackie Collins and Jilly Cooper all the way!

Sounds like those books inspired you a great deal! Which book would you  leave to future generations? Why?

I think I’d want to leave a book of our times, a book that has made a difference in my lifetime, and so that probably has to be Harry Potter. Whether you love it (and my son did), or not, JK Rowling has to be credited with reigniting a love of stories in so many of our children. My eighteen year old son is taking science/maths ‘A’ level subjects at school, like I did, but is also now writing a book in his spare time – and I’m sure that Harry Potter followed by LOTR played a huge part in kindling his interest in story telling.

Good for him (your son, I mean)! My Dad always said that I should do science to get a job and then write in my spare time. As plans go, it’s a pretty sound one.

Thank you for sharing your favourite books with us, Zara. Please drop by again soon.

Stable mates coverZara’s book Stablemates is available to buy now. You can find out more about Zara on her website, or catch up with her on Twitter (@zarastoneley), Facebook or Google+.