Welcome to Amanda Robson, author of Obsession.
Ruby has asked me to name ten books that have influenced me. Books that made me want to be a writer. Books that I have learned something from. What a self-indulgent way for a book worm like me to while away an hour or two.
- Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
I suspect this book makes its way onto many such lists. How many people has du Maurier captivated? How many people have walked up the drive of Manderley in their minds? The way Daphne du Maurier uses language to evoke a sense of time and place, makes me feel I step into the page as I open it. As soon as I read this I knew I wanted to write a book one day.
- The House on the Strand by Daphne du Maurier
This is less well known, so if you haven’t read it yet treat yourself. A creepy time slip about a man who takes a drug to step back in time, and falls in love with someone from the past. My infatuation with time-slip began when I read this book.
- The Potter’s House by Rosie Thomas
I first read this book in pre-kindle days, on a backpacking camping holiday. Someone left it on the beach. I appropriated it. A book with a real message. A book to make you think. Left by me, again, in turn for someone else to read on the beach. Its story haunted me for years. When I started writing I wanted to emulate it. But all I could remember was the story. I had no idea of the author or the title. I spent hours trying to find it on the internet, using key words about the plot, but always drew a blank. Imagine my joy, when browsing in a bookshop, I finally found it and was able to read it again.
- Rabbit, Run by John Updike
The concise use of language by John Updike fascinates me. I love his work. The Witches of Eastwick is my favourite, but Rabbit, Run has influenced me most, because of the tight way it is written. I try in my novels to be neat with words.
- Labyrinth by Kate Mosse
- Lady of Hay by Barbara Erskine
Two similar novels. Both time-slip. Both totally engrossing. Erskine and Mosse use a similar technique, involving psychological power play between the major protagonists. Both these novels have influenced my work. As has:
- The Lollipop Shoes by Joanne Harris
The sequel to Chocolat but a very different book. Psychological power play again. This one possibly even more terrifying than the two I have already mentioned. I must like to be scared.
- Birds Without Wings by Louis de Bernières
One of my favourite books of all time. About a mixed community of Christians and Muslims who are segregated into separate territories after the first world war. A book about love and relationships.
- Moon Tiger by Penelope Lively
Written as the interiority of a frail old lady’s mind. What a clever lady. Telling the story of her life, and the history of the world, all mixed together and intertwined. This book has always challenged me. Made me think about the difference between how someone appears and what is going on inside.
- The Rector’s Wife by Joanna Trollope
Last but by no means least. Trollope’s clever observation of human nature and subtle writing technique is impressive. I am a people watcher too. I think that is one of the many reasons why I love her work so much.
Obsession is Amanda’s debut novel, published by Avon, available on Kindle from today (and in paperback, 1 June 2017).
After graduating, Amanda Robson worked in medical research at The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and at the Poison’s Unit at Guy’s Hospital where she became co-author of a book on cyanide poisoning. This has set her in good stead for writing her debut novel, Obsession, a dark and twisted tale about love affairs gone wrong. Amanda attended the Faber Academy writing course in 2011, and now writes from home full time. She lives in London and Wales, with her lawyer husband, one–eyed dog and unfriendly cat. Her two sons, also lawyers, have more or less, fled the nest.